John E. Clapp, the subject of our illustration this week, and one of the best known and most popular professionals of the day, was born in Ithica, N.Y., about thirty years ago. He commenced playing ball in 1870, when he caught for the Athletics of Mansfield, O. The following season he filled the same position for the Clipper Club of Ilion, N.Y. His first regular professional engagement, however, was with the Mansfield Club of MIddleton, Ct., in 1872, when he proved himself to be a first-class catcher and a fine batsman. Several clubs were anxious to secure his services in 1873, and held out flattering inducements; but he accepted an engagement with the Athletics of Philadelphia, Pa., remaining three consecutive seasons with that organization. Clapp played in over two hundred games during the three years he was connected with the Athletics, and his catching could scarcely be improved on, while his coolness and courage also won him many favorable encomiums. Although he accompanied the Athletics on their European trip in 1874 he took part in but one of the cricket games played there. Clapp caught for the St. Louis Club in 1876 and 1877, handling with remarkable success Bradley's swift delivery during the former year. In 1878 Clapp played with the Indianapolis Club, filling the position of left-field in a majority of its championship contests, and occasionally guarding first base. He resumed the catcher's position in 1879, when he captained and managed the Buffalos, and he caught for the Cincinnatis in 1880. This season he has played with the Cleveland Club, and has alternated in the positions of left field and catcher, generally going behind the bat when Nolan relieved McCormick as pitcher. For several seasons he has acted as manager and captain of the various clubs with which he has been connected, and has displayed the possession of the requisite tact and ability. Clapp has always had an excellent batting average, and ranks equal to any in wielding the bat, his dries to right-centre having helped win many closely-contested games. As he is also an excellent base-runner, his record each year as a run-getter has been high. During his lengthy professional career, Clapp has maintained an unblemished reputation.
-New York Clipper, September 10, 1881
I found this profile of Clapp while going through the Clipper looking for early hints about the formation of the American Association and wanted to post it before I forgot all about it. We'll get to the AA next week but I just want to note that John Clapp was one of the most productive and valuable players in the League during his time with the Brown Stockings. He was a heck of a ballplayer.