Richard J. Pearce (February 29, 1836 – September 18, 1908) known as Dickey Pearce was an American professional baseball player[1] and one of the sport's most famous early figures. He was born in Brooklyn, New York, and began playing with the Brooklyn Atlantics in 1856. He continued his career in the National Association and the early years of Major League Baseball. It is possible Pearce was one of the first baseball players to earn money for playing the game professionally. Pearce is given credit for pioneering the shortstop position. Pearce introduced his "tricky hit" to baseball, known today as the bunt. For much of his career, the rules permitted the ball to roll foul and still be a hit.[2]

Dickey Pearce
Dickey Pearce.jpg
Born: (1836-02-29)February 29, 1836
Brooklyn, New York
Died: September 18, 1908(1908-09-18) (aged 72)
Wareham, Massachusetts
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
May 18, 1871, for the New York Mutuals
Last MLB appearance
October 6, 1877, for the St. Louis Brown Stockings
MLB statistics
Batting average.252
Home runs2
Runs batted in137
  National Association of Base Ball Players
Brooklyn Atlantics (1857–1870)
Excelsior of Brooklyn (1866)
  League player
New York Mutuals (1871–72)
Brooklyn Atlantics (1873–74)
St. Louis Brown Stockings (1875–77)
  League manager
New York Mutuals (1872)
St. Louis Brown Stockings (1875)

Pearce played professionally for 22 years, spanning the generation from the game's beginnings to the National League. In the June 30, 1868 edition of the St. Louis Times, the paper said of him: "Pearce has been noted as a superior shortstop for ten years and to-day has no equal in the base ball field. He bats with great judgment and safety..." After retiring from playing, Pearce umpired into the mid-1880s.[2]


  1. ^ Dickey Pearce at, URL accessed November 18, 2009. Archived 11/18/09
  2. ^ a b Dickey Pearce at, URL accessed November 18, 2009. Archived 11/18/09

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Nate Berkenstock
Oldest recognized verified living baseball player
February 23, 1900 – September 18, 1908
Succeeded by
Al Barker