|Joe Kelley was one of the most colorful, handsome and popular players in the "dead ball era". In 1891, his rookie year, he was playing with the Boston Beaneaters and started the season going 10-3 as a starting pitcher; and on the days he wasn't pitching he would play centerfield. In that year he hit .331 and stole 21 bases in 61 games. He was performing so well that the next season he became a full-time outfielder.
Playing for Baltimore, who were in the national league at this time, he was considered their fans' favorite star.
When Joe Kelley would stand in the outfield between pitches he would take a small mirror out of his pocket so he could peer at his good looks. The ladies would flock the ballparks to see him; and always held him in high regard; cheering him on. Between innings, Joe Kelley would tap a little sweet smelling ointment on the back of his neck and always made sure his hair was neatly in place.
Joe Kelley batted over .300 in 11 different seasons, and his high was in 1894 when he hit .393; he scored 165 runs that year; the 5th highest runs scored in history. In Sept. he got 9 hits in 9 at bats in a doubleheader, including 4 doubles and a triple. His 194 lifetime triples are the 9th. highest amount in baseball history. Kelley was known as a powerful hitter and a speedy base runner; one of the best in his time.
This Hall of Famer was just as popular after he quit playing and he became a manager and then part owner. The fans regarded, Joe Kelley, as their personal friend and the ladies would always wave their hanker chiefs whenever he showed up at the old ballpark. Joe Kelley played 17 years, whacked out over 2200 hits, 356 doubles, 194 triples, hit 65 HR's and had a career batting average of .319.
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