Friday, May 23, 2008

Another Look At The Browns' Debt

President Von der Ahe, of the St. Louis Base Ball Club, last week elected his Board of Directors. Of course, the stock holders went through the form of an election, but as Mr. Chris Von der Ahe owns about seven-eighths of the stock the election was merely a matter of courtesy. Anyhow the following directors were elected for the ensuing year or rather as long as they do what is right with the great base ball interests of Mr. Von der Ahe: Chris Von der Ahe, J.W. Peckington, Charles Higgins, Benjamin Steward Muckenfuss and Edward Becker...

Next week a meeting will be held and a statement will be made regarding the business done during last year in horse racing and base ball. It is stated that the Browns cleared $12,000 on the season.

Von der Ahe acknowledges that there was only one year in all his experience as a magnate in which he lost money on base ball. That was during the Brotherhood year. And in the future he promises to stick entirely to base ball and become a pillar in the church. This change in Chris' temperament is accounted for by an interview which appeared in the "Republic" the other day, in which a director of the St. Louis Club says:

"We buried about $40,000 in the chutes, which, all stories to the contrary, paid us about 25 per cent on the investment. That leaves us still $30,000 in the hole on the chute question. Then we paid Fred Foster $42,000 for his interest in that track and we lost some money running races in opposition to the other tracks. Oh, we had a mazy time of it when we went against the racing game. I think that we will make money out of the chutes, and we have it fixed so that we will not lose another cent on the race track, so I think we have gotten over our worst days."

It is hoped that this is true and that the St. Louis Club will use some of its profits in the future purchasing new players.
-From Sporting Life, January 23, 1897

Some notes:

-Based on this information, we can say that Von der Ahe still had complete control of the Browns going into the 1897 season, controlling "seven-eights of the stock" and that Edward Becker was already on board as a minority stockholder. Becker, within the next year and a half, would come to control eighty-five percent of the stock and rest control of the team from Von der Ahe.

-The Browns were a profitable organization from a baseball perspective. The financial difficulties that pushed the team into receivership were a result of outside economic interests rather than a failure of the Browns to make money.

-Based on the information from the Republic, it looks like Von der Ahe over-expanded between 1892 and 1896 (the new ballpark, the racetrack, etc) and was unable to generate enough cash flow to cover the debt that he took on in that expansion. In January of 1898, the total liabilities of the club would be listed as $58,718 and most of that was what was owed on the ballpark bonds and money lent to the club by Becker in an attempt to keep Von der Ahe afloat. A total debt of $127,000 was listed for the corporation itself and that included the investments in the racetrack and the chutes as well as the debts of the club. If my math is correct (and assuming the chutes brought in another $10,000 in 1897), the investments in the ballpark, the racetrack, and the chutes alone were responsible for more than seventy percent of the corporations' debt. Becker's loans to the club (which were a direct result of Von der Ahe's over-expansion) amounted to about ten percent of the debt.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A First-Class Police Officer

Long John Healey makes a first-class police officer. Captain O'Malley shows his confidence in him by keeping him on the toughest beat in the city and the Egyptian makes the evil-doers keep in line, or treats them to a ride in the patrol wagon. John is in splendid condition physically. He says that he is satisfied with his position, but his friends declare that he is growing restive as reporting time approaches and that they will be surprised if he does not return to the game. He spends an hour or more each day in the gymnasium at the Four Courts and he is considered one of the best athletes on the force. His arm is all right and in two weeks preparation he could pitch as good ball as he ever did. Jack Kirby, another old Maroon pitcher, is walking a West End beat. Sergeant Cal Watson, who has charge of the district in which Healey is stationed, was once a professional ball player. It is announced that there will be a game in the spring between teams representing the police and fire departments. Tom Dolan, Jack and Bill Gleason and other retired ball players are firemen, and good ones too. The proceeds of the game will be devoted to charity.
-From Sporting Life, February 6, 1897

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Times Change

But Few of the "Old Guard" in Base Ball Left

Anson and Connor are the only two men who were playing ball in 1876 that were found in the major League this year, while Glasscock and Hines, who were playing from 1876, were with minor league teams during the past season. Of all the other players of the leading teams of 1886 only Nash, Brouthers, Thompson, Pfeffer, Ryan, Donnelly, Ewing, Ganzel, Clements, McGuire, Quinn, C.F. Dailey, Miller, W. Robinson, Bierbauer, Lyons, McGarr, Terry, George Smith, McPhee and Latham were found with the major League teams of 1896. Of these Dailey, Brouthers and Latham remained only a short time, the last two finishing the season with minor league teams.
-From Sporting Life, January 16, 1897

I like the use of the phrase "major League" in this piece as compared to the modern usage of "Major League(s)." When we talk about Major League Baseball or the Major Leagues, we tend to forget about the "major" part and that the NL and AL are the major baseball Leagues. It's something we take for granted and this older usage is a good reminder.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Monday, May 19, 2008

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The New St. Louis Club

The action of the League in expelling the Sportsman’s Park and Club from the association and recognizing the new organization formed by Robison and Becker has aroused the greatest enthusiasm (in St. Louis) and the fans already see the pennant flying from the flagstaff at the ball grounds. The deal means the transfer to this city of the Cleveland Club in its entirety.

The new Browns will have Tebeau on first base, Childs at second, Cross at third and Wallace at short. The outfielders will be Burkett, Griffin, and Stenzel. O’Connor, Criger, Schrecongost and Clements will be the catchers and the pitching staff will consist of Young, Cuppy, Powell, Wilson, Bates, Jones and Hughey. Ed McKean will remain with the Cleveland team. So will Zimmer and Blake. The other St. Louis players, including Hill, Carsey, Sudhoff, Stivetts, Sugden, Tucker, Quinn, Harley, and Dowd will be transferred to the Forest City to fill the other places. Stanley Robison will be the president of the Cleveland Club.

It was leaked out that the new St. Louis Club was organized about a week ago when the following officers were elected: President Frank de Haas Robison, of Cleveland; vice president Edward C. Becker; Stanley Robison; secretary William Schofield. Mr. Becker will have no interest in the Cleveland Club. He is satisfied with his holdings in the local club, which are exactly equal with Robison. The statement already made that Mr. Robison holds a slight excess of stock, just enough to give him control, is not correct. Mr. Becker and Mr. Robison hold share and share alike in the new corporation…

Chris Von der Ahe does not propose to give up the fight for the possession of the Browns franchise. The publication on Sunday of the Rogers-Muckenfuss letter has convinced the boss that he is the victim of a conspiracy and he proposes to have the sale of the Sportsman’s Park and Club set aside, if possible. To-day he filed his notice of an appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court from the decision of Judge Spencer ordering the property sold to satisfy the creditors. Under this decree the property was sold, then later transferred to E.C. Becker, who in turn took into partnership Frank Robison, thus, it is said, confirming all that was admitted in the Rogers letter…

-From Sporting Life, April 1, 1899

St. Louis Is Expelled From The National League (And Then Readmitted)

When the League met late in the day…St. Louis had no delegate and no proxy, and here is where another piece of political strategy came into play. Mr. Muckenfuss was absent but Mr. Becker was in attendance. The latter, however, did not enter the meeting, as he claimed he had no right to do so, not being an officer of the club, although it subsequently developed that he might have entered had he been disposed to do so by virtue of authority delegated by Muckenfuss. In the position assumed by Mr. Becker, St. Louis was left without anyone to offer resignation, as had been the supposed programme and this apparently made expulsion necessary, if the St. Louis muddle were to be settled then and there.

The debate upon Mr. Hart’s motion to expel the St. Louis Base Ball Association, in accordance with the recommendation of the directors, and to admit the new American Base Ball and Athletic Exhibition Company was long and bitter and a show of hands proved Colonel Rogers to be left alone to bear the burden of argument, cajolery and denunciation. Mr. Hart, in support of his motion, stated that the expulsion of the St. Louis Club was only a matter of justice to the League and to its law abiding members and that it was also essential to the successful and satisfactory settlement of the St. Louis question. He furthermore now favored such a course because the situation no longer invited judicial interference. Mr. Brush took the ground that the move was the safest for the League and the best for those who proposed to operate base ball in St. Louis, who would thus be protected against unfair harassment for debts contracted in other ventures by Mr. Von der Ahe. Mr. Robison also made the same plea and stated that Mr. Becker agreed with him in this view. Mr. Becker was called before the meeting and stated that he was decidedly in favor of the step, he having made a satisfactory arrangement with Mr. Robison regarding the new club and the disposition of the Cleveland team. All of the other delegates expressed similar views except Colonel Rodgers…

Finally, however, partly from exhaustion and partly in compliance with the pleas of Soden and Young, (Rodgers) yielded and consented to make the vote for expulsion unanimous…This done, the old St. Louis Club was expelled and the new club admitted by unanimous vote, after a long and exhausting session.

-From Sporting Life, April 1, 1899

There's a lot going on here besides the settlement of the St. Louis "muddle" and I'm not sure that I understand it completely. There seems to be a great deal of political intrigue among various League factions-owner vs. owner, East vs. West, etc-that's difficult to sort through. What the reason for it all is I can't begin to guess. We have lots of egos and lots of money in the same room and that's always going to lead to infighting and turf wars.

In the end though, I'll leave it to others to sort that out because I'm not all that interested in the politics of the National League at the turn of the century except in how it effects baseball in St. Louis. In this case, we have the final brushing aside of the remnants of the Von der Ahe regime, the approval of the Becker/Robison scheme, and the advent of a new era of St. Louis baseball.

For all intents and purposes, the history of 19th century baseball in St. Louis ends at this League meeting in March of 1899.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

One Hundred And Fifty Dollars

Chris Von der Ahe was allowed $150 by Judge Spencer Saturday morning for his services as trustee of the St. Louis Club. This was all that Chris gets out of the wreck of his once profitable base ball property. Before Von der Ahe’s claim was allowed he made a hot fight through his attorney, William Kinnerk, against the acceptance and final approval of Receiver Muckenfuss’ report. Judge Spencer in conclusion spoke sharply for the first time during the entire litigation to Mr. Von der Ahe’s attorney, stating that his objections had no weight. The receiver’s report was approved and the Court ordered his discharge. Muckenfuss was allowed the sum of $1404.83 in addition to what he has heretofore been paid for his services as receiver.

-From Sporting Life, April 8, 1899

The St. Louis Muddle Has At Last Been Settled

The St. Louis muddle has at last been settled and settled just as Sporting Life, with its usual perspicuity and inside knowledge, said it would be settled. Mr. E.C. Becker purchased from the creditors syndicate the franchise and other property of the club. The consideration is not named but from the fact that Frank R. Tate, representing a local syndicate, offered $35,000 cash and agreed to pay the league dues…the price is thought to be about $40,000.

On Friday evening the creditors met and decided to get rid of their white elephant. Telegrams were sent to the League magnates asking how they would vote to receive the purchaser of the Browns in the League. Becker received a dispatch from John Rogers of Philadelphia, in answer to one sent assuring, assuring him that either he or Mr. Robison would be satisfactory. With this assurance that they could deliver the goods to a person satisfactory to the League, the creditors at once closed the deal.

The sale carries with it all the stands and property now in Sportsman’s Park, 15 year lease on the grounds and the following ball players: Pitchers Hill, Hughey, Carsey, Sudhoff, Stivetts, catchers Clements and Sugden, first baseman Tucker, second baseman Quinn, third baseman L. Cross, left fielder Harley, centre fielder Stenzel, right fielder Dowd.

On Friday evening also the American Base Ball and Athletic Exhibition Company of St. Louis was incorporated with a capital of $100,000. Becker holds 996 of the 1000 shares. The four other shares are held by brokers’ clerks in order to form a directory…The corporation is formed for the purposes of conducting the base ball club and general athletic enterprises. It is understood Mr. Becker will put in bowling alleys and the essentials for other forms of amusement.

Like a full-fledged magnate, Mr. Becker believes in being mysterious and declines to see newspaper men. To his friends, however, he denies emphatically that he has formed any alliance with Frank De H. Robison, or any other League magnate, and his investigations into the expense of conducting the team…all point to an apparent intention to conduct the team himself. Opposed to this, however, were a full crop of rumors that the purchase was not made until an understanding had been reached by which Mr. Robison and Mr. Becker were to pool issues.

- From Sporting Life, March 25, 1899

Friday, May 16, 2008

Rumors Of A Sensational Order

The Major League magnates have arrived (in Baltimore) and will begin their spring session at the Hotel Rennert at noon to-day. Rumors of a sensational order are flying thick and fast. They involve the transfer of the Cleveland Club to St. Louis and the location of the Browns in that city...Von der Ahe, who arrived this morning, is accompanied by Mr. E.C. Becker, a St. Louis capitalist, who is regarded as Chris' "Angel." It is said that he has already secured 25 per cent of the Browns' stock and is here to protect his holdings in case Robison makes a deal for the Browns.

St. Louis is expected to cut a big figure at the League meeting. Not because Von der Ahe carries any influence or that he is apt to offer large sums of money for franchises and blocks of players but because the other owners are expected to help him out by giving him some of their surplus material and in this way strengthen the otherwise weak Browns. The great national sport was never in better repute than it is to-day. This healthful state of affairs is noticeable in every city in the country holding league membership excepting St. Louis. That city is rapidly on the wane as regards base ball. In the old days Comiskey's champions were world-beaters, now (the Browns) as at present constituted have little or no chance of finishing in better than last place. Something may drop at Baltimore and it may be that Chris will cause the dull sickening thud.
-From The Sporting News, February 27, 1897

Well...isn't this just fascinating. TSN was expecting the Robisons/Cleveland shenanigans to go down in February of 1897-a full two years before it actually happened. Certainly the Robisons were interested in the St. Louis market and wanted to purchase the Browns. Von der Ahe was well aware of their interest and it's likely that they had made several offers to purchase the club prior to 1899 (there are so many rumors floating around about people trying to buy the Browns in the 1890's that it's tough to keep straight). But the fact that people were already talking about a Browns/Cleveland swap with the Robisons ending up owning a club in St. Louis is rather extraordinary.

The other thing that interests me about this article is that it establishes Becker as owning a quarter of the club's stock by 1897. With Becker in place, the Robisons sniffing around, TSN on the attack, and his financial situation being what it was, it's amazing that Von der Ahe was able to last two more seasons.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Look At The Debt Of The Sportsman's Park And Club Association In 1898

Late Wednesday afternoon Sportsman's Park and Club filed a chattel deed of trust securing liabilities in excess of $108,000. Chris Von der Ahe is named as trustee. He is also a preferred creditor in the aggregate of $91,000. Thirty other creditors are named with claims ranging from $100 to $3,075. The largest sum is due to the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company.

The Union Bank of St. Paul has a claim for $1,751.46 and the Northwestern Savings Bank a claim for $100. David Nicholson is a creditor to the amount of (unreadable) and the Laclede Gas Light Company to the extent of $800. The other claims aggregate about $10,050, making the outside indebtedness about $17,000.

The alleged indebtedness to Chris comprises 32 notes of $1,500 each and 20 notes of $1,000 each. One big note of $13,935.72, another of $12,000 and one for $3,950 were executed Wednesday, all three being for a period of six months. The other indebtedness to Chris comprises over 30 counts, running from $50 up...

Von der Ahe is authorized to take charge of the assets, which consist of the entire Sportsman's Park outfit, and sell the property at private sale, in six months. Such assets as remain unsold at the end of six months are to be sold at public sale at the east front door of the Courthouse. He is also directed to keep the property insured for $31,800.

Duly recorded mortgages and judgments against Sportsman's Park and Club are not affected by the deed. Neither are the bonds to the amount of $20,000 guaranteed, by the St. Louis Trust Company. Mr. Becker, it is understood, has as security for his loan a large block of stock enough it is said to give him the controlling interest in the club. He waived protest on the 12th..., on Chris' promise to take up the note for $12,000 up on Saturday, June 15. The deed of trust puts Mr. Becker's security in danger, as the stock will be worthless if Von der Ahe's preferred claims are paid.

While Von der Ahe held the office of president of the corporation, Sportsman's Park and Club could not assign to him and give his claims preference. In order to do this in uniformity to the law, he as the principal stockholder elected B.S. Muckenfuss president and J.W. Peckington secretary and they turned the trick.

The effort to bar out other creditors will be fought bitterly in the courts, and in the opinion of these familiar with Chris' mental abilities, the deposed boss will not be able to stand the ordeal of cross-examination and the chances are that the conspiracy against his creditors will fail in its purpose...

(Muckenfuss stated that) "Mr. Von der Ahe is not at all concerned about what he owes personally, as he is to all intents and purposes insolvent. His real estate is mortgaged to such an extent that his creditors can't realize a dollar on judgments and his personal property is pledged to its full value. What he wants to do is to save something from his base ball interests and his lawyer is hard at work on a scheme with this in view. Then again he is desirous of defeating his wife in an effort to secure alimony. In other words, he don't intend to sell his club or anything he has unless he finds a way to avoid the payment of his debts."

This movement on the part of Von der Ahe confirms the opinion of Mr. John T. Brush that the affairs of Sportsman's Park are in such a rotten condition that it is impossible to give a clear title to its holdings...

The total liabilities (of the club) including the $20,000 issue of bonds and the Becker note for $12,000, as set forth in the Muckenfuss statement amounted to $58,717.54. The debts of the corporation according to the deed of trust aggregate $127,000...

Chris' claims were never referred to and considerable surprise was caused by the announcement that he was creditor of the club to such a large amount as $91,000. The efforts of the other creditors will be directed, so it is said, to establishing in court that his claims...should not be allowed. From the manner and method of the assignment some are of the opinion that Von der Ahe executed a flank movement on his creditors. Others declare that he had gained nothing but time and to do this has had to confess he is hopelessly bankrupt.

The assignment settles one question. The St. Louis Browns will soon pass from Chris' control. Without cash or credit, he can never as magnate or trustee put the team in the field. All his transactions from now on with the railroads and all other parties must be on a cash basis and he is without means...

The troubles of Von der Ahe were not ended when he covered his club with a blanket trust deed. The matured bonds of the club for $20,000, guaranteed by the St. Louis Trust Company, must be paid and the Becker note for $12,000 can not be extended. Other creditors are not idle. Sheriff Henry Troll has levied upon whatever interest the Sportsman's Park and Club has in the following property:

"A lot of ground situated in city block 9,386 beginning at a point in the northwest corner of Grand and St. Louis avenues and extending along Grand avenue...Also, a certain leasehold given and granted by one Jemima Lindell to the said Sportsman's Park and Club on April 1, 1892 for a period of 15 years and six months from said date on (a piece of property on Natural Bridge road)...

Sportsman's Park and Club does not own any of the above described real estate. It only has a lease-hold interest in it.

This levy was made Wednesday by virtue and authority of an execution issued by the Circuit Court...On the strength of this execution the Sheriff announces that he will sell all the right, title, claim, interest, estate and property of the Sportsman's Park and Club to the above described property at the Courthouse February 5.
-From The Sporting News, January 15, 1898

A few notes:

-This particular issue of TSN was not in the best of shape and I found it rather difficult to read the dollar amounts that the article was quoting. While I'm satisfied that I've transcribed the article to the best of my ability, their may be some errors. If the dollar amounts don't add up it's because I read them wrong. I did the best I could.

-Mr. Becker is Edward C. Becker who would come to hold almost all of the stock of the Sportsman's Park and Club Association. By March of 1899, Becker would purchase the club's assets out of receivership and be recognized by the National League as the owner of the St. Louis Browns. He would, at that point, sell out to the Robinsons.

-There are two different sets of numbers in the article. The first comes from the "chattel deed of trust" establishing Von der Ahe as the club's primary creditor. The second set of numbers come from "the Muckenfuss statement." These numbers came out of "recent" negotiations between Von der Ahe and an Indianapolis syndicate regarding the potential sale of the Browns. During the negotiations, Muckenfuss "submitted to (the syndicate) an itemized statement of the club's indebtedness..."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Women Troubles

Mrs. Chris Von Der Ahe, wife of the manager of the St. Louis baseball club, secured a decree of divorce from her husband to-day. He was ordered to pay Mrs. Von Der Ahe the sum of $3,150 as alimony. Von Der Ahe did not contest the suit.
-From The New York Times, March 27, 1895

The divorce suit of Chris Von Der Ahe, the baseball magnate, against Della Wells Von Der Ahe, has been tried before Judge Talty and taken under advisement. The case took a peculiar turn, Chris abandoning the suit, which was tried on the defendant's cross-bill. In her bill Mrs. Von Der Ahe charges Chris with abuse and ill-treatment. Mrs. Von Der Ahe took the stand, and told of her marriage to Chris in Erie, Penn., Sept. 6,1896. She said that he would not allow her any pocket money, discharged the servant, and made her do the work. He almost constantly scolded and struck her.
-From The New York Times, May 8, 1898

Judge Talty to-day granted a divorce to Mrs. Chris Von Der Ahe and allowed her $1,000 alimony, and also restored her maiden name, Della Wells. The Judge, in passing upon the case, said there was nothing in the Von Der Ahe petition which he could consider. None of the counter-charges had been borne out by the evidence. He complimented Mrs. Von Der Ahe on her demeanor in court.
-From The New York Times, May 12, 1898

Divorce Suit

Chris' Second Marriage Not a Success

Sad Story of Von der Ahe's Wedded Misery Told in Court Records

Chris Von der Ahe filed suit for divorce from his wife, Della Wells Von der Ahe on Wednesday. According to the averments of the petition, Chris' second venture in matrimony was not a success. The petition begins by stating that the plaintiff has lived in the State of Missouri for ten years past. The law requires that he should have lived here one year, but Chris went it ninefold better. The marriage took place, it is averred, on September 6, 1896, at Erie, Pa. No children were born of the marriage. The petition then recites that "Der Boss" has always treated the defendant with kindness and affection and discharged all the obligations of the marriage. Further alleging, the petition reads:

"The marriage was unfortunate in this that it was an act of generosity on his part, procured by misrepresentations, and under mistake as to the antecedents and history of the defendant, and that...the defendant promised that plaintiff should be put to no expense in caring for the relatives of the defendant, as his means did not permit him to do, and that certain associations of the defendant should be abandoned. But the plaintiff says that he has since learned that the motive of the defendant in the marriage was simply a pecuniary one, which he acknowledged; that with the exception of a very short interval after the marriage, the defendant has habitually absented herself from her home and neglected her duties there, and has been in the habit of meeting persons unknown to the plaintiff, on business unknown to the plaintiff, from day to day, and of giving orders to the coachman not to advise the plaintiff thereof and of receiving letters from sundry persons, the contents and, where possible, the existence of which, she concealed from the plaintiff; that, with apparent intentional perversity against the plaintiff's wish and direction she runs up large bills with tradesmen for articles which she does not need, and with which she has been adequately supplied by plaintiff; that she has recently said that she wished the plaintiff was dead so that she could have a good time with his money, that she married him for his money, and that she is in the habit of calling him vile names and striking him whenever she feels inclined..."

It is stated that Chris and his second wife began to bicker shortly after the honeymoon was over. She is a very handsome woman. The trouble has been growing. It has been expected for some time by those who were intimately associated with Chris that such a step would be taken. Some time ago, Chris had his real estate agent to bring suit against his mother-in-law, Mrs. Wells, in a justice court, for rent. Mrs. Wells was living in a house belong to Chris on Grand avenue. She moved out of the house and located on North Market street, near Grand.

Mrs. Von der Ahe remained living in the apartments occupied by her and her husband over the saloon at Sportsmans Park up to the filling of the divorce suit.

Chris only recently settled a breach of promise suit which was brought against him because of his marriage to his present wife. The plaintiff in the breach of promise suit was Annie Kaiser. After Chris' first wife got a divorce from him, Miss Kaiser, who is a handsome young woman, kept house for him. She had been employed in the Von der Ahe household as a servant before Chris and his first wife parted. She alleges that Chris promised to marry her, and sued for $10,000 damages. While the suit was pending she increased the demand to $20,000. Chris took a change of venue and the case was sent to St. Charles. Before the case came to trial it was settled out of court. The mother of the young woman said that Chris gave her daughter $3,000. Chris denied this.

Chris was acquainted with his present wife before he and his first wife separated. She lived in St. Louis. The trip to Erie and marriage was somewhat of a surprise...
-From The Sporting News, January 1, 1898

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Fire At A Baseball Game

The game of baseball between the Browns and Chicagos at Sportsman's Park was interrupted at 4:05 P. M. to-day at the beginning of the second inning by a fire, which destroyed the entire grand stand, pavilions, one of the bleachers, and the club offices and residence of Chris Von Der Ahe, who loses everything.

The total loss is estimated at about $60,000, with $35,000 insurance. Four or five thousand spectators were present. Several persons were injured, but no lives were lost, as was at first reported.

Men were put to work to-night erecting new fences and seats, it being President Muckenfuss's intention to play the remaining games of the series with Chicago here to-morrow.
-From The New York Times, April 17, 1898

I've covered the 1898 fire before (in two posts) but I think it's interesting to revisit it in light of yesterday's post (and my recent focus on Von der Ahe). In early 1897, Von der Ahe sells off his racetrack after reporting a loss of over $50,000 and the following year the ballpark burns down with the "total loss estimated at about $60,000." These are enormous financial losses. I'm not certain what Von der Ahe's total net worth was at the height of his success but he certainly wasn't J.D. Rockefeller. His two divorces since 1895 were costing him alimony in excess of $5,000 and I assume that this was a monthly expense. Add to this the legal expenses that Von der Ahe had taken on in fighting various lawsuits as well as the general economic situation in the United States and his financial situation by the summer of 1898 looks rather bleak. This is the context in which Von der Ahe defaulted on the ballpark bonds and the Browns entered receivership.

Monday, May 12, 2008

We Did Not Lose Money On Base Ball

Base ball and horse racing does not mix. Chris Von der Ahe, president of the St. Louis Browns, has found this out, and he has decided to give up the management of his turf enterprise. The chief of "Der Browns" reached this conclusion last Wednesday, when he declared off the races at Sportsman's Park, and leased the grounds, privileges and everything else inside the inclosure to another man, one Louis Cella, a bookmaker. From now on the most talked-of man in sporting circles will confine his efforts to base ball and to his "shoot the chutes" and other summer resort enterprises. The race track will not be a dead weight on the St. Louis chief. On the contrary, if the new losses are successful in drawing people to the park and getting enough bookmakers to draw on, they will pay Chris a rental of $1000 a week.

It is said that Von der Ahe is in very poor health and has been greatly discouraged over his misfortunes, but those who were aware of the facts do not express surprise that he should lose money in some of his ventures. It is said that he will devote his attention to base ball, and the lovers of the national game hope he will. If he had worked half as hard to get together a good base ball team as he has to establish a "dinky merry-go-round," St. Louis would now have a permanent winning club.
-From Sporting Life, January 2, 1897

The directors of the St. Louis Base Ball Club held an informal meeting Wednesday night. Secretary Muckenfuss made his annual report, which showed that the horse racing was conducted at a big loss. Muckenfuss, when seen said: "I will not say the exact amount of the loss, but it was over $50,000. We did not lose money on base ball."
-From Sporting Life, January 16, 1897

I don't know about you but a loss in excess of $50,000 in 1897 seems like a great deal of money.

Calculated simply for inflation, it comes out to around 1.2 million dollars. As a relative share of GDP, it's forty-three million dollars. There are other ways to calculate the value that puts the number somewhere in between those two extremes but either way it's a lot of money.

Von der Ahe, at this point, is in a downward spiral that would not end until he lost control of the Browns in the fall of 1898. He's involved in a myriad of lawsuits, his team is struggling on the field and at the gate, he'll be arrested in the Baldwin case, his ballpark will burn down, he'll default on the bonds he used to finance the new ballpark, the club will be placed in receivership, and the Robisons will step in to take over the club. And on top of all that he would be involved in a very messy, very public divorce in a day and age when that was still scandalous.

Von der Ahe's fall is a fascinating tale and one of the things that makes it so intriguing is that it played out in the public eye. Week in and week out, Sporting Life and The Sporting News were filled with news of the latest Von der Ahe trouble. It certainly makes for interesting reading.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Quick And Interesting Quote About Charlie Sweeney

Charley doing time in California for murder, was the greatest pitcher I saw. A right-handed pitcher, he was the only right-handed twirler I ever saw who could give an offshoot to a left-handed batter. Nash and Bunlap and other men who batted against him have told me that he would puzzle them more than any other pitcher they ever faced. The rule requiring a pitcher to keep both feet on the ground ended Charley's career. He practiced pitching under the rule and got such a kink in his arm that he couldn't raise it over his shoulder.
-"Gray Tom" Gallagher, quoted in Sporting Life, January 2, 1897

The Cheap Penny-A-Liners Of The Local Press

Every man should "stick up" for his own town, and let outsiders detect whatever shortcomings there man be...They are quite different in St. Louis, however. The newspapers here deride every commendable effort on the part of President Von der Ahe, and seem to take delight in adversely criticing every move of his. It seems to be their chief aim to injure the game as much as they possibly can, and are jubilant at the misfortunes of the Browns. If Mr. Von der Ahe, in a fit of disgust, should some day sell out and retire, it well be because of the continual hounding by the cheap penny-a-liners of the local press. It is a mean "bird that will defile its own nest."

...Judging from Mr. John B. Foster's strictures on the St. Louis Club, which he authoritatively asserts "to be merely a makeshift to fill out a scheduled season," he must be an ex-reporter of some St. Louis daily paper. They (the reporters) don't know any better, because they never come to the local games, are prejudiced against management, and like Job's warhorse, "sniff the battle from afar..."
-From Sporting Life, December 18, 1897

Saturday, May 10, 2008

St. Louis Browns Baseball Currency

I think I first saw these among the Zmotive stuff and wasn't sure what to make of it. While I assumed they were a form of advertising, I wasn't sure specifically what their purpose was until I did a little research today.

Over at Old Cardboard, there's quite a bit of information about baseball currency. In a brief summary, they say that these were an "unnumbered set of 'currency' advertising trade cards" that "carried (an) advertising overprint for numerous advertisers." The fronts had "team owner or manager in oval on left" while the backs had "team woodcuts (composite images of players)."

The cards were 3 3/8 inches by 7 3/4 inches in size and were issued from 1887 until 1893. Three teams (St. Louis, Chicago, and Detroit) were featured in the set and there are currently eight different team/year combinations known to exist. The St. Louis cards are the rarest of the set.

The above photos are of the 1887 and 1888 St. Louis Browns cards.

John Peters

John Peters led the National League at short field in 1876 and 1880.

He was the short fielder in 1876 of the Chicago White Stocking and on the infield that year were Cal McVey at first base, Ross Barnes at second and A.C. Anson at third...

Peters held his own with this great team. He was a short stocky built man, a splendid fielder and accurate thrower.

Peters after quitting Chicago went to the Providence team and in 1880 while a member of that organization he again led the National League at short field.

Peters was born in St. Louis and now holds a position in one of the St. Louis city departments. He was a member of the St. Louis Reds in the sixties and was one of the many of the great players given to the professional field by that once famous organization.
-From The National Game

John Paul Peters was born on April 8, 1850 in New Orleans and died January 4, 1924 in St. Louis. He is buried at Old St. Marcus Cemetery in St. Louis.

Interestingly, while Peters was a good shortstop and a decent hitter (career OPS+ of 97), he pitched one inning of one game in 1876. In that game, Peters threw one inning, giving up a hit and an unearned run while earning a save. That was only time he ever pitched in the major leagues.

The Deadball Era has a copy of Peters' obituary which appeared in The New York Times on January 6, 1924.

Frank Russo has a nice piece on Peters over at Find A Grave:

John Peters started his career as a teammate of Al Spading in 1874 with the Chicago White Stockings of the National Association. He played mostly at shortstop throughout his career, occasionally filling in at 2nd base and the outfield. He was considered to be a wonderful fielder during his playing days, even though he averaged about 38 errors a year and had 453 errors lifetime. Playing barehanded, he became very adapt at turning double plays. He was also a decent hitter, who batted .280 or better 6 times, and batted .300 for 3 straight years. He moved with the White Sox when they joined the National League in 1876 and stayed and additional 3 seasons before joining the Milwaukee Grays who were managed by Jack Chapman. After one season there he rejoined the White Stockings in 1979. He then moved on for a one season stints with the Providence Grays in 1880 and the Buffalo Bisons in 1881. 1882 saw him with the Pittsburgh Alleghenys where he batted .288 in 78 games. He broke his leg in 1883 and only appeared in 8 games. Attempts and a comeback were eventually futile, as he lost his range and speed. He retired after 1 game with Pittsburgh the next season. After his career, he worked with the St. Louis Parks Department, where he took special care of the baseball fields around the city. In 615 league games, spanning 11 seasons, John Peters accrued a lifetime average of .278 in 2695 career at bats, with 3 homers and 248 RBI's.

Peters grave at St. Marcus Cemetery is unmarked. According to Connie Nisinger, the cemetery is now a city park. Which is kind of odd.

Friday, May 9, 2008

A Fascinating Rumor

A well-known sporting man from St. Louis, who was in the city for a few days, states that it would not surprise him in the least to see the Browns and Maroons consolidate and play as the St. Louis Club in the National League. He also said that ball patrons in that city are under the impression that some sort of a deal is at present underway, and that Von der Ahe would rather be in the League than in the Association, the permit to play Sunday games being all he desires.
-From The Sporting News, December 18, 1886

There were always rumors floating around about the Browns jumping to the National League but this is the first I've ever heard of a Browns/Maroons consolidation. I would guess that, in the best tradition of European football, they could have been called St. Louis United.

Of course, the idea is ridiculous. The Maroons were in the process of collapsing and the Browns were at the height of their success. If the Browns would have joined the NL for the 1887 season, it would have happened by brushing aside the Maroons not by any type of merger with them.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A Quick Note On The Reds/Keokuk Series

The Keokuk ball-players are an unlucky crowd and the Red Stockings this season seem to be equally unfortunate. Rain sticks as close to them as their undershirts in August. Yesterday afternoon, at the Compton Avenue Park, these organizations were to have played the third game of their series, but it was necessarily postponed until to-day. Owing to the threatening weather, not over 100 spectators were assembled at the park an hour before the game was announced to commence.
-From The St. Louis Globe-Democrat, May 21, 1875

So the Reds were scheduled to play the Westerns on May 19 and 22 in St. Louis. The game on the 19th was postponed twice and finally played on the May 21. The game on the 22nd was also postponed due to weather and was never officially made-up. Of course, an exhibition between the Reds and Westerns was played the next day.

The Liberty Hop

Last night the Liberty Base Ball Association gave their second annual ball at Concert Hall, on Market street. If the members of this well-known amateur club have reasons to congratulate themselves upon the successes attained upon the ball field last season, still greater reasons have they to congratulate themselves upon the success of their delightful hop last evening. The hall was comfortably crowded with youth and beauty, who danced away the fleeting hours until daylight peeped in to warn them to cease their festivities. Many excellent costumes were worn by the ladies. Professor Fisher furnished both music and supper, which were truly excellent. Among those who were present were: Miss Lou Peters, Miss Josie Reed, Miss Carrie Meyer, Miss Amelia Ponce, Miss Emma and Miss Laura McGuire, Miss Annie Nolte and Miss Dozier; Messrs. M. O'connor, Wm. Claymore, Charles Kimble, Henry Reed, Charles Cross, Clarence Cross, Fred. Pimm, Wm. Tompkins, John Tompkins, David Ring, Frank Colman, Mr. Keener, and others.
-From The St. Louis Globe-Democrat, December 10, 1875

The 1875 Schedule And Inclement Weather

On April 12, 1875, the Globe-Democrat published "the complete programme for the Western games in May" and I think it's interesting to compare this schedule with the completed one.

According to the Globe, this was the schedule for Reds and Brown Stockings' games:

May 1 St. Louis vs. Red Stockings at St. Louis
May 4 St. Louis vs. Red Stockings at St. Louis
May 6 Chicago vs. St. Louis at St. Louis
May 6 Red Stockings vs. Keokuk at Keokuk
May 8 Chicago vs. St. Louis at St. Louis
May 8 Red Stocking vs. Keokuk at St. Louis
May 11 St. Louis vs. Keokuk at Keokuk
May 11 Chicago vs. Red Stockings at St. Louis
May 12 St. Louis vs. Keokuk at Keokuk
May 13 Chicago vs. Red Stockings at St. Louis
May 19 Chicago vs. St. Louis at Chicago
May 19 Keokuk vs. Red Stockings at St. Louis
May 22 Chicago vs. St. Louis at Chicago
May 22 Keokuk vs. Red Stockings at St. Louis
May 25 Chicago vs. Red Stockings at Chicago
May 25 St. Louis vs. Keokuk at St. Louis
May 27 Chicago vs. Red Stockings at Chicago
May 27 St. Louis vs. Keokuk at St. Louis

The game on the 1st between the Brown Stockings and the Reds was not played according to E.H. Tobias because of inclement weather. It was rescheduled and played on May 29.

The May 11th game between the Brown Stockings and Westerns was not played but looks like it was made up on May 13th.

The May 19th game between the Reds and Westerns was not played nor was the game on the 22nd. The games were cancelled due to what the Globe called "the forbidding aspect of the weather" and this lead to the ten men-ten inning game the Reds and Westerns played on May 23rd.

The rest of the games were played as scheduled.

I've mentioned the poor weather that St. Louis experienced in May 1875 several times and how I believe this effected the attendance. Looking at this set of data we can see that three of the eleven games scheduled in St. Louis were postponed due to weather and we know of at least one more (the May 11th game between the Reds and the Chicagos) that was played in less than ideal circumstances.

Looking at historical weather data from the National Weather Service, May 1875 was the wettest May St. Louis would see for ten years but it wasn't radically outside the norm (5.48 inches of rain compared to an average of 4.13 inches over the last one hundred and seventy years). June 1875, however, would be the wettest June St. Louis would see for a hundred years, with 10.84 inches of rain compared to the average of 4.07. Certainly we can say that May and June 1875 saw substantially more rain than normal (almost 17 inches of rain compared to the average of eight) and this impacted both the schedule and the attendance in St. Louis that year.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A Nice Picture Of Chris Von Der Ahe

Surprisingly, I actually haven't found that many pictures of Von der Ahe. This one was taken from the Von der Ahe thread over at Baseball Fever (hat tip to runningshoes who originally posted it).

Monday, May 5, 2008

A Nice Link

The History News Network is a great website and they've put together a fantastic list of links to history blogs. And, yes, this humble blog happens to be one of them but don't let that stop you from heading over there and checking it out.

Between HNN itself and Cliopatria's list of links, you can get lost over there for some time. Fair warning.

Gratz Moses

Scott Green sent me this interesting piece on Gratz Moses of the Cyclone Club from volume 51 of The Medical Record in 1897. What is fascinating about it is that the piece has Moses being born around 1813, meaning he would have been forty-seven years old in 1860.

If Moses was forty-seven in 1860, he almost certainly would have been the oldest member of the Cyclones. For the most part the members of the club were in their early to mid-twenties. Baseball was, and is still, a young man's game. While Moses' age doesn't necessarily rule him out as a member of the club, it certainly raises some questions. Is this the right Gratz Moses? Was Moses really a member of the club? Was he a non-playing member?

I believe that this is the Gratz Moses of the Cyclone Club. The name is too unique and according to the 1860 St. Louis city directory, there was only one Dr. S. Gratz Moses living in St. Louis at the time. Certainly nothing conclusive and more research needs to be done but I think we have our man.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

John Griffith Prather

John Griffith Prather, a member of the Cyclone Club, was more commonly known as Griff Prather. In the Neale and Garesche family genealogy, he is identified as John Griff Prather. The New York Times stated that he was "better known throughout Missouri and the Southwest" as Col. Griff Prather.

In the 1860 St. Louis City directory, Prather is listed as working for Daniel G. Taylor & Co., selling wine and liquor. In the 1864 directory, he is running John G. Prather & Co., described in an advertisement as being a successor to Daniel G. Taylor & Co. and supplying wine, liquor, and cigars to hotels and steamboats.

There is a profile of Prather in The History and Archaeology of Two Civil War Steamboats:

John Griffith Prather, owner of a 3/8 share of the Ed. F. Dix, was born on June 16, 1834, in Clermont County, Ohio. He was the son of Wesley Fletcher and Margaret (Taylor) Prather. His father was of Welsh ancestry and his mother was Scotch. His mother died when he was an infant (Stevens 1909:1018). His family is said to have been connected with steamboating from its earliest days on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. John G. Prather started on the river at a young age and worked in almost every position on steamboats, from the “deck to the roof.” He went to St. Louis in 1850 following his interests on the river until 1852, when he went to California (Gould 1889:703). There, he fished for salmon on the Sacramento River (Stevens 1909:1020) but, in 1855, he returned to St. Louis and worked with his uncle Daniel G. Taylor in the wholesale liquor business (Gould 1889:703). By 1864, John Prather had succeeded his uncle in the liquor business (Figure 3-5) (St. Louis City Directory 1864:328). Advertisements show that John Prather’s company specialized in supplying “Wines, Liquors, Cigars, &c.” to steamboats, presumably, a lucrative business considering the number of steamboats calling at St. Louis and the popularity of alcohol consumption onboard steamers. John Prather, also, participated in the ownership and operation of steamboats, owning shares in several during the 1850s to the 1870s (Figure 3-6a). In addition, he served as the captain on several boats. The sidewheeler Westerner seems to have been one of the first steamboats that Prather was associated with. The Westerner was built at St. Louis in 1853 and was owned by the St. Louis & Keokuk Packet Company. John Prather served as her captain before her loss to ice in 1855 (Way 1994:484). The St. Louis & Keokuk company was known for the magnificence of service aboard some of their boats. An example is an account of an 1856 bill of fare for one of the company’s steamers, the New Lucy, noting that food aboard the boat:

. . . would tempt the most exacting epicure. It consisted of buffalo tongue, antelope steak, wild turkey, prairie chicken, buffalo hump, roast quail, woodcock, mutton, all vegetables in season, red snapper, sheepshead and bass. The pastries and confectioneries were excellent. The repast ended with claret, white wine and champagne. The cooking was of the best and the service beyond criticism [American Association Masters, Mates and Pilots 1919:29].

Prather served as captain and part owner of at least one other steamer owned by the company. This was the sidewheel steamboat Des Moines, built at Madison, Indiana, in 1857. In 1864, the Des Moines was one of the many steamboats chartered by the Army Quartermaster Department for transport service during the Red River Campaign in Louisiana (Gibson and Gibson 1995a; Way 1994:125).

John Prather was captain of the sternwheel packet Fairy Queen in 1859 in the Cincinnati to Mayersville trade. She was built at Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania, in 1854. Another boat in the Cincinnati-Mayersville trade was the Magnolia, which, according to Way (1994:303) was built for and commanded by a Capt. James H. Prather, presumably a relative of John Prather. Constructed in 1859 at Cincinnati, the Magnolia’s boilers exploded at California, Ohio, in March 1868, killing many on board, including James Prather.

The Bart Able was another steamboat that was partly owned by John G. Prather. She was built in 1864 and in 1867 was sold to a group of men consisting of Capt. W.C. Harrison, W.H. Thorwegen, J.N. Terrel and Prather. The Bart Able was a 206-ft-long, sidewheel packet built at Louisville, Kentucky, and named for Capt. Bart Able of St. Louis, a well-known and accomplished riverman. Originally built for the Merchants & Peoples’ Line in the St. Louis-New Orleans trade, when the Bart Able was sold to Prather and the others she was used in the New Orleans-Shreveport trade (Way 1994:38). Like the Des Moines and the Ed. F. Dix, the Bart Able served as an Army Quartermaster transport during the Civil War (Gibson and Gibson 1995a:29).

During the Civil War, John G. Prather was considered a staunch “Union man.” He helped organize a regiment, and served as Lieutenant-Colonel of the 5th Regimental Missouri Militia during the war (Gould 1889:703-704). Prather continued in the steamboat business after the war and was one of the owners of the Fannie Tatum, a 177-ft sidewheeler built at Madison, Indiana, and completed in St. Louis in 1873 (Way 1994:161). This steamer was constructed specifically for the St. Louis and Arkansas River trade.

It is apparent that John G. Prather was involved in wide-ranging steamboat activity for many years, holding ownership in boats working on the Mississippi, Ohio, Red and Arkansas rivers. With his ownership of the Ed. F. Dix, he, also, was involved in the Missouri River trade. In addition to his business involvement with the St. Louis & Keokuk Packet Company, Prather, also, was associated with one of the largest steamboat lines on the Mississippi River, the Anchor Line. He was affiliated with the Anchor Line for over twenty years, serving for a time as its director.

Prather was involved in the Democratic Party in St. Louis, was a member of the Democratic National Committee and, according to The New York Times, was "instrumental" in securing the 1888 Democratic National Convention for St. Louis.

On January 13, 1859, Prather married Marie Clementine Carriere, a member of the prominent Chouteau and Laclede families of St. Louis. They had four children: Helen May Prather, Daniel G. Prather, Eloise Prather, and Marguerite Prather. Interestingly, one of Prather's granddaughters married the grandnephew of his Cyclone teammate Ferdinand Garesche.

John Griffith Prather died on December 27, 1903.

Note: Again I have to thank Scott Green, who sent me the article on the Ed. F. Dix which contained the piece on Prather.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

More On Edward Farish

Edward Tilghman Farish, who has long been a prominent lawyer at the Saint Louis bar, was born in Woodville, Mississippi, August 7, 1836. His father, Edward T. Farish, was a physician and surgeon of English lineage, and his mother was Caroline Hamilton, of Louisianna, granddaughter of Sir William Hamilton, a Scotch baron. Edward lost both parents before he was twelve years old, and in 1847 came to Saint Louis to live with relatives on the father's side. He was graduated at the Saint Louis University in 1854. Two years later, having read law with Abram Fenly, he was admitted to the bar, and soon formed a partnership with A.J.P. and P.B. Garesche, which partnership lasted till the civil war broke out, when P.B. Garesche joined the confederates. In 1857 Mr. Farish was married to Miss Lilly Garesche.

In 1864 Mr. Farish became a partner of Hon. R.A. Bakewell, which lasted till 1876, when Mr. Bakewell went on the bench. Meanwhile P.B. Garesche had returned from the South, and joined the firm in 1868.

Mr. Farish seems to be partial to the civil practice, yet in the few criminal cases in which he has been retained, he was shown great adroitness and skill, as well as ability in their management. He defended Picton, a merchant, and prosecuted Edwards, teller of the Union Savings Bank, both cases growing out of mercantile transactions, both of a good deal of importance, and both exciting a great deal of interest at the time.

Mr. Farish was city counselor from 1876 to 1878, but he has never been an office seeker. Parties with whom we have conversed from time to time, and who have known him longest, state that he is a very close student, that he has fine literary as well as legal talents; that he is an able advocate; that he speaks with ease and fluency; is candid as well as logical and earnest, and has great persuasive powers, hence his success. Best of all, his character is irreproachable, the purity of his life being unquestioned.
-From The Bench and Bar of St. Louis, Kansas City, Jefferson City, and Other Missouri Cities (published by The American Biographical Publishing Company, 1884)

According to the Neale and Garesce Ancestry website, Farish was born on August 9, 1833 and died on July 21, 1904. He married Elizabeth Amelia (Lilly) Garesche, sister of his law partner Alexander Garesche and fellow member of the Cyclone Club Ferdinand Garesche, on February 10, 1857.

A notice of Farish's death appeared in The New York Times on July 22, 1904 stating that he died at his residence on July 21, 1904. It listed his residence as 3658 Page Avenue.

Note: I want to thank Scott Green who was kind enough to send me the above information on Farish as well as information on other members of the Cyclones.

Edward Farish

There is a nice profile of Edward Farish, a member of the Cyclone Club, in Saint Louis: The Future Great City of the World. The book was written by L.U. Reavis and published in 1876.

It may be stated, without any disparagement to the other learned professions, that the Bar of St. Louis possesses more men of prominence than any of them; and this assertion holds good, not only as regards the present generation, but as regard the past, and gives every promise of holding good in the future. With those of the past we have but little to do; volumes might easily be filled with the life records of the illustrious men who have graced the forum since the days of Liguest: records as bright and names as fair as those of any city of the Union. It is with those men who by their talents and abilities now grace the forum, and who deserve well of their fellow-citizens, that we would now speak. Honorable and conspicuous among this class is Edward T. Farish, the subject of this sketch.

Mr. Farish was born in Woodville, Mississippi, in August 1836, and is now in the prime of manhood. His father, who was a physician of large and extensive practice and wide-spread reputation, was a native of the Old Dominion, and was of English descent. His mother was a Miss Hamilton, of Louisiana, grand-daughter of Sir William Hamilton (Lord Belharm), a Scottish baron. Young Farish received the rudiments of his education at the school of his native town. In 1847, his parents having died, he came to this city where his father's relatives reside, and was sent to the St. Louis University, where he made a full classical course, graduating in 1854.

Upon the completion of his collegiate education, Mr. Farish entered the law office of Mr. A. Fenby, and began the study of his profession. Mr. Fenby died in 1856, the same year Mr. Farish was admitted to practice.

He immediately embarked upon the great ocean of professional life, and under the most favorable circumstances. For a short period he was by himself, but he finally formed a co-partnership with A.J.P. and P.B. Garesche, which lasted until 1861, the breaking out of the late civil war, when Mr. P.B. Garesche-being a warm Southerner, went South, joined his fortunes with the Confederacy, and thus broke up the partnership.

Mr. Farish declining to take any part in the great civil contest which was going on, continued to practice on his own account until 1864, when he assumed professional relations with the Honorable R.A. Bakewell, at present one of the Judges of the St. Louis Court of Appeals, which partnership lasted until June 1876, when Judge Bakewell was called to the bench. In 1868, Mr. P.B. Garesche returned from the South, and associated himself with Messrs. Farish and Bakewell, and in November of the same year died, the firm of "Bakewell and Farish," however, remaining as before.

Mr. Farish had given most of his time and attention to the practice of the law in the civil courts, rarely entering the criminal branch of his profession. On two memorable occasions he made his appearance in the Criminal Court: once in the case of Picton, a merchant, and again in the case of Edwards, teller of the Union Savings Bank; prosecuting in the latter and defending in the former. Both cases grew out of mercantile transactions, and were two of the most important criminal cases that had ever come before the Criminal Court of St. Louis. With these exceptions, Mr. Farish has confined his attention to the United states and Circuit Courts. In the Britton-Overstolz contest for the mayoralty in 1876, Mr. Farish, in connection with Judge Madill, was the leading counsel for Mr. Overstolz. Probably no case ever came before our courts arising out of an election, which was contested with more perseverance, or which brought out a higher degree of legal ability than this memorable case. It was finally decided by the Supreme Court upon application for a writ of certiorari, against the Common Council, the application refused giving Mr. Overstolz the Mayor's office.

Mr. Farish was subsequently appointed City Counsellor by Mayor Overstolz, and although the appointment was made without any solicitation on his part, yet in it the public recognized a fitting and just tribute to the man who had so successfully fought the battle of his client.

Mr. Farish was married in 1867, to Miss Lilly Garesche, daughter of V.M. Garesche, and sister of A.J.P., his former partner, and of Reverend Father Garesche, S.J., of the St. Louis University.

Through life Mr. Farish has ever avoided coming before the people as a candidate for any public office, but has given himself up entirely to the practice of his profession, and literary pursuits connected therewith. He has ever been a close student, and is never so well pleased as when ferreting out the intricacies of some obtuse point of law. He is an occasional contributor to our public journals, and his productions give evidence of literary ability of a high order. Cool and collected under all circumstances, never giving way to any undue excitement, he is never at a disadvantage in the conducting of a case. An eloquent speaker, with an easy and graceful flow of language, but few men in St. Louis have more power over, or influence with, a jury.

His social position is of the highest character, and is only equaled by his professional standing. Affable and genial in his nature, he is an ever welcome guest to our highest circles, where he is respected and honored for his many and sterling qualities of head and heart. Mr. Farish is still a young man, just entering upon the meridians of his life, with many years of usefulness before him. To his future, his fellow-citizens, who take his past as a criterion, look with many expectations. Possessed of every requisite to make a successful practitioner, honorable and upright in all his transactions, studious and attentive to every detail of his profession, we have every reason to predict for him still greater success at the bar and at the forum.

Friday, May 2, 2008

More Graves

Art Croft's unmarked grave at Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis.

Pidge Morgan's unmarked grave at Calvary Cemetery.

Trick McSorley's grave at Calvary Cemetery.

All the photographs are from Find A Grave and were taken by Connie Nisinger.

Billy Redmon's Grave

I was fooling around at Find A Grave last night and found a photo of Billy Redmon's grave. Interestingly, while neither baseball-reference nor David Nemec's Encyclopedia of 19th Century Major League Baseball gives biographical information for Redmon, Find A Grave lists the year of his birth as 1853 and his date of death as April 2, 1894.

Frank Russo, of The Deadball Era, adds this note to the Redmon entry:

Billy Redmon played Major League baseball in the 1870s, debuting with the National Association's St. Louis Red Stockings on May 4th, 1875. He appeared in 19 games that year, playing mostly at shortstop. With the demise of the NA at the end of the 1875 season, and the formation of the National League in 1876, Redmon found himself back in the Minor Leagues the next season. He reappeared back in the big leagues briefly in 1877 with a 3 game stint with the Cincinnati Reds. 1878 would prove to be his last, and busiest season as a major leaguer. Playing for the 6th place Milwaukee Grays, he appeared in 48 games, 39 at shortstop, 7 in the outfield, 3 at 3rd base and 1 game at catcher. He batted 262 that year with 21 RBI. After that season, he returned to the minors to finish out his career. After his career he became a carpenter and eventually died at the age of 40. In 70 league games, he accrued a lifetime average of .261 on 62 hits, with 25 RBI's in 281 at bats.

Redmon is buried at St. Matthews Cemetery in St. Louis and his last name is spelled "Readmon" on the tombstone. The grave photo was taken by Connie Nisinger.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Flint Playing With The Elephants In May 1875

It's difficult for me to look at Dillon's games with the Reds, as I did yesterday, without considering Silver Flint, who replaced Dillon in the lineup. When specifically Flint joined the Reds is a question that's still up in the air but based on information provided by E.H. Tobias, it's clear that Flint was still playing with the Elephants as late as May 9, 1875. Tobias, in the February 8, 1896 issue of The Sporting News, provides the box scores of two games that Flint played in for the Elephants. The first was a game against the Reds on May 2 and the second was against the Empires on May 9.

However, while it's obvious that Flint was still playing with the Elephants in early May, he certainly already had established a relationship with the Reds. In the May 4, 1875 game against the Brown Stockings, Flint was playing for the Reds. Tobias wrote that the Reds were shorthanded, missing Trick McSorley, and used Flint, "late of the Elephants," at third base.

Flint replaced Dillon as the Reds' starting catcher after the May 8 game in Keokuk. Dillon had suffered a hand injury in the spring and it was reported in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat at the time that Dillon was still injured as the season began. It appears that Dillon tried to play through the injury, was unsuccessful, and Flint replaced him in the lineup. What is unclear is when specifically Flint joined the club. It's possible that he had already joined the club after the game on May 2 and played in the May 9 game with the Elephants because the Reds didn't take him on the road trip. On the other hand, after the trip to Keokuk Charlie Sweasy may have come to the conclusion that Dillon was physically unable to get the job done behind the plate and at that point brought Flint into the fold. But regardless of how it went down, after the Reds returned from Keokuk, Flint was the starting catcher and played in the remainder of the Reds' championship games.