Best known as the manager of the infamous Chicago Black Sox who handed the 1919 World Series to the Reds, Kid Gleason should be remembered more for his on-field accomplishments than piloting a team full of scabs. Gleason was a terrific pitcher during the 1800s and when his arm went lame, he shifted to second base and excelled there as well. However, his achievements as a player have been overshadowed by the crooked team that stabbed him in the back.
Kid made it to the Major Leagues in 1888 as a pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, managed by Hall of Famer Harry Wright. His finest year on the mound came in 1890 when he fashioned a 38-17 worksheet for the Phillies on a career best 2.63 ERA and an immense workload of 506 innings pitched. Kid would then throw 418 innings in 1891 and another 400 innings in 1892. It shouldn’t come as much of a shock that his numbers dipped drastically in 1893, but he was still able to notch 21 wins.
After four straight seasons of 20 or more wins, Gleason fell to 17 victories in 1894. His last action on the mound came in 1895 with the old Baltimore Orioles; the year in which skipper Ned Hanlon shifted Gleason to second base where he helped the birds win the NL flag. After the season the Orioles dealt Kid to the New York Giants for stellar first baseman Dirty Jack Doyle. In his first year with the Giants, Kid paced the league in games played while hitting a nifty .299.
Kid hit .319 in 1897 and had his lone 100 RBI season. The Giants had a 242 RBI double-play combo as Kid teamed with Hall of Famer George Davis to give the ’97 Giants one of the greatest run-getting keystone combos in the game’s history. His numbers tapered off in a bad way in 1898 but he rebounded in 1899 to hit a decent .264.
When the American League established itself as a Major League in 1901, Kid jumped the Giants and joined the Tigers, managed by George Stallings. With the Tigers, Kid drove in 74 runs his first year in the new circuit. Kid hit a nifty .284 in 1903, back with the first Major League team that he played for: the Phillies. The following year, he led National League second basemen in hits and batting average. At the age of 38 in 1905, Kid led the league in games played and sacrifices while also scoring 95 runs.
Gleason struggled through a rough 1906 season in which he was pushing 40 years of age. Shortly thereafter he became a much respected coach and was handed the managerial assignment with the White Sox in 1919. As we all know, he guided the Sox to a World Series his first year as skipper but eight players on the team agreed to dump games to the Reds for a payday that they never saw. Kid managed the Sox on into 1923, but after the banishment of his best players, his team floundered the rest of the time he was at the helm.
G 1,969/R 1,017/H 1,951/2B 216/3B 85/HR 15/RBI 823/SB 332/BA .262/SA .320