Kid Nichols

Charles Augustus "Kid" Nichols (September 14, 1869 – April 11, 1953) was an American Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher who played for the Boston Beaneaters, St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies from 1890 to 1906. A switch hitter who threw right-handed, he was listed at 5 feet 10 inches (1.78 m) and 175 pounds (79 kg). He is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Kid Nichols
Nichols in 1904
Born: (1869-09-14)September 14, 1869
Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.
Died: April 11, 1953(1953-04-11) (aged 83)
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
Batted: Switch
Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 23, 1890, for the Boston Beaneaters
Last MLB appearance
May 18, 1906, for the Philadelphia Phillies
MLB statistics
Win–loss record362–208
Earned run average2.96
Managerial record80–88
Winning %.476
As player

As manager

Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Baseball Hall of Fame
Election methodVeterans Committee

Nichols played minor league baseball for three teams until 1889, when he signed with the Boston Beaneaters. After making his debut the following season and spending 12 seasons with the Beaneaters, Nichols spent a two-year sojourn in the minor leagues. He was dealt to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1904 and subsequently played for the Philadelphia Phillies, with whom he finished his career in 1906. He is famous for being the youngest pitcher to join the 300 win club.[1]

Early life

Nichols was born on September 14, 1869, in Madison, Wisconsin. His parents were Robert and Christina Nichols. His father had worked as a butcher and owned a grocery store with several locations in Madison. Robert had at least four children from a prior marriage to a woman named Sarah, who died of tuberculosis in 1859. Robert and Christina had several children together.[2]

The family moved from Madison to Kansas City, Missouri when Nichols was a child. While his siblings worked in the family butcher shop, Nichols pursued baseball.[3]

Baseball career

Kid Nichols, 1889

Before he turned 18 years old, Nichols had debuted in the minor leagues with the 1887 Kansas City Cowboys of the Western League, earning an 18–12 win–loss record that season. He spent 1888 between the Kansas City Blues of the Western Association and Memphis of the Southern League, finishing the year with a combined 27–10 record. In 1889, he registered a 39–8 record for the Omaha Omahogs of the Western Association.[4]

Nichols signed with the Boston Beaneaters in September 1889 and entered the major leagues in with them in 1890. Due to Nichols's youthful appearance and relative lack of physical heft, Beaneaters' players and fans began calling him "Kid," a nickname which stuck for the rest of his career.[5] Nichols recorded a 27–19 win–loss record, a 2.23 earned run average (ERA) and 222 strikeouts, beginning a string of 10 consecutive seasons with 20 wins or more. Nichols also had a major league record seven 30-win seasons in this time (1891–1894, 1896–1898) with a career high of 35 in 1892. The Beaneaters won several pennant races during Nichols' tenure, finishing in first place five times between 1891 and 1898. The team had 102 wins per season in 1892 and 1898, which stood as franchise highs until 1998. calculates that Nichols led the team in wins above replacement in 1890 and 1892 through 1898.[6]

Nichols had his first losing season in 1900, when he went 13–16. He improved to 19–16 the following year. After the 1901 season, Nichols purchased an interest in a minor league franchise in Kansas City, the Kansas City Blue Stockings. He left the Beaneaters to manage and pitch for the Kansas City Blue Stockings, where he won a total of 48 games in 1902 and 1903. After a two-year hiatus from the major leagues, Nichols returned to the 20-win plateau for the 11th and final time in his career in 1904 for a new team, the St. Louis Cardinals. The Philadelphia Phillies picked him up off waivers in 1905, and he finished his career with them in 1906, playing his final game on May 18, 1906.

Nichols retired with 362 wins, 208 losses, 1,881 strikeouts and a 2.96 ERA. Nichols's win total was exceeded at the time only by Cy Young and Pud Galvin and is now the seventh highest total in major league history. His 5,06713 innings pitched ranks 11th all-time. He was the youngest pitcher to win 300 games,[1] reaching that milestone at the age of 30.[7]

Later life

After baseball, Nichols dabbled in the motion picture industry, partnering with Joe Tinker in a business that distributed movies to theatres in the midwest. An accomplished bowler, Nichols also opened bowling alleys in the Kansas City area. He won Kansas City's Class A bowling championship at age 64.[8]

Nichols was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1949. He was said to have been proud of two things: his Hall of Fame selection and the fact that he had never been replaced in a game by a relief pitcher.[9]

In October 1952, the 83-year-old Nichols was admitted to Menorah Hospital in Kansas City to investigate a complaint with his neck. Doctors ordered tests, but Nichols would not submit to them until after the seventh game of the World Series ended. He was later diagnosed with carcinomatosis, cancer that had spread throughout his body. He died on April 11, 1953.[10]


Nichols took pride in throwing complete games, stating, "I take pride in two things. My election to baseball's Hall of Fame and the fact I never was removed from a game for a relief hurler."[11][12]

See also


  1. O'Malley, John J. "Nichols Youngest to Win 300". The Baseball Biography Project. Society for American Baseball Research. Archived from the original on March 4, 2012. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  2. Bogovich, pp. 5-7.
  3. Fleitz, David (2004). Ghosts in the Gallery at Cooperstown. McFarland. p. 1887. ISBN 1476602514.
  4. "Kid Nichols Minor League Statistics and History". Retrieved December 28, 2014.
  5. Paul Adomites; David Nemec; Matthew D. Greenberger; Dan Scholssberg; Dick Johnson; Mike Tully; Pete Palmer; Stuart Shea (2002). Cooperstown: Hall of Fame Players. Publications International, Ltd. p. 47.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. "Atlanta Braves Team History and Encyclopedia". Retrieved December 28, 2014.
  7. "Kid Nichols Statistics and History". Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  8. Bill Ferber (2007) A Game of Baseball: The Orioles, The Beaneaters and The Battle For The 1897 Pennant, University of Nebraska Press, ISBN 978-0-8032-1136-0, pg. 251
  9. "Kid Nichols, Hall of Fame hurler, dies". Chicago Tribune. April 12, 1953. Retrieved December 28, 2014.
  10. Bogovich, p. 224.
  11. "Kid Nichols Baseball Cards by Baseball Almanac". baseball-almanac.
  12. Fleitz, David (2015). Ghosts in the Gallery at Cooperstown Sixteen Little-Known Members of the Hall of Fame. mcfarland.
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