- 2B, 3B, OF
- Old Hoss
- January 5, 1898
- 5' 10"
- 185 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 4-13-1921 with CLE
Riggs Stephenson's .336 career batting average ranks in the top 25 all-time, but the closest he came to a batting title was a fourth place finish in 1927. Stephenson batted .319 or better in 12 of his 14 major league seasons, but was poor defensively. Signed as a second baseman, he had a weak arm that kept him from playing regularly in his five years with Cleveland (1921-25). Converted to the outfield during a stint in the minors, he still had to depend on his potent bat to keep him in the Cubs' lineup. His throwing difficulties were the result of a shoulder injury sustained while playing football at the University of Alabama. It hindered him on pivot throws at second base, and, during one season in the Cubs outfield, he had only one assist.
In 1927, his first full season with Chicago, he led the NL with 46 doubles.
In many ways he was just another hard-hitting outfielder in the 1920s and 1930s. But he was a popular player in both Cleveland and Chicago. In the Cubs' 1929 pennant-winning year, he combined with Hall of Famers Hack Wilson and Kiki Cuyler in the only outfield in NL history in which each member had more than 100 RBI. (Stephenson 110, Wilson 159, Cuyler 102).
He twice went to the World Series with the Cubs. In Cleveland he teamed with Charlie Jamieson and Tris Speaker in one of the best outfields of that era.
Arm and leg injuries forced him to leave the Cubs in 1934, but he played and managed in the minors through 1939.
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- Riggs Stephenson