Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Funny Von Der Ahe Stories (or Somebody Please Find Me This Book!)

(Von der Ahe) had among his players several wags and jesters, among them Arlie Latham, Charlie Comiskey, Tommy Dowd, Bill Gleason, Bobby Carruthers, Yank Robinson, etc., who never were so happy as when they were retailing "a new one on the Dutchman." The players always were playing practical jokes on their employer and always laying some pitfall for his entertaining tongue. Thus "Von der Ahe stories" became so famous that a book of them was compiled at the time and had a large sale in base ball circles.
-Sporting Life, June 14, 1913

The above was taken from Von der Ahe's obituary in Sporting Life, which I'll probably post more of tomorrow. But seriously, I want to get my hands on this book of Von der Ahe stories. My contention has been that the image of Von der Ahe as a buffoon was a product of stories told after he had left baseball but the existence of this book is strong evidence that the image was a contemporary one. Of course, we need to look at the book and the stories and see specifically how Von der Ahe is portrayed and compare it to how he's viewed today but the existence of this book was certainly news to me and may force a reevaluation of my position.

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