View Full Version : The Only Nolan

Crash Course
03-31-2004, 10:28 AM
Anyone know the story behind this nickname?
He's a fellow NJ boy - his grave is up the street from where I work.
Very little on the 'net on him - besides his stats.

03-31-2004, 12:34 PM
Small write up about him in Out & About magazine:

"Unlike most of his ’84 Wilmington teammates, the 26-year-old Nolan had significant Major League experience––not to mention a big-league nickname. In previous seasons with Indianapolis, Cleveland and Pittsburgh, Nolan had wowed fans and opponents with an array of curveballs and in-shoots the likes of which had rarely been seen.

The problem was that Nolan himself had proven as baffling as his curveballs. A drinker, carouser, and as his nickname suggested, something of an egomaniac, Nolan had been suspended and blacklisted by baseball employers time and again. In 1881, Nolan had excused himself from a game with Cleveland to attend a funeral. A it turned out, he’d just gone drinking. After a year’s suspension, Nolan re-entered the majors in 1883 with the Pittsburgh Alleghenys. One night in New York, Nolan was fined $10 for an undisclosed transgression. He then went on a drinking spree and charged the expenses to the team."

The full article, which is primarily on the Wilmington Quick Steps is at:


Crash Course
03-31-2004, 12:40 PM
Awesome. Thanks Boomer! :thumb:

04-07-2004, 08:47 PM
The Only Nolan's nickname was due to in the early days, he would demand that he be the sole pitcher for a team, and that team was supposed to be of less than high quality.

No fooling.

This quote from "The Ballclubs" by Dewey and Acocella about Nolan being suspended from the 1878 Indianapolis Blues:

"Nolan, a curious character who would play only for inferior teams, only for a high salary, and only if he were the sole pitcher, had once summarily left a club when he had been required to share a mound duty. The hurler was again suspended on August 17 when it was discovered that he had fabriacted a telegram from a fictitious brother named Bill requesting a visit. Nolan had spent his day off not with a sick brother, but with what the Indianapolis Journal called, 'a beautiful habitue of an avenue assingation house, who has ruined more men in this city than she can count on the jeweled fingers on both her hands.'"

Nolan jumped the team, and was blacklisted in the NL until 1881. He was on the 1883 Pittsburgh Alleghenys, of whom I may enter the essay contest.

Crash Course
04-07-2004, 10:25 PM
Awesome too - thanks Smed.
Seems the only liked to be that big fish in a small pond.......

04-07-2004, 11:58 PM
I think a lot of his idiosyncracies come from the fact he was a total lusher. I'm surprised he lived to be 57.

04-08-2004, 10:41 AM
Sounds like Nolan was what we might politely call a character, or disparagingly call a lunatic. :D

04-17-2004, 11:17 AM
Sounds like Nolan was what we might politely call a character, or disparagingly call a lunatic. :D
Or what we might call a typical 19th-century ballplayer.