Today’s “Founders” player is Joe Start one of the top first basemen in the early days of organized ball, dating to BEFORE the Civil War:
By the time the Major League was formed in 1876, Start was already known
as “Old Reliable” for his play at first base at the age of 33.
A player for organized ball in the Brooklyn, NY area in the early
1860’s, Start was part of some of the top teams of the pre-National
Association era, including the formidable Brooklyn Atlantics, who had
undefeated seasons in both 1864 and 1865.
During all five seasons of the N.A., Start played for the New York
Mutuals, anchoring the infield with innovative play such as playing off
Once the Majors got going, Start wasn’t slowing down, as he proceeded to
play another 11-years, mainly for the Providence Grays after a year
both at Hartford and Chicago.
His play never diminished as he played well into his 40’s, retiring after the 1886 season at the age of 43.
All together, NOT counting his 10 or so years in pre-pro baseball, Start
would finish with a .299 batting average with 1417 hits over 1070
games, with 852 runs scored.
Considering he averaged about 70-75 games a season over his career,
those are some pretty good hit totals that could easily had him finish
close 3000 had he the chance.