Inspired by the International champion Guelph Maple Leafs, Bob Emslie longed to become a professional baseball player at a young age. His strong pitching arm gained notoriety while he was toiling for an amateur club in Harriston, Ontario that won a Canadian championship in 1880.
It was on a barnstorming tour of the U.S. with a semi-pro squad from St. Thomas, Ontario that Emslie would catch his big professional baseball break. At the end of the tour, he inked a deal with a semi-pro club in Camden, New Jersey, and when that team disbanded, he was picked up by the American Association’s Baltimore Orioles. In Baltimore, the 25-year-old hurler would win a Canadian record 32 games in 1884. Emslie would also toss over 455 innings and register a sparkling 2.75 ERA in that remarkable campaign. Unfortunately, that season would take its toll on his arm, and he was out of big league baseball by the end of 1885.
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