Kid Elberfeld's Influence - Dave Fultz


Dave Fultz

David Lewis (Dave) Fultz (May 29, 1875 - October 29, 1959) was a center fielder in Major League Baseball who played in the National League with the Philadelphia Phillies (1898-1899[start]) and Baltimore Orioles (1899[end]), and for the Philadelphia Athletics (1901-1902) and New York Highlanders (1903-1905) of the American League. He batted and threw right handed. In a seven-season career, Fultz posted a .271 batting average with 223 RBI and three home runs in 644 games played.

A native of Staunton, Virginia, Fultz graduated in 1898 with a law degree from Brown University, where he shined in football and baseball and was named captain of both teams. Signed by the Phillies the same year, he played for them in part of two seasons and went to Baltimore in the 1899 midseason and played under John McGraw. With McGraw, Fultz developed as a solid bases stealer, and in hit and run and bunting situations.

When the American League was created, Fultz joined the Philadelphia Athletics of Connie Mack in 1901, appearing at shortstop and second base, and later moved to center field. Fultz responded leading his team with 36 stolen bases and hit .292 with 95 runs scored. His most productive season came in 1902, when he stole 44 bases, hit a career-high .302, and led the AL with 109 runs. On September 4, he stole second base, third and home, in the second inning of a game against the Tigers.

From 1903 to 1905 Fultz played for the New York Highlanders when Clark Griffith managed the team. During the offseason and in his spare time he attended New York Law School, passing the New York bar exam. Fultz averaged 30 stolen bases for season with a high 42 in 1905. That season, he suffered a late September collision with teammate Kid Elberfeld, breaking his nose and jaw, and retired at 31 age.

In 1906 Fultz became a practicing attorney. In 1912, he created a furor in baseball by unionizing major league players in an organization called the Players Fraternity. Ty Cobb and Christy Mathewson were among its officers. The group threatened to strike in 1917, but the walkout was averted after Fultz obtained some concessions for the players. The union was disintegrated during World War I.

After service as a WWI lieutenant aviator, Fultz became president of the International League. He also served as a football coach for the University of Missouri, Lafayette College, Brown and New York universities, and coached in baseball at the U.S. Naval Academy, Columbia University, and N.Y.U. He retired in 1947 as a lawyer with offices at Broadway, New York, and came to Lake Helen, Florida, where he bought the estate of Henry A. DeLand.

Fultz died in DeLand, Florida, at the age of 84.