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Charlie Sweeney
Pitcher/Outfielder
Born: April 13, 1863(1863-04-13)
San Francisco, California
Died: April 4, 1902 (aged 38)
San Francisco, California
Batted: Right Threw: Right 
MLB debut
May 11, 1882 for the Providence Grays
Last MLB appearance
July 9, 1887 for the Cleveland Blues (AA)
Career statistics
Win-loss record     64-52
Strikeouts     505
Earned run average     2.87
Teams

Charles J. Sweeney (April 13, 1863 - April 4, 1902), was an American Major League Baseball pitcher, from 1882 through 1887. He played with moderate success for several teams, but he is best known to historians for the inadvertent career boost that he gave to future Hall of Famer Old Hoss Radbourn.

Sweeney began his career with the Providence Grays of the National League in 1882. By the 1884 season, Sweeney and Radbourn were the Grays' two main pitchers. The 1884 season had 50 fewer scheduled games than today, so most teams got by with just two starting pitchers and a few fill-ins here and there. In a June game, Sweeney struck out 19 Boston batters to set a major league record that would be tied a few times but not broken for 102 years, until Roger Clemens struck out 20 in a game in 1986.

Radbourn and Sweeney both had disputes with the Grays' management, and Sweeney was eventually booted from the team. He soon signed with the St. Louis Maroons of the newly-formed Union Association. Radbourn offered to shoulder the entire pitching burden of the Grays for extra money. He did just that, eventually garnering an astonishing 60 wins for himself and for the pennant-winning Grays.

Meanwhile, in St. Louis, the Maroons roared through the "Onion League" and easily won the Union's first and only championship. Sweeney already had 17 wins for Providence, and he won 24 more for the Maroons, finishing with a season total of 41. The Maroons joined the National League for a brief time (1885-1886) and Sweeney continued to pitch for them. He had a good year in 1885, but a poor year in 1886. After the Maroons moved to Indianapolis, he played a few games for the Cleveland entry in the National League before ending his playing career.

As with his old teammate Radbourn, Sweeney's life was meteoric. Sweeney was convicted of homicide in 1894, and died in prison in his hometown, San Francisco, California, 9 days short of his 39th birthday, and is interred at Cypress Lawn Memorial Park in Colma, California.

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