About Pop Dillon
Major League Baseball first baseman Pop Dillon shares with Jim Greengrass the record for the most doubles hit on the opening day of the Major League Baseball season, with four doubles for the Tigers on the 25th of April, 1901. Dillon played in 312 Major League games with a .258 batting average.
He was born Frank Edward Dillon in Normal, Illinois on October 17, 1873 to Levi Dillon and Mary Wright. Normal, then known as North Bloomington, was located at the intersection of the Illinois Central and the Chicago & Alton Railroads. The Dillon family was among the most prosperous; they operated a profitable horse-rearing business that they brought to the area shortly after the Civil War. Isaiah Dillon and his younger brother Levi began breeding horses in the 1850s, becoming well known throughout the country. They lucratively imported, bred and sold the animals, as one of the nation's first importers of Norman Draft horses.
Dillon grew up in the Bloomington/Normal area, attending local public schools. He then enrolled at Illinois State Normal University, the present-day Illinois State University, in 1892. Founded in 1857, it was the first publicly funded institution of higher education in Illinois. Dillon, a right-handed thrower and left-handed batter, was primarly an outfielder, but he took up pitching at the university. He played right field and was a substitute pitcher.
He played with the Pittsburgh Pirates (1899–1900), Detroit Tigers (1901–1902), Baltimore Orioles (1902), and Brooklyn Superbas (1904).
After his Major League career ended, Dillon was a player and manager for many years with the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League. Dillon managed the Angels to pennants again in 1905, 1907, and 1908. He was a cousin of Hall of Famer Clark Griffith.
Dillon was the player-manager for the 1903 Los Angeles Angels who went 133–78. Dillon at age 29 hit .364 (for a team that hit .266) and led the league in batting.
Starting as a professional player in 1894, he played through 1912 and managed through 1915. He had a batting average of .295 in over 2,000 minor league games.
After his playing and managing days he was an officer of the Association of Professional Ball Players of America.
Dillon died in Pasadena, California at age 57 in 1931.