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Jersey Bakley

Sport: Baseball

Born: April 17, 1864

Died: February 17, 1915

Town: Blackwood

Edward Enock Bakley was born April 17, 1864 in Blackwood. Short and muscular, he earned a reputation for a blazing fastball, but also for his inability to control it. At the age of 19, he signed a professional contract with the Pottsville Anthracites of the Interstate Association, and his teammates began calling him Jersey. He pitched in 8 games before his contract was purchased by the Philadelphia Athletics of the American Association. He was the youngest player on the roster by three years, but he won 5 of his 8 decisions and helped the Athletics win the AA pennant by one game.

The following season found a third major league in play, the Union Association. UA teams raided the rosters of the AA and NL, luring many players into jumping their contracts. Jersey signed to play for the Philadelphia Keystones, a ragtag group that had almost no pitching beyond the young star. The Keystones started Jersey every other game, and he racked up over 340 innings while going 14–25. He also spent a few weeks with the Kansas City Cowboys and the Wilmington Quicksteps, who went out of business before the season ended. In all, Jersey went 16–30; his 30 losses were the most in the league, and he also led the league in walks and wild pitches. But he was also among the Top 5 in complete games and strikeouts.

The Union Association disbanded after the 1884 season. Jersey played semipro ball in 1885 and in 1886 signed with the Rochester Maroons of the International League. He led the club with 18 wins and had a 1.14 ERA. He returned to semipro ball in 1887 and then signed with Cleveland Blues of the American Association in 1888. He had his most productive year as a pro, winning 25 games. However, he pitched over 500 innings, and that would catch up with him.

The Blues joined the NL in 1889 and changed their name to Spiders. Jersey went 12–22 with almost no run support, as witnessed by a 2.96 ERA, which was second-best in the league. After the season, Jersey was on the move again, this time joining the Cleveland Infants of the newly formed Players League. However, Jersey did not have the same zip of earlier years and his ERA soared by a run and a half. He did manage to get his name in the record books, as he was on the mound when Harry Stovey hit his 100th career homer.

Jersey returned to the American Association in 1891, finishing his big-league career with the Washington Statesmen and Baltimore Orioles. He hung on for several more years, playing semipro and minor league ball in the New Jersey–Pennsylvania region. Jersey finally called it quits in his early 30s, having played in four different major leagues and for all three of Cleveland's 19th century ball clubs.He passed away at age 50 in Philadelphia.


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