Atlanta Braves Top-Ten Franchise Managers– #3 Frank Selee
From Omaha to Boston
The Western Association bought the Oshkosh club in 1888 and moved it to Omaha minus Hoy and McCarthy. Without their stars a d pitching o support Lovett they struggled to a fourth-place finish. Selee found a pitching replacement in a skinny 18-year-old right named Charles Nichols, better known as Kid Nichols. Nichols went 39-8, and Omaha finished 83-38 to nail down Selee's second pennant.
When the season ended, the Beaneaters made the best single-player acquisition in franchise history, adding Nichols for $3,000. . . oh, and they hired Selee to manage the team too.
The team Selee inherited was older and lost players to the short-lived Player’s League, but Selee convinced the owners to acquire Herman Long and Bobby Low. Nichols won 27 games, Lowe batted .280/.366/.391/.757 with 113 OPS + in 52 games, and Long became one of the league’s best shortstops, but Boston finished fifth.
Another Year, Another Pennant
Former Boston stars Billy Nash and Harvey Stovey returned from the defunct players league, and Selee’s crew was in the race from the start. When King Kelly returned at the end of August, the Bostons caught fire. After losing to the Chicago Colts (Cubs) on September 4, the Beaneaters went on a 23-4-1 run, ending the season 87-51, 3.5 games up on Chicago.
In 1892, John Clarkson’s sore arm in the spring saw him replaced by Jack Stivetts. Selee persuaded the owners to sign Tommy McCarthy and Hugh Duffy, Stivetts and Nichols posted 35-16 records, and Boston finished 102-48-2, making them the first 100-win team in Major League History.
Expansion to 12 teams led the league to play a split season. Boston won the first half, but the Spiders won the second, forcing a playoff. BBR lists this as a World Series when it was actually an LCS. The series was scheduled for nine games, but Selee’s crew ended it in six. Stivetts and Cy Young pitched to an 11-inning tie in game one, then Boston swept the next five, crushing Cleveland 5-0-1.
Boston would win again in 1893, but Baltimore emerged as a new power in 1894 as the Beaneaters aged.