Two days ago, this space covered a baseball player with an unusual nickname. Here’s another one, and he even was born in Buffalo.
John Carroll has been described as the first baseball player to ever be called “Scrappy,” due to a feisty disposition. In 1884, Carroll played for St. Paul in the Union Association, considered a major league by some, and led off the very first game for that short-lived franchise.
He joined the Buffalo Bisons of the National League in 1885, appearing in 13 games. It’s fair to say the outfielder struggled, since he went 3 for 40 at the plate. The Bisons franchise soon folded, and Carroll’s big-league career was over. But he kept plugging away for several years. He popped up on the Buffalo roster in 1891 in the Eastern Association. At least Carroll hit .215 that season.
In 1892, Scrappy moved on to play one more season. He split his time between Binghamton and Minneapolis, and called it a career.
From there, we only know that Carroll returned to his native city at some point, as he was buried here in 1942. His remains are in Mount Olivet Cemetery.
– Budd Bailey
Sports Ink blog at buffalonews/com/blogs.