A Collection of Baseball Firsts

Who hit the first grand slam? Who was the first pinch hitter? Presenting the nine players of Smithsonian’s “They Did It First” All-Star Team


First Member of 3,000 Hit Club: Cap Anson

Cap Anson
(Library of Congress)

The famous player/manager for the Chicago White Stockings was the first to achieve 3,000 hits—thereby beginning the “3,000 Hit Club” in 1897, which currently consists of 27 players, including Pete Rose, Wade Boggs, Hank Aaron, Stan Musial and Roberto Clemente. Although Anson is widely regarded as the best player of the 19th century—and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939—his memory is tainted by his strident racism. He frequently spoke out against the inclusion of African-American players in major-league baseball—and ultimately emboldened other teams to refuse to sign African-Americans.


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