Introducing… Steve Brodie

One of the top flychasers during the 1890s, Steve Brodie was a member of the Baltimore Orioles dynasty that featured such luminaries as Dan Brouthers, John McGraw, Hughie Jennings, Wee Willie Keeler and Joe Kelley (all Hall of Famers).  Brodie was flanked in the outfield by Keeler and Kelley as the trio gave the Birds a terrific starting pasture.  In 1894, for instance, each man hit above .365.

Brodie received his first look in the expansion year of 1890.  As a member of Frank Selee’s Boston Beaneaters, Brodie led the club in several batting categories as a rookie–he topped the team in batting average and RBI.  He raised his RBI total to 78 in 1891 but by 1892, his batting average had steadily fallen each season.  A change of scenery to St. louis in 1892 didn’t seem to help.  What helped was a new rule instituted in 1893.

When the mound was pushed back from fifty feet to six feet six inches, offenses across the National League (the only Major circuit at the time) skyrocketed.  Brodie began the ’93 season with the Browns but was sold to the Orioles late in the season.  His greatest years would come as a member of the powerhouse Baltimore squad.  In top form in 1894, Brodie finished fifth in the league with 210 base hits.  The amazing O’s finished 89-39 as Steve scored more runs than games played, a feat mirrored by all his aforementioned Hall of Fame teammates.  Steve finished second to Big Dan Brouthers on the team with 113 RBI.

The Orioles repeated as champs in 1895 as Brodie drove in a career high 134 runs (2nd in the league)–just a hair over one RBI per game.  Out in the pasture he was just as good, coming in second among outfielders in fielding percentage.  The Orioles then went 90-39 in 1896 for their third straight pennant, but Steve’s batting average plummeted to the earthly mark of .297.  Although his batting had cooled off, he was still one of the top defenders in the game. 

Traded to the Pirates for Jake Stenzel in 1897, Brodie showed his flychasing skills to Bucco brass by leading the league in fielding percentage among center fielders.  Back with Baltimore in 1899, Brodie’s batting average returned to the .300 range while his leather continued to wonder.  He again led center fielders in fielding percentage in 1899.

After the 1899 season, Brodie jumped to the Chicago White Stockings of the American League when the AL was still regarded as a minor league.  When the Orioles joined the AL in 1901–at the time it became regarded as a Major League–Steve returned to Maryland for a third stint with the Birds.  He hit .310 with the Orioles in 1901 before he jumped the Orioles and cast his lot with old Baltimore chum John McGraw and his Giants in New York.  Brodie played one final year in the Majors with McGraw’s Giants in 1902, at which time he tied Homer Smoot for most homeruns by an NL center fielder.

THE NUMBERS

G 1,438/R 886/H 1,728/2B 191/3B 89/HR 25/RBI 900/SB 289/BA .303/SA .381/OBP .365

www.baseball-fever.com

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1 comment
  1. brettkiser said:

    Brodie was a member of a strong dynasty and his numbers were right up there with his peers, but Brodie’s stardom didn’t last as long as Keeler or Kelley’s. His day was an era of high offense, so not too many players will be evaluated from the 1890s. His HOF chances are weak.

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