Bobby Lowe Essentials
Bats: R Throws: R
70 Weight: 150
Born: 7 10, 1865 in Pittsburgh, PA USA
Died: 12 8 1951 in Detroit, MI USA
Last Game: 10/6/1907
Full Name: Robert Lincoln Lowe
“The crowd saw some of the finest hitting ever seen in this country,” reported The Boston Globe on May 31, 1894. “Bobby Lowe broke all league records with four home runs in succession, and then by adding a single, making a total of 17 bases.” Sportswriter Tim Murnane noted that the “home runs were on line drives far over the fence, and would be good for four bases on an open prairie.” Bolstered by his record-setting game, the Boston Beaneaters’ second baseman and leadoff man enjoyed a career year at the plate. He slashed .346/.401/.520 with 34 doubles, 11 triples, 17 home runs (2nd in the NL), 115 runs batted in, 23 stolen bases, and 158 runs scored.
A Pittsburgh native, Lowe was born in July 1865, and by age 16, was starring for local semipro clubs. After three seasons in the minors (he homered in his first professional at-bat), the 5-foot-10 inch, 150 pounder began a 12-year stint with the National League’s Boston Beaneaters in 1890. Lowe played his first full season in 1891, hitting .260 with 30 extra-base hits, 74 RBI, and 43 steals. In 1893, the 27-year-old hit .298 with 14 home runs (3rd in the NL), 89 RBI, and 130 runs scored. Following his epic 1894 campaign, Lowe’s slugging stats fell off quite a bit, though he was still a force to be reckoned with. During the ensuing six-year span (1895-1900), Bobby hit .289 while averaging 30 extra-base hits, 100 RBI, and 98 runs scored per 154 games played.
Now in his mid-30s, Lowe struggled to hit .250 for the balance of his career (1901-07), though his reputation as a defensive whiz remained firmly intact. At the time of his retirement, Lowe held the record for highest career fielding percentage (.953) by a second baseman; he still ranks among the top 50 at the position in putouts (48th), assists (46th), and range factor-per-game (30th). Lowe’s wife, Harriet, once complimented Nap Lajoie on being named the best second sacker of all-time. Lajoie humbly replied: “The greatest second baseman was your husband.”
For his career, Lowe amassed 1,934 hits — including 230 doubles, 85 triples, and 71 home runs — 1,135 runs scored, 989 RBI, 303 stolen bases, and a .273/.325/.360 slash-line. Noted for his versatility, “Link” — his middle name was Lincoln — also played shortstop, third base, and the outfield. In 1911, former big leaguer Fred Tenney wrote: “Lowe of Boston was one of those baseball phenomena who could play any position on the team in first-class style.”
Following his retirement, Lowe briefly worked as a coach at the college and minor league levels, and then took a job as a scout for the Detroit Tigers, with whom he had finished up his playing career (1904-07). Lowe lived in Detroit for the remainder of his life, where he was employed by the Department of Public Works. In June 1932, Bobby found himself back in the spotlight after Lou Gehrig equaled his four-homer performance. Upon meeting the legendary slugger, Lowe declared: “I feel complimented to share the record with so grand a boy.”
In 1936, Lowe — along with 59 others — was considered by the Veterans Committee for induction into Cooperstown. He received more votes (1.9%) than seven future Hall of Famers — including Jesse Burkett, Candy Cummings, Tim Keefe, and Deacon White. On December 8, 1951, Robert Lincoln Lowe passed away, age 86, at his home in Detroit. The Associated Press ran an obituary, the second line of which read: “He was the first of four men in baseball history to hit four home runs in a regulation nine-inning game.”
✍️ Bobby King II