Revisiting the thread of important early baseball figures, we come to Andy Leonard, a member of the fabled Cincinnati Red Stocking team as well as the early dynastic Boston Red Stockings, both led by Hall of Famer Harry Wright:
Leonard actually started his baseball career in the early days BEFORE
professional ball, playing around the New York/New Jersey area for
various teams beginning in 1864, leading up to his signing with the
Cincinnati club in 1869.
He barnstormed with the club as they beat all opponents, building the game’s popularity as their winning streak stayed intact.
After finally losing, and people finding other distractions, Cincinnati
dropped the organization and Wright headed east to Boston where he
founded the Red Stockings, bringing along a few of his teammates.
They were immediately a powerhouse in the National Association, as well
as the first few years of the Major Leagues, winning six pennants in seven years, with Leonard playing left field.
After a few more seasons with Boston Leonard would play with other teams
until failing eye-sight forced him to give up the game in 1880 while
back with Cincinnati at the age of 34, closing out a 16-year career that
saw him span the amateur days of the Civil War era, the first
“Professional” days of the late-1860’s, and the formation of both the
N.A. and then the very Major League that we enjoy today. Amazing.
Definitely one of the forgotten players who get lost among the Spaldings, Wrights and Ansons of the baseball world.