One of the first-ever baseball superstars, Cap Anson's playing career spanned from 1871 to 1897. Spending most of his career with the organization known today as the Chicago Cubs, Anson was the first player to collect over 3,000 career hits. While he was a superstar player, he is perhaps more well-known as one of the individuals who played a major role in the establishment of the game's 'color barrier', which would be broken by Jackie Robinson in 1947.
I completed this sketch card in June 2012.
10 random facts about Cap Anson:
- He was born in Marshalltown, IA in 1852, when the game of baseball was still in its infancy.
- Anson strongly influenced the development of the color barrier when, on August 10, 1883, he refused to play an exhibition game against the Toledo Blue Stockings because their catcher, Moses Fleetwood Walker, was African American. He relented out of his fear of forfeiting, but in 1887, league owners would vote to exclude African Americans from future contracts, after several more complaints from Anson.
- As a player, he batted over .300 in 20 different seasons.
- Along with former Chicago team president Albert Spalding, Anson shares credit as an innovator of modern spring training, as both men were among the first to send their clubs to warmer climates in the South to prepare for the season during the 1880s.
- During the 1890s, he was known to his Chicago Colts players as "Pop"; when he was fired as manager after the 1897 season, the team became known as the "Orphans" by sports newspapers.
- After his playing career ended, he ran several enterprises in Chicago, including opening a billiards and bowling hall and running a semi-professional baseball team he dubbed Anson's Colts.
- A charismatic individual, Anson toured extensively on the vaudeville circuit, performing monologues and songs.
- Anson's memoirs, titled A Ball Player's Career: Being the Personal Reminiscences of Adrian C. Anson, were published in 1900. This book is considered the first baseball autobiography.
- He was elected city clerk of Chicago in 1905.
- Over 100 years after his retirement, he still holds several Cubs franchise records, including most career RBI, runs, hits, singles, and doubles.