7th in JAWS (79.4 Career/47.2 Peak/63.3 JAWS)
Teams: Troy Trojans 1879–80 • Buffalo Bisons 1881–85 • Detroit Wolverines 1886–88 • Boston Beaneaters 1889 • Boston Reds (PL) 1890 • Boston Reds (AA) 1891 • Brooklyn Grooms 1892–93 • Orioles 1894–95 • Louisville Colonels 1895 • Phillies 1896 • Giants 1904
Stats: .342/.423/.520 • 171 OPS+ • 2,303 H • 107 HR • 257 SB
Rankings: 8x led OPS+ • 6x led SLG • 5x led OBP • 5x led WAR • 4x led AVG • 3x S/S TC
All-time: 7th OPS+ • 8th AVG • 11th OBP
Voting: Old Timers Committee 1945
“For baseball fans in the mid-20th century, the name Dan Brouthers was as well known as Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle is to today’s fans. The time span is the same, and Brouthers was in the conversation of who was the greatest 19th century player.” — Marty Appel
In April 2017, during the First Pass review — my first chance to see the manuscript laid out in the format of the book and basically the last chance I would have to make changes to the text — of The Cooperstown Casebook, I was meticulously poring over the statistical information for each player, checking to make sure what was going in the book matched what was on Baseball-Reference.com. I did a spit-take when I saw that Brouthers’ career numbers had changed slightly; no longer was he credited with a .519 slugging percentage, or a 170 OPS+, and he had somehow gained seven hits, a home run and a stolen base. Had he risen from the dead? Was I losing my mind? The latter option seemed likely given the weight of the task at hand.
Comparing Brouthers’ numbers against an archived version of his page, I traced the source of the discrepancy to his 1890 season in the Players League, then emailed the good folks at B-Ref, asking whether that was a glitch or there had been some kind of update to the data from that season while noting that the career totals of fellow Hall of Fame first baseman and sometime teammate Roger Connor, also an 1890 Players League participant, haven’t budged.
Eventually, I received a message forwarded from the great Pete Palmer, who provides the MLB stats that drive the site. According to Palmer, three protested games between Brouthers’ Boston Reds team and the Pittsburgh Burghers form July 10-12 of that year had been thrown out because Boston used Gil Hatfield on loan from New York without league approval. In the spirit of the precedent that had been set by John Tattersall in compiling revised 19th century stats, Palmer had finally decided to include them — his first change of such data since 2000.
While not as exciting a revision as those of Ty Cobb’s career hit total (from 4,191 to 4,189), Walter Johnson’s career strikeout total (from 3,508 to 3,509) or Hack Wilson’s 1930 RBI total (from 190 to 191), under the circumstances I was happy to welcome Brouthers’ seven extra hits, extra homer and stolen base to the book at just about the last minute.