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Tim Keefe

Born: January 1, 1857(1857-01-01)
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Died: April 23, 1933 (aged 76)
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Batted: Right Threw: Right 
MLB debut
August 6, 1880 for the Troy Trojans
Last MLB appearance
August 15, 1893 for the Philadelphia Phillies
Career statistics
Win-Loss record     342-225
Earned run average     2.62
Strikeouts     2,562
Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Induction     1964
Election Method     Veteran's Committee

Timothy John "Tim" Keefe (January 1, 1857 – April 23, 1933) was an American pitcher in Major League Baseball. He was one of the most dominating pitchers of the 19th century and posted impressive statistics in one category or another for almost every season he pitched. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1964.

Keefe's career spanned much of early baseball's formative stages. His first season was the last in which pitchers threw from 45 feet, so for most of his career he pitched from 50 feet. His final season was the first season in which pitchers hurled from the modern distance of 60 feet, 6 inches.

Keefe was nicknamed "Sir Timothy" because of his gentlemanly behavior on and off the field.


Major league career

Keefe entered the major leagues in 1880 with the Troy Trojans. He immediately established himself as a talented pitcher, posting an astounding 0.86 ERA in 105 innings pitched, a record that still stands to this day (he also posted the highest (best) Adjusted ERA+ in baseball history in 1880). Despite the sterling ERA, he managed but a 6-6 record, pitching in 12 games, all complete games.

In 1883, after the Trojans folded, Keefe rose to stardom with the New York Metropolitans of the American Association under manager "Gentleman" Jim Mutrie and had one of the most dominating seasons in baseball's early history. On July 4 of that year, Keefe pitched both ends of a doubleheader against Columbus, winning the first game with a one-hitter; the second a two-hit gem. He went 41-27 over 619 innings pitched with a 2.41 ERA and 361 strikeouts. His 1884 campaign was almost as dominant, winning 37 games, losing 17, and striking out 334.

Tim Keefe displays his fine handlebar moustache.

In 1885, John B. Day, who owned the Metropolitans and the New York Giants of the National League, moved Keefe and Mutrie to the Giants. Here, Keefe joined future Hall of Famers Buck Ewing, Monte Ward, Roger Connor, Mickey Welch, and "Orator" Jim O'Rourke to form an outstanding team that finished with a fine 85-27 record. Keefe went 32-13 with a 1.58 ERA and 227 strikeouts. He had arguably his greatest season in 1888, when he led the league with a 35-12 record, 1.74 ERA and 335 strikeouts (see triple crown). He won 19 consecutive games that season, a record that stood for 24 years. The Giants played the St. Louis Browns of the American Association in a postseason series for the Dauvray Cup, and Keefe added four more wins to his tally. Keefe even designed the famous all-black "funeral" uniforms the Giants wore that season.

Keefe moved to the Philadelphia Phillies mid-season 1891 and retired after the 1893 season. He retired with 342 wins (10th all time), a 2.62 ERA, and 2562 strikeouts. His 2562 strikeouts were a major league record at the time of his retirement. He was also the first pitcher to achieve three 300-plus strikeout seasons. Interestingly, he still holds the record for having a win in the most ballparks, 47.

Keefe, inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1964, was elected by the veterans committee.

Personal information

Keefe was very well-paid for his career, yet he was a leading member of the Brotherhood of Professional Base Ball Players that fought for the welfare of players. He assisted his brother-in-law Monte Ward to form the Players League for the 1890 season. He challenged the reserve clause which tied players to a team indefinitely in court and protested player salary caps. In 1887, Keefe had a nervous breakdown after hitting a batter in the head with a pitch.

After his playing career, Keefe umpired for two years and invested in real estate. He also coached for Harvard University, Princeton University, and Tufts University. He died in his hometown of Cambridge, Massachusetts at the age of 76.

Career statistics

342 225 2.62 600 594 554 39 2 5047.2 4439 2468 1472 81 1220 2562 233 *96
  • ' * ' denotes stats that were not officially recognized during parts or all of his career, and are incomplete.

See also

External links



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