Over the years 190 men from across Europe have fulfilled their dream of playing in the bigs. Some of their stints were brief, others had storied careers, but they all got there.
Kurt Krieger was born on September 16, 1926, in Traisen, Austria. At 22 years old he signed with the St. Louis Cardinals. The RHP, whose nickname was “Dutch”, played with the Cardinals from 1949 to 1951. Kurt is the only Austria-born player in MLB history.
Joseph “Joe” Hovlik is one of four Austria-Hungary born players who have put on an MLB jersey. His career lasted a total of three seasons, from 1909-1911. The RHP stood on the mound in 12 games for the Chicago White Sox and Washington Senators.
Pitcher Joe Koukalik played for the NABBP Brooklyn Superbas in 1904; Pitcher Jack Quinn played for the AL New York Highlanders in 1909-1933; 1st baseman Frank Rooney played for the Federal League Indianapolis Hoosiers in 1914; RHP Frank “Dutch” Ulrich played for the NL Philapelphia Phillies in 1925-1927.
The only Belgian to reach the bigs is Brian Lesher. He signed with the Oakland Athletics in 1996. He retired in 2002 after playing 108 games in five seasons. Lesher was a left fielder and first baseman.
Rightfielder Elmer Valo signed with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1940. The Slovak played in the major leagues for 20 years. Valo was a .282 hitter with 58 home runs in 1,806 games. In addition to the Athletics he played for the Kansas City Athletics, Philadelphia Phillies, Cleveland Indians, NY Yankees and Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins. His last game was on October 1, 1961, with the Phillies.
Olaf Henriksen was born in Kirkerup, Denmark in 1888. This pinch hitter and outfielder played seven seasons for the Chicago White Sox from 1911-1917. Henriksen won the World Series with the White Sox three times 1912, 1915 and 1916.
John Michaelson is the only Finnish player to have ever played in the majors. The RPH signed with the Chicago White Sox in 1921 and played two games. After he retired from baseball he worked as a painter.
Bruce Bochy has had a long and successful career as a catcher in the majors. He broke into the bigs in 1978, signing with the Houston Astros. He also played for the NY Mets and San Diego Padres. Bochy played his last game in 1987. As a manager he has won three World Series, 2010, 2012 and 2014. At the moment he works as manager of the San Francisco Giants.
Shortstop/ 2nd/ 3rd baseman Ed Gagnier played for the Federal League Brooklyn Tip-Tops in 1914-1915; 2nd baseman Claude Gouzzie was with the AL St. Louis Browns in 1903; Shortstop/ 2nd/ 3rd baseman Steve Jeltz played in the NL for the Philadelphia Phillies from 1983-1990; Catcher Paul Krichell played for the AL St. Louis Browns in 1911-1912; Pitcher Charlie Lea played for the NL Montreal Expos in 1980-1988; Pitcher Duke Markell was in the AL as a St. Louis Browns in 1951; Shortstop Joe Woerlin in the NL for the Washington Senators in 1895.
Most of the European baseball fans know Minnesota Twin player Max Kepler. Not that many know that he has had 43 predecessors. The first Germany-born player to reach the majors was catcher, first baseman and outfielder Joe Straub who made his debut in 1880 with the Troy Trojans. Straub played three seasons.
Since 2014, outfielder Aaron Altherr has been playing for the NL Philadelphia Phillies; 1st/ 2nd baseman/ pinch hitter Jeff Baker was with the NL Colorado Rockies in 2005-2015; 1st baseman/ pinch hitter Heinz Becker played for the NL Chicago Cubs in 1943-1947; SS/ 2nd/ 3rd baseman Rob Belloir was in the NL with the Atlanta Braves in 1975-1978; 1st/ 3rd baseman Mike Blowers played for the Seattle Mariners in the NL from 1989-1999; Catcher Fritz Buelow was with the AL Detroit Tigers from 1899-1907; RHP Bob Davidson played for the AL NY Yankees in 1989; Centerfielder Pep Deininger was in the NL with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1902, 1908-1909; RHP Ed Eiteljorge played with the NL Chicago Cubs in 1890-1891; RHP Fred Gaiser played in the NL for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1908; SS/ 2nd/ 3rd baseman Ron Gardenhire played for the NL NY Mets in 1981-1985; RHP Charles “Pretzels” Getzien played on the NL Detroit Wolverines in 1884-1892; 1st/ rightfielder George Heubel played for the NA Philadelphia Athletics in 1871-1872, 1876; 2nd baseman Glenn Hubbard played in the NL for the Atlanta Braves in 1978-1989 and was an NL All Star in 1983; RHP Edwin Jackson has been on the majors since 2003 playing for the Dodgers, Cubs and Padres. He made the NL All Star team in 2009; RHP/ outfielder Jack Katoll played for the AL Chicago White Sox in 1898-1902; LHP Steven Kent played on the AL Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2002; Rightfielder Max Kepler plays for AL Minnesota Twins 2015-present; 1st/ 2nd baseman/ centerfielder Ben Koehler played for the AL St. Louis Browns in 1905-1906; SS/ 2nd/ 3rd baseman Marty Krug played on the AL Boston Red Sox in 1912 and 1922; SS/ 3rd baseman/ outfield Bill Kuehne played for the AA Pittsburgh Alleghenys in 1883-1892; LHP Craig Lefferts played on the NL San Diego Padres in 1983-1994; Catcher David Lenz played in the NA for the Brooklyn Eckfords in 1872; Catcher Bruce Maxwell plays for the AL Oakland Athletics 2016-present; RHP Tom McCarthy played for the AL Chicago White Sox in 1985, 1988-1989; Rightfielder Bill Miller was on the NL Pittsburgh Pirates in 1902; 2nd baseman Joe Miller played in the NA with the Washington Nationals in 1872 and 1875; 1st baseman Fritz Mollwitz played for the NL Cincinnati Reds in 1913-1919; LHP Will Ohman was on the NL Chicago Cubs from 2000-2012; RHP Dave Pavlas played for the NL Chicago Cubs in 1990-1996; RHP Reggie Richter played in the NL with Chicago Cubs in 1911; RHP Rudolph “Skel” Roach played for the NL Chicago Cubs in 1899; RHP Charles “Dutch” Schesler played on the NL Philadelphia Phillies in 1931; 1st Frederick “Dutch” Schliebner was in the NL with the Brooklyn Robins in 1923; LHP Ralph “Mickey” Scott played for the AL California Angels in 1972-1973, 1975-1977; RHP/ rightfielder Gus Shallix played in the AA for the Cincinnati Red Stockings in 1884-1885; Catcher/ rightfielder Frank Siffell played for the AA Philadelphia Athletics in 1884-1885; RHP Tobi Stoner played on the NL NY Mets in 2009-2010; 1st/ 3rd baseman/ centerfielder John “Marty” Swandell played for the NA Elizabeth Resolutes in 1872-1873; RHP Robert “Bun” Troy was on the AL Detroit Tigers in 1912; RHP Anton “Tony” Welzer played with the AL Boston Red Sox in 1926-1927; RHP Stefan Wever played in the AL for the NY Yankees in 1982; 2nd/ 3rd baseman Henry Youngman played for the NL Pittsburgh Pirates in 1890; Rightfielder Bill Zimmerman played on the NL Brooklyn Robins in 1915.
Al Campanis was born on the island of Kos. He was 26 years old in 1943 when he broke into the big leagues, signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers. The second baseman played 162 games in his short, one-season career. Campanis is more famous for his position as general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1968-1987. He was the first, and so far the only one, Greek player in MLB history.
Alex Liddi started his career as a professional baseball player in 2011 when he signed with the Seattle Mariners. During his three seasons in Seattle, Liddi played 61 games. He’s played at third and first, and in left field. Liddi is still an active player. He spent the 2016 season in the Mexican Baseball League where he was crowned Home Run Derby champ.
Pitcher Rugger Ardizoia played for the AL NY Yankees in 1947; SS/ 2nd/ 3rd baseman Reno Bertoia was with the AL Detroit Tigers in 1953-1962; 1st baseman/ pinch hitter Hank Biasetti played on the AL Philadelphia Athletics in 1949; Pitcher Julio Bonetti played in the AL on the St. Louis Browns in 1945-1950; Pitcher Lou Polli was in the AL with the St. Louis Browns in 1932-1944.
Tom Needham’s first professional club was the Boston Beaneaters. After three seasons as a Beaneater, he played one year with the Boston Doves and another for the NY Giants. The rest of his career Needham was a Chicago Cubs. Needham was a full-bodied all-around player. During his 11-year career he played as a catcher, pitcher, 1st baseman, centerfielder and in right field.
Jimmy Archer caught for the NL Chicago Cubs in 1904, 1907 and 1909-1918; RHP Tommy Bond was an NL Boston Red Stocking from 1874-1882 and again in 1884; Utility infielder Hugh Campbell played SS/2B/Pitcher for the National Association’s Elizabeth Resolutes in 1873. The same year his brother, Michael Campbell was a teammate playing 1B/RF and sharing SS duties; Righty Joe Cleary pitched for the Washington Senators in the AL in 1945; SS/C/rightfielder John Curran was on the NL Philadelphia Athletics in 1876; Andy Cusick played C/1B/OF for the NL Philadelphia Quakers from 1884-1887; Hugh Daily joined the Union Association’s Chicago team in 1882 and played for Pittsburgh in 1887 as a RHP. NL LHP Pete Daniels was a Pittsburgh Pirate in 1890 and a St. Louis Cardinal in 1898; Rightfielder Patrick “Patsy” Donovan was on the NL Pittsburgh Pirates from 1890-1907; Tom Dowse was a C/1B/OF for the AA Columbus Solons from 1890-1892. Cornelius “Conny” Doyle played left for the AA Pittsburgh Alleghenys from 1883-1884. John “Dirty Jack” Doyle was a C/1B/OF for the NL New York Giants from 1889-1905; Ed Duffy played SS/3B on the NA Chicago White Stockings in 1871; Bill Farmer was a C/RF for the AA Philadelphia Athletics in 1888; John “Jocko” Fields played 2B/C/LF for the NL Pittsburgh Pirates from 1887-1892; Mike Flynn was catcher for the AA Boston Reds in 1891; Charles “Curry” Foley was a LHP/1B/RF for the NL Buffalo Bisons from 1879-1883; Hugh Gilgan played C/RF for the NA Brooklyn Atlantics in 1875; Jimmy Hallinan was SS/2B/OF for the NA Fort Wayne Kekiongas in 1871 and 1875-1878; Mike Hines played C/RF for the NL Boston Beaneaters from 1883-1885; Andy Leonard was in the lineup as 2B/SS/LF on the NL Boston Red Stockings from 1871-1878 and again in 1880; Hurler Cornelius “con” Lucid played with the NL Philadelphia Phillies from 1893-1897; 2B Reddy Mack was with the AA Lousville Colonels from 1885-1890. Fergy Malone played 1B/C from the NA Philadelphia Whites in 1871-1876, 1884. Charlie McCullough was a RHP from the AA Brooklyn Gladiators in 1890; John McGuinness played 1B/2B from the NY Mutuals, Syracuse Stars and Philadelphai Keystones in the NL And Union Association in 1876, 1879, 1884; Barney McLaughlin was 2B/SS/RF for the NL Philadelphia Quakers in 1884, 1887, 1890; Barney’s brother Frank McLaughlin played 2B/SS/OF as well for the NL Worcester Ruby Legs in 1882-1884. Pat McManus was a pitcher for the NL Troy Trojans in 1879. Mike Muldoon played 2B/3B/LF for the NL Cleveland Blues from 1882-1886; Tony Mullane played 3B/OF and pitched from the NL Cincinnati Reds in 1881-1884 and 1886-1894. He transitioned with the team from the AA Red Stockings to the NL Reds; Sam Nicholl played outfield for the AA Columbus Solons in 1888 and 1890; John O’Connell was a SS/1B/2B from the AA Baltimore Orioles in 1891, and the AL Detroit Tigers in 1902; Johnny O’Connor caught for the NL Chicago Cubs in 1916; Patrick “Paddy” O’Connor, also a catcher, was with the NL Pittsburgh Pirates in 1908-1910, 1914-1916, 1918; Patrick O’Loughlin played RF for the AA Baltimore Orioles in 1883. Jack O’Neill was a catcher on the NL St. Louis Cardinals from 1902-1906. Mike O’Neill, brother of Jack, was also his teammate on the Cardinals where he played LF when the lefty wasn’t pitching between 1901-1904. Their younger brother Steve O’Neill was also a ballplayer but was born in the USA. Daniel “Cyclone” Ryan was a RHP/1B for the AA NY Metropolitans in 1887 and the NL Boston Beaneaters in 1891; Leftfielder Bill Sullivan played for the NL Chicago Cubs in 1878; Thomas “Sleeper” Sullivan was a C/RF for the AA St. Louis Brown Stockings from 1881-1884; Timothy “Ted” Sullivan played SS/RF for the Union Association Kansas City Cowboys in 1884; John Tener was a RHP/OF for the NL Chicago Cubs from 1888-1890; Jimmy Walsh played outfield with the AL Philadelphia Athletics from 1912-1917.
Outfielder John Zapustas played in two games with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1933. In the same year he also played for the NY Giants of the NFL. After retiring from both sports in 1939, Zapustas became a boxing referee officiating in bouts featuring Rocky Marciano, Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Robinson.
Bert Blyleven was 19 years old when he broke into the big leagues with the Minnesota Twins. The RPH played 21 years, 1970-1992. He spent the entire 1991 season on the DL. Blyleven is the only European inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in his lifetime. In 2011, the two-time AL All Star (1973, 1985) and four-time Cy Young Award winner (1973, 1984, 1985, 1989) received his plaque. The "Frying Dutchman” currently works as a commentator for the Minnesota Twins on Fox Sports North.
SS/ 2nd/ 3rd baseman Robert Eenhoorn played for the AL American League in 1994-1997; Outfielder/ pinch hitter Rikkert Faneyte was in the NL with the San Francisco Giants in 1993-1996; Shortstop Didi Gregorius plays for the AL NY Yankees 2012-present; Outfielder Greg Halman was on the AL Seattle Mariners in 2010-2011; SS/ 2nd baseman/ outfielder John Houseman played with the NL Chicago Colts in 1894-1897; Pitcher Rick van den Hurk played for the NL Florida Marlins from 2007-2012; Pitcher Bill Lelivelt played for the AL Detroit Tigers from 1909-1910; Outfielder/ 1st baseman, and brother of Bill, Jack Lelivelt was in the AL with the Washington Senators from 1909-1914; Catcher/ outfielder John Otten played with the NL St. Louis Browns in 1895; Pitcher Win Remmerswaal played on the AL Boston Red Sox from 1979-1980; RHP/ rightfielder Rynie Wolters was in the NL with the Elizabeth Resolutes from 1871-1873.
John Anderson started his career as professional baseball player in 1894 when he joined the Brooklyn Grooms. The first baseman and outfielder played for the Grooms until 1899. After that he moved around, playing for six different clubs before retiring from baseball in 1908.
Catcher Arndt Jorgens played on the AL NY Yankees in 1929-1939; LHP Jimmy “Big Jim” Wiggs was with the AL Detroit Tigers in 1903, 1905-1906.
Moe Drabowsky was a right-handed relief pitcher. He is one of only four players who played for both the Kansas City Athletics and Kansas City Royals. Drabowsky was in 591 games over 17 years, from 1956-1972. He retired with a career ERA of 3.70.
Outfielder/ pinch hitter John “Nap” Kloza played on the AL St. Louis Browns in 1931-1932; 3rd baseman/ pinch hitter Henry Peploski was with the NL Boston Braves in 1929; 1st/ 3rd baseman/ pinch hitter Johnny Reder played for the AL Boston Red Sox in 1932.
Isidore “Izzy” Goldstein was born in Odessa, Russia. The right-handed pitcher played seven years in professional baseball from 1928 to 1934, including 16 games in the MLB with the Detroir Tigers in 1932.
Catcher Eddie Ainsmith was with the AL Washington Senators in 1910-1914; Pitcher Victor Cole played for the NL Pittsburgh Pirates in 1992; Pitcher Bill Cristall played on the AL Cleveland Blues in 1921; Shortstop/ pinch hitter/ pinch runner Reuben Ewing was in the NL with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1897-1899; Pitcher Jake Livingstone played for the NL New York Giants in 1901; Pitcher Rube Schauer played on the NL New York Giants in 1913-1917.
Danny Rios signed as an amateur free agent with the NY Yankees in 1993. He made his major league debut in 2007 taking the mound against the Red Sox. Rios played just seven games over two seasons, 1997 and 1998.
Pitcher Bryan Oelkers played for the AL Minnesota Twins in 1983-1986; Catcher Al Pardo was on the AL Baltimore Orioles in 1985-1989; SS Al Cabrera was with the NL St. Louis Cardinals in 1913.
RHP Eric “Swat” Erickson was the second player born in Sweden to play in the majors. Erickson signed with the NY Giants in 1914 and played professional baseball for 9 years from 1914-1922. He compiled a career win-loss record of 34-57 with an ERA of 3.85. Erickson played his last game in 1922.
1st baseman/ pinch runner Charlie Bold played for the AL St. Louis Browns in 1914; Pitcher Charlie Hallstrom was on the NL Providence Grays in 1885; Pitcher Axel Lindstrom threw for the AL Philadelphia Athletics in 1916.
Otto Hess was 23 years old when he took the mound for the Cleveland Blues in 1902. Over the next 13 years, the LHP played six season with the Cleveland team (1902-1908) and four more with the Boston Braves (1912-1915). In his 10-year career, Hess amassed a 2.98 ERA with a 70-90 record in 198 games, of which he started 165.
44 players born in United Kingdom have played in the majors. Outfielder Georg Hall and 3rd baseman Al Nichols were the first to sign with a major league club in 1887. The latest player to make the show was LPH Chris Reed, who debuted with the Marlins in 2015. So far he has pitched four innings in 2 games with a 4.50 ERA.
Infielder Jimmy Austin played for the NL NY Highlanders from 1909-1929; 3rd baseman/ shortstop/ outfielder David Brain was with NL Chicago White Stockings in 1901-1908; Outfielder Tom Brow played in the American Association from 1882-1898; Catcher/ leftfielder Sim Bullas was also with the American Association in 1884; 2nd baseman Jack Burns played for the AL Detroit Tigers from 1903-1904; Leftfielder Walter Carlisle played in the AL for the Boston Red Sox in 1908; Pitcher George Chalmers was with the NL Philadelphia Phillies from 1910-1916; 1st baseman Ed Cogswell played on the Boston Red Stockings from 1879-1882; Pitcher Danny Cox was a St. Louis Cardinals from 1983-1995; Leftfielder Ned Crompton played on the St Louis Browns in 1909-1910; 2nd/ 3rd baseman Hobe Ferris played with the Boston Americas in 1901-1909; Shortstop Dennis Fitzgerald was with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1890; Outfielder George Hall played for the NL Washington Olympics from 1876-1877; Shortstop/ 3rd baseman Jim Halpin played in the NL with the Worcester Ruby Legs in 1882-1885; Centerfielder Charlie Hanford was in the Federal League playing for the Buffalo Buffeds in 1914-1915; Rightfielder Pete Hasney played in the AA for the Philadelphia Athletic in 1890; Rightfielder/ Catcher/ 2nd baseman Dick Higham geared up for the New York Mutuals in 1876-1880; Rightfielder Marty Hogan played for the NL St. Louis Browns in 1894-1895; Catcher Mike Hopkins was with the NL Pittsburgh Pirates in 1902; 2nd/ SS/ Leftfielder Sam Jackson played for the National Association in 1871-1872; Leftfielder and Pinch Hitter Keith Lampard played for the NL Houston Astros in 1969-1970; Pitcher Al Lawson played for the NL Boston Beaneaters in 1890; Pitcher Ted Lewis was also with the NL Boston Beaneaters in 1886-1901; Pitcher Mac MacArthur played for the AA Indianapolis Hoosiers in 1884; Pitcher Jim McCormick played with the AL St. Louis Browns in 1878; LHP/ Outfield Henry “Irish” McIlveen played for the AL NY Yankees in 1906, 1908-1909; 2nd baseman/ shortstop Tim Manning was with the Baltimore Orioles in 1882-1885; Pitcher Paul Marak played for the NL Atlanta Braves in 1990; SS Pete Morris played in the Union Association for the Washington Nationals in 1884; 3rd baseman Al Nichols played for the NA Brooklyn Atlantics in 1876-1877; Pitcher Hugh Nicol played for the AL St. Louis Browns in 1881-1890; Pitcher Lance Painter played with the NL San Diego Padres in 1993-2003; 1st/ 2nd/ rightfielder Al Reach was in the NA with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1871-1875; Pitcher Les Rohr played for the NL New York Mets in 1967-1969; Catcher/ 1st baseman Al Shaw played for the AL Detroit Tigers in 1901-1909; Catcher Harry Smith was with the NL Pittsburgh Pirates in 1901-1910; Centerfielder Klondike Smith played for the AL New York Highlanders in 1912; Pitcher Phil Stockman was in the NL with the Atlanta Braves in 2006-2008; 2nd/ leftfielder Al Thake played for the NA Brooklyn Atlantics in 1872; Pitcher Bobby Thomson played for the St. Louis Browns in 1946-1960; Pitcher Ed Walker played for the NL Cleveland Bronchos in 1902-1903; Catcher Sam White played for the NL Boston Braves in 1919; Centerfielder/ pitcher Harry Wright played in the NA for the Boston Red Stockings in 1876; Pitcher Jim Wright was in the NL with the St. Louis Browns in 1927-1928.