Ned Williamson

Edward Nagle "Ned" or "Ed" Williamson (October 24, 1857 – March 3, 1894) was an American Major League Baseball player for 13 seasons from 1878 until 1890. He played for three different teams: the Indianapolis Blues of the National League (NL) for one season, the Chicago White Stockings (NL) for 11 seasons, and the Chicago Pirates of the Players' League for one season.

From 1883 and 1887, Williamson held the single season record for both doubles and home runs. Although his record for doubles was surpassed in 1887, he held the home run record until 1919, when it was topped by Babe Ruth of the Boston Red Sox. Statistically, he was one of the best fielders of his era. During the first eight years of his career, he led the league, at his position, in both fielding percentage and double plays five times, and assists six times. Later, when he moved to shortstop, he again led the league in both assists and double plays.

His career was shortened by a knee injury that he suffered in Paris, France, during a world-tour organized by Albert Spalding. After he left organized baseball, his health declined rapidly. He contracted tuberculosis and ultimately died at the age of 36 of dropsy.

By Dean Hanley

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