Bobby Rothermel (Edward Hill Rothermel)

Bats: R   Throws: R
Position: Infielder (Second, Third and Shortstop)
Born: December 18, 1870 in Coxtown (now Fleetwood), PA
Died: February 11, 1927 in Detroit, MI at age 57
Team: Baltimore Orioles, National League
Manager: John McGraw (playing manager, only 26 years old in 1899)

Bobby Rothermel Lifetime Major League Record




















Baltimore, NL

















Bobby Rothermel played in the true golden age of baseball. It was a rough and tumble sport at the turn of the century. Although he played only one year in the major leagues, he surely played professional baseball before 1899 and possibly after 1899, however, not on the major league level. This was the first year that the legendary John McGraw managed a major league baseball team. The National League Orioles finished in fourth place with a respectable record of 86-62. The Orioles of the 1890’s were the dominant team of the decade. They played their home games in Union Park in Baltimore. Baltimore had no franchise in 1900 but in 1901 they were admitted to the American League with McGraw as their manager. They were in the AL only two years before the franchise was moved to St Louis (Browns) in 1903. Baltimore did not have a major league team again until 1954 when the St. Louis franchise reverted back to Baltimore.

Baltimore played in the old American Association from 1882 to 1891, then moved to the National League in 1892 and remained there for 8 seasons until their final season in 1899, the season Rothermel was on their roster. They won three NL pennants, in 1894, 1895 and 1896.The National League was concerned about the rough play and actions of its players during the 1890s. Fights broke out between players and umpires, fans and players, and fans and umpires. Players cheated, threw games for money, swore, spit, and much more. The champions of such behavior were the Baltimore Orioles.

The Baltimore Orioles paid off their groundskeepers to hide cement slabs in front of home plate. The resulting high bouncers came to be know as the “Baltimore chops.” Fans used mirrors to reflect sunlight into the eyes of opposing batters and fielders. Fans were also given dead balls . After a foul ball would go into the stands, the fans would throw back a deadened ball. Players would elbow, trip, punch, and hold base runners, taking advantage of the fact that there was only one umpire. They would cut second base on the way to third if the umpire was not looking. Players would hide baseballs strategically in the tall outfield grass. The Baltimore Orioles would do anything to win whether or not it was legal.

The Baltimore Orioles, despite all of their contributions to the cheater’s rulebook, were a good team. In fact, they were one of the most talented teams ever. Managed and assembled by Ned Hanlon, this team boasted seven Hall of Famers, including Hanlon, John McGraw, Hugh Jennings, Joe Kelley, Dan Brouthers, Wilbert Robinson, and Willie Keeler. Keeler set the 44 game hitting streak record that would stand until Pete Rose broke it in 1978. John McGraw was one of the best third sackers ever and is third all-time in on base percentage (he is just behind Babe Ruth and Ted Williams). The true talent of this team however was hitting. They pioneered the “Slugging Style,” consistently posting high batting averages and McGraw was a playing manger in 1899, not unusual in that time period. He would go on to win ten NL pennants for the New York Giants and three World Series. Some of Rothermel’s teammates included the legendary John McGraw,  Hall of Fame catcher and later manager Wilbur Robinson, Hall of Fame shortstop and later manager Hughie Jennings, and Hall of Fame pitcher Joe McGinnity. McGinnity won 28 games in 1899.

The Baseball Hall of Fame has informed this web site that they have no photographs of Bobby Rothermel in the photographic archives.

1899_orioles | fleetwood area historical society

1899 Baltimore Orioles. This photograph shows only 16 players. The Orioles had 24 different players on their roster during the 1899 season. Rothermel most likely is not on this photograph. However, one cannot be certain. For Bobby Rothermel to play with John McGraw’s Baltimore Orioles in 1899 is indeed an amazing fete. Baltimore was certainly the greatest major league baseball franchise in that time period.