Thursday, August 21, 2008

Down And Out

In a small saloon on the outer section of (St. Louis), Chris Von der Ahe, once a noted base ball magnate, is tending bar. Twenty-five years ago Von der Ahe owned the St. Louis Browns. Under the management of Charles A. Comiskey, who played first base and drew a $4000 salary, the Browns won four consecutive championships in the American Association and piled up a fortune for the quaint old Dutchman. As the Browns traveled over the circuit year after year Von der Ahe spent his money lavishly, entertaining hosts of friends and becoming known everywhere as a good fellow. But when Comiskey left him in 1890 to manage the Chicago Brotherhood Club Von der Ahe lost his all and troubles began to multiply. The Browns were taken into the 12-club National League, where competition was brisk. Von der Ahe soon found himself with a losing team and a shrunken bank account. In time he was forced to the wall and rival magnates employing methods peculiar to base ball, took the St. Louis Club away from him. Von der Ahe, almost penniless, could not afford to make a fight and was driven into bankruptcy. He had retired to a life of seclusion, but managed to scrape enough money together to buy a saloon, which failed. Meanwhile Comiskey after a series of ups and downs, got hold of the Chicago Americans-the White Sox-and coined a million. But Von der Ahe has never asked him for a dollar.
-Sporting Life, August 24, 1912.

I don't agree with all of the writer's interpretations regarding Von der Ahe but I really like the first sentence of that paragraph. That's a very nice piece of writing.

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