Friday, February 29, 2008

Schmelz Gets Fired

Last night the board of directors of the St. Louis League Club released manager Gus Schmelz, and that gentleman will return to Columbus. From this time forward Jack Glasscock will have charge of the team both on and off the field, President Stromberg attending to the business interests. Mr. Schmelz carries with him the good will of all with whom he has come in contact. He will probably manage the Cincinnati Club next year, although he has made no contact with any club so far.
-From The Sporting News, October 18, 1886

David Nemec writes in The Beer & Whiskey League that Schmelz full name was Gustavus Heinrich Schmelz and that his only credentials for taking over the Columbus Association team, Schmelz' first managerial job, "was his flaming red beard, which gave him a rather fierce look." Interestingly, the only reason Schmelz got the job in Columbus was that, according to James Tottle in Baseball in Columbus, "(local) favorite Jimmy Williams had already taken the job as manager in St. Louis, so ownership hired Gus Schmelz of Columbus to manage the Buckeyes in 1884."

He never won a pennant, but Schmelz was a highly respected manager. He believed the most important factor in success was the players' confidence, in themselves, one another, and the manager. He had a big, thick beard and supposedly gave signals by pointing with it. An opponent of the Brotherhood League, he advocated banning for life all who played in it. Schmelz gave John Heydler his start in baseball. When an assigned umpire failed to appear for a game, Schmelz called Heydler out of the stands to substitute. Heydler went on to become a regular umpire and eventually rose to NL president.
-From Baseball

There are much better photos of Schmelz then the one I posted above but they're mostly team photos, like this picture of the 1886 Maroons. I had never seen Schmelz' Old Judge card before I found it today and, even though it's pretty rough, I like it.

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