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Buck Ewing

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Buck Ewing
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Buck Ewing

William Buckingham "Buck" Ewing (October 17, 1859 - October 20, 1906) was a 19th century Major League Baseball player and manager, and is widely regarded as the best catcher of his era. He was born in Hoagland, Ohio. Ewing joined the National League in 1880 as a member of the Troy Trojans, but rose to stardom in 1883 as a member of the New York Gothams, later known as the Giants. That year he became the first player in major league history to hit 10 home runs in a season (a feat he would never repeat), while batting .303. Playing in an era when triples were more common than home runs due to the spacious parks and poor quality of the balls used, he led the league in 1884 with 20 triples, and was often among the league leaders.

Playing until 1897 with the Giants, Cleveland Spiders and Cincinnati Reds, Ewing posted consistently superb offensive numbers. Arguably his best season was in 1893 with the Spiders when he batted .344 with 6 home runs, 122 RBI, 47 stolen bases and 117 runs.

In 1890, when a player revolt led to the formation of the short-lived Players League, Ewing led the New York franchise as both star player and manager. Lingering resentment in the wake of the league's establishment and demise has often been suspected as a reason for his limited play in 1891 and subsequent move to Cleveland following the 1892 season. Ewing finished his career with a .303 lifetime batting average, 71 home runs, 883 RBI, 1129 runs, 250 doubles and 178 triples - totals made more impressive by the fact he was playing annual seasons only 100-130 games long.

In addition to playing, Ewing managed for seven seasons: the 1890 (Players League) Giants, the 1895-1899 Cincinnati Reds and half of the season with the 1900 Giants. He compiled a 489-395 record for a .553 winning percentage.

Ewing died of diabetes at age 47 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was elected to membership in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939, the year of the Hall's opening; he was the first catcher, and (with Cap Anson) the first 19th-century player, to be selected.

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