Jim Toy (baseball)

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Jim Toy
First baseman/Catcher
Born: (1858-02-20)February 20, 1858
Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania
Died: March 13, 1919(1919-03-13) (aged 60)
Cresson, Pennsylvania
Batted: Unknown Threw: Unknown
MLB debut
April 20, 1887, for the Cleveland Blues
Last MLB appearance
July 30, 1890, for the Brooklyn Gladiators
MLB statistics
Batting average.211
Runs scored67

James Madison Toy (February 20, 1858 – March 13, 1919) was an early Major League Baseball player of Native American descent, having a short two-year career with the Cleveland Blues of the American Association and the Brooklyn Gladiators of the Players' League.[1]


Born in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, Jim began his professional baseball career in the International League for the Utica, New York team. He showed his versatility by playing many different positions, as well as having a well known good throwing arm. He helped lead the Utica team to the International League championship in 1886.[2]

This showing earned him a spot on the Cleveland Blues for the 1887 season, where he played in 109 games, batted .222, and played mainly at first base, but again showed his ability at other positions, including catcher, and all three outfield positions.[1]

Toy played minor league baseball in Brooklyn, New York for the 1889 and 1890 seasons, mainly as a catcher.[2] He joined the Gladiators later that season, playing in 44 games, batting .181, and gathering only seven RBI.[1] His career ended after suffering an injury when he was hit with a foul tip in the groin. Because of the lack of modern medical attention, the injury plagued him throughout the rest of his life along with cutting his career short.[2]

First Native American player?[edit]

According to writer Ed Rice, Louis Sockalexis was the first American Indian player in major league baseball. In 1963, baseball writer Lee Allen claimed that Toy, an early American Association catcher, had a Lakota (Sioux) father. This claim was disputed by Rice, who located Toy's death certificate listing his race as "white."[3] Controversy still remains on this subject, due to the inaccuracy of many birth records during that time period.

Modern historians have become less worried about whether the player is a "full-blooded" Native American, but rather if the player identified and aligned himself socially and culturally with his native people. Sockalexis fits this view of history, unlike Toy, who did not.[4]

Jim died at the age of 61 in Cresson, Pennsylvania, and is interred at Beaver Cemetery in Beaver, Pennsylvania.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "Jim Toy's Stats". retrosheet.org. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
  2. ^ a b c "Baseball Encyclopedia and the Baseball Hall of Fame: Jim Toy". bcshof.org. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
  3. ^ Baseball's First Indian, Tidemark Press, 2003.
  4. ^ Fleitz (2002). Louis Sockalexis: The First Cleveland Indian. p. 69.

External links[edit]