Oct 10

William Frederick Krieg

Bill Krieg got his first chance in the majors playing for Chicago/Pittsburgh Union clubs in 1884. He batted .247 in 71 games. He returned to the minors but spent time with two clubs in 1885, playing just 17 games.

Krieg arrived in Washington as part of the so-called Hartford Five. Primarily a first baseman for Hartford, Krieg was versatile having also play shortstop, second, third, the outfield and behind the bat. He played first base for Washington in 1886, although could have caught. He did not do so because the team did not want to pay him more to catch.

He returned to Washington in 1887 and played well but was superseded at first by Billy O’Brien. O’Brien was Washington’s first Home Run King. Robert Wood, writing after Krieg’s release states, “He was a sober, industrious man and could generally make a sacrifice hit when needed. The man who succeeds him cannot do this, as a ”giveaway” hit is unknown to him, and if he can’t get the ball over the fence it amounts to nothing.”

Krieg might have been an upgrade behind the bat although the light hitting Connie Mack was a solid catcher. Krieg was a good hitter but could Krieg catch? If you use his 1884 numbers he was a good defensive catcher. He led the association in range factor; his fielding numbers were above the association average. He did allow 61 passed balls in 52 games By contrast George Baker, the regular catcher on the Maroons allowed 52 in 68 games. Although to be fair he was catching Hugh Daily for most of the games. Krieg caught 12 games for Hartford in 1886 and 32 for Indianapolis in 1887. So he certainly could have done so.

At first Krieg could catch what came to him but his range being 9.06, far behind O’Brien’s 11.39. In fact his range numbers at first were never that good.

Just 28 years old, Krieg never got another chance to play in the majors. He played for Minneapolis in 1887. He continued in the minors, hanging up his cleats in 1900. In 796 minor league games he batted .343.

Krieg was a good player, he was good enough to play in the majors but the question is where do you play him. He might have been am excellent utility player, being able to take a turn at several different positions, maybe playing well enough to earn a full time job. But on a woeful team that was poorly run, he was a duck out of water. He passed away in Chillicothe, Illinois in 1930