Great Braves Through the Ages: Hugh Duffy

In Part II of "Great Braves Through the Ages" Dan Pace takes a look at the Hall of Fame career of outfielder Hugh Duffy (1866-1954).

When you look at current Braves second baseman Marcus Giles it is hard to believe someone of his size can be such an offensive threat. But he isn't the first little man to swing a big stick for the Braves. In this weeks Braves Greats through the ages we go back to 1892 and meet Hugh Duffy.

Born on November 26 1866 Hugh Duffy stood only 5'7 and maxed out at 168 pounds. He began his pro career with the Chicago White Stockings (Cubs) in 1888 at the age of 21. After two seasons with the White Stockings Hugh moved across town to play for the Chicago Pirates of the players league in 1890. In 1891 Duffy was sold to the Boston Reds of the American Association.

In 1892 Hugh made his Braves (Beaneaters) debut. That year Duffy collected 184 hits, 28 doubles, 12 triples and 5 home runs. He also drove in 81 runs and stole 51 bases while hitting .301. Playing mostly as a outfielder he led Boston to the National League championship series against the Cleveland Spiders. This series is considered by many to be the first World series. In the series Duffy was easily the MVP hitting .462 with 3 doubles, 2 triples, 1 home run and driving in 9 rbis leading Boston to a 5 to 0 win in the best of 9 series. The Spiders did manage one tie.

In 1893 Duffy continuned tearing up the National League. That year he finished third in the league in the hits department with 203 while finishing second in runs scored with 147, 7th in rbis with 118 and also had 23 doubles, 7 triples, 6 homers and 44 steals while hitting .362.

1894 was the peak of Duffy's career. His .440 average is the all time Major league record for a single season and won him the N.L. batting title. . His 51 doubes lead the league and is a Braves all time record which is currently being threatened by second baseman Marcus Giles. Duffy also led the league with 18 home runs and 145 rbi's which made him the first and last Brave to win the triple crown of hitting. His 145 Rbi's are also still a all time Braves record for a single season. Duffy also had 16 triples, and stole 48 bases.

Duffy stayed with the Braves until 1901 where he was player manager for one season with the old Milwaukee Brewers who later became known as the St.Louis Browns and now as the Baltimore Orioles. Hugh spent his last three seasons with the Philadlephia Phillies also as player/manager before retiring at the age of 39. He continued managing in 1910 and 1911 with the Chicago White Sox and then again in 1921 and 1922 with the Red Sox. He then spent many years as a coach for the Boston Red where he once said that rookie outfielder Ted Williams was the best hitter he had ever seen.

Duffy was elected to the Hall of fame in 1945 by the Veterans committee before passing away at the age of 88 in 1954 while still living in Boston.

In his 9 seasons with the Braves Hugh Duffy drove in 100 or more rbis 7 times. He hit .300 or better 7 times and ended one season at .298. And he also stole 30 or more bases 6 times while with the Braves. And he scored 97 or more runs eight times in his nine year career with the Braves. So even though most Braves fans have no idea who he was I give you Hugh Duffy one of the Great Braves through the ages.

Lifetime stats.                      Braves stats.                        
Braves all time records
---------------                      -----------------                       
      ------------------------------------
Hits: 2282                          Hits: 1544                             
2nd Avg. .332
HR: 106                             Hr: 69                                  
4th  Obp. .394
2b: 325                             2b: 220                                
7th runs  996
3b: 119                             3b: 73                                  
8th hits 1544
Rbi: 1302                          Rbi: 927                                
7th Triples 73
sb: 574                             Sb: 331                                 
5th Rbi 927
runs: 1552                        runs: 996                               
2nd steals 331
Avg: .324                          Avg: .332 

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