Jimmy Slagle, a native of Worthville, Pennsylvania, began his ball playing career with the Omaha Omahogs in 1895. At 5-foot-7 inches tall and around 140 pounds, it was a humble beginning for a 21-year-old who didn’t impress the scouts as much of a prospect. Jimmy, however, was a quick learner and prospered with the Omahogs, hitting .345 with a dozen triples in just eighty-six games. By 1897 he had graduated to the big-time, of sorts, joining the Grand Rapids Bob-o-Links of the original Western League.
What a joy it must have been to watch a Bob-0-Link game! A full 21 players went on to play with big league clubs. The team was managed by Charles “Count” Campau, already a legend in baseball circles by that time. Campau, an intimate of Dan Brouthers, Sam Thompson, and Ned Hanlon, was one of the fastest men ever to circle the basepaths (he was once timed at a mere 11 seconds.) Under Campau’s tutelage, Slagle’s game improved in spite of the stronger competition. He swatted for a handsome .325 average. After one more year of seasoning (with Kansas City, where he batted .378,) Jimmy was ready for a solid ten years in the majors, starting with the National League’s Washington Washington Senators in 1899.
The Jimmy Slagle Bob-0-Links card is part of the Helmar-T206 series. He may not have made the set when it was first issued, but you can find him on Helmar’s ongoing art card additions to this popular set. Aside from the unusual team depicted on the Slagle card, there are two unusual aspects featured. The first is the horizontal formatting; there are just a handful of these in the series. The second unusual aspect is the corner “Colgan’s Chip’s” logo; only four of these are printed for every Helmar T206 card.
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