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Jim Toy

Baseball ∙ Beaver Falls

 

 

 

 

James Madison Toy may not be a familiar name to the casual baseball fan, but the Beaver Falls native has his name on the historic rolls at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Jim isnít  enshrined at Cooperstown but his background is on record for a variety of reasons, the foremast being that Jim was the first American Indian to make the major leagues. Born in February 1858 of the Sioux extraction, Jim was also the first Beaver Countian to make it in the big leagues. He began his professional career at Utica, New York, where his versatility allowed him to play catcher, first base, third base, shortstop, and outfield, and he was particularly well known for a strong throwing arm. Jim helped the Utica team to the International League championship in 1886, which got him a spot on the Cleveland team in 1887 in the the American Association (considered the forerunner of the American League). Jim played 109 games at Cleveland that season, hitting safely in 94 of them with his primary position at first base. In 1889 and 1890, he played with Brooklyn as a catcher (the franchise moved to Baltimore during the 1890 season). His budding career suffered a major blow, however, when he was hit with a foul tip in the groin. Because of the lack of modern medical attention, the injury plagued him throughout the rest of his life and certainly curtained his playing days. Jim passed away in 1919, but he is still listed as one of the baseball pioneers, and his contributions are acknowledged in the Baseball Encyclopedia and the Baseball Hall of Fame.