Harry Luff

From BR Bullpen

Henry Thomas Luff

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Biographical Information[edit]

". . . a decidedly peculiar fellow, a character rarely met with in the profession, a college graduate, highly connected and of good means, [he] has played baseball simply out of love of it." - the Cincinnati Enquirer, quoted in the book Early Baseball and the Rise of the National League

Harry Luff did it all. In four years in the majors, he played in four leagues, appearing for six different teams, and played eight different positions (everywhere except for catcher).

He broke in at age 22 as a two-way player, pitching in 10 games and leading the league in strikeouts per nine innings. He mostly played third base, and as a hitter he led the team with a .404 slugging percentage (the team average was .261).

Harry hit the only two home runs that the New Haven Elm Citys hit in 1875. They were also the only two home runs that Henry hit in his major league career.

The National Association folded after 1875, and New Haven did not field a team in the new National League. Henry did not play again in the majors until 1882 when he played his only 3 games in the National League. Most of the 1882 season, however, was spent in the American Association, where he played in Cincinnati as a teammate of rookie Bid McPhee.

On June 1, 1882, Luff hit a strong drive to the outfield on which Jud Birchall made a famous catch. As the ball ripped over his head, Birchall managed to slap it with his left hand, and then catch it with his right.

After six more games in the American Association in 1883, Harry spent 1884 with two teams in the Union Association. With the Philadelphia team in that league he was one of the stronger hitters. He was also one of the oldest starters, on a team whose average age was under 23.

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