On July 28, 19th-century standout James Laurie “Deacon” White (1847-1939) will be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Some 75 years after his passing, the man tough enough to catch hundreds of games barehanded, skilled enough to bat .312 in more than 1,500 major league contests and famous enough to be part of a celebrated “Big Four” on three teams, at last is honored in Cooperstown for his diamond exploits. Some, however, will look even deeper into the character of the man. How did he get the nickname “Deacon”? Beginning with the post-Civil War baseball boom, and playing into the 1890s, he exemplified Christian faith as a way of life and conduct. One of baseball’s first superstars, his career is well summarized by Joe Williams in Nineteenth Century Notes (Spring, 2010) published by SABR—the Society for American Baseball Research. His selection in that year as “19th Century Overlooked Legend” Read More
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