An excellent hitter who could play any position, including pitcher, McVey was only 18 when he joined Harry Wright‘s Cincinnati Red Stockings, the first professional team, which barnstormed to a 56-0-1 record in 1869. When the first professional league, the National Association, was formed in 1871, McVey followed Wright to the Boston Red Stockings and hit .419. The NL replaced the NA in 1876, and Iowa native McVey joined the White Stockings (later the Cubs), batting .347 and collecting six hits in one game twice in four days (July 22 and 25). He returned to Cincinnati in 1878 as the Reds’ player-manager but left for California after a fifth-place finish in 1879. He was involved in Pacific Coast League baseball for many years.