Thursday, May 9, 2013

Bill Bergen: Superba, Inept Hitter, and Brother To An Axe Murderer.

I have no idea who Bill Bergen is. The name has zero meaning to me and I had not heard of him before coming across the below. After seeing his face on this beautiful piece of cardboard, however, I knew he needed to be part of my collection.

And now he is. Cheap vintage is the best, and when it features the Brooklyn Superbas, it's hard to top. This bad boy hails from the T202 Hassan Triple Folders set released in 1912. It marks my first card of a Superbas' player, and it was had for a great price. I dig the slightly-loved condition, the prominent Brooklyn B, and the fact that this gorgeous piece of cardboard has retained its color.

William "Bill" Bergen played 11 seasons, 8 of which saw him behind the dish for the Superbas. He's been lauded for his defense, ranking as high as third all-time on some lists. His two claims to fame, however, are not what any player would want. Bergen holds the record for worst career WAR and .wOBA by a position player, and FanGraphs fittingly dubbed him the "worst hitter in baseball history" back in 2011. That other claim to fame? His brother, also a major league catcher in the late 19th century, killed his family with an axe and committed suicide.


  1. Really interesting card and also an interesting (though disturbing) bit of baseball history. Great post!

  2. Nice card! I'd read about both Bill Bergen's inept hitting abilities and Marty Bergen's dark and disturbing story in the past. I had no idea they were brothers, though.

  3. I read the post heading as "Inept Hitler". Hitter makes much more sense.

  4. sbl- Gracias! And yeah, only mildly disturbing haha.

    Nick- Thanks! One of the most interesting baseball families ever.

    Mark- Haha, that would have been a unique post for sure. I actually had to go back after reading your comment and make sure I didn't accidentally write Hitler.

  5. Vintage tobacco is the best. Congrats on your first Superbas