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.
Turning to umpiring, Emslie was nicknamed Blind Bob by legendary Giants manager, John McGraw, with whom he frequently clashed. Emslie was a National League umpire from 1891 to 1923 and was the base umpire during the famous Merkle play that cost the Giants the 1908 pennant. A field in St. Thomas, Ontario is named in Bob Emslie’s honour.
Career Major League Statistics
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