Hugh Bradley, a first baseman from Grafton, Massachusetts, was born on May 23, 1885; he played in the majors from 1910 to 1915.
His first four years in professional baseball were playing for the Worcester Busters in the New England League before joining the Boston Red Sox in 1910. On Friday, April 26, 1912, he hit Fenway Park’s first-ever home run. With two future Hall of Famers on board, Henry Hooper and Tris Speaker, and two out in the seventh inning against Lefty Russell of the Philadelphia Athletics, Bradley’s blast put the Red Sox ahead and went on to win 7-6.
After spending 1913 with Toronto and Jersey City in the International League, he jumped to the new Federal League with Pittsburgh in 1914, returning in 1915 with the Rebels, the Brooklyn Tip-tops, and Newark Pepper.
His 1916 and 1917 seasons were spent with Columbus of the American Association and Omaha in the Western League before staying out of baseball for 1918. It is unclear whether he joined some war effort or if he was battling legal problems with the owner of the Toronto minor league team.
In 1920, Bradley moved back up a notch to play A ball for New Orleans after splitting the 1919 season between Galveston and Houston in the Texas League. He hit .254 in the Southern Association for the Pels.
The following season, he signed with Nashville Vols. After agreeing to report in March, it was reported he was managing an independent team in New Orleans while playing first base, using the time to get himself into shape, and would not be in Nashville until April.
Bradley finally reported to Hub Perdue’s squad on April 2 and was immediately placed at first base. By April 18, Bradley was sick in bed and nursing a sore arm after Nashville played the first four games of the season.
With reports that team members were mistreating Bradley, manager Perdue took up for him, but by mid-July, Bradley left the team. When he jumped the team, he had a .289 in 25 games for the Volunteers in 1921.
After two seasons with St. Petersburg in the Florida State League, Bradley finished his professional career and became an umpire for several minor leagues. He died of a heart attack at the age of 63 on January 26, 1949, in Worcester and was buried there in St. John Cemetery.
Note: The author referred to Bill Nowlin’s excellent biography of Bradley, published by SABR (Society for American Baseball Research as part of the SABR Bio-Project may be found here: https://sabr.org/bioproj/person/hugh-bradley/; accessed January 26, 2024.
© 2024 by Skip Nipper. All Rights Reserved.