Patrick Larkin

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Note: This page is for 1880s infielder Patrick Larkin; for 1980s pitcher Pat Larkin, click here.

Patrick C. Larkin
born Patrick C. Larkins

  • Bats Left, Throws Unknown
  • Height 5' 11", Weight 185 lb.

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

Patrick Larkin played third base for the Washington Nationals of the Union Association in 1884. He hit .243, but the team average was lower at .237 (the league average was .245).

His fielding percentage was an awful .726. Both Sporting Life and the Milwaukee Sentinel listed his first initial as "P".

While there were a number of players in the first Baseball Encyclopedias who were known only by a last name, Larkin was unusual in that he actually played more than one or two games, being with the Nationals from May 29 until July 16th, missing a month of action due to illness during that span. There were two other Larkins in the majors in 1884 - Henry Larkin started his career in 1884, while Terry Larkin finished his career in 1884. Neither was a third baseman, although both played a little third base during their careers. So this Larkin remained unidentified for a long time.

Justin McKinney, a researcher and member of SABR, finally tracked him down in late 2017. He managed to eliminate as possibilities all of the other men named Larkin known to be playing professional baseball around 1884, including the two major leaguers mentioned above, except for one Patrick Larkin who was active with Binghamton of the New York State League for the entire 1885 season, then for Oswego in the International League in 1886 and Canandaigua of the the Central New York League in 1888. There was also a P.C. Larkin who had been blacklisted by the Rock Island club and reinstated in 1885 who was likely the same person. He was a strong candidate, especially as his initial matched that of the Union Association player, but definitive proof was missing.

Complicating things was the existence of a Patrick A. Larkin, from West Troy, NY, who was listed as a former baseball player in his 1911 obituary. However, further research discarded him as his career was only for semi-professional clubs in and around his hometown (plus, the middle initial did not match the main candidate). More searching turned up a mention in the Des Moines Register on April 17, 1883 that the local team was trying to sign "Mr. Larkin" from Rochester, NY. There was indeed a Larkin who played third base for Des Moines that season, before finishing the year with the Chicago Unions, a strong semi-pro club. In 1888, an article profiling the Leavenworth, KS local team mentions third baseman and team captain Patrick Larkin, who had spent the previous season with Oswego. The league folded on June 21st, explaining how Larkin also played for Canandaigua that year. Slowly, his career was taking shape, although the connection with Washington in 1884 was still missing.

Justin McKinney then managed to find mention of Larkin in local records in Canandaigua, NY, and traced him to a later address in Brooklyn, NY, where he died in 1918. An obituary in the Rochester Democrat Chronicle on November 27th that year stated he was brought back to Canandaigua for burial, but did not give details of the man's past occupations. However, there were more clues in the small town's local paper. In May 1879, the Canadaigua Base Ball Club was formed, and the paper made several references to a young man named Patrick Larkins who played second base and participated in various local athletic events. On August 28, 1884, the same paper reported that a team of local players, "including Larkin, late of the Nationals of Washington" would take on the Stars of Rochester later that day. This was the clear connection that had been missing. The picture was completed with information from papers in the Quad Cities area (of which Rock Island, IL, is part), which in 1884 calls him Larkins and states he was expelled from the team for jumping to Washington in May (hence the ban which was later reversed). In 1885, Larkin from Canandaigua is listed on the preliminary roster of the Binghamton team.

The final piece of the puzzle came in an article from a Canandaigua paper in 1888 which stated that Patrick's brother, Richard, and another ballplayer, were on their way home from a ball game in Chicago, IL when they were shot and killed. Patrick accompanied the body to his home town for burial. The article mentionned another brother living in Iowa, which explains how Patrick came to play in the Quad Cities and in Des Moines. The brothers correspond to those in Census listings for the Patrick Larkin who eventually died in Brooklyn. Another researcher, Evelyn Begley, tracked down Larkin's death certificate, which states he was a blacksmith and died of pneumonia in a Brooklyn hospital.

Further Reading[edit]

  • "Patrick Larkins Found", in Bill Carle, ed.: Biographical Research Comittee Report, SABR, November/December 2017, pp. 1-2.

Related Sites[edit]