100 Greatest Phillies

100 Greatest Phillies: 99 – Kid Gleason

Kid Gleason
Starting Pitcher/Second Baseman
1888-1891, 1903-1908

Career w/Phillies: 1328.2 IP / 78-70 / 3.39 ERA / 475 K / .246 AVG / 2 HR / 228 RBI / 88 SB

William “Kid” Gleason was best known as manager of the 1919 Chicago White Sox, leading a team of players who tanked games because of their roles in a gambling scandal. But what you may not know is Gleason is something of a Philadelphia baseball icon. Born in Camden, he debuted with the Phillies in 1888 with a 2.84 ERA over 24 games. His best pitching season was 1890, when he won an astouding 38 games and recorded a 2.63 ERA. He followed that with a 24-21 season, then was sold to Saint Louis in 1892. He returned to Philadelphia 11 years later as a second baseman. Past his best offensive seasons, he still managed to hit .274 at age 37 before slowly wearing down. He played his final game at age 45, then turned to coaching, managing the Sox and working under Connie Mack for the Athletics. He died in Philadelphia, and was buried in Northwood Cemetery in West Oak Lane.

Comment: As a pitcher, Gleason rates high in Phillies history, but his somewhat weak hitting drops him down the list. Sure it was the dead-ball era, but two home runs in 10 seasons? He wasn’t an ace defender either — in 1904 he committed 52 errors. Still, Gleason had a few solid seasons and remains a local success story.

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