Billy Hallman, Philadelphia Phillies

Once before, I wrote about my father’s father, who was a professional baseball player and a Vaudeville and Burlesque performer. He died in 1920 at age 53, long before I was born. He mostly played for the Philadelphia Phillies, starting in 1888. He also did shorter tours with St Louis Browns, The Brooklyn Bridegrooms, The Philadelphia Quakers, The Philadelphia Athletics, and the Cleveland Blues. During these times, it is likely that he played against the famous Philadelphia Athletics Manager Connie Mack.

In 1890 a group of entrepreneurs started a new baseball league they called the Players League, and Bill Hallman was recruited, as was Connie Mack, to join. Bill, or as he was more known, Billy Hallman, tried to quit the Phillies to join the new league and team. The Phillies sued him. In those days, they had strict rules about taking positions with other teams unless sanctioned. He went to court, and the judge ruled in his favor saying the current baseball rules were akin to slavery. It was the first instance of a free agent.

The new league only lasted one year, and in 1891, he played for the Philadelphia Athletics in the American League. In 1892 he was back with the Phillies in the National League.

Billy Hallman was born near Pittsburgh but spent most of his life in Philadelphia and living in or near the Kensington section of the city.  The addresses I could find were 1890- 2708 Fairhill Street, 1900- lived at 635 Venango Street, 1910- 613 Indiana Street, and 1920- 3048 Reese Street. He passed away in 1920. One report of time said it was because of an old baseball injury to his heart.

After 1903 he mainly did management and worked with teams as far away as Savannah and Augusta, Georgia. As I mentioned, Billy was also a performer, and I have seen news ads and articles from places all over the county and as far away as Colorado. Remember, the best mode of transportation back then was the train. I read that he took a steamship to Savannah. Both were very slow compared to today. This made me wonder how, I mean I know how, how did he have time to sire eight children, two of whom died at birth? 

Happy Father’s Day, Billy Hallman.  

1 comment

  • Harry,

    Thanks for the information. I’m a die hard Phillies guy with about 250K baseball cards. I am also dating Kathryn out in Arizona. She mentioned Bill. In fact I bought her a Phillies #10 Jersey.
    I’m looking to purchase any cards of Bill to add to our collection. I’ll let you know wha we find.

    Felix Cervantes

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