Johnny Kling

The catcher of Frank Chance‘s great Cub teams of 1906-10, Kling was the NL’s premier defensive catcher and a capable hitter. Batterymate Ed Reulbach called him “one of the greatest catchers who ever wore a mask.” In the years 1902-08, Kling led the league in fielding four times, putouts six, assists twice, and double plays once. On June 21, 1907, he threw out all four Cardinal runners who attempted to steal second base. In the WS that fall, Kling nabbed seven Tigers in 14 tries, with Ty Cobb unable to steal a single base. In the winter of 1908-09, Kling won the world pocket billiard championship and decided to forsake the baseball diamond for the pool table. Defeated in his attempt to retain the title, he rejoined the Cubs in 1910 but was a part-timer thereafter. His brother Bill pitched briefly in the NL during the 1890s.