All-Time Indians: Jersey Bakley

Name: Edward Enoch Bakley     Position: Starting Pitcher    
Nick Name: Jersey                    
Tribe Time: 1888-1890     DOB: 04/17/1864    
Stats W L W% ERA GS CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP K/9 BAA
Best Season (1888) 25 33 .431 2.98 61 60 4 532.2 518 321 176 14 128 212 1.21 3.6 .245
Career 49 80 .380 3.39 140 133 6 1,163.1 1226 797 438 36 417 384 1.38 3.0 .260

Jersey Bakley was a man without a league, starting in the American Association in 1883 with the Philadelphia Athletics and playing in the Union Association, National League and Players League as well during his six year Major League career. He also played in Independent or Minor Leagues with the Interstate Association, Eastern New England League, New York State League, International League, International Association and Pennsylvania State League. In the midst of all this, he finally found a home for a few years in Cleveland, playing for the Blues, Infants and Spiders.

Nicknamed in the most creative fashion, Jersey Bakley was born in Blackwood, New Jersey. He played for four different Major League teams from 1883 through 1884 before spending three seasons in minor and Independent leagues. After this, he was picked up by the Cleveland Blues in 1888, where he became one of the greatest pitchers in the early history of Cleveland baseball.

Despite playing just three seasons for three different Cleveland teams in three different leagues, his cumulative statistics match with the best of the time. He ranks among the top five pre-1901 Cleveland baseball wins, games, shut outs, innings and strike outs while sitting in the top ten in BAA, WHIP and ERA. His first season was his best, when he won 25 games as the Blues ace. Bakley started 61 games that year (the rest of the staff started 74 total) and still held an ERA under 3.00 in over 500 innings. Only Jim McCormick has thrown more innings in a single season for Cleveland than Bakley that year.

In 1889, the Blues moved to the National League and became the Spiders, a team based around an extremely strong core of four starting pitchers. Only six players pitched as many as a single inning for the Spiders that season and the top four, Ed Beatin, Cinders O'Brien, Henry Gruber and Bakley, totaled 1,173.2 innings. Bakley lead the staff in ERA, but lost 22 games while the two top pitchers each won more than twenty.

The next season, he moved to yet another league, switching to the brand new Players League, Cleveland Infants. O'Brien and Gruber went along with Bakley to anchor the staff, while Beatin stayed with the Spiders. Bakley had, by far, his worst season losing 25 games, but still pitched 326 innings. After that season, he left Cleveland and played for the AA Washington Statesmen and Baltimore Orioles. After a few seasons away from baseball, he came back at age 31 to play in the Pennsylvania State League. He no longer had his great stuff, but was still an innings eater and managed to throw 283 innings between Allentown and Pottsville. He retired for good at the end of that season (1895) and died less than twenty years later at the age of 50.

About Joseph Coblitz

Joseph is the primary writer and editor of BurningRiverBaseball.com and has been since it's inception in 2011. He is a graduate of the University of Akron and currently resides in Goodyear, Arizona.

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