Saturday, December 15, 2007


While writing about the rowdyism of the late 19th century, Harold Seymour had this to say about Patsy Tebeau in Baseball: The Early Years:

One of the most notorious teams for rough stuff was Patsy Tebeau's Cleveland Spiders. President Byrne made the Spiders pay four dollars for repairs when they tore up the clubhouse after losing three straight to Brooklyn, and he charged them $1.25 for a ball Jesse Burkett threw over the fence. In a midseason game at Louisville in 1896 "Tebeauism" was at its worst. The Spiders were in rare form, ragging the umpire all day and mobbing him for calling the game on account of darkness. The fans then attacked the Spiders, who ended the day in jail. The League Board fined Tebeau $200, but President Robison, angrily denouncing the League, got an injunction to prevent both the collection of the fine and the boycotting of Cleveland by other League clubs if Tebeau played-which they had planned to do.
The Sporting News, upon Tebeau's death in 1918, wrote that Tebeau "belonged to the blood and iron brigade of baseball and was in his glory in the days when the game was not for weaklings...players of these modern days are milksops compared to the men who fought the diamond battles of the late eighties and the nineties, when Patsy was at his best. He came from the Goose Hill and Kerry Patch schools, the very names of whose graduates made umpires shudder and whose arguments were not finished with mere words and back talk." The same article went on to tell several Tebeau stories, all of which involved violence, threats of violence, and obscenities (that were represented in the article by blank spaces) directed towards umpires, fans, the opposition, and his own players.

When told that he was a rough and a rowdy and that he had "out-Baltimored" Baltimore, Tebeau replied that "I play ball as I find it played against me...Do you expect me to stand still and see them bring the hearse for me on the ground? If they do there'll be two us that will go out in it."

The New York Times had a nice Tebeau story in its August 9, 1894 issue:

Capt. Tebeau of the Cleveland Club came near being mobbed after to-day's game (in Pittsburgh). He had to wait under the grand stand until the crowd left the park. In the ninth inning, with two of the Cleveland men out, Tebeau commenced to abuse Hoagland for certain decisions, and threatened to put on the gloves with the umpire and settle it according to prize-fighting rules. The crowd was so mad at Tebeau that he had to be hustled out of reach...Tebeau was hit in the face by a young boy on his way from the grounds to the hotel in the omnibus.

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