Thursday, February 14, 2008

Sam Crane

Sam Crane appeared in thirty-nine games for the Black Diamonds in 1886, all at second base. One would have to assume that most of these games were after August 6th when the Maroons sold Fred Dunlap to Detroit. Interestingly, Crane had played for the Wolverines in 1885 and 1886, prior to coming over to St. Louis. While there doesn't seem to be any record of an official transaction between St. Louis and Detroit with regards to Crane, it's possible that Crane was released by Detroit after the Dunlap sale and then picked up by the Black Diamonds.

David Nemec tells an interesting Sam Crane story in The Beer & Whiskey League. In 1884, Crane was acquired by the Cincinnati Outlaw Reds of the UA to play second base and manage the team. The team felt it needed to replace "Hustling" Dan O'Leary, who was a bit crazy. Nemec writes that "Sam Crane was looked upon by his Outlaw Reds teammates as a welcome change from the unpredictable O'Leary, and the club played accordingly, winning 36 of its last 43 games under his command. Later, Crane would become a respected New York sportswriter, but first he took a page from O'Leary's dossier. In the summer of 1889, Crane ran off with Hattie Fraunfelter, who worked as the head cashier for her husband, a Scranton merchant, and was later arrested in New York City on a larceny charge when Fraunfelter swore out a warrant, saying that his wife had made off with $1,500 at Crane's urging. Crane maintained that the money was Hattie's and that Fraunfelter was bankrupt, yet he never quite explained why, if all that was true, he and Hattie lived in New York prior to his arrest under the name of Morrison."

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