The Closet Moderate: Old Time Baseball Name of the Week (2)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Old Time Baseball Name of the Week (2)

Oyster Burns.

Thomas "Oyster" Burns was an outfielder (and sometimes shortstop) who played from 1884 to 1895. Most of his playing career is with the Brooklyn Bridegrooms (later the Dodgers) and the original Baltimore Orioles (later moved to New York and became the Yankees), but he began his career with the Wilmington Quicksteps, a team that should also qualify as a good old-time baseball name.

Ol' Oyster was a fairly good ballplayer, finishing his career with a .300 batting average and 129 triples -- more than any current player has today. The 1890 season was his best, and a good one for the Bridegrooms as they finished first in the National League. He also hit for the cycle that year.

According to the Dodgers Encyclopedia, Burns got his nickname because he sold shellfish in the off-season. Oyster (or "Erster," if the Brooklyn fans pronounced it anything like my Brooklyn-born grandparents) stayed with the Bridegrooms until 1894. After a year with the New York Giants, he retired, living in Brooklyn until his death in 1928.

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