Bill Dahlen was born on January 5, 1870 in Nelliston, New York to a family of German descent. He attended Fort Plain High School and the Clinton Liberal Institute, where he began an amateur baseball career as a pitcher and second baseman.
Dahlen married his wife, Hattie, on January, 1, 1890, and the couple had a daughter, Corinne, the next year.
He began playing professional baseball in 1891 with the Chicago Cubs and was with them until 1898. He was a second baseman and shortstop for the majority of his career. He played from 1899-1909 with three other teams.He was starting shortstop for the giants in 1905 when they won a World Series.
The best of Bill Dahlen came in 1894 when he had a 42 game hitting streak from June 20 to August 6. This created a new record at that time and now is the 4th longest of all-time. In that same season, he hit 15 home runs, had a .359 batting average, had 150 hits along with 108 runs batted in and 182 hits.
In the career of Bill Dahlen, he finished with a 75.2 bWAR . To put that in perspective, 41 players had a bWAR of at least 65 over the 100-year speak from 1871-1970. Of those 41, Dahlen is the only one not already enshrined in Cooperstown.
He was also a very good defensive player as he finished with a 28.5 defesnive WAR and 110 OPS. He is only one of two shortstop to finish that high. The other was Cal Ripken. Ripken went into the Hall of Fame with 98.5 % of the vote on the first ballot.
Bill Dahlen died in Brooklyn on December 5, 1950 after a long illness. His daughter Corinne survived him. His final resting place is a currently unmarked grave in Brooklyn’s Cemetery of the Evergreens.
Look for more 19th Century Stars articles that will include: