May 1, 1879: Jack Glasscock Makes Major League Debut
Jack Glasscock—one of the best shortstops in history—made his major league debut on May 1, 1879, with the Cleveland Blues. He was born in Wheeling in 1859 and learned to play baseball on the sandlots of his hometown.
He earned the nickname “Pebbly Jack” due to his habit of picking up and tossing away pebbles in the field—and some baseball historians think the pebbles were just a figment of Jack’s imagination.
Glasscock, who played bare-handed, was one of the first to use signals to inform the catcher whether the shortstop or second baseman would cover second in case of a steal attempt. He also was one of the first shortstops to back up throws to the second baseman.
A good hitter over his career, Glasscock had a lifetime average of .290. He topped the .300 mark five times and took the National League batting title in 1890 while playing for the New York Giants.
In 1895, Jack Glasscock returned to his hometown to manage and play first base for the Wheeling Base Ball Club. He died in Wheeling in 1947 at age 87.