Bobby Wallace (baseball)

Roderick John "Bobby" Wallace (November 4, 1873 – November 3, 1960) was a Major League Baseball infielder, pitcher, manager, umpire, and scout. Wallace claimed to have invented the continuous throwing motion as a shortstop.[1]

Bobby Wallace
Shortstop / Pitcher / Manager
Born: (1873-11-04)November 4, 1873
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died: November 3, 1960(1960-11-03) (aged 86)
Torrance, California, U.S.
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 15, 1894, for the Cleveland Spiders
Last MLB appearance
September 2, 1918, for the St. Louis Cardinals
MLB statistics
Batting average.268
Home runs34
Runs batted in1,121
Managerial record62–154
Winning %.287
As player

As manager

Member of the National
Baseball Hall of Fame
Election methodVeterans Committee


Wallace was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He made his major league debut in 1894 as a starting pitcher with the Cleveland Spiders. After a 12–14 record in 1895, Wallace played outfield and pitcher in 1896. In 1897, Wallace was an everyday player as he became the team's full-time third baseman, batted .335 and drove in 112 runs.

In 1899, Wallace moved to the St. Louis Perfectos (renamed the Cardinals in 1900) and changed position to shortstop. He hit .295 with 108 RBI and 12 home runs (second in the league behind Buck Freeman's 25). Wallace changed teams again in 1902, when he joined the St. Louis Browns.

His playing time began decreasing a decade later, with his last season as a regular coming in 1912. Wallace played in just 55 games in 1913, and never played that much again for the rest of his career. In July 1917, he returned to the National League and the Cardinals, and played in just eight games that season. After batting .153 in 32 games in 1918, Wallace retired with a .268 career batting average, 1059 runs, 34 home runs, 1121 RBI and 201 stolen bases. He played his last game on September 2, 1918, at the age of 44 years and 312 days, making him the oldest shortstop to play in a regular-season game.[2] The record was broken by Omar Vizquel on May 7, 2012.

Wallace in 1903. Photograph taken at South Side Park in Chicago.

Wallace was generally recognized as the AL's best shortstop from 1902 to 1911,[3] when he served briefly as Browns player-manager. After moving from third to short, Wallace felt he'd found his place in the infield earning the nickname "Mr. Shortstop". He would also claim to have invented the continuous throwing motion, “As more speed afoot was constantly demanded for big league ball, I noticed the many infield bounders which the runner beat to first only by the thinnest fractions of a second.. I also noted that the old-time three-phase movement, fielding a ball, coming erect for a toss and throwing to first wouldn’t do on certain hits with fast men…it was plain that the stop and toss had to be combined into a continuous movement.”[1]

He played for 25 seasons, and holds the record for the longest career by a player who never played in a World Series.

When his playing time diminished, Wallace managed and umpired. He managed the St. Louis Browns in 1911 and 1912 and the Cincinnati Reds during part of the 1937 season. He compiled 62 wins and 154 losses for a .287 winning percentage as a major league manager. He also managed the minor league Wichita Witches in 1917. He umpired in the American League in 1915, working 111 games. Upon retiring, he also became a scout.

Later life

Wallace was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1953.

Wallace died on November 3, 1960, in Torrance, California, one day shy of his 87th birthday.

Managerial record

TeamYearRegular seasonPostseason
GamesWonLostWin %FinishWonLostWin %Result
SLB1911 15447107.3058th in AL
SLB1912 371027.270Fired
SLB total19157134.29800
CIN1937 25520.2008th in NL
CIN total25520.20000

See also


  1. Schul, Scott. "Bobby Wallace". Society for American Baseball Research. Archived from the original on 2020-08-05. Retrieved 2021-01-14.
  2. "Omar Vizquel turns 45 with a chance to become the all-time elder statesman among shortstops". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  3. "Bobby Wallace". Baseball Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2021-03-02.
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