Here lies Taylor Shafer, the younger brother of 19th Century star Orator Shafer and a second baseman and outfielder himself.
Taylor Shafer has proven to be a tricky person to track down over the years. 19th Century records are problematic at best, particularly for players in the short-lived Union Association of 1884. 17-year-old Shafer played for three teams that season: the Altoona Mountain City (14 games, probably), the Kansas City Cowboys (44 games) and the Baltimore Monumentals (3 games). I say “probably” because there was a Frank Shaffer who played at least 5 games for Altoona. Over the years, his stats were just added on to Taylor Shafer’s numbers. Frank Shaffer was rediscovered thanks to baseball historian John Thorn this June, and Taylor Shafer’s batting average improved from .284 in 19 games to .327 in 14 games.
With that kind of strong showing, it’s hard to say why Shafer left Altoona. The addition of the Union Association threw baseball into chaos in 1884, and players were breaking contracts left and right, so it’s possible he found a better offer in KC. Whatever the case, he hit just .171 with the Cowboys and .077 with Baltimore, leaving him with a .203 average overall.
Shafer kicked around the Midwest and East Coast for a few years in independent teams until he showed up again with the Philadelphia Athletics of the American Association in 1890. His big brother, Orator Shafer, was wrapping up a fine career with the A’s, and Taylor was the primary second baseman until his release in July. He batted .172 with 21 RBIs in 69 games. For his big-league career, Shafer hit .187 in 130 games with 92 hits (8 doubles, 6 triples) and 57 runs.
Shaffer’s later life was a bit of a mystery as well. As of 1892, he was out of baseball and keeping a hotel near Philadelphia. He and his wife Martha had a son who died in infancy in 1904. That seemed to strain the marriage, because she was suing him for support in a New Jersey court in 1908. They apparently reunited and had a daughter, Elizabeth in 1916. They move to California, where he died in the Ramona Sanitarium on Oct. 27, 1945 at the age of 79.