Cubs HOF

Icons of the Ivy: King Kelly

10 months agoAndy Martinez

When you’re dubbed with the name “King”, it’s only right that you earn a place among the Cubs’ best.

That’s the case for 19th century player Mike “King” Kelly.

“Mike ‘King’ Kelly was baseball’s first matinee star, celebrated in song and in poem,” team historian Ed Hartig said.

Kelly began his major league career in 1878 with the Cincinnati Reds. He signed with the then-Chicago White Stockings ahead of the 1880 season, where he played in 7 seasons with the franchise. He hit .316 and won five pennants during his time.

He led the National League in runs scored in 1884, 1885 and 1886 and won batting titles in 1884 and 1886. Kelly hit to a .388 clip in 1886.

Kelly was sold to the Boston Beaneaters after the 1886 season for a then-record $10,000.

Kelly played in the outfield and as a catcher and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1945.

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