Morris James
"Farmer"
Steelman


MORRIS JAMES "FARMER" STEELMAN was born June 29, 1874 in Millville, New Jersey to Samuel B. and his wife, the former Elizabeth "Lizzie" G. Sheppard. His father worked as a carpenter. The Steelman family, which included older siblings Walter and Eva, were still living in Millville when the census was taken in 1880. They soon moved to Camden and by 1900 were living at 570 Mickle Street. Three more children had joined the family, twins Raymond and Emma and another sister, Lorella. 

Morris Steelman became one of the best sandlot baseball players in South Jersey in the 1890s. He went on to have a long career as a professional baseball player, then became a policeman in Camden, New Jersey. He primarily played as a catcher, although he did play some games in the outfield. He appeared in one game as pitcher in 1904, and in one game each at first base and third base in 1899. He was never that great as a hitter, but was certainly proficient enough as a ballplayer to the extent of having a 15 year career as a professional.

Morris Steelman turned professional in 1895 when at the age of 20 with the Millville team of the South New Jersey League. He stepped up the following year, playing with the York White Roses of the Pennsylvania State League. 1897 Saw him splitting time between the Richmond Giants and Philadelphia Athletics of the Atlantic League. In 1898 he played for the Charleston Seagulls in the Southern Association, then back to the Atlantic League, for the renamed Richmond Bluebirds. He split time in 1899 between the Richmond team and the Syracuse Stars of the Eastern League.

Morris Steelman's major league debut came on September 15, 1899 with the Louisville Colonels of the National League. he appeared in 4 games at catcher and hit .067. He spent the next year in the Eastern League with the Hartford Indians. In 1901 began the season in the National League with the Brooklyn Superbas (later known as the Dodgers. After appearing 1 game with the Superbas, he was released on May 6, 1901. Morris Steelman then caught on with the Hartford team in the Eastern League. In August of 1901 he left the Hartford team to join the Philadelphia Athletics of the then-new American League, where he appeared in 27 games. He returned to the Athletics in 1902. After appearing in five games Morris Steelman's major leaguer came to an end on May 22, 1902. He retuned to the minor leagues, finishing the year with the Worcester Hustlers of the Eastern League. Morris Steelman married around this time.

Morris Steelman spent 1903 in the Eastern League with the Worcester team, known that years as the Riddlers, the Montreal Royals, and the Rochester Bronchos. He went to the West Coast and played for the Portland Browns of the Pacific Coast League in 1904. 1905 and 1906 were spent with the Rochester Bronchos, and 1907 and 1908 with the Utica Pent-ups of the New York State League. His final season was 1909 as a member of the Altoona Mountaineers of the Tri-State League. During his minor league career he also appeared in numerous exhibition games and played semi-pro ball in and around Camden when not connected with a professional team.

When he was not playing baseball, Morris Steelman worked as a housepainter. He married Bessie Rowbotham of 24 North 4th Street, Camden in 1902. The 1906 City Directory lists Morris Steelman "baseball player" at 326 Stevens Street. The 1910 Census shows him and Bessie living at 305 Clinton Street in South Camden. After his baseball career had ended, Morris Steelman made his home in Camden, New Jersey. He was appointed to the Camden Police Department on November 23, 1910. The 1914 City Directory has him living at 506 South 3rd Street. By September of 1918 the Steelmans had moved to 320 Warren Avenue. They were still at that address when the 1929 City Directory was compiled. The 1930 Census shows that he was still employed by the Camden Police Department. At that time he was working as one of the Department's switchboard operators. He and wife Bessie were living at 239 South 27th Street in East Camden.

Bessie I. Steelman died on June 13, 1937 and was buried at Arlington Cemetery in Pennsauken. By the end of 1939 Morris Steelman had moved to Merchantville, New Jersey. He passed away there on September 16, 1944 and was buried near his wife. 


Morris Steelman's Major League Hitting Statistics 

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB Pos Awards
1899 24 LOU NL 4 18 15 2 1 0 1 0 2 0 2 5 .067 .176 .200 .376 3 3 0 1 /2
1900 25 BRO NL 1 4 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 -100 0 0 0 /2
1901 26 TOT MLB 28 106 91 5 24 2 0 0 7 4 10 9 .264 .350 .286 .635 75 26 2 3 2O
1901 26 PHA AL 27 103 88 5 23 2 0 0 7 4 10 9 .261 .350 .284 .634 74 25 2 3 2O/2
1901 26 BRO NL 1 3 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .333 .333 .333 .667 91 1 0 0 2O/2
1902 27 PHA AL 10 35 32 1 6 1 0 0 6 2 2 6 .188 .235 .219 .454 24 7 0 1 /2O
4 Seasons 43 163 142 8 31 3 1 0 15 6 14 21 .218 .297 .254 .551 51 36 2 5
162 Game Avg. 162 614 535 30 117 11 4 0 57 23 53 79 .218 .297 .254 .551 51 136 8 19
PHA (2 yrs) 37 138 120 6 29 3 0 0 13 6 12 15 .242 .321 .267 .588 61 32 2 4
BRO (2 yrs) 2 7 7 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .143 .143 .143 .286 -21 1 0 0
LOU (1 yr) 4 18 15 2 1 0 1 0 2 0 2 5 .067 .176 .200 .376 3 3 0 1
NL (3 yrs) 6 25 22 2 2 0 1 0 2 0 2 6 .091 .167 .182 .348 -4 4 0 1
AL (2 yrs) 37 138 120 6 29 3 0 0 13 6 12 15 .242 .321 .267 .588 61 32 2 4

Morris Steelman's Major League Fielding Statistics 

Year Tm Lg Age Pos G GS CG Inn Ch PO A E DP Fld% RF/9 RF/G lgFld% lgRF9 lgRFG G PB WP SB CS CS% PO Awards
1899 LOU NL 24 C 4 14 11 2 1 0 .929 3.25 .952 4.60 1 5 2 29%
1900 BRO NL 25 C 1 6 4 2 0 0 1.000 6.00 .948 5.00 1 2 2 50%
1901 TOT MLB 26 C 15 84 56 27 1 1 .988 5.53 .952 5.05 0 20 22 52%
1901 PHA AL 26 C 14 76 52 24 0 1 1.000 5.43 .950 4.97 0 19 20 51%
1901 PHA AL 26 OF 12 12 10 2 0 1 1.000 1.00 .931 2.03 0-0-12
1901 BRO NL 26 C 1 8 4 3 1 0 .875 7.00 .971 6.20 0 1 2 67%
1902 PHA AL 27 C 5 26 21 5 0 1 1.000 5.20 .957 4.90 3 5 3 38%
1902 PHA AL 27 OF 5 9 7 1 1 1 .889 1.60 .944 2.08 0-0-5
4 Seasons C 25 130 92 36 2 2 .985 5.12 .953 4.95 5 32 29 48%
2 Seasons OF 17 21 17 3 1 2 .952 1.18 .937 2.05 0-0-17
4 Seasons TOT 42 151 109 39 3 4 .980 3.52 .951 3.77 0-0-17 5 32 29 48%

Morris Steelman's Minor League Statistics 

Minors Batting

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Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB
1896 21 York PASL B 12 47 3 13 3 0 0 1 .277 .340 16
1897 22 2 Teams 1 Lg B PHI 84 155 13 34 3 2 0 1 .219 .265 41 2
1897 22 Richmond ATLL B 29
1897 22 Richmond,Philadelphia ATLL B PHI 42 155 13 34 3 2 0 1 .219 .265 41 2
1897 22 Philadelphia ATLL B PHI 13
1898 23 Charleston SOUA B 22 81 8 20 4 0 1 0 .247 .333 27
1899 24 2 Teams 2 Lgs A 81 279 39 77 13 3 1 8 .276 .355 99 4
1899 24 Richmond ATLL A 52 179 24 47 7 3 1 3 .263 .352 63 1
1899 24 Syracuse EL A 29 100 15 30 6 0 0 5 .300 .360 36 3
1900 25 Hartford EL A 113 384 44 99 12 3 1 9 .258 .313 120 13
1901 26 Hartford EL A 90 298 87 6 2 1 .292 .336 100
1902 27 Worcester EL A 69 246 60 5 2 0 .244 .280 69
1903 28 2 Teams 1 Lg A 100 326 21 72 9 0 2 7 .221 .267 87
1903 28 Montreal/Worcester,Rochester EL A 100 326 21 72 9 0 2 7 .221 .267 87
1904 29 Portland PCL A 141 471 103 15 4 0 .219 .268 126
1905 30 Rochester EL A 89 274 61 5 3 0 .223 .263 72
1906 31 Rochester EL A 84 257 44 6 1 0 .171 .202 52
1907 32 Utica NYSL B 105 302 68 .225
1908 33 Utica NYSL B 82 222 47 3 4 0 .212 .261 58
1909 34 Altoona TRIS B 34 96 16 3 0 0 .167 .198 19
14 Seasons 1106 3457 3438 128 801 87 24 6 26 .233 .233 .258 886 19
A (8 seasons) A 767 2552 2535 104 603 71 18 5 24 .238