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Joe Quinn - Australia's First Major Leaguer

Joe Quinn - 2B, SS, OF
Hometown: North Ipswich, QLD
Debut: 26 April, 1884
Final Game: 23 July, 1901
Teams played for: St. Louis Maroons, Boston Beaneaters, Boston Reds, St. Louis Browns, Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Spiders, St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, Washington Senators

 

The first Australian to play Major League Baseball actually began playing professional baseball before there was one official "major league."

Joe Quinn made his professional debut in 1884 at the tender age of 19 for the St. Louis Maroons of the Union Association.

The son of Irish immigrants, Quinn was born in Queensland and grew up in New South Wales before his family moved to the USA when he was 11.

After his first year in professional baseball, the Union Association folded and Quinn's team joined the fledgling National League, MLB's direct ancestor. More known for his glove than his bat, Quinn led all NL second basemen in fielding percentage twice and had a .261 career batting average in 17 seasons.

The Queenslander also has the unusual distinction of being the player-manager -- and the best hitter -- on the worst team in baseball history, hitting .286 for the Cleveland Spiders in 1899, a team that posted a 20-134 overall record.

In the offseason, Quinn worked as a mortician and ran a funeral home after his baseball career ended.

Quinn was inducted into the Baseball Australia Hall of Fame in 2013.

View Joe Quinn's career statistics from Baseball Reference

(Photo at right: Joe Quinn baseball card, courtesy of the National Baseball Hall of Fame)