This Date in Cedar Rapids Professional Baseball – August 20, 1891 John McGraw’s Final CR Game, Canaries 6, Ottawa 1
On August 20, 1891, the Cedar Rapids Canaries defeated Ottawa 6-1. Bill Hoffer led the Canaries to the win with nine solid innings allowing one run on six hits while striking out five batters. It was also the final game future baseball Hall of Fame member John McGraw would play as a member of the Cedar Rapids squad. McGraw was offered and accepted an opportunity to join the Baltimore Orioles of the American Association and he hit .270 with 14 RBI in 33 games during the Orioles 1891 season
McGraw compiled a career MLB batting average of .334 in 16 MLB seasons with a .466 on base percentage. He led the league in runs scored and walks in both 1898 and 1899. McGraw also led the league in on base percentage three times (1897, 1899 and 1900) including a .547 in 1899 which is the fourth highest single seasonmark in the history of baseball following only Barry Bonds (.609 in 2004 and .582 in 2002) and Ted Williams (.553 in 1941).
John McGraw began his MLB managing career in 1899 as a player manager for the Baltimore Orioles. McGraw managed 33 MLB seasons before being replaced midway through the 1932 season. He managed the Orioles for three seasons before joining the New York Giants and was a player manager through the 1906 season. McGraw’s New York Giants teams won 10 National League pennants and 3 World Series championships. He led the New York Giants to a first or second place finish in 21 of his 29 years at the helm.He won 2,784 games during his MLB managerial career which is second only to Connie Mack in baseball history.
This following article was published in the August 21, 1891 edition of the Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette. It contained coverage of a Illinois-Iowa League contest against the Ottawa Modocs held on August 20, 1891. The 1891 Cedar Rapids Canaries featured seven players who played in Major League baseball before or after their time in Cedar Rapids (Jake Drauby, John Godar, Bill Hoffer, Ed Knouff, John McGraw, Kid Summers and Bill Whitrock). The 1891 Cedar Rapids Canaries posted a 41-47 record before the Illinois-Iowa League disbanded on August 28 when the Ottawa and Ottumwa clubs collapsed leaving Cedar Rapids without opponents.