MLB History: 10 Things You Never Knew about Jake Beckley

SportsLifer@sportsliferCorrespondent IIApril 9, 2011

Earlier this week, Derek Jeter passed a couple of  ball players—Rogers Hornsby and Jake Beckley—to move into 33rd place on Major League Baseball’s all-time hit list.

You remember Rogers Hornsby, the greatest right-hand hitter in baseball history. The guy hit .358 lifetime and .424 in 1924, which is still the record for a single season.

And Beckley. Well who the heck is Jake Beckley? Old Eagle Eye. Never heard of him.

So for the greater benefit of society, we present 10 things you probably never knew about Jake Beckley.

1. Jake Beckley was born two years after the end of the Civil War in Hannibal, Missouri, the town that Mark Twain made famous.

2. He began his baseball career in 1888 with the Pittsburgh Alleghenys of the National League. The Alleghenys later became the Pirates.

3. In the spring of 1890, Beckley interrupted his NL career when he, along with eight of

his teammates and manager Ned Hanlon, jumped to the Pittsburgh Burghers of the new Players League.

4. When the new PL offered him a higher salary, he made the move and explained, “I’m only in this game for the money anyway.”

5 Jake married in 1891, but his wife Molly died after only seven months. He didn’t remarry until his playing career ended.

6. When he retired after 1907 he was baseball’s all-time leader in triples. He is still fourth all-time, behind only fellow Hall of Famers Sam Crawford, Ty Cobb, and Honus Wagner.

7. Beckley batted .300 or better in 13 of his 20 seasons. He hit .308 lifetime, and had 2,930 career hits.

8. Beckley’s reputation suffered because he never played on a pennant winner, and only one team he played for (the 1893 Pirates) finished as high as second place.

9. He held the career record for games played at first base until 1994, when Eddie Murray passed him. He still leads all first basemen in putouts and total chances.

10. Jake Beckley operated a grain business in Kansas City after his baseball career ended. He died at age 50 in 1918 of heart disease.


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