Bid McPhee, Hall of Fame Cincinnati Reds second baseman

John Alexander McPhee was born November 1, 1859 in Massena, New York. When he was a young boy, John's father died, and he and his mother moved to Illinois, to be nearer his uncle. John earned his nickname by becoming a helper in his aunt and uncle's hotel - at their bidding, you see? By the time he was 17 he was one of the best baseball players in the area, but instead took a job as a store clerk in Denver, Colorado. It took the promise of a bookmaker position in Akron, Ohio to bring Bid back to the Midwest - little did he know his employer intended to use him for the company baseball team as well.

After playing with the store team for two years, Bid was spotted by a young man who was rounding up players for a new baseball league, the American Association. Bid jumped at the chance to play with the local Cincinnati club - but kept his job as accountant. The sober young 22 year old saw his first action in 1882, where he led the squad (called the "Red Stockings" by the local fans) to the pennant in their first year of play. Facing off against their National League rivals the Chicago White Stockings, Bid helped lead the team to a 4-0 victory in the first of a two game series with a triple and several amazing defensive plays. The team lost the second game and the exhibition series was called a draw, but Bid had proven he was there to stay.

Batting leadoff throughout his career, Bid was a constant threat for a powerful hit, even in the deadball era that dominated pre-20th century baseball. In 1886 he led the league in home runs, and the following year he was tops in triples. What makes his hitting stats all the more impressive was that when he first began playing baseball, the pitcher threw from only 45 feet away from the plate. There were no helmets, no pads, no batting gloves, and a walk took seven pitches to earn. Bill was also a highly accomplished base stealer, swiping 30 bases or more every year from 1886 to 1896 except for one. His 586 stolen bases are 22nd most all-time in Major League Baseball.

But what Bid will most be remembered for, and what put him in the Hall of Fame, was his fielding. He was simply the bset fielding second baseman in the game. He led the league in double plays 11 times, fielding percentage 9 times, putouts 10 times, and chances 8 times. He holds almost every single defensive record for the Cincinnati Reds, and is in the top ten in every major defensive statistic among second basemen all-time. Again, Bid's accomplishments are amplified by the fact that he never used a glove until he was 38 years old and winding down. Playing barehanded, he could scoop balls up and fire them to the shortstop to turn two as fast as anyone ever did.

After hanging up his cleats in 1900 as the all-time major league leader in putouts, assists, and double plays, Bid stayed on to manage his beloved Reds for two seasons, but was unsuccessful and resigned at the end of the 1902 campaign. He scouted for the Reds until 1909, and then retired to a small suburb outside of San Diego. He passed away January 3, 1943 at the age of 83. In 2000, Bid was honored for his years of service in the early growth of organized baseball and his excellent fielding with a spot in Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame.

Career Statistics

YEAR   TEAM    G   AB    R    H  2B  3B HR  RBI  SB  BB  SO    BA
1882 CIN AA   78  311   43   71   8   7  1   31   0  11      .228
1883 CIN AA   96  367   61   90  10  10  2   42   0  18      .245
1884 CIN AA  112  450  107  125   8   7  5   64   0  27      .278
1885 CIN AA  110  431   78  114  12   4  0   46   0  19      .265
1886 CIN AA  140  560  139  150  23  12  8   70  40  59      .268
1887 CIN AA  129  540  137  156  20  19  2   87  95  55      .289
1888 CIN AA  111  458   88  110  12  10  4   51  54  43      .240
1889 CIN AA  135  540  109  145  25   7  5   57  63  60  29  .269
1890 CIN NL  132  528  125  135  16  22  3   39  55  82  26  .256
1891 CIN NL  138  562  107  144  14  16  6   38  33  74  35  .256
1892 CIN NL  144  573  111  157  19  12  4   60  44  84  48  .274
1893 CIN NL  127  491  101  138  17  11  3   68  25  94  20  .281
1894 CIN NL  126  474  107  144  21   9  5   88  33  90  23  .304
1895 CIN NL  115  432  107  129  24  12  1   75  30  73  30  .299
1896 CIN NL  117  433   81  132  18   7  1   87  48  51  18  .305
1897 CIN NL   81  282   45   85  13   7  1   39   9  35      .301
1898 CIN NL  133  486   72  121  26   9  1   60  21  66      .249
1899 CIN NL  111  373   60  104  17   7  1   65  18  40      .279
     CAREER 2135 8291 1678 2250 303 188 53 1067 568 981 229  .271
* Bold denotes led league.

Hall of Fame Index
Bill McKechnie | Joe Medwick

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