Tuesday, January 31, 2012

CSA: 1890's Dave Foutz Newsboy Cabinet

"His (Dave Foutz) calm demeanor and take-charge attitude inspired confidence among his teammates. And his strong hitting and good fielding and base running contributed to many victories." - Historian Robert L. Tiemann in Nineteenth Century Stars (1989) (From Baseball Almanac)
Nicknamed "scissors" because of his skinny frame, Dave Foutz would be a early Brooklyn hero. He was well liked by the other players and cheered by the fans. In 13 Major League seasons, he played for Brooklyn the last 9 while pitching, batting and playing the field. Soon, Foutz would even became a player manager for 4 season before retiring from the game in 1896.

He was as versatile as they come. Foutz could play the outfield, 1st base and pitch a great game. He even had Base Ball smarts. At the ripe age of 26, Foutz was the player manager for the Bay City, MI Base Ball team of the Northwestern League. It was there he was first noticed by the powerful St. Louis Browns (Cardinals) who immediately sought his services. Unfortunately, they discovered that would have to buy the team to get him, so they did just that.

In 1884 he premiered with St. Louis at the age of 27 and became a star on the mound. Dave Foutz started 25 games, winning 15 and losing only 6, that year. The next season he won 35, and bested that with a career plateau of 41 wins in 1886. Inexplicably, he and Bob Caruthers (St. Louis' other star pitcher) was soon sold to Brooklyn for a sum of $13,500.00- a huge sum at the time.

And there he stayed. From 1888 to 1896 he proudly roamed the Eastern Park ball fields for the the Brooklyn Bridegrooms. Suffering from asthmatic conditions Foutz was forced to retire too soon. Then, his life would be cut short a year later. He died in the place he was born, Waverly, Maryland, at the age of 40 in 1897.

Over his career, Foutz batted .276, while stealing 280 bases, and knocking in 750 runs. As a pitcher he won 147 games against just 66 loses. His career ERA was an impressive 2.84. Foutz lead St. Louis in three straight American Association Championships, and the Dodgers to a AA Championship and National League Championship. As Brooklyn's skipper he had a record of 264-257 in 4 seasons.

I note this former Dodger because of a great vintage 1895 Newsboy Cabinet photo card available at Clean Sweep Auctions. This card measures 4.5" x 6.5" and comprises of a sepia toned photograph mounted on cardboard backing. Newsboy produced over 500 cabinet cards of famous people in the 1890's, and only 14 are known to feature Base Ball players. As the name suggest, these cards would typically be glued or nailed onto a cabinet door for fans to admire. Of note, the clarity of the Dave Foutz photo is amazing. This is a rare opportunity to check out a vintage card of a historic figure in Dodgers history.

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