Great Braves Through The Ages: Kid Nichols

In Dan Pace's latest installment of "Great Braves Through the Ages" he takes a look at the often overlooked career of dominant starter Kid Nichols, and how he may be one of the greatest Braves pitchers of all-time.

When you think about the greatest pitchers in Braves history the usual suspects come to mind in Warren Spahn, Phil Niekro, Johnny Sain, Lew Burdette, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and John Smoltz. But one name that is often forgotten is that of one of the most dominant pitchers in Braves history. That name is Kid Nichols.

Born Charles Augustus Nichols on September 14, 1869 in Madison Wisconsin, Kid Nichols began his major league career at the age of 20 in 1890 with the Boston Braves (Beaneaters). The young righthander was a instant superstar winning 27 games and striking out 222 batters. His 2.23 era was 2nd in the league while his 7 shoutouts led the NL.

In his sophmore season of 1891 Nichols was just as dominant. Winning 30 games and striking out 240 hitters his 2.39 era was once again second in the league. His three saves led the league.

In 1892 Kid won his career high 35 games while striking out 187 and posting a 2.84. He helped lead the Beaneaters to the NL championship series against the Cleavland Spiders. In the series Kid was 2-0. He pitched two complete 9 inning games while giving up only two runs. He struck out 13 and walked only 4. The series featured three 300 game winners who would all pitch for the Braves at some time in thier career, they were Nichols, Cy Young and former Brave John Clarkson.

Nichols continuned pitching for Boston through the 1901 season. In his 12 seasons with the Braves he led the league in wins three times (30 in 1896, 31 in 1897 and 31 in 1898), in games pitched twice (46 in 1897, 50 in 1898), in saves 4 times (3 in 1891, 3 in 1895, 3 in 1897 and 4 in 1898), shutouts three times (7 in 1890, 3 in 1894 and 4 in 1900) while leading the league in innings pitched in 1897 with 368.

Kid earned his 300th victory on July 7th 1900 against the Cubs. The win came two months prior to his 31st birthday making him the youngest pitcher to win 300 games in Major League history. He was also the first pitcher in Braves history to win 300 games.

Nichols didn't play in 1902 or 1903 but returned to baseball as player/manager in 1904 with the Cardinals where he stayed until halfway through the 1905 season before moving on to Philadelphia to play for the Phillies. Kid pitched 4 games for the Phils in 1906 before retiring.

Kid Nichols was voted into the Hall of fame in 1949. He passed away on April 11, 1953 in Kansas City, MO at the age of 84.

Kid Nichols career Braves pitching ranks:

Wins:  2nd 329
Games 4th 556
Innings: 3rd 4538
Strikeouts: 6th 1667
Starts: 5th 501
Complete Games: 1st 475
Shutouts: 2nd 44

Kid Nichols career Pitching Stats:

Wins: 361
Games: 620
Innings: 5056 1/3
Strikeouts: 1868
Starts: 561
Complete Games: 531
Shutouts: 48

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