If Bill Dahlen were alive, he would be 146 years old today. He was born on January 5, 1870. He logged 21 seasons in the big leagues, though it really was 19 plus a couple guest appearances as a player manager.
When I looked at his Baseball-Reference.com page and saw 21 seasons, I automatically assumed he was in the Hall of Fame. When you find out for four seasons he was the all time career games played leader, it furthers that assumption of being a Hall of Famer. I don't know how to break down his era and check to see how many of his contemporaries played for as long as he did, but two decades at the turn of the century is impressive! Reading up on him via Wikipedia reveals he received the highest number of votes without gaining admission to the Hall of Fame via the Veterans Committee in 2013. In true Wikipedia fashion, it hasn't been updated since.
There are books about Bill Dahlen specifically, and there are books commemorating the forgotten greats of his era. It's inspired me enough to put a couple of them on my Good Reads list. My Good Reads challenge for 2017 is to read 12 books. Perhaps Mr. Dahlen will be the subject of one!
Dahlen played a couple of seasons for the Boston Doves, which existed for only four seasons. They were named such because they wore all white uniforms and were owned by George and John Dovey. They're the team that were once the Boston Beaneaters, Boston Nationals and later they became the Boston Rustlers before becoming the Boston Braves and even later, the Atlanta Braves.
In Bill Dahlen's life, they were always in Boston. He passed away in 1950, and the team didn't head out to Milwaukee for another 2 seasons. He won a World Series title as a member of the 1905 New York Giants. Perhaps that's part of the reason he spent his remaining days there.
Some useless information on Mr. Bill Dahlen. He remains 28th all time with 548 stolen bases. 33rd all time in triples. 50th all time in runs scored. 2nd all time in errors committed. 2nd all time in put outs by a shortstop. He hasn't played baseball in 106 years.
I wonder, if during his Boston days, fans pronounced his name the same way they pronounce 'darling'. Did Boston accents exist like they do today, back then? Questions for another day!