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Nov 01

John Henry Humphries

John Humphries, a left handed catcher played for the 1884 Washingtons of the American Association. He was born in North Gower, Ontario, Canada, 12 November 1861, and attended Cornell University from 1880 to 1882. In 1883 he signed with the New York Gothams. He was their backup catcher behind the talented and popular Buck Ewing. His defensive skills were poor and he ended up playing just 22 games behind the bat and 12 in the outfield. In 1884 Washington was granted an American Association franchise. Lloyd Moxley owned the team, in large part because he owned the only baseball stadium, but the operations were in the hands of Holly Hollingshead, a fixture in District baseball.

While the team was quickly put together after most of the good talent had been signed there were high hopes for the club. The Washington Post stated before the start of the season that the Washingtons are in great shape thanks to the well conducted practices run by Manager Hollingshead.In January Humphries signed with Washington but he was claimed by the Minneapolis Club. This issue persisted through April and became a source of distraction, until finally the Minneapolis club withdrew its claim. When Bob Barr was signed in February he and Humphries formed the primary battery for the nine.

On opening day he batted fourth. Sadly the team got off to a horrible start and interest in the team waned. By June Humphries was batting .217 which was middle of the pack for the Washingtons. For most of the season Humphries batted second, only dropping down in the order late in the season. He drew favorable remarks for his fielding and throwing to the base although his hands were badly injured by the rigors of catching. In June he sprained his ankle which further decreased his effectiveness. In August the Washington Association team folded and Humphries was quickly resigned by New York Gotham Club and played in 20 games for them since their regular catchers were injured.

This would be his last time in the majors; he would play three more years in the minors. Humphries batted .176 in his 49 games with the Washingtons. He also spent time at first and in the outfield. At the time players if injured would not typically leave the game but switch to another position on the field. He died in 1933 in Salinas, California.