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November 22, 1869: King Bailey

On the final day of the 1895 season, the Cincinnati Reds gave King Bailey a shot on the mound. After all, it had been just three years since they'd given a similar shot to Bumpus Jones in the season finale and Jones had tossed a no hitter. Bailey would have no such luck, yielding a lead-off single to John O'Brien of the Louisville Colonels.

By the time he was done getting beat up, Bailey had allowed eight runs and 13 hits to the Colonels and spotted his team in a deep hole. Five of those runs were earned, but all was forgotten when Cincinnati made a late surge, winning the game 19-8. Bailey hadn't had a great day on the mound, but did go 2-for-4 at the plate with a stolen base. Still, his pitching performance wasn't good enough to convince the Reds to sign him to a contract or take them on their exhibition tour they were about to embark on.

He was actually set to pitch for the team later in October after having stayed in Cincinnati to play for the semi-pro Cincinnati Shamrocks. However, storm clouds moved in on the day Bailey was meant to get a second chance at making a good impression with Reds brass. The game was cancelled and that second chance never came. Two years later, pitching for the Evansville Brewers, he outdueled opposing pitcher Pete Dowling, twirling a no-hitter. His Brewers won the game 1-0. Though he had showed how dominant he could be, his time in the major leagues was over. Born in the wrong time in history with the league downsizing during his prime and expanding at the end of his career, it simply wasn't meant to be.

Bailey continued bouncing around the minor leagues, finally calling it quits in 1903. However, he did end up umpiring in the South Atlantic (Sally) League for a bit before selling his business and moving to Macon, Georgia. Just over a decade later, Bailey succumbed to blood poisoning, which he died of on November 19, 1917 just three days shy of his 48th birthday.

For a more in-depth look at Bailey's life and his time in organized baseball, check out Chris Rainey's complete write up on the Society for American Baseball Research's website.


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