Life Without Billy
So now what happens with Sliding Billy Hamilton gone? How does an eighth place, sub-.500 (62-68) finish, 28 ½ games behind those annoying Baltimore Orioles and their crusty third baseman, John McGraw sound? Or an 0-12 record against those snotty Os?
Who knew that when Billy Nash, with his .247 batting average, came to Philadelphia in the infamous trade with the Boston Beaneaters, he would replace Doc Irwin as manager? Nash, at 32 years-old decided to be a playing manager, but benched himself halfway through the slogging season in favor of super sub Lave Cross.
Philadelphia fans were confused and angry about losing their sparkplug and main attraction; they were also nervous about a 32-year-old becoming manager after all the comfortable years with the steady Harry Wright, and two tumultuous years with the familiar Irwin. But they continued to come to the games, though in diminished numbers; the 357,025 season attendance was some 100,000 fewer than Sliding Billy’s last year, but still second in the league behind Cincinnati’s 373,000. The opening day attendance of 24,500 was the most to watch a major league baseball game in the 19th century.
Maybe they came to see the rookie, Napoleon “Larry” Lajoie, a muscular (6’1”, 195 pound), right handed slugging first baseman and future Hall of Famer. Or maybe it was to see the development of Ed Delahanty into an authentic super star. Big Ed hit .397 with 74 extra base hits, and 126 RBIs. The hometown crowd was deprived of seeing Delahanty’s finest day because it happened at the Chicago Colt’s West Side Grounds. On July 13, 1896,. in a 9-8 Phillies’ loss, the big guy slugged four homeruns. Recent research has reported that only two of those homers were inside-the-parkers, instead of the four previously reported.By max blue
- Arthur Irwin, Billy Hamilton, Billy Nash, Ed Delahanty, Harry Wright, Nap Lajoie, Philadelphia Phillies