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William Henry "Harry" Wright

Death: October 03, 1895 (60)
Immediate Family:

Son of Samuel Wright, Sr. and Ann Wright
Husband of Caroline Amanda "Carrie" Wright
Brother of George Wright and Sam Wright

Managed by: Private User
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About Harry Wright

William Henry "Harry" Wright (January 10, 1835 – October 3, 1895) was an English-born American professional baseball player, manager, and developer. He assembled, managed, and played center field for baseball's first fully professional team, the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings. He is credited with introducing innovations such as backing up infield plays from the outfield and shifting defensive alignments based on hitters' tendencies. For his contributions as a manager and developer of the game, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1953 by the Veterans Committee. Wright was also the first to make baseball into a business by paying his players up to seven times the pay of the average working man.


Hall of Fame Baseball Player, Manager. He was one of the most important contributors to 19th Century baseball. The eldest of five children, he came to America with his parents in 1836. At the age of 14, he dropped out of school and went to work for a jewelry manufacturer, playing baseball and cricket in the mornings and during free time. At the age of 15, he joined his father playing cricket at St. George's. He switched to the game of baseball, and played for the New York Knickerbockers. He continued to play both cricket and baseball, and in 1865, accepted a position as a professional cricketer in Cincinnati, during which time he was approached to join the Cincinnati Base Ball Club. Wright would serve as captain of the team and was the team's best pitcher and hitter. He was the only pitcher in the game to be able to change speeds with his pitches, which helped introduce more ground balls and pop-ups into the game. This led to the need for stronger defense.

In 1869, he began to sign baseball players and create a first, openly paid professional team. The Cincinnati Red Stockings, organized, managed, and captained by Harry Wright, became the first fully professional baseball team in history. He also introduced the modern baseball uniform of knee-length pants and stockings.

He recruited and managed the Boston Red Stockings in 1871, in the newly formed National Association. He was also involved in the foundation of the National League, and served as the league's first secretary in 1875. He would go on to manage the Boston Red Caps, as well as the Providence Grays and the Philadelphia Quakers and Phillies (he was named the team's first manager by another pioneering 19th Century baseball figure, Alfred Reach).

Throughout his career, he would introduce many innovations, including the introduction of spring training, double-headers, pregame batting practice, the double steal, fielders backing up one another, and shifting the defense to meet hitters' tendencies. His most important contribution, however, was his introduction of professionalism to the game of baseball. He died of a lung ailment just short of 60 years old. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1953 as a Pioneer by the Veterans Committee along with his brother, Hall of Famer George Wright.

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Harry Wright's Timeline

February 10, 1835
October 3, 1895
Age 60