First baseman Dan Brouthers is known as the first great slugger. But few know that, not only was he a very good hitter for average, he hit 100 career home runs, which is remarkable, knowing he played in the dead-ball era.
Brouthers' first two seasons were with the N.L.'s Troy Trojans before he was transferred to the Buffalo Bisons. He became a star practically overnight. He hit .319 and led the league with eight homers.
In 1882, he won the batting title (.368) and became the first man to win the title two seasons in a row. He hit .374 the following year with 97 RBI and a whopping 17 triples. However, the next year, he was hampered by injuries but still had 14 homers and slugged .563. In 1885, his closing seasons with the Bisons, he hit .359.
The Detroit Wolverines purchased the entire Bison roster for a whopping total of $7,000. Brouthers responded to the heavy payroll by hitting .370 with a league leading 11 home runs and 40 doubles. In 1889, with the Boston Beaneaters, he hit .373 with 118 RBI.
This guy is good, do you get the message.
After the American Association folded during the offseason, he, of course, had no problem finding work. He signed with Brooklyn of the National League for the 1892 season. He hit .335, winning another batting title. He also led the league with 197 hits and 124 RBI.
Injuries limited Brouthers playing time the next year with the Orioles. He was on the same team as "Wee" Willie Keeler. At age 36, Brouthers managed 39 doubles, 23 triples, 128 runs knocked in, and he also stole 38 bases.
This guy is a beast.
Brouthers played just a bit with Baltimore, Louisville, and Philadelphia. He played his last game in 1896 with the Phillies.
However, he kept playing. He played in the minors with the intimidating Springfield Ponies in 1897. He hit .415 at 38.
He played two more years and kept doing his thing. However, he got tired of it and decided to sit out for five seasons. Pitchers were relieved.
After five years, he decided to come back, and at 46, he led the Hudson River League with a .373 batting average. The Giants signed Brouthers in 1904, but he went 0-for-5 and retired. He decided to work at Polo Grounds as a member of the press for years. He died in 1932 and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1945.
Of players with 2,500 career at-bats, his .342 average is ninth all time.
.342 batting average