Born: November 3, 1883
Died: October 26, 1939
James Edgar Lennox was born November 3, 1883 in Camden. He was one of 10 children born to Catherine and James Lenox, a railroad worker. Quick, smart and full of hustle, the boy everyone called “Eggie” distinguished himself as a standout on the city’s sandlot scene as a teenager. In 1904, he played on Camden’s top semipro club; his teammates that summer included Rube Waddell. The following year he signed his first minor-league deal and went to work for the Meriden Silverites in Connecticut. His progress was rapid from there.
In 1906, Eggie played for two minor-league clubs before Connie Mack purchased his contract for the Philadelphia A’s. Eggie was a sure-handed third baseman who excelled at fielding bunts. The A’s planned to move Rube Oldring from the third to the outfield and were auditioning third sackers. Eggie played in 6 games but managed just 1 hit in 17 at bats, earning a trip back to the minors.
After two solid seasons with the Rochester Bronchos of the Eastern League, Eggie found his way back to the majors in 1909 with the Brooklyn Superbas. He batted .262—a good average for the Dead Ball Era—and was second on the club with 44 RBIs. His .959 fielding average was the best in the National League. Eggie hit .259 in 1910, but the club chose not to offer him a contract in 1911.
Eggie’s reputation as a good glove man with a live bat was tempered somewhat by his short fuse. Baseball fights were common in those days and Eggie was a frequent instigator. After another stint in the minors, he got a chance with the Cubs late in 1912 and batted .235 in limited action. Eggie reinvigorated his career in 1913 with Montreal of the International League, batting .320. That caught the eye of the Pittsburgh Rebels of the newly formed Federal League.
The Rebels signed the Camden pepper-pot to a $12,000 contract, making him one of the highest-paid players at his position. He rewarded their faith by leading the team in doubles, triples, home runs, walks and RBIs, stealing 19 bases, and hitting for the cycle in an early season game. He was also one of the top fielders in the Federal League.
An injury the following season limited Eggie to pinch-hitting duties and after the league folded he never played in the majors again. However, he continued playing minor-league and semipro ball for another decade before becoming a minor-league umpire and, starting in the late-1920s, taking scouting jobs with the Yankees, Giants and A’s. He passed away at 55 in 1939.