I came home from work last night and my internet connection was down. Stupid Charter Communications. I have nothing good to say about those people. Anyway, since my machine masters wouldn't allow me to access my blog or the news or anything for that matter, I picked up the copy of David Nemac's The Beer & Whiskey League that's been sitting untouched on my desk for a few weeks and figured I'd read that while watching the Cards get smoked by the Brewers.
Within the first 35 pages, I found a few things that got me excited. First, was a reference to the Browns opening day game in 1882. According to Nemac, the umpire for that game was Charlie Hautz, former first baseman for the 1875 St. Louis Red Stockings. On page 27 of the book was a great team picture of the 1882 Pittsburgh Alleghenys and in the back row of the picture was Joe Battin, the former Brown Stocking who had been blacklisted in 1877. Best of all, on page 34, was a team picture of the 1879 Indianapolis Hoosiers that included Silver Flint, Trick McSorley, and Charlie Hautz. I have pictures of Flint and McSorley but I've never see one of Hautz.
For me, pictures are important. I have a tough time relating to these ballplayers based on nothing other than names, numbers, and words in a book but if I can put a face to the name then that person becomes real to me. I have an affinity for Trick McSorley simply based on his picture-he looks like somebody that I'd like (plus he's got the cool nickname).
Before last night, I could never get a handle on Charlie Hautz and when I'd talk about the players on the 1875 Reds, I'd always forget him. Now, because of the picture in Nemac's book, Hautz is a real person to me, I can visualize what he looks like, and that makes it easier for me to write about him.