Fred “Topsy” Hartsel
“Topsy” Hartsel was a native of Polk, Ohio, graduating from Polk High School. One of a family of twelve children, he grew to be five feet tall, but many times big things come in small packages. He aspired to be a major league ballplayer and play in a World Series. At the turn of the century you didn’t have to be a college star of spend several years of apprenticeship in the minor leagues, if you had the skill, speed, the batting eye, and the desire.
“Topsy” started his big league career with Louisville, then in the National League, playing in 1898 and 99, before moving to Cincinnati in 1900, where he batted .328, playing in only 18 games. Acquired by Chicago the next season, his average in 140 games was .339. Switching to the American League in 1902, he played for the great Connie Mack through 1911 season, compiling a lifetime batting average of .276.
His great speed stood him in good stead running for balls in the outfield, as well as on the base paths. Hartsel stole 246 bases in his career and led the American League in stolen bases in 1902 with 47 thefts. Because of his diminutive size, he drew many walks.
“Topsy” played in the 1905 World Series against the New York Giants, and again in the 1910 series against the Chicago Cubs. The world champion Philadelphia Athletics of that year was one of Connie Mack’s finest clubs. Hartsel’s World Series share was $2062.79.
His niece, Margie Hauenstein, says, “He was a perfect man, neither smoked of drank, but lived baseball.”
In one game in 1901 he made eleven put outs in left field, one off the major league record.
His final baseball years were spent in Toledo, where he coached and managed the Toledo Mud Hens. Hartsel died in Toledo in 1944.
Nominator: Margie Hauenstein
And Jack Kelley
Presenter: Tom Gaus