Robert Lee Stafford ("Bob")
"Bob Stafford is also of the right sort, and plays first base as it should be played. He makes no hard work of his job, and at the bat he is strong." - Sporting Life's Syracuse correspondent, in the July 14, 1900 issue
"When it comes right down to playing ball, Bob Stafford, of New Orleans, is probably the best all-around man in the league. Whether he is or not, it is said he gets the largest salary." - Sporting Life, June 7, 1902
Bob Stafford had a long minor league career, stretching from at least 1894-1910. From 1907-10 he managed in the minors. Stafford was not related to General Stafford or Doc Stafford. Nor is he apparently the same player as Bob Stafford, who appeared briefly in 1890 in the majors, though this Bob's birth and death date were mistakenly attributed by baseball researchers to the major leaguer for many years.
Bob debuted in 1894 with the Petersburg Farmers then split 1895 between the New Orleans Pelicans and Milwaukee Brewers. He remained with Milwaukee from 1895-99. Connie Mack was his manager from 1897-99. Bob was with New Orleans in 1895 and 1901-02, captaining the team in 1902. The following year he was captain of the Atlanta team. He played with Atlanta in 1903-05. He led Milwaukee in batting average in 1897, New Orleans in batting average in 1901, and Atlanta in batting average in 1903.
A note in Sporting Life in 1898 implied he was involved with the Stafford Brothers grocery store of Kirksboro, NC, which burned down.
He was a minor league umpire in 1906 and for part of 1910 and was scheduled in 1911 to umpire 60 college games. He was rumored to be in the running for a major league umpiring job in 1907.
"In a conversation with Mack, shortly after Delahanty's release, I asked him what he intended to do for an infielder in case one was injured. He answered that he then had a man on the team that could play any infield position acceptably (the player referred to was 'Old Reliable' Bob Stafford, our first baseman) . . ." - Sporting Life's Milwaukee correspondent, in the July 24, 1897 issue
"The Savannah team is playing better ball since Bob Stafford took the reins." - Sporting Life, May 25, 1907