Introducing… Doggie Miller

A long-time Pittsburgh Pirates catcher in the 1800s, Doggie Miller was a valuable player to have on your team.  Although he didn’t set jaws to drop with his defensive exploits, Doggie could fill in anywhere on the diamond.  Usually a catcher, Miller also played 300 games in the outfield and saw action at every infield position. 

Doggie joined the Pittsburgh Alleghenys in 1884 as a 19-year-old outfielder/catcher.  He finished second on the team to Ed Smartwood in doubles and runs scored.  His sophomore campaign was a forgettable one as his batting average plummeted to a career low of .163.  Back on course in 1886, Doggie finished second on the team in stolen bases. 

Miller’s breakout year came in 1888 when he hit .277 as Pittsburgh’s regular catcher.  The Alleghenys didn’t have much offense in 1888 to compliment Doggie.  He and Hall of Famer Jake Beckley were the only players on the roster to hit above .270 and second baseman Fred Dunlap was the only other player to hit above .250.  Doggie finished second to Beckley on the team in homeruns during the 1889 season and he led the club with 25 two-baggers.

Doggie drove in 66 runs in 1890 as the Alleghenys regular third baseman.  Baseball 1890 style was a full plate, as three Major Leagues were in service thanks to the upstart Player’s League.  When the Player’s League folded, their players were ordered to return to their old teams but the Alleghenys signed star second baseman Lou Bierbauer who wasn’t their property before the Player’s League started play.  The Alleghenys were charged with underhanded tactics and thus earned the nickname of “Pirates.”

With the Pirates in 1891, Doggie elevated his batting average to .285.  The Pirates finished in eighth place in 1891 but enjoyed a winning season in 1892 with Doggie playing mostly in the outfield with Hall of Famer Connie Mack stationed behind the dish.  Doggie had his best run-producing season that year when he scored a career best 103 runs and also legged out a career high 12 triples.

1894 was Doggie at his best.  Usually good for about a .260 batting average, he upped his mark to .339 that season.  Never much of a slugger or on-base guru, Doggie was in ’94 when he posted a stellar .414 on-base percentage and had a .453 slugging average–it was the only time his on-base percentage and slugging average reached the .400 mark.  With St. Louis, where he enjoyed his uncommon offensive output, Doggie hit .339 his first year with the Browns and .291 his second.  After the 1895 season, the Louisville Colonels bought his contract and he played one final year at the Major League level.

THE NUMBERS

G 1318/R 839/H 1381/2B 192/3B 57/HR 33/RBI 567/BA .267/SA .345/OBP .333

www.baseballcardslive.com

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1 comment
  1. brettkiser said:

    Doggie was a fine catcher during the 1800s but since his numbers are plenty weaker than HOF catchers from that period, King Kelly and Buck Ewing, and other passed over receivers like Deacon White and Deacon McGuire, I don’t see Miller ever making the HOF.

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