Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Joe Visner

The portrait that we give this week is that of Joseph Visner, the well known catcher and outfielder. Visner is a native of Minneapolis and learned to play ball with the amateur teams of that city. His first professional engagement was in 1884 when he caught for the Stillwater Minneapolis Club, then a member of the old Northwestern League. That team disbanding in August of that year, he signed with and finished the season of 1884 with the famous Union Pacifics of Omaha. In 1885 he signed with the Kansas City Western League team and remained there until the team disbanded in June. He was engaged by the Baltimore Club but did not play in any games with the "Orioles," as he was suffering from a dislocated shoulder. In 1886 he was with Rochester in the old International League, playing behind the bat and in the field. He also remained with Rochester during the season of 1887. In 1888 he signed with the Hamilton, Canada, Club in the same league. While in the International League he did splendid work in all departments of the game. The Brooklyn Club then in the American Association purchased his release from Hamilton in the winter of 1888-1889 and he joined that club for the season of 1889. That season he played fine ball for Brooklyn, doing most of the catching also hitting well. In 1890, he was acquired by the Pittsburg Player's League Club. While with Pittsburg he did not catch much, playing the outfield most of the time. This season Visner is with the Omaha Club, in the Western League and is playing good ball. He has given up catching for the present at least and is playing right field for Omaha. Visner is a steady and reliable player. He is a good fielder and a hard hitter. His signing with Omaha strengthens that club greatly both in the field and at the bat.
-The Sporting News, July 2, 1892

In 1891, Joe Visner was playing with Washington and somehow ended up with the Browns. I have absolutely no idea how Visner ended up in Washington after the collapse of the Player's League and how the Browns picked him up. Looking at his stats, it seems that Visner was a pretty good ballplayer and I'm surprised he didn't get more time in the major leagues. But those are the breaks.

For all you Cardinal fans out there, the sixth most similiar player to Visner, according to Baseball Reference, is the immortal Hector Luna.


Cliff Blau said...

The Sporting Life of February 21, 1891 has 2 items on him. The first says he has signed with Washington. The second notes he has been dropped by Brooklyn.

Jeffrey Kittel said...

Thanks, Cliff. And almost two years on, the Hector Luna reference still amuses me.