George Miller, also known as "Foghorn" and "Calliope," but mostly "Doggie," was a 5'6" catcher from Brooklyn, New York. Born on August 15th, 1864, the righty made his first professional appearance in the Interstate Association, with Harrisburg in 1883. He played 55 games, hitting .231. Although he hadn't exactly set the league on fire, he was signed by the Pirates the following season.
Pittsburgh, still part of the American Association and known as the "Alleghenys," employed Miller mostly behind the plate, also starting him at second and third base as needed. He appeared in 89 games with Pittsburgh, hitting .225 with 13 walks for a .257 OBP. Despite his low averages, he managed to rank second on the team with 347 at bats, 46 runs, 78 hits, and 10 doubles. The Allegheny's employed five different managers over the course of the season (may be a record, citation needed) and compiled a 30-78 record, 12th in the 13 team league and 45.5 games behind the pennant winning New York Metropolitans.
Miller's offense took a turn for the worse in 1885, as he hit .163 in 42 games for the Alleghenys. Fred Carroll assumed primary catching duties that season, batting .268 in 71 contests. The Pirates played a lot better over the course of the season, finishing in third place, 22.5 games behind the St. Louis Browns, at 56-55.
In 83 games for Pittsburgh in 1886, Miller improved his batting average to .252 with 15 doubles and 36 RBI. He also walked 43 times, giving him an OBP of .343. He ranked second on the team by stealing 35 bases. Pittsburgh improved to 80-57, ranking second in the AA 12 games behind St. Louis.
In 1887, Pittsburgh joined the 12 year old National League. The American Association would continue play until 1891 before calling it quits. Doggie appeared in 87 games, hitting .243 with 17 doubles and 34 RBI, scoring 58 runs. He walked 35 times with a team best 33 stolen bases as Pittsburgh's starting catcher. At 55-69, the Alleghenys finished in sixth, 24 games behind the Detroit Wolverines.
1888 would see Miller appear in 103 games for Pittsburgh, a new career high. He improved his batting average to a team second best .277, scoring 50 runs, hitting 17 doubles, knocking in 36 RBI and stealing 27 bases. Pittsburgh went 66-68, finishing sixth in the National League 19.5 games behind the pennant winning New York Giants.
In 1889, Miller played in 104 games as Pittsburgh's starting catcher. He hit a team best 25 doubles, three triples, and six home runs with 56 RBI, scoring 77 runs while hitting .268. He also struck out just 11 times, drawing 31 walks. Pittsburgh posted a 61-71 record, heading up the NL's second division in fifth place, 25 games behind repeat pennant winners New York.
1890 would see Miller walk 68 times, striking out 11 times in 621 plate appearances. He hit .273 while leading the team in most offensive categories, including doubles, RBI and walks. He appeared in 138 contests, with 24 doubles, 66 RBI, and 32 stolen bases as the Alleghenys starting third baseman. Pittsburgh was really bad, posting a 23-113 record, 66.5 games back of the Brooklyn Bridegrooms.
In 1891, Pittsburgh started using "Pirates" as their nickname for the first time. He hit .285, a new career best over 135 games. He ranked second on the team in most offensive categories, with 19 doubles, six triples, four home runs, 35 stolen bases, 59 walks (against only 26 strikeouts) and 57 RBI. He had started as a catcher, but by this point in his career could play any of the infield positions. He made multiple starts at catcher, shortstop, third and first base. Pittsburgh again finished in dead last, at 55-80.
Miller hit .254, playing in a career high 149 games in 1892. He also set career highs and led the team with 103 runs scored and 158 hits, collecting 15 doubles, 12 triples, 59 RBI and 28 stolen bases. He also struck out just 14 times with 69 walks. Pittsburgh finished at 80-73, in sixth place of the now 12 team National League.
Miller appeared to be finished in 1893, posting a .182 batting average in 41 games at catcher for the Bucs. He joined the Browns in 1894, hitting .339 in 127 games. After another season in St. Louis, he finished up his Major League career with the Louisville Colonels in 1896.
Miller spent another seven seasons at assorted levels of the minor leagues before retiring from baseball following the 1903 season. He passed away in New York in 1909, at the age of 44.
All-Time Statline: 10 seasons, 971 games, .254/.323/.328, 985-for-3872, 839 runs, 151 doubles, 38 triples, 19 home runs, 374 RBI, 209 stolen bases, 357 walks, 99 strikeouts, 13.1 wins above replacement.