Stivetts was a star pitcher and power hitter before the turn of the century. He played more than 200 games at field positions in addition to a heavy mound load, and had a career average of .297 with 35 homers. Three times he hit two homers in a game.
Among the many players of his time to hail from the Pennsylvania anthracite coal fields, he joined the St. Louis Browns of the American Association in 1889, and led the league in ERA in his first year. In 1891 he went 33-22 and led in both strikeouts and walks. When the AA dissolved, he joined Boston of the NL, and combined with Hall of Famer Kid Nichols to give them the league’s best one-two pitching punch. Nichols was a control artist, while Stivetts was a power pitcher. Jack won 35 games for Boston in 1892, including a no-hitter. They took the team to pennants in 1892 and 1893. In the latter year, Stivetts fell off to 19 wins, as he had trouble adjusting to the new pitching distance of 60’6″. In 1894 he bounced back with 28 wins.