Friday, October 6, 2017

Hometown Hero: Baseball Hall of Famer Dan Brouthers

My little home town, Wappingers Falls, NY, is not a hotbed of athletes. Not a single one was born here, but some consider(ed) it home. We've never sent a single person to the NBA, NHL, NFL or NASCAR. We do have a professional soccer player and a professional boxer and another MLB player, who, now that I became aware of them in the research of this post, may get future Hometown Hero posts if I can track down a card of them.

We have had an MLB Hall of Famer, though. That would be Dan Brouthers, who, while he was not born here, did apparently consider it home.(Born Sylvan Lake NY)

This monument of him is on our main road through the village.
This monument is in walking distance of my house, I took this photo on June 17th of this year. He is also buried here but the cemetery is private, one of three in town, not the one my dad is in.

Since I became aware of him (by passing this monument on a walk several years ago), I've wanted to add a card of him to my collection, but his vintage cards are rare and expensive. His playing career was 1879-96, with a comeback in 1904. Not like Topps was around back then! Luckily, he was included in Panini's Cooperstown Collection, and that allowed me to add this card of him:
2013 Panini Cooperstown Green Shard #13
He is depicted here as a member of the Detroit Wolverines, a team he played for from 1886-1888, which is coincidentally exactly 100 years before I began collecting cards. The team folded in 1888, a year after winning the championship. He would join the Boston Beaneaters the following year, and other teams...but the Beaneaters name cracks me up so I had to work it in somehow. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1945 by the Veterans Committee. I'm not really too knowledgeable about baseball statistics, but according to his Wikipedia page he is considered the first great hitter in the game's history. He was a 4 time National League batting champion, two time NL Home Run leader, and two time NL RBI leader. I don't really have a good frame of reference for what that means or where the 2296 hits and 106 home runs stand in the all-time scheme of things, hopefully one of my baseball centric readers can educate me some in the comments.

I hope to have more cards of him to show in the future, perhaps someday I will be able to find a lifetime issue I can afford. He has plenty of modern cards available on COMC and I plan to add a few more to my collection at some point. I'm going to do a little more research and see if I can find out more about his time in Wappingers Falls, if I am successful, expect future posts about him.

Thanks for reading!

10 comments:

  1. Wow! That is really interesting. You know what though, I have lived here 40 years and I don't even know where that little monument is! I need to get out more. And I can't remember his name but isn't there a baseball player playing now who graduated from John Jay?

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    1. I don't think the monument has been around that long! Yes, his name is Panik. I don't recall his first name. Joe maybe.

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  2. 2296 hits is quite impressive - one of the most difficult feats to achieve in ones baseball career (and one of the more respected) is 3000 career hits. The 106 home runs may not seem like much but he played in the era called the "Dead Ball Era", where home runs were much more uncommon and rare. All in all, based on his numbers, he was quite the ball player!

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  3. That is awesome, and the monument is very nice (except "Cooperstown Hall of Fame" is a bit odd, why not just say "Baseball Hall of Fame"?) There's an NFL Hall of Famer (Ken Strong) from my hometown of West Haven, CT. I don't think there's a monument to him (if there was I somehow missed it in the 25 years I lived there) but the high school football stadium is named after him.

    As for Brouthers and putting his career in context-it's tough to do with 19th-century players, they played a totally different game. But he led the league in batting categories year after year (look at all that black ink!) His career WAR was just above Joe DiMaggio's, and his career batting average was just above Babe Ruth's. So...yeah. He was good.

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    1. Good question, Cooperstown is several hours away but close enough it could be a (long) day trip. Maybe there is a connection? Those are some pretty big names he ranks above!

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  4. Very cool. You know I love collecting hometown heroes like this. Nice way to connect personally with your card collection.

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    1. Thanks! You have a lot more people to collect than I do.

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  5. I'd never heard of him, but great post Billy. Very informative and cool that you have that local connection to the game!

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    1. Thanks! I might never have known we had a Hall of Famer if I didn't stumble upon the monument a while ago.

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