Fred Carroll was a 5’11” jack-of-all-trades. He played catcher, outfielder, and first baseman. Born July 2nd, 1864, he made his first minor league appearance at the age of 15 with the San Francisco Athletics in the California League in 1880. Before making his first Major League appearance in 1884, he also appeared with the San Francisco Nationals and the Reading Actives (of the Interstate Association).
In 1884, Carroll made his first “Major League” appearance with the Columbus Buckeyes of the American Association. In 69 games, he hit .278 with an AA sixth best six home runs over 69 contests.
1885 would see Carroll join the Pittsburgh Allegheny’s, still part of the AA at the time. At the plate, he hit .268 with 30 RBI and 45 runs scored through 71 games. He spent 60 of those games behind the plate, fielding at .926. In his 12 games in the outfield, he made five errors out of 28 chances, a fielding percentage of .821. The team finished third in the AA at 56-55, 22.5 games behind the St. Louis Browns.
In 1886, Carroll played in 122 games, hitting .288 with 28 doubles, five home runs, 64 RBI, 20 stolen bases, and 92 runs scored. He caught 70 games with a .921 FP%, played 27 games in the outfield, making 11 errors out of 68 chances (.838), and also spent 25 games at first base, rounding out with a .961 FP%. The Allegheny’s finished at 80-57, 12 games behind the league leading Browns.
Carroll improved at the plate in 1887 for the Allegheny’s who had at this time joined the National League. He hit a then career best .328, walking 36 times versus 21 strikeouts in 459 plate appearances over 102 contests. He hit a career best six home runs with 54 RBI, 23 stolen bases, and 71 runs. For this season, he played 46 games in the outfield, committing 21 errors for an .833 FP%. He stood in at backstop 40 times, and played 17 games at first base. On May 2nd, he became the first player in franchise history to hit for the cycle. Pittsburgh finished 24 games out of the money, behind the League Champion Detroit Wolverines at 55-69.
1888 would see Carroll’s average drop to .249. He scored 62 runs, knocked in 48, and stole 18 bases in 97 contests. He caught 54 games and played 38 times in the outfield. Pittsburgh posted a 66-68 record, finishing sixth in the NL, 19.5 games behind the New York Giants.
In 1889, Carroll played in 91 games, hitting a career best .330 and a league leading .486 on base percentage. He walked 85 times to only 26 strikeouts in 414 plate appearances. The Allegheny’s went 61-71, 25 games back of repeat champion New York.
The Allegheny’s would have to do without Carroll’s services in 1890, but he could still be found playing in Pittsburgh as he jumped to the Player’s League Pittsburgh Burghers. He hit .298 in 111 games.
1891 would see Carroll jump back to Pittsburgh, now called the Pirates. He displayed a prodigious drop in talent at the plate, hitting a paltry .218 in 91 games with 48 RBI, 55 runs, and 22 stolen bases. The Pirates finished dead last in the National League at 55-80, 30.5 games behind the Boston Beaneaters.
Carroll would not see any more Major League action, appearing with assorted teams in the California League and later the “A” level Western League. He was only 40 when he died on November 7th, 1904, and is buried in San Francisco, CA.
All-Time Statline: Six seasons, 574 games, .281/.365/.406, 626-for-2224, 405 runs, 113 doubles, 54 triples, 19 home runs, 295 RBI, 102 stolen bases, 260 walks, 114 strikeouts, 15.0 wins above replacement.