Wee Willie Keeler, 1897 Baltimore Orioles

Willie was a little guy who used the smallest bat size in baseball, 28 ounces.  Yet he was a power hitter, smacking plenty of triples, doubles, and an occasional home run.

keeler1Keeler played in the deadball era. If you ever want to know what it was like, take a regular baseball and let it soak in water for an hour or two. Then play catch with it or smack it with a wooden bat. That’s what it felt like in Willie’s day.

keeler2Willie started his big league career as a third baseman. He was one of only two lefthanded third basemen in baseball history.  He also played 2nd base and shortstop as a lefty a few times early in his career.

He is a pioneer of what became known as “the Baltimore Chop” – where the batter chops down on the ball, causing it to bounce high into the air, giving the runner time to get to first before he can be thrown out.  Keeler was also responsible for the rule change which made a foul bunt count as a third strike.  He was probably the best bunter ever.

This card was issued by Superior Card Co.

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