Introducing… Harry Steinfeldt

Although he didn’t receive the fame and recognition that his vastly overrated infield mates Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers and Frank Chance received, Harry was just as good and even a little bit better than his cronies.  The Cubs were a good team in 1905 but when they acquired Harry in 1906, their dynasty was born.

Steinfeldt joined the Reds in 1898 and hit .295 as a utility infielder with Buck Ewing’s third place club.  He reached 60 RBI for the first time in 1900–the last year that the National League was the lone Major League.  When the American League became a Major League, Harry remained loyal to the Reds while many established NL players jumped to the new league. 

After Harry hit .278 in 1902, he had his breakout year in 1903 when the led the National League in doubles.  He topped his NL position peers in batting average, slugging average and walks drawn.  Harry looked ready to explode into stardom but he regressed in 1904 thanks in large part to an injury.  A decent third baseman by 1905, Harry was catapulted into stardom when the Cubs acquired him for southpaw Tornado Jake Weimer.  The end result was a dynasty in Chicago.

The Cubs won the NL flag nearly every year from 1906 to 1910 with 1909 the lone campaign they failed to cop the pennant.  Steinfeldt joined them in 1906 and promptly led the NL in RBI and base hits.  To put icing on the cake, Harry also led NL third basemen in fielding percentage.  He and Hall of Famer Frank Chance were the only Major League corner infield duo to slug over .400 apiece.  Steinfeldt also had a career high .327 batting average–he was the only .300 hitting third baseman in the Major Leagues.

The game’s top third baseman in 1907, Harry led Major League hot corner custodians in RBI, doubles, hits and topped his NL position peers in fielding percentage again.  The Cubs won their second straight NL pennant as Harry led them to another World Series and led all Fall Classic participants with a .471 batting average.  The Cubs made it a hat trick in 1908 when they won their third straight NL flag.  Harry drove in three runs in a World Series victory over the Tigers of Ty Cobb.

With their star catcher Johnny Kling holding out during the 1909 season, the Cubs failed to win the NL flag.  Steinfeldt performed up to his standards by leading NL third basemen in doubles and RBI.  The Cubs won their fourth NL flag in five years in 1910 with Harry still at the hot corner.  After the 1910 season, Harry played one final injury-plagued year with the Boston Braves, then called the Rustlers, before ending his Major League career.

THE NUMBERS

G 1,647/R 759/H 1,578/2B 284/3B 90/HR 27/RBI 762/SB 202/BA .267/SA .360/OBP .330

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1 comment
  1. brettkiser said:

    With three teammates in the HOF–three guys that weren’t any better than he was–Harry has footing in HOF debate. He is the forgotten star in the famous Tinker-Evers-Chance infield but the Cubs were a dynasty during his day so he’ll come up more often than peers who didn’t play for strong teams. His HOF chances are weak.

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