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Exhibition Baseball Americana

Frankie Frisch’s (1898–1973) Spalding leather shoes with metal spikes, ca. 1919. Courtesy of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum (086.00.00)

Shoes Made for Stealing

In the 1860s, players began attaching metal cleats to their shoes for better traction. The studs were superseded by metal spikes, which sliding baserunners could use to vicious effect on shortstops and second basemen. Frankie Frisch, the speedy infielder known as the Fordham Flash, wore these metal-spiked shoes during a Hall of Fame career in which he led the National League in steals three times. The major leagues banned metal golf-style spikes in 1976.