|George 'Orator' Shaffer - Baseball Player 1874-1890 Outfielder during Dead Ball Era in Early Major Leagues' Baseball History |
Although current baseball reference books state George 'Orator' Shaffer was nicknamed for his "oratorical speaking abilities," our vast archives show he is best remembered for his cutting, critical mouth. Larry Names, a writer during the 1870s said it best, "The man couldn't keep his mouth shut for more than half a minute."
'Orator' Shaffer started his major league career in 1874, and played for the Hartford Dark Blues and New York Mutuals of the National Association. His biography lists him as batting around .300 and being an important, all-around outfielder - good hitter and excellent fielder. He played shortly with Louisville of the National League, but that team folded because of a gambling scandal. And then he played for Indianapolis, for just a brief period, before joining the Chicago White Stocking (now the Cubs), where he hit .304.
Here's the best part of the story: - In 1879, when his team, the White Stockings (Cubs), stopped at Indianapolis on a train ride back to Chicago after playing in Cincinnati, the police boarded the train looking for 'Orator' Shaffer and two of his teammates, Joe Quest and Silver Flint. It seems the trio had not paid all their bills when they played for Indianapolis. Shaffer and Flint escaped by hiding in the baggage car, but Joe Quest was apprehended, dragged off the train and put in jail. Chicago's manager 'Cap' Anson finally got him back by paying his $55 in unpaid bills.
During his 17 year career, 'Orator' Shaffer led all National League outfielders in games played three times, in assists four times, and once in errors committed. Baseballhistorian.com Archives - The History of Baseball