Henry “Hank” O’Day was one of those rare men who played, umpired and managed in MLB.
Started his career in the 1880′s in the American Association; his catcher was Fleetwood Walker, the first black man to play professional baseball. Not a good pitcher in an era that boasts gaudy pitching numbers O’Day managed to throw 1600 innings and play in 3 different professional leagues before he hung it up with a sub .500 after the 1890 season.
O’Day joined the umpiring business in 1895 and is in that position that he gained most of his baseball fame. O’Day is most famous for being the umpire during the famous “Merkel Incident” and the second base umpire for the first triple play in World Series History.
The Cincinnati connection with O’Day is found in 1912, a year that O’Day found himself a manager in the National League and it was the Reds who gave the arbitrator his first chance at managing O’Day’s greatest accomplishment as a Red is that he was at the helm of the club when they opened the new stadium that was christened “Redland Field” and later renamed Crosley Field.
It was also the Reds who also gave him his first pink slip after the season ended. Back to umpiring went O’Day only to reemerge in 1914 managing the Cubs to their first sub .500 record in 12 seasons. In 1915 he was once again wearing blue and defending his calls to the players he managed the year before.