|Born: October 29, 1863|
|Died: November 10, 1929 (aged 66)|
|May 2, 1887, for the Chicago White Stockings|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 30, 1893, for the New York Giants|
|Earned run average||3.37|
|Career highlights and awards|
Marcus Elmore "Mark" Baldwin (October 29, 1863 – November 10, 1929), nicknamed "Fido", was an American right-handed professional baseball pitcher who played seven seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB). Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Baldwin made his professional debut for a Cumberland, Maryland team in 1883. Though signed by Chicago White Stockings President Albert Spalding to pitch in the 1886 World Series, Baldwin did not play after the St. Louis Browns, against whom Chicago played, objected. He made his MLB debut for the White Stockings in 1887, during which year a writer for the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern called him the "swiftest pitcher in the National League" (NL). Released by Chicago player–manager Cap Anson, he signed with the Columbus Solons of the American Association (AA) in 1889, where he led the league in innings pitched, with 513+2⁄3, losses, with 34, strikeouts, with 368, and walks, with 274.
In 1889, Baldwin, described as "intelligent and outspoken," recruited players for the Chicago Pirates of the Players' League (PL), the latter of whom he helped to form with the National Brotherhood of Professional Baseball Players and the former of whom for which he played.
During his career, he batted and threw right-handed, weighed 190 pounds (86 kg), and stood 6 feet (72 in) tall.
Marcus Elmore "Mark" Baldwin was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on October 29, 1863, to Franklin E. and Margaret Baldwin. One of two children to the couple, Mark and his family moved to Homestead, Pennsylvania, in 1872. Franklin, a real estate speculator, previously worked as a steelworker, a profession from which he "retired ... some years ago" as of 1892, and as a nailer. Mark started to pitch for amateur Homestead teams in 1880, and, after high school, attended Pennsylvania State University.
Baldwin made his professional debut for a team in Cumberland, Maryland, in 1883; two years later, he pitched for McKeesport, who finished first in the Western Pennsylvania league. On June 18, 1886, Baldwin, now with the Duluth "Jayhawks" (the team did not have a nickname; the moniker was added retroactively) of the Northwestern League, struck out 18 batters, twelve successively, against the St. Paul Freezers. Baldwin had 19 strikeouts in 12 innings in a 4-3 loss at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, on September 13, 1886. According to a friend of Baldwin, when Duluth fined Baldwin for poor play, Baldwin intentionally performed poorly until Duluth revoked the fine. Duluth won its league pennant, a victory, according to a Pittsburgh Daily Post writer, due "chiefly on account of Baldwin's pitching". Baldwin posted a 25-17 win–loss record for Duluth. He had 373 innings pitched in 43 appearances and completed all 41 of his starts. After a tryout, Chicago White Stockings President Albert Spalding signed Baldwin to a contract: Chicago wanted Baldwin to play in the 1886 World Series, but the St. Louis Browns, against whom Chicago played, objected, and Baldwin never played in the series.
In preparation for the 1887 season, Baldwin joined Chicago during spring training in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Though in March 1887, based on reports from his previous seasonal performance, Baldwin "expected to rank next to [John] Clarkson" among Chicago's pitchers, in April, The Sporting News reported Baldwin "[was] regarded in Chicago as little better than a failure". On May 2, Baldwin made his MLB debut against the Indianapolis Hoosiers in a 9–1 Chicago loss. Later in the month, Baldwin held the Boston Beaneaters to one run in a 3–1 Chicago victory, part of a week in which Baldwin's development "[surprised]" a writer for The Post, who discounted the earlier evaluation of Baldwin as a failure. In June, a correspondent for The Clipper complimented Baldwin on his endurance and curves, while an Oshkosh Daily Northwestern writer called him the "swiftest pitcher in the National League". Baldwin finished the season at an 18–17 win–loss record, with 164 strikeouts and 122 walks over 334 innings pitched, as Chicago finished 71–50, third in the NL. By December, Baldwin had re-signed with the club.
With the sale of Clarkson to Boston, only White Stockings' player–manager Cap Anson, according to one prediction, believed the team could win a pennant. In a May 30 game against the Washington Nationals, Baldwin sprained a tendon in his right leg, an injury from which he did not return until early July. As a club, Chicago finished the season second in the NL, nine games behind the New York Giants, with a 77–58 record, while, individually, Baldwin led his team with 15 losses and 99 walks. On April 24, 1889, after Spalding's 1888–89 World Tour, in which Baldwin participated, Anson released Baldwin and three other White Stockings and stated he would rather "take eighth place with [a team of gentlemen] than first with a gang of roughs"; according to Baldwin, Chicago did not restrict alcohol consumption on the tour and, after he hinted he would not sign for the salary of last season, he was released. Later in the year, Anson cited Baldwin's lack of pitch control as a reason for his release. Baldwin signed with the Columbus Solons of the AA on May 3.
"A year ago when Spalding released him, [Baldwin] declared that the ambition of his life was to play in opposition to Anson's team. He then thought only of a rival national league team and did not dream of a local rival for public patronage. Now that he is with the Chicago Players' team he says his ambition is gratified beyond his most fanciful hope, and he proposes to do all in his power to make his services to the new team valuable."
Baldwin, who debuted for the Solons on May 4 in a showing "anything but credible," explained his poor opening game as resultant of unfamiliarity with AA coaching methods; by late June, a month in which he hit a double, three triples, and a home run over a three-game span, Baldwin was "doing better". In early July, it was reported the Cincinnati team offered Columbus US$5,000 (US$150,796 in 2016) to release Baldwin, though Columbus declined. On August 31, Baldwin set the single-game AA record for strikeouts with 13 in a game against the Browns. In his only season in the AA, Baldwin led the league in innings pitched (513+2⁄3), losses (34), strikeouts (368), walks (274), and wild pitches (83), the last of which set a major league record that still stands today.
In November 1889, Baldwin met in Chicago with the National Brotherhood of Professional Baseball Players, a union of baseball players which would form the Players' League (PL) in 1890, where the union reportedly discussed the formation of a Chicago team. Despite an attempt by Anson to convince Baldwin to sign with an NL team, in which Anson "spent more money than he [had] spent before", on November 21, signed a PL contract for the Chicago team, nicknamed the "Pirates". On May 21, 1890, after the season's start, Baldwin's 1.77 "average earned runs per game by opponents" ranked second-lowest in the PL, while his seven games played tied for second highest in the league. Baldwin finished the year as the PL leader in games played (58), innings pitched (492), wins (33), strikeouts (206), complete games (56), and walks (249), as the Pirates finished fourth in the PL, ten games behind the first-place Boston Reds. When the PL disbanded in a joint NL–AA ratification on January 16, 1891, Columbus "theoretically" retained Baldwin under reserve. Baldwin officially signed with Columbus in January 1891 for US$2,900.
After baseball, Baldwin graduated with a Doctor of Medicine from Baltimore Medical College in 1900 and practiced in Rochester, Minnesota, in Columbus, and at Passavant Hospital in Pittsburgh. He identified as a Republican in 1889, and, in 1910, supported former teammate John K. Tener in the latter's bid for Governor of Pennsylvania.
Baldwin died at Passavant Hospital on November 10, 1929, of cardiorenal disease after a "long illness". He was interred at Allegheny Cemetery in Pittsburgh.