Harry Duffield Stovey(Stowe)
Died: 9/20/1937- New Bedford Mass.
Harry Stowe didn’t want to disappoint his mother by playing the disreputable game of baseball, so he started playing under the name of Stovey. His mother would not have been disappointed.
Harry played 14 seasons becoming one of the premier power hitters of the 19th Century, along with Hall Of Famers Dan Brouthers and Roger Conner. Stovey debuted with the Worcester Worcesters in 1880 and as a rookie and proceeded to lead the NL in HRs and triples. Two seasons later he would join the Philadelphia Athletics in the American Association, making his hometown proud by leading the league in Hrs in 1883, 85, and 89. His 1 season in the Players League he finished 2nd in HRs, just missing becoming the only player to lead 3 Major Leagues in HRs.
His 14 HRs in 1883 was a season record, that would last just 1 season. Ned Williamson would take advantage of a new ground rule in the tiny Lakeshore Park in Chicago. With the fence only 300 ft to center, and approx 190 ft down both lines, balls hit into the stands used to be ground rule doubles. For the 1884 season this was changed to a HR. The ground rule was changed back, do to league rules the following season. This record would stand until 1919 when a ball player by the name of Ruth would finally break it.
Stovey would be the 1st player to amass 100 Hrs when he homered on July 23rd 1890. He would finish his career with 122. He was also a prolific base stealer, stealing over 60 bases for 5 straight seasons with a high of 97 in 1890. He was the 1st player to use sliding pads and may have been the 1st player to slide in feet first and would finish his career with 509 stolen bases. The one thing that Stovey really knew how to do was score runs. In 1486 games played he scored 1492 runs. That’s an impressive number for any Era.
He once hit 3 triples in a game, 2 in 1 inning, and he also struck out 5x in a game in 1891. Would that be a platinum sombrero?
A SABR 19th Century Committee voted Harry Stovey the 19th Century player most deserving Hall of Fame consideration.
After retiring he became a police officer in New Bedford Mass. He would die there in 1937 at the age of 80.