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Patrick Joseph "Patsy" Donovan (March 16, 1865
â€“ December 25, 1953) was an Irish-American right fielder and manager
in Major League Baseball who played
for several teams from 1890 to 1907, most notably the Pittsburgh
Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals.
.300 lifetime and set a major league record for career games in
right field, as well as retiring among the career leaders in total
games (5th, 1813), assists (9th, 264) and double plays (5th, 69)
as an outfielder. Donovan batted and threw left-handed.
Born in Queenstown, County Cork, Donovan
established himself as the most successful Irish-born major
leaguer. He broke into organized baseball in 1886 with the
Lawrence, Massachusetts team in
Donovan played outfield for the London Tecumsehs of the International Association at
Tecumseh Park (today's Labatt Park) in London, Ontario, Canada, where, in his first season in 1888, he
led the league in batting with a .359 batting average (according to
the Donovan family Web site; however, the London Tecumsehs'
official scorer C.J. Moorehead, in a 1903 copy of The London
Advertiser, cited Donovan's 1888 batting average as .398), had
scored 103 runs and stole 80 bases. His second season with the
Tecumsehs was less successful due to a leg injury.
the major leagues
In 1890 he made his major league debut in the National League
(NL) with the Boston Beaneaters, and moved to the Brooklyn
Bridegrooms in midseason; it would be the only time in his
career that he played for a league champion. In 1891 he
played in the American
Association (AA) for the Louisville Colonels and Washington Statesmen; he then returned to
the NL in 1892, first with the Senators (the
former Statesmen, who had joined the NL in a league merger) before
going to the Pirates for most of the year.
Donovan starred with the Pirates from 1893 through
notching six consecutive seasons batting .300 and serving as player-manager in
team was sold late in 1899, during a time when the league was
contracting from twelve teams to eight; new owner Barney Dreyfuss
brought in Fred
Clarke to be manager, with Donovan being sent to the Cardinals.
He played for St. Louis from 1900â€“1903, sharing the league lead in stolen bases (45) in
his first season, and also managed the team in his last three
seasons with them.
By the end of the 1903 season he ranked among the NL's top ten
career leaders in hits and at
bats, though he would drop from among the leaders before his
playing career ended. His 64 career double plays in the NL ranked one behind Jimmy
Ryan's league record. He then played for and managed the American
League's Washington Senators in 1904, his last
season as a regular.
In 1903, he broke Sam Thompson's major league record of 1401
games in right field; Willie Keeler passed him in 1906, before
Donovan played his last several games and retired with a total of
1620. In 1906, he became manager of the Brooklyn
Superbas, and he made his last few playing appearances that
year, along with one more game at the end of the 1907
In a 17-season playing career, Donovan had 2246 hits, 1318 runs,
16 home runs and 736 runs batted in in
1821 games, along
with 207 doubles and 75 triples. An
excellent runner, he collected 302 stolen bases from 1890 to 1897,
and 216 more after the statistic was revised to its modern
definition in 1898.
Donovan joined the Boston Red Sox as a scout in 1909, and
managed the team in 1910 and 1911. As a major league manager, he
compiled a 684-879 record (.438) in 11 seasons. He was also
instrumental in bringing Babe Ruth to the Sox in 1914 through
his acquaintance with one of the Xaverian Brothers who coached Ruth
at a Baltimore orphans' home. Later he went to
the International League, where he led
Buffalo to pennants in 1915 and 1916, and also managed Jersey City in
1921-22 and 1925-26. He finished out his career coaching High
School baseball at Phillips Academy in Andover, where he
coached the future 41st President, George H.W.
Donovan died at the age of 88 in Lawrence, Massachusetts on Christmas Day in 1953, and is interred at
St. Mary Cemetery Lawrence.
In the Irish Baseball League, the annual
award for best batter is named "The Patsy Donovan Batting
|Achievements & Managerial