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Retro Columns

DID YOU KNOW ? (first posted AUGUST 2008, updated 2015)
Posted on: 10-10-2008

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   A long ago Detroit ballplayer was a
member of four big league teams
including three different major league
franchises which exist today, but in a
different form.
      DID YOU KNOW infielder John Joseph "Dasher" Troy was a member of the
original Detroits when the team debuted in the National League in 1881?
      As a back-up player Troy appeared in 11 games for the Detroits, sometimes
called the Wolverines, in the 84 game 1881 season. He played seven games at
thirdbase, but made five errors there and would never play the hot corner
again in his five year MLB career. He also played four games at secondbase
for the 1881 Detroits and would stay at the keystone for 257 of his 292 major
league contests.
      Troy went 15-for-44 for a .341-BA   with three doubles, 2-R & 4-RBI. Nobody
else who played multiple games for the '81 Detroits had a better batting average.
(Thirdbasemen Billy Taylor and Sam Wise each went 2-for-4 for a .500-BA in their
lone games.)   Firstbaseman Martin Powell led the Detroit regulars with a .338-BA.
        However, the more "Dasher" Troy played, the less he hit.
        With Detroit in 1882 he played half of the time, getting 152-AB in 40 games
with an average which fell almost 100-points to .243. Before that season was
over, Troy left Detroit and joined the Providence Grays for four games where he hit
.235. (It is believed Troy and thirdbaseman Art Whitney were involved in the transaction
with the Grays, but the date and details were not recorded.)
      The little-sized, 5-foot-5 & 154-lb Troy was a member of Detroit's first big league
franchise, a club which lasted only eight seasons and was later replaced by the current
Detroit Tigers.
      After his brief service for Providence, Troy then went back to his hometown of
New York City, NY.         
      In 1883 Troy became the starting secondbaseman for the first year New York Gothams,
a team which evolved into the New York Giants and then moved to San Francisco in
1958. Troy hit only .215 for MGR John Clapp's G-Men at the original Polo Grounds.
      The next year Troy jumped to the rival American Association, then the recognized
second major league. He joined the New York Metropolans, the original New York Mets.
The team was named after Metropolitan Park where it played most of its home games.
(When the Gothams weren't playing on the Southeast Diamond of the Polo Grounds the
Mets played there too.)
      In 1884 Troy saw his most extensive big league playing time, appearing in 107
of the Mets' 112 games. As well as games played, Troy had career highs with 421-AB,
80-R, 111-H, 22-2B, 10-3B and 19-BB. He hit two of his four MLB homeruns. Troy
posted an improved and respectable .264-BA. He might had set a career-high in RBIs
too, but ancient record-keeping only shows Mets firstbaseman Dave Orr leading
the league with 112-RBI that year and lists no other runs-batted-in for any other
Metropolitans player. (RBIs wouldn't become an official stat until many years later
in 1920.)      
      In 1885 Troy went back to being a reserve. He played 45 games for the Mets in
what would be his final MLB season, 42 at secondbase, one at shortstop and the
only two he ever played in the outfield. Troy batted .220 to end his MLB career
with a .243-BA, exactly the mark he had in his second and last Detroit season.
    Troy played minor league ball through 1888, ironically ending his playing career
with the Troy (NY) Trojans. Known for his fondness of alcohol, Troy had to promise
Trojans MGR Ted Sullivan he would abstain during the season. However, becoming
thirsty one day, Troy told Sullivan if he'd go under the grandstand and buy him a
beer, Troy would "clear the bases." Sullivan relented and Troy downed the suds, then
hit a ball off the centerfield fence for an inside-the-park homer.
    Troy returned to the Polo Grounds to operate the stadium's beer concession
from 1889--1900, excepting 1894 when he lost his license due to an altercation
with a grandstand gatekeeper.
    Troy got married in 1900, became a liquor dealer and opened a cafe at Tenth
Avenue and Thirty-Ninth Street in NYC. Troy and wife Mary (E. Flanagan) had
four children.        
      Troy died in South Ozone Park, Queens, NY on 3/30/1938 only a month shy
of his 82nd birthday.
      Troy was out-lived by one of his big league teams and played for the forerunners
of two others, including the original Detroits.



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