George Van Haltren

George Edward Martin Van Haltren (March 30, 1866 – October 1, 1945) was an American center fielder in Major League Baseball. In his 17-year career, lasting from 1887 through 1903, he played for the Chicago White Stockings, Brooklyn Ward's Wonders, Baltimore Orioles, Pittsburgh Pirates, and New York Giants. Van Haltren recorded 2,544 career hits and a batting average of .316.

George Van Haltren
Van Haltren in 1888
Outfielder / Pitcher
Born: (1866-03-30)March 30, 1866
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Died: October 1, 1945(1945-10-01) (aged 79)
Oakland, California, U.S.
Batted: Left
Threw: Left
MLB debut
June 27, 1887, for the Chicago White Stockings
Last MLB appearance
September 26, 1903, for the New York Giants
MLB statistics
Batting average.316
Runs batted in1,015
Stolen bases583
Win–loss record40–31
Earned run average4.05
Career highlights and awards
  • NL stolen base leader (1900)

Early life

Van Haltren was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1866. In 1868, his family moved to Oakland, California. Van Haltren played baseball as a child and became a pitcher. His play attracted the attention of the major leagues, and in 1887, he signed with the Chicago White Stockings.[1]

Major League Baseball career

Van Haltren made his major league debut in June 1887. He was a pitcher and outfielder that season and had a win–loss record of 11–7 and a batting average of .203. The following year, he went 13–13 and batted .283. As a full-time left fielder in 1889, Van Haltren batted .322 with 126 runs scored and 81 runs batted in. He then signed with the Brooklyn Ward's Wonders of the Players' League and pitched and played right field for them. He went 15–10 and batted .335. After the 1890 season, Van Haltren joined the American Association's Baltimore Orioles. He played at shortstop and fielded poorly, but he batted .318. In 1892, Van Haltren became the player-manager of the National League's Baltimore club. He managed the team to a 1–10 record before being replaced. Late in the season, he was sent to Pittsburgh in exchange for Joe Kelley and $2,000. He batted .293 that year. In 1893, he batted .338 and scored 129 runs in 124 games.[1]

In November 1893, Van Haltren was sold to the New York Giants for $2,500. He became the Giants' center fielder and batted .331 with 109 runs scored and a career-high 105 runs batted in. He also helped the team win the 1894 Temple Cup. Van Haltren then batted over .300 every year from 1895 to 1901. During that time, he led the NL in triples once, stolen bases once, and outfield assists three times. According to Bill James, he had the best outfield throwing arm of the 1890s. In May 1902, Van Haltren broke his ankle, and the injury ended his season. He hit .257 the following year and was released by the Giants. In his 17-year major league career, he batted .316 with 2,544 hits, 1,642 runs scored, and 583 stolen bases.[1]

Later life

Van Haltren returned to Oakland. In 1904, he became the center fielder and manager of the Pacific Coast League's Seattle Siwashes. He batted .270 in 933 at bats. The following season, Van Haltren became the center fielder and manager of the Oakland Oaks. He stayed with the Oaks through the middle of the 1909 season.[1] Van Haltren later was a scout for the Pirates for five years, after which he went to work in Oakland area construction as a latheman. He owned and managed several rental properties in and around Oakland.[2]

In 1889, Van Haltren married Blanche O'Brien. They had two daughters, Mary Elizabeth (born in 1890) and Dorothy (born in 1895). Van Haltren died in Oakland in 1945.[1]

See also


  1. Lamb, Bill. "George Van Haltren". Retrieved February 5, 2014.
  2. Schechter, Gabriel (July 1, 2015). "George Van Haltren's Overlooked Greatness". The National Pastime Museum.
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