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They Played the Game
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Kid Nichols
(1890-1906)
Kid Nichols won 26 or more games in nine consecutive years, beginning in 1890, winning 297 games in the 1890s, making him the top winning pitcher of any single decade. (In 1898, for the first time in NL history, no pitcher won as many as 30 games. Nichols came closest, with 29.)
Tip O'Neill
(1883-92)
In 1887 -- the one and only year in which the rules allowed a batter to be credited with a hit when he drew a walk or was hit by a pitch -- O'Neill, of the St. Louis Browns (AA), registered a .492 batting average. Statisticians have subsequently adjusted O'Neill's BA to remove the bases on balls, lowering it to .435. O'Neill led in every batting category save one that year, and most historians have awarded him a Triple Crown.
Jim O'Rourke
(1872-93, 1904)
Known as "Orator Jim" because of his verbosity, O'Rourke played for 22 years in the National Association, National League and Players' League, hitting .300 thirteen times and playing for seven pennant-winners. A Hall of Famer, he was also an umpire, a manager, and a minor league president.
David Orr
(1883-90)
Orr set a record for the highest batting average by a player in his final ML season, going .373 in 1890 for the Players' League Brooklyn club. His career was cut short that year when he suffered a stroke.