Thursday, August 16, 2012

How Two-Arm Daily Became One-Arm Daily

Very few people are acquainted with the way in which Hugh Daly, the famous on-armed pitcher of the Chicago Unions, lost his arm.  He was employed in the Front Street Theater, in Baltimore, and one night, while mixing up some red fire and other fancy lights to be used in a spectacular play, there was a terrible explosion, and poor Hughey was knocked senseless.  When he regained consciousness his left hand and forearm were a shapeless mass.  It was injured so badly that amputation was necessary.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 25, 1884

As soon as I read this, I was certain that the story wasn't true.  According to his bio in Major League Baseball Profiles, 1871-1900, Volume 2, at the age age of thirteen, Daily "was reportedly shot through the left wrist with a loaded musket in backstage horseplay at Baltimore's Front Street Theater...Daily ever after that was in effect one-handed..."  I always make the joke that One-Arm Daily actually had two arms and I'm pretty darn sure that there was no amputation.  To the best of my knowledge, he had two arms and two hands but the one hand didn't work after the accident.  A better joke, made in Profiles, is that Daily's true handicap was his temper. 


Cliff Blau said...

I picture him as looking something like Jim Abbott. Frank Vaccaro's biography of Daily for SABR refers to a stump. See

Jeffrey Kittel said...

I think that sounds about right. Although, regardless of the similarity of their disabilities, I've never linked Abbott, who always seemed to be a decent human being, with Daily, who was pretty much a jerk.