A longtime second baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers (or Bridegrooms, or Superbas–take your pick) Tom “Tido” Daly was a fine hitter and serviceable defender… at times. A member of the 1890 NL Champion Brooklyn Bridegrooms, Daly was a good on-base percentage player who once led the league in doubles.
Originally a catcher, Daly made his Major League debut with the old Philadelphia Keystones of the Union Association at the age of 18. He then spent the next couple seasons in the bushes before the Chicago White Stockings gave him a look in 1887. Tom platooned with veteran Silver Flint on Cap Anson’s club in ’87 but when he failed to establish himself with the bat, Anson released him.
Tom caught on with the Washington Nationals in 1889 and had his first .300 season. But the following year he joined Brooklyn and began his long association with the club. Moved out from behind the plate in 1892, Daly was used as a third baseman that season. Shifted to second base in 1893, Daly’s career gained some stability as his offense began to grow. In ’93, Tom hit .289 with 94 runs scored, but his finest year was right around the corner.
Tido exploded in 1894, scoring 135 runs while posting a stellar on-base percentage of .433. The switch-hitting second baseman had a career best .339 batting average. Of the Brooklyn regulars, only third baseman Billy Shindle failed to hit .300; he had to settle for a .296 batting average. Tom’s batting average fell to .280 in 1895 and by 1897 he was back in the bushes thanks to his poor fielding in 1896.
Daly followed his course and the current carried him back to the Major Leagues in 1898. Back up with Brooklyn, Daly’s bat still had the old stuff (he hit at least .300 his next three seasons) but his leather was still substandard. But Tido made up for his inferior defensive work by employing solid offensive exploits. He posted a .409 on-base percentage in 1899 and a .403 mark in 1900. In 1901, Tom led the National League in doubles while pacing NL second sackers in batting average, runs, triples, RBI, stolen bases and slugging average (he was the lone NL second baseman to slug over .400).
With the American League glaring at the rosters of the National League like a whino leering through the window of a liquor store, Daly was offered a job with the White Sox in the AL and he jumped his contract (a common practice back then) and signed with the Pale Hose. But Tido, in his upper 30s, was at the end of the line and he failed to make good with the White Sox. He finished his career in 1903, splitting the season between the White Sox and the Reds of Cincinnati.
G 1,560/R 1,030/H 1,588/2B 261/3B 103/HR 49/RBI 811/BB 687/SB 403/BA .280/SA .388