A turn-of-the-century star, Kelley was an outfielder for the Baltimore Orioles dynasty in the 1890s, and a player-manager in the first decade of the 20th century. A 19-year-old rookie for Boston and Pittsburgh in 1891, Kelley bounced to Baltimore by the end of 1892 and was starting in center field in 1893. Switched to left in 1894, Kelley had his best season as the Orioles won the first of four consecutive league championships. He hit .393 with 167 runs scored, the second-best run total in NL history, but also only the second-best that season, as Philadelphia’s Billy Hamilton scored an amazing 196 times. Kelley went a perfect 9-for-9 in a September 3 doubleheader that year, including a ML-record-tying four doubles in one game. From 1895 to 1897, his average never dipped below .364.
After the 1898 season, Kelley moved to the Brooklyn Dodgers along with manager Ned Hanlon and Orioles stars Dan McGann, Hughie Jennings, Willie Keeler, Jim Hughes, and Doc McJames. The Dodgers won pennants in 1899 and 1900. Kelley moved to first base in 1901 and returned to the Orioles, now in the fledgling AL, in 1902. With the club headed for a last-place finish, he left in mid-season to become Cincinnati’s player-manager. By 1906, Kelley’s average had crashed to .228 and the Reds let him go, but he resurfaced for a final season, managing the Braves to a sixth-place finish in 1908 while batting .259. The Veterans Committee elected him to the Hall of Fame in 1971.