Harry Sterling Wolverton arrived in Washington on October 1901, along with Ed Delehanty, John Townsend and Al Orth. All had been pirated from the Philadelphia Phillies.
Delehanty was the big catch. He was the premier heavy hitter in baseball. His line drives were feared by League third baseman and were coined Del’s bunts. There was some talk that Wolverton would play second but he soon became the team’s regular third baseman putting the popular Bill Coughlin out of his natural position at second base.
In May the press reports, “The Lajoie injunction seems to have worried Wolverton. Two or three times he has been caught thinking about Colonel Rogers and that $600 on the baselines, and his batting has suffered.”
One month later he was ordered out of a game for disputing the umpires call. He blamed his poor play on the Potomac fever he had picked up shortly after arriving in Washington. “Wolverton is suffering from a batting slump, having made but one hit: in his last twenty try’s.. Maybe Ban Johnson will give him a chance to recuperate, as Harry seized a recent occasion to whisper a few soft somethings into the umpire’s ear, for which he was benched, and the fans are looking for danger signals.”
In July Wolverton is at Cape May trying to get rid of an attack of malaria that has been bothering him ever since he became a Senator in the spring.
20 July, the press reports that Wolverton deserted the team yesterday and will play for the Phillies. The Washington Times writes, “Wolverton’s loss not serious blow to Washington team. He had played an indifferent game in this city.”
The Washington Post writes this about Harry Wolverton whose poor play alienated the fans, “He was clearly ill. And he showed little interest in his work—not that he did not want to play his best game, but he was simply unable to.”
The fans and press were united in their happiness to see Wolverton head out of town … Saturday night third baseman Harry Wolverton telegraphed Manager Loftus that he will return to Philadelphia. This will be welcome news to Washington. The rotten game put up by Wolverton throughout the season, has been a great disappointment. President Johnson commented on it while he was here, and fans often shouted to him to “Go home, “get off the team,” etc. he covered about as much ground as a wooden Indian, a pollywog could have handled hard hit balls better, and he was a crustacean at bat and on bases. The public have long been crying for the present arrangement. Ely’s return to the team gives it a batter who is hitting over .270 and fielding brilliantly, in place of a .252 hitter with a high average in shirking chances. Manager Loftus paid Wolverton $500 advance money and gave him the $556 which Colonel Rogers owed him. His salary was $3200 and he holds the record for pay-day sprints.
And this,,,,, Wolverton’s return is largely due to the fact that he has been dissatisfied with his berth at Washington. He was infected with Potomac malaria, fielded poorly and failed to hit. As he was signed at $3,200 per season, for two years, his failure had a depressing effort both on himself and the club and the latter granted him a vacation a fortnight ago. This vacation has been spent at Cape May where Col. Rogers is also summering. There was reconciliation between the two. Wolverton wired Manager Loftus as follows Saturday night: “Have decided to rejoin the Philadelphia NL Club. If there are any financial differences let me know. To this manager Loftus laconically wired: “Washington people are tickled to death.”
For the record Wolverton, a 9 year major leaguer batted.249 in his 59 games in Washington. This was 29 points below his .278 career average.
On February 4, 1937, while a policeman with the city of Oakland, he was involved in two separate hit-and-run accidents and was dead at the age of 63.