William Aloysius "Blondie" Purcell (March 16, 1854 – February 20, 1912), was an American Major League Baseball player born in Paterson, New Jersey. He played for a total of 12 seasons while playing for eight different teams in two leagues. He appeared in 1097 games, mainly in the outfield, but did pitch in 79 games throughout his career, as well as other infield positions.
On June 6, 1882, while playing for the Buffalo Bisons, he was fined $10 ($244 today) for slicing open a soggy baseball. He did this to compel the umpire to put a fresh ball in play so his pitcher, Pud Galvin, would be able to throw his curveball.
In 1883 he was the player-manager for the Philadelphia Quakers. He took the reins of the team after just 14 games, when they were only 4–13 under player-manager Bob Ferguson, and finished the season with an equally dismal 17–81 record. The 8th-place Quakers finished 23 games behind the 7th-place Detroit Wolverines. Purcell never managed another major-league game. He is the first player to get a hit and also score a run in Philadelphia team history, however, doing so in his first AB of the 1883 season.
Purcell is one of the few players in major-league history whose death is not documented by the Society for American Baseball Research, although according to Find A Grave he has a death date of February 20, 1912, and is buried in Greenmount Cemetery located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
By Dean Hanley
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