Fred Dunlap

Frederick C. "Sure Shot" Dunlap (May 21, 1859 – December 1, 1902) was a second baseman and manager in Major League Baseball from 1880 to 1891. He was the highest paid player in Major League Baseball from 1884 to 1889. He has also been rated by some contemporary and modern sources as the greatest overall second baseman of the 19th century. He earned the nickname "Sure Shot" for the strength and accuracy of his throws to first base, and was also sometimes referred to in the 1880s as the "King of Second Basemen."

He played for the Cleveland Blues from 1880 to 1883, where he secured his reputation as one of the best players in the game. As a rookie in 1880, he led the National League in doubles and ranked second in extra base hits. While playing for Cleveland, he also compiled batting averages of .325 and .326 in 1881 and 1883 and led the league in assists by a second baseman and range factor. When the Union Association was formed in 1884, Dunlap was lured to play for the St. Louis Maroons where he became the highest paid player in baseball. His .412 batting average in 1884 was the highest ever recorded to that time in Major League Baseball and 56 points higher than any other player in the major leagues in 1884 due to the lack of talent.

After three years in St. Louis, Dunlap was sold to the Detroit Wolverines and helped that team win the 1887 National League pennant. Dunlap's baseball career ended in 1891 when he broke his leg sliding into a base. He went into the construction business and bet on the horses in the 1890s. By 1902, Dunlap was penniless and living in a rundown boarding house. He died of "consumption of the bowels" in December 1902, and his body was unidentified until a policeman at the morgue recognized his body as that of the former baseball star.

By Dean Hanley

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