James Patrick “Jimmy” Archer
Born: May 13, 1883 - Dublin, Ireland
Died: March 29, 1958 - Milwaukee, WI
Career BA: .249
Pittsburgh Pirates NL (1904, 1918)
Detroit Tigers AL (1907)
Chicago Cubs NL (1909–1917)
Brooklyn Robins NL (1918)
Cincinnati Reds NL (1918)
Thought by many to have the best throwing arm of his era, Jimmy Archer made his money by pegging out would-be base stealers and by his patented snap throw from the squat. This talent may have come from tragedy. As a teenager in Canada, Archer worked in a Toronto barrel cooperage, and severely injured his arm when he fell into a vat of scalding oak sap. Although the injuries healed with time, the tendon in his right arm contracted. This physiological twist of fate enabled him to perfect the snap throw.
A Chicago Cub from 1909 until 1917, Archer led the National League in assists for a catcher in 1912 and was consistently in the top five in that category. In 1910, he threw out more than 54 percent of the runners who attempted to steal, best in the NL. At 5-foot, 10-inches, and 168 pounds, Archer was built low to the ground and was also perennially in the top five in fielding percentage, putouts, and games played as a catcher.
Born in Dublin, Ireland, Archer did not have the luck of the Irish in the postseason. He played for the Tigers in 1907 when the team lost to the Cubs in the World Series. Three years later, he was on the Cubs as they lost to Philadelphia in the Series. Archer hit just .143 in World Series play. Jimmy Archer’s career ended in 1918, and he retired to a life of competitive bowling and softball. He was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990 and will forever be remembered for making “snap” decisions behind the plate.
– Tom and Ellen Zappala, The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball's Prized Players. For more information on their book and/or to order a copy at a special PSA discount, visit http://crackerjackplayers.com/PSA_order.html