Michael "King" Kelly (1945)
Michael "King" Kelly started playing amateur baseball at the age of 15. From 1875 through 1877, he played semi-pro baseball. When he joined the Cincinnati Reds in 1878, he was an outfielder and backup catcher, playing in 60 games with the Reds that season. The following season he played in just 77 games with the Reds.
In 1880, Kelly joined the Chicago White Stockings of the National League (modern day Cubs). For his first four seasons with them (1880-1883), he played in less than 100 games each season. In 1884 and 1886, Kelly led the National League in batting. During his career, he led the National League in doubles three times.
The White Stockings sold Kelly's contract to the Boston Beaneaters/Braves after the 1886 season. The following season, Kelly was player-manager for the Beaneaters. In 1890, he left the Beaneaters to be player-manager of the Boston Reds of the newly formed Players' League. After the league folded in 1891, Kelly became player-manager of the Cincinnati Kelly's Killers of the American Association. He played in 82 games with the team and then moved back to the Boston Reds for four games.
Kelly returned to the Beaneaters in 1891, playing in 16 games with them that season and in 78 games in 1892. The following year his contract was transferred to the New York Giants and Kelly played in 20 games with them before leaving major league baseball. He played in the minor leagues in 1894 but died of pneumonia in November of that year at the age of 36.
Kelly played in over 100 games in each of 7 seasons (1884-1889, 1891). His statistics during that time include:
- 3 seasons with over 150 hits, with a high of 175 in 1886
- 3 seasons with over 30 doubles, with a high of 41 in 1889
- 5 seasons with over 50 stolen bases, with a high of 84 in 1887
- 4 seasons with a batting average over .300, with a high of .388 in 1886
Career statistics for Kelly include:
- 1,455 games played
- 1,813 hits
- 359 doubles
- 102 triples
- 368 stolen bases
- .308 batting average