A nifty little outfielder, Kip Selbach was a good on-base machine who was an above average defender despite his short, squat body type. Kip was often among the leaders in outfield putouts and he average about 12 triples per season–which puts him 51st on the all-time three-bag list.
Selbach broke in with the Washington Senators in 1894 when they were still members of the National League. He hit .306 with 17 triples as a rookie in the offensive charged 1890s. He took his game up a notch the following year when he led the league with 22 triples and posted the first of what would be four seasons with an on-base percentage above .400. Kip hit a career high .324 in 1895 but that mark was good for third on the team behind Deacon McGuire and Ed Cartwright. The Senators had a high-powered offense–like many teams of the day–but they finished tenth in the league thanks to an inept pitching staff.
Selbach’s only 100 RBI season came in 1896, as Kip posted an identical 100 runs batted in and 100 runs scored. A terrific offensive force, Kip had three consecutive seasons with a batting average above .300 and an on-base percentage above .400 with the Senators. When his on-base percentage fell to .383 in 1898 Selbach was sold to the Reds for $5,000. After beginning his career with five straight .300 hit seasons, Kip’s batting average fell to .297 in 1899–his only year with Cincinnati.
When the Giants purchased his contract in 1900, Kip returned to his amazing ways. He hit a new career high .337 and posted his best single season on-base percentage of .425. In 1901, he legged out 29 doubles but both his batting average and on-base percentages reached all-time lows that season: respectable marks of .289 BA and .350 OBP.
With the American League raiding the rosters of the established National League, Selbach jumped the Giants for the bigger money offered by the Baltimore Orioles. Kip hit a robust .320 that season as only he and Hall of Famer Ed Delahanty slugged over .400 among AL left fielders.
In 1903, Kip returned to the Senators, who had become members of the new American League. He was the only AL left fielder to post more than 20 doubles that year. The next season he spilt between Washington and the Red Sox, and in 1905, his last decent year, Kip led American League right fielders in walks drawn. The played one final year before joining the Harrisburg Senators as player/manager in the Tri-State League.
G 1,612/R 1,066/H 1,807/2B 301/3B 149/HR 44/RBI 779/SB 334/BB 785/BA .293/SA .412/OBP .377