Cedar Rapids Professional Baseball Alumni Bios – John Slagle (Cedar Rapids Rabbits – 1896)
John Slagle was the fifth player to make his Major League debut from our list of 384 Cedar Rapids professional baseball alumni who have played in Cedar Rapids either before or after their MLB debut. Slagle made his big league debut on April 30, 1891, playing for the Cincinnati Kelly Killers. Slagle pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief in his only big league appearance. He struck out one while allowing three hits and one walk.
The Cincinnati Kelly Killers were a member of the American Association in 1891. It was the only season Cincinnati would field a team in two leagues. The Kelly Killers and Frank Bancroft are credited with starting the “Opening Day” festivities that are now seen across baseball. The Kelly Killers season ended early when the franchise was suspended on August 17, 1891 and ceased operations due to financial issues. The Milwaukee Brewers of the Western League stepped in and played the rest of the Kelly Killers’ schedule. Four teams (St. Louis, Baltimore, Washington and Louisville) from the American Association were accepted into the National League following the season and the other franchises were paid to go away. Cincinnati would never be a two team town again.
John Slagle was a member of the 1896 Cedar Rapids Rabbits squad that finished the season in fourth place in the Western Association with a 32-47 record under the guidance of managers Hiram Ebright and Belden Hill.