The amount of information available on members of the 1865 Atlantic is getting thin. There are still four players to write about, and enough information on only one of them for a worthwhile stand alone effort. So I’m going to combine two of them into one post.
The Sewer Inspector
The man in the upper left of the picture above is John A. Galvin, shortstop for the 1865 Atlantic. He was born 1 August 1842 in New York. Very little information is available until he shows up in 1860 playing for the Osceola, a junior team in Brooklyn. In 1861 he was playing for the Exercise of Brooklyn, one of the weaker teams in the area. He jumped to the Powhatan club during the season. Powhatan was another of the junior clubs in Brooklyn. In September he volunteered for duty in the 51st New York Infantry Regiment and remained until October. The 1862 season saw him playing again for Exercise. By 1863 he’d moved over to the Atlantic and become their regular shortstop. He remained there through 1867 when he went across the river to Manhattan and joined the Mutual.
By 1871 he was 31 and no longer a premier shortstop. The National Association of Professional Base Ball Players was formed in that year and left out the Atlantic. In 1872 the Atlantic joined and called on Galvin to play a game at second base. He batted four times, made four outs, and made four errors in five total chances. It was his last throw in baseball.
While playing ball, he’d hooked on to a job with the City of Brooklyn, which was, in the 1860s, an independent city. Finding city jobs was a common way of paying players without them becoming professionals. Galvin got a job with the city Works Department and became a city sewer inspector and remained at that job for several years. He spent at least one year as the main man at the truant’s home. By 1887 he’d moved up from both the sewers and the truant’s home to become supervisor in charge of setting the foundation for the Brooklyn Elevated Railroad, a position of some prominence. He remained in Brooklyn until he died on 20 April 1904.
The Man Who Scored a Hundred Runs
Charles J. Smith is the man on the left of the middle row in the picture above. In 1865 he was the primary third baseman for the Atlantic. He is credited with being the first man to score 100 runs in the National Association of Base Ball Players, the premier baseball league of the 1860s.
Smith was born 11 December 1840 in Brooklyn and by 1858 was already recognized as a good baseball player. He hooked on with the Enterprise of Brooklyn as their third baseman and by the end of the season had been coaxed into joining the Atlantic. He remained there to October 1870. His great season was 1864 when he set a record by becoming the first man to score 100 runs at the highest league level. He’s supposed to have done it in 19 games.
Let me take a moment and comment on that last sentence (You knew another one of these “wait a minute” comments was coming, didn’t you?). One hundred runs in 19 games comes to over five runs a game. You do that today they’re going to put you (and probably whoever’s hitting behind you and racking up a ton of RBIs) into the Hall of Fame without a five-year wait. In fact they’ll probably do it while you’re still playing. But you have to remember the game in 1864 was basically a hitter’s game and pitchers were there primarily to toss the ball and start the play. Additionally fielders had no gloves, didn’t yet routinely cover the holes (especially the one between first and second), so teams ended up frequently scoring a lot of runs (30 runs in a single game by the winning team was not unheard of). Still, it’s quite a feat to score 100 runs in 19 games. I’ve found no play-by-play or box score evidence to back up the claim, so you are advised to be careful when telling your friends you know who scored 100 runs in a baseball season for the first time.
When the Atlantic failed to join the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players in 1871, Smith, along with several other Atlantic players, jumped to the Mutual of New York who did join the first professional league. Playing both second base and third base, Smith got into 14 games, had 72 at bats, got 19 hits, scored 15 runs (note that again that works out to more than one run per game played), had two doubles and one triple, five RBIs, and one each walk and strikeout. It was the last professional season for him.
At this point he almost disappears from the record. There are a couple of stories saying he suffered a nervous breakdown, but no date is given. He ended up in a house in Great Neck, New York. He died there 15 November 1897.
This leaves me with two players still to cover. By this point the information is getting less and less. You’ve probably noted by now that almost all of it has to do with the man’s baseball career and personal information is getting harder to find. There are two more Atlantic to go. I’ll add some comments about the players as a group when I do a post on the last player remaining, the right fielder.