James Bentley Seymour
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 0", Weight 200 lb.
- Debut April 22, 1896
- Final Game July 17, 1913
- Born December 9, 1872 in Albany, NY USA
- Died September 20, 1919 in New York, NY USA
Cy Seymour was a good pitcher for a few years in the 19th Century, and then a good hitter for much longer in the 20th Century. As a pitcher, he led the league in strikeouts in 1897 and 1898, and then as a hitter, he led the National League with a .377 batting average in 1905 as a member of the Cincinnati Reds. That year, he also led the league in hits, doubles, triples and slugging percentage. His .377 average was the highest in the National League between 1901 and 1921. The only player in baseball history who has both more wins and also more hits than Seymour is Babe Ruth. Seymour is the only player apart from Ruth to finish his career with at least 50 wins and 50 home runs.
Though they shared the same nickname neither James Seymour nor Denton Young was named "Cy". Denton - known to all baseball fans as Cy Young - had already been a star for several years when Seymour made a name for himself. Both got their handles as shorthand for "cyclone" for their blazing fastballs.
He played semi-pro ball in Plattsburgh, NY and minor league ball in Springfield prior to coming to the majors. Although Cy Seymour the pitcher won games, and had oodles of strikeouts, he also led the league in walks 1897-1899, and was moved to the outfield as his ERA's started to be less impressive. However, there is no question he had some success as a pitcher, with his 3.37 ERA in 1897 good enough for # 8 in the league, and his 25 wins in 1898 good enough for # 6 in the league. He was first or second in the league in strikeouts 1897-1899.
As a hitter, he started hitting .300+ in 1899, and did so for much of his career, even in some of the Dead Ball Era years. Although 1905 was his monster year, he was in the top ten in doubles three separate times, the top ten in triples three times, and the top ten in homers five times. Seymour finished his career with an impressive .302 batting average and 119 OPS+.
He played for manager John McGraw twice, the first time with the Baltimore Orioles and the second time when he returned to the New York Giants. He was in the minors in 1911 and 1912 with Baltimore and Newark before coming back briefly to the majors in 1913. He also played 13 games for Newark in 1918, the year before he died. He worked in shipyards during World War I, and contracted tuberculosis.
- Bases on balls, left-hander, season (since 1893), 213, 1898
- 2-time NL Strikeouts Leader (1897 & 1898)
- NL Batting Average Leader (1905)
- NL Slugging Percentage Leader (1905)
- NL OPS Leader (1905)
- NL Hits Leader (1905)
- NL Total Bases Leader (1905)
- NL Doubles Leader (1905)
- NL Triples Leader (1905)
- NL RBI Leader (1905)
- 20 Wins Seasons: 1 (1898)
- 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 3 (1897-1899)
- 300 Innings Pitched Seasons: 1 (1898)
- 100 RBI Seasons: 1 (1905)
- 200 Hits Seasons: 1 (1905)
- Tom Nardacci: "Besting Honus Wagner: The Forgotten Season of Cy Seymour", Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Volume 50, Number 2 (Fall 2021), pp. 43-53.