Mike “King” Kelly

by James Finn Garner

King Kelly was a man among men
You could tell he was in the pink when,
Charging the base like a crook,
He’d slide with foot hooked–
Immortalized in song, it was then.


On this St. Paddy’s Day, we salute King Kelly (1857-94), the son of Irish immigrants who played with the Chicago White Stockings (NL) and the Boston Beaneaters. Among the innovations credited to Kelly are the hit-and-run, catchers backing up first basemen, and the hook slide, which was immortalized in the song “Slide, Kelly, Slide!” 


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