Emmett Rogers

Emmett Rogers, born October 11, 1867 in Hot Springs, AR, was a professional baseball player from 1887-1898. Rogers was the first confirmed Arkansas-born player in the major leagues.


Rogers with Houston in 1889
Rogers with Houston in 1889
Much of Roger’s background is unclear. His birthplace was for many years listed in baseball records as New York, though this was changed when his researchers discovered his obituary, which gave his birthplace as Hot Springs, AR1 . Newspapers contemporary with Rogers’ playing days give various other birthplaces, including Springfield, IL2 , and Roxbury, MA3 . Sources do agree, however, that Rogers grew up in Hot Springs. His parentage is uncertain, though he was raised in the family of John and Mary Sammons4 .

In his youth, Rogers worked in his uncle’s grocery store5 and played baseball with Hot Springs amateur teams6 . He became well known as a skilled catcher, and several teams sought out his ability. In June, 18847 , when Rogers was only 16, he was recruited by a Little Rock, AR team known as the Shorts to play in a big game again Hope, AR8 . A year later in August, 1885, he returned to Little Rock to play with the Arkansas Travelers, a well-known amatuer club.

In 1887, Rogers played with Hot Springs in the minor league Southwestern League. From there, he began his professional career, which included a stint with the major league Toledo Maumees of the American Association.

Rogers, Los Angeles Herald, 3/22/1892.
Rogers, Los Angeles Herald, 3/22/1892.

Rogers, The Scranton Tribune, 5/18/1895
Rogers, The Scranton Tribune, 5/18/1895


"Davis and Rogers, of Hot Springs, will do the battery work for the [Arkansas] Travelers today."9

"The defeat of the [Arkansas] Travelers cannot be attributed to the battery work of the Hot Springs players, for they did very affective work and had many admirers among the spectators. This is Rogers’ second appearance on a Little Rock diamond. He figured conspicuously in the game last season between the Hope Mascottes and the local Shorts . . . Davis and Rogers of Hot Springs, played a fine game yesterday. They play good ball. Rogers made some excellent pic-ups behind the bat. They went back to the valley last night."10

"Emmett Rogers, the clever catcher of the Hot Springs nine, was again the [illegible] of a beautiful basket of flowers at the close of the game Wednesday evening by a lady admirer as a testimonial of his excellent playing. Emmett, though quite a young man, is certainly one of the best, if not the best, catchers in the state, and with careful coaching and training will at no distant day take his place among some of our leading professional ball players in some of the leading crack clubs in the country.”11

"Emmet Rogers, our favorite ball tosser, is corresponding with St. Joe. We would hate to see Emmet leave us and if the St. Joe people sign him, they will secure a faithful player. We wish him luck."12

"St. Joseph has fired catcher Rogers."13

"He and Emmett Rogers, a Hot Springs boy, form a strong battery [for Hot Springs] and will be heard from during the season."14

"The El Paso battery was Rodgers and Fudger, formerly of Hot Springs, Ark., who have been here on salaries for two months."15

"Emmet Rogers, who will play behind the bat with the Fort Worth nine, was born in Springfield, Ill, in 1867, so that he is now but twenty years of age. He stands five feet nine inches and weighs 165 pounds. His career as a base ball artist began last season, when he caught with the Hot Springs team in the Southwestern league. He went to El Paso with Frank Fudger last fall, and was behind the bat when Fudger made his great performance against the sluggers from Lake City. He is a ball player of high rank. He is a good batter, having led the Hot Springs team, with which he played last season."16

"Rogers, an old Hot Springs boy, was accorded an ovation upon going to the bat the first time, which he acknowledged by doffing his cap."17

"Emmett Rogers, catcher, is 24 years old, weighs 165 pounds, and is 5 feet 10 inches tall. Rogers first played professionally with the Hot Springs [club] in 1886. He played with the St. Joseph, Mo., club in 1887 and then finished with the Hot Springs club. Last year he played with the Fort Worth club, doing excellent work for that club until it disbanded. He then finished the season with San Antonio. Rogers is a first class backstop, swift and accurate thrower to bases."18

"Emmet Rogers, the handsome and dashing catcher of the "Citrus Belters," is a Boston boy. He is 23 years old and has been identified with several prominent clubs during his baseball career, which began in the year 1888, consequently this is Rogers' fifth year in the professional arena. His first engagement was with Fort Worth. in 1889, Houston, of the Texas league, secured Rogers. His work behind the bat was so good that he attracted the attention of several of the major league clubs. Toledo, of the International league, secured Rogers, paying the Texas club a good round sum for his release. Last season Rogers was with Lincoln, of the Western league, and did excellent work behind the bat. Rogers is a very fair hitter for a catcher. He expects to play the game of his life this year and if he does, he should be the speediest catcher in the California league."19

"Emmet Rogers, Scranton’s favorite catcher, has had an enviable record in his seven years of professional playing. He is young, well-built and good looking, and is very popular among the members of the team. Excepting during a portion of 1894 on the Scranton club, he has always been a catcher; during the period mentioned he played in right field owing to an injury which temporarily debarred him from going behind the plate. Rogers is 26 years old and was born in Roxbury, Mass. When a small boy he lived in Little Rock, Ark., where he clerked in his uncle’s grocery store and played amateur base ball. His professional record is as follows; 1888, Fort Worth, Tex.; 1889 Houston, Tex., and sold to Toledo, O., upon the disruption of the Texas League; 1890, Toledo, 1891, Lincoln, Neb.; 1892 Los Angeles; 1893, Memphis; 1894, Scranton. The Houston, Los Angeles and Memphis clubs won the pennants in their respective leagues while Rogers was with the clubs."20

"Emmet Rogers writes from Scranton, Pa. . . . In the Eastern League averages of last year Rogers had a batting average of .303. Of a list of 17 catchers he was fifth with an average of .952. A Scranton paper says: "Emmet Rogers, the well known ball player, who is wintering in this city, has been warmly congratulated during the past few days over the fact that his record shows that he stood so well among the catchers and batsmen of the Eastern league. This record shows that Rogers was not let go because of poor work done by him and justifies the criticism made of Mr. Barnie's management. No favorites will be played on Manager McDermott's team and every man will be given the place that he merits."21

"A long illness ended in death at his home at 1:30 AM Friday for Emmett Rogers, 71 year old retired major league baseball player, 311 S. 14th Street. Mr. Rogers played several years as catcher for the Cincinnati Reds, was manager of a Los Angeles, California minor league team, and was one of the organizers of Fort Smith's first team listed in the Western Association. Mr. Rogers was born at Hot Springs, Arkansas Oct. 11, 1870. He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Katherine Rogers, a son, John Gray Rogers, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and a sister, Mrs. Al Belding, Hot Springs."22


Statistics at Baseball-Reference.com.

2 Fort Worth Gazette, 4/8/1888
3 The Scranton Tribune, 5/18/1895
4 Rogers' obituary states that his sister is the wife of Al Belding of Hot Springs, AR, or namely, Violet May Sammons. In the 1880 U.S. Census, Violet is living with her parents, John and Mary Sammons, and an older brother listed as "Emmett Sammons", age 12. It appears this is Emmett Rogers. It seems likely that Emmett may have been the son of Mary Sammons by a previous marriage.
5 Emmett's uncle was Shad Allen Sammons, a well known Hot Springs grocer. Sammons was the brother of Emmett's stepfather and possibly the husband of his mother's sister, Harriet Emily Ely Sammons.
6 The Scranton Tribune, 5/18/1895
7 Arkansas Gazette, 6/22/1884
8 Arkansas Gazette, 8/27/1885
9 Arkansas Gazette, 8/26/1885
10 Arkansas Gazette, 8/27/1885
11 Arkansas Gazette, July 17th, 1886
12 The Sporting News, 3/5/1887
13 Sporting Life, 5/11/1887
14 The Sporting News, 6/4/1887
15 Dallas Morning News, 11/18/1887
16 Fort Worth Gazette, 4/8/1888
17 The Sporting News, 3/23/1889
18 Galveston Daily News, 3/31/1889
19 Los Angeles Herald, 3/22/1892
20 The Scranton Tribune, 5/18/1895
21 San Antonio Light, 2/16/1896
22 Unknown Newspaper, 1941

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