Thursday, March 03, 2005
Ned Williamson Dies
From 1884 until 1919 and Babe Ruth, Ned Williamson held the single season home run record, with twenty-seven. Williamson seems an unlikely holder of the home run record; excluding his 1884 season, he hit just thirty-seven home runs for the rest of his career, an average of just three a year. In 1880 Williamson raked up three hundred eleven at bats without managing to hit a single home run. His 1884 season represents forty-two percent of his career home runs, a number that would make even Brady Anderson (second entry on that page) blush.
Despite the sudden jump in power, Williamson was not visiting some sort of nineteenth century Dr. Victor Conte. (Although that is an amusing image: do you seek gargantuan strength to power the balls out of the yard and to the knothole gang? Come see Dr. Victor Conte and get a bottle of his Amazing Super Duper Whiz-Bang Home Run Power Tonic!) Williamson's power spike came from an odd rule change. Williamson’s team, the Chicago White Stockings, held their home games in
The next year, the rule was restored to the 1883 standard, and Williamson's home run total dropped down to just three. Williamson would never hit more than nine in a season again but a rule change ensured his place in trivia history, the home run champ before the Babe.