Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Steady Now

On Monday last, a noted ball-player, "Tom" Miller, died at the house of his parents in Philadelphia, and was buried to-day (Wednesday). Miller was well known from his connection with the Easton nine of 1874, and latterly as catcher for Bradley in the famous Brown's of St. Louis. A gentleman of this place, whose brother is the manager of the Brown's, informs us that the last words spoken by Miller were in connection with his business, that of professional ball-playing, and were these: "Two out Brad; steady now-he wants a high ball-steady Brad; I knew it, that settles it." In another moment the spirit had fled from its mortal casket.-[Daily Pottstown Ledger.]
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 4, 1876


Richard Hershberger said...

Tommy Miller is something of a pet interest of mine. His career combined several somewhat interesting features. They don't add up to a person of broader interest, alas.

This particular story screams to me "apocryphal!" But it shows how a catcher and pitcher were already working together to strategize against a batter.

As a player, Miller was the original good-glove, no-bat catcher. He was with St. Louis the 1876 season, but relegated to the role of utility backup. He never got into a championship (i.e. regular season) game that year.

The follow up to his death would be a full baseball funeral. The St. Louis club was in New York when he died, but scheduled to go to Philadelphia to play the Athletics. So they were there for the funeral, held on an open date, with all the speechifying one could possibly ask for. So far as I know it was the first baseball opportunity for a baseball funeral since Creighton.

Jeffrey Kittel said...

I don't know if the story is apocryphal or not but it immediately reminded me of Stonewall Jackson's death and last words for some reason. It's interesting that they say their source was Mase Graffen's brother because I assume he was living in Philadelphia and would have had contact with his brother and the club.

I had my eye out for information about the funeral because I think that you mentioned it to me once. There doesn't seem to have been anything in the Globe or I just missed it. I'll go back and look around to see what I can find.