Happy Jack Stivetts
Stivetts started the season off strong but his performance quickly began to decline. Critics targeted him for poor defense and his weight which had ballooned up to 217 lbs.
Stivetts led the AA in terms of both earned run average (ERA) and strikeouts in the first half of his season, as well as appearing in two doubleheaders where he won one while losing the other.
Early Life and Education
John Elmer Stivetts was born in Ashland, Pennsylvania in 1868. At first he worked in coal mines before following his passion for baseball by joining various teams before eventually signing with the National League Boston Beaneaters in 1892.
He played on a team that won the inaugural World Series against Cleveland; however, due to arm fatigue his career was cut short.
When the American Association (AA) disbanded in 1891, many of its best players signed contracts with National League clubs; this created pressure on the league to increase player salaries. Stivetts quickly became one of the most sought-after players after merging with former competitors; his Beaneaters even played him against Brooklyn and witnessed him pitch a no-hitter – only the third in franchise history!
Jack Stivetts spent 11 seasons in the major leagues and won 203 games during that time, while also compiling an outstanding batting average of.298, notching 35 home runs along the way.
Stivetts began his playing career with the Boston Beaneaters in 1892 and helped lead them to victory against Cleveland in an early edition of the World Series. A key contributor in both pitching and hitting roles, Stivetts was eventually sidelined due to arm fatigue – something manager Frank Selee quickly changed.
In the offseason, Frank and Stanley Robison acquired the Browns and changed its name to the Perfectos before transferring players like Stivetts over to their Cleveland Spiders franchise in Ohio. Stivetts saw this move as a conflict of interest and refused to play for either franchise; as a result he was released on June 17 and went on to have an unsuccessful season in minor league baseball.
Achievement and Honors
Stivetts was one of the top pitchers during his time, winning 35 games over four seasons with twenty or more victories for the Beaneaters while also boasting a strong hitting arm that batted over.300.
Stivetts began his season alongside future Hall-of-Famer John Clarkson and Kid Nichols. Stivetts claimed to be in excellent physical condition, significantly lighter than when last seen on the field.
After the American Association folded, the National League introduced a postseason playoff scheme pitting first-half and second-half champions against each other. Stivetts and future Hall-of-Famer Cy Young engaged in an eleven-inning pitching duel which yielded no runs scored during game 1.
Jack Stivetts was an unlikely hero in baseball history. A veteran of 11 seasons with Boston Beaneaters and Cleveland Spiders in both leagues, Stivetts is best remembered as an influential pitcher with fastball comparable to Amos Rusie, capable of hitting in every position except catcher.
Stivetts was an impressive force on the mound, boasting 6 feet-2 and 200 pounds. His lightning fast delivery and remarkable control enabled him to dominate the National League.
Stivetts made his major league debut against Fred Smith and Toledo Maumees on June 10 and hit his inaugural home run a week later against Chicago White Sox pinch-hitter John Paulin on August 13. However, due to his success he declined a trade offer with St Louis Browns and returned back home early August.
Happy Jack was raised in Ashland, a coal mining town about 12 miles west of Mahanoy City in Pennsylvania. As a Boston Beaneaters pitcher for whom he also could hit home runs (an early predecessor of today’s Atlanta Braves), Happy was tall, strong, and knew how to pitch.
At his first start of 1892 season against Columbus, he pitched an unbeaten four-hitter that cemented his reputation as one of the league’s premier pitchers.
On September 5, Stivetts began, completed, and won both games of a doubleheader against Louisville that the Beaneaters played against Louisville on September 5. His efforts helped the Beaneaters secure an NL pennant; yet, due to being sold away to St. Louis he decided not to resign with them for subsequent seasons and instead returned home where he worked coal mining before playing eleven more years of professional baseball before retiring in 1902.