Joe Connolly (connojo04)
Joseph Francis Connolly
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 5' 7½", Weight 165 lb.
- Debut April 10, 1913
- Final Game October 5, 1916
- Born February 1, 1884 in North Smithfield, RI USA
- Died September 1, 1943 in North Smithfield, RI USA
Connolly began playing independent ball in 1906 and graduated to the minors in 1908. He tried his luck first as a pitcher, but became a hitter instead in 1911, winning a minor league batting crown. After a season with the Montreal Royals, the Washington Senators purchased him from the Chicago Cubs, then sold him to the Boston Braves for 1913. As the team's regular left fielder as a rookie, he batted .281/.379/.410, leading the team in average, slugging percentage, runs scored (79), RBI (57) and triples (13).
Joe's big year was the miracle 1914 season, hitting .306/.393/.494, again leading the team in average and slugging percentage as well as doubles (28) and home runs (9). He played only three times in the Fall Classic, going 1-for-9 as the Braves broke out the brooms to sweep the heavily favored Philadelphia Athletics. Reduced to 105 games in 1915, Joe had another strong batting line for the times (.298/.387/.397), then fell way down to .227/.320/.309 in an abbreviated 1916. When his salary was slashed for 1917, he refused to sign and was subsequently sold to the Indianapolis Indians. Instead of reporting, he decided he could make more money by farming and playing semipro ball locally. He played semipro ball through 1928.
One could trace the origin of platooning as a strategy to Connolly, as he was the first player to be platooned regularly for a strategic reason and not because of injury or other such incidental reasons. He was a left-handed hitter who usually was only used against righty pitchers. He often batted third in the order.
He became a politician after baseball, serving in the Rhode Island state legislature and then as a state senator. He died at the age of 59.
- Dennis Auger: "Joseph Francis Connolly", in Bill Nowlin, ed.: The Miracle Braves of 1914: Boston's Original Worst-to-First World Series Champions, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2014, pp. 19-23. ISBN 978-1-933599-69-4
- Bryan Soderholm-Difatte: "The Stallings Platoon: The 1913 Prequel", The Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Volume 45, Number 2 (Fall 2016), pp. 15-25.