Uncle Ezra, as admiring Boston fans called him, was a power hitter in the bare-handed
days. He once hit three consecutive triples in a single game and had respectable
numbers for slugging average and total bases. Originally a cross-handed batter (from
the righthander's side of the plate), he adopted the normal grip to enhance his effectiveness
against pitchers' ever-increasing speed.
Essentially a third baseman, he played
all infield positions as needed, had a strong throwing arm and unflinching courage
facing "fair-foul" hits down the line. Except for a league-leading .908 in 1884,
however, his fielding percentages were usually in the .800s. While with the
he made the first error in the first National League game ever played.
contributor to Boston's 1877, 1878, and 1883 champions, he came to a sad end, dying
crippled and impoverished.