William Alexander "Bill" Lange (/ˈlæŋ/; June 6, 1871 – July 23, 1950), also known as "Little Eva", was an American Major League Baseball center fielder, who played his entire seven-year career for the Chicago Colts and Orphans from 1893 to 1899. During his time in the Majors, he once led the National League in stolen bases, and was among the seasonal leaders in several other offensive categories including home runs, and batting average.
Lange was noted for having a combination of great speed and power, especially for his size. His 6-foot-1-inch (1.85 m), 190-pound (86 kg) frame was considered large for his era. He is best known for retiring from baseball during the prime of his career to get married, as his future father-in-law forbade his daughter to marry a baseball player. Despite the short-lived marriage, he refused all offers to return as a player.
He became a successful businessman after his retirement from baseball. In addition to his success in real estate and insurance, he became a leading figure in Major League Baseball's efforts to generate interest in the game worldwide. He was enlisted by the leading baseball figures of the day to assist in establishing leagues in several European countries, that could eventually compete against American teams, while also scouting for undiscovered talent.
By Dean Hanley
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