Pitcher John Stivetts, known to baseball patrons as "Happy Jack," hails from Ashland, Pa., where he was born on March 31, 1868. He began his career with a club at Ashland, Pa., in 1886, and remained with that team until July, 1888, when he joined the Allentown (Pa.) club, pitching a number of games with success. In April, 1889, he signed with the York (Pa.) club, officiating in eighteen championship games and winning fifteen. In a half dozen exhibition games he won all. He was always regarded as one of the hardest hitting pitchers in the East, and when Chris Von der Ahe sought to strengthen the St. Louis Browns in 1889 he signed Stivetts. He was with St. Louis in 1890 and 1891. In the fall of the latter year he signed with Boston for the season of 1892...Stivetts is a giant in size, a terrific batter and a good outfielder as well as pitcher...In luck or out, Stivetts is the same happy-go-lucky individual, ready at all times to jump into the gap, and playing always for the club instead of individual aggrandizement.-From A History of the Boston Base Ball Club
In The National Game, Al Spink also mentions that Happy Jack Stivetts was an outstanding hitter who "often played the field, his good batting in the pinch often proving useful." He also refers to the 6'2" Stivetts as "a fine big fellow" who "much resembled the veteran Cy Young in build and delivery."