Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mase Graffen Resigns

Manager M.S. Graffen [sic], of the St. Louis Browns, has severed his connection with that club, and arrived here day before yesterday, having left the club in charge of McManus, the Treasurer.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 14, 1876

The "day before yesterday" would have been September 12 and therefore Graffen "severed his connection" with the Brown Stockings prior to the club playing their first game in Boston. No explanation was given in the Globe for the change in management and other than the above blurb, nothing was mentioned of it.

It is curious how differently people look at things. The St. Louis papers announce with fervor that Graffen-S. Mason Graffen-has resigned the managership of the St. Louis Club, when as a matter of record he never did anything of the kind; but received what rude boys on the street call the "G.B." On the other hand, the Courier-Journal, noticing the discharge, adds: "S. Mason was emphatically n.g..."

The St. Louis Republican says that there is very little doubt that Harry Wright will manage the Browns next season. It has long been known that Harry would like to come West again, but it is by no means sure that he will select St. Louis...
-Chicago Tribune, September 17, 1876

So I was in the middle of writing this grand, epic post on Graffen, detailing the mysteries of why he left the Brown Stockings (or why he was fired, if you believe the Tribune). It was a fantastic piece of writing and may very well have been the best thing I would have ever posted at this site. It's a shame that you'll never get to read it.

But I was doing a little more digging when I discovered this:

Sarah Matilda Barnes, married Samuel Mason Graffen, and had:-Charles H. Graffen, born at Philadelphia October, 1871; Paul Barnes Graffen, born at Philadelphia, 21 April, 1873; George Stevenson Graffen, born at Philadelphia, 20 August, 1876.
-Mayflower Pilgrim descendants in Cape May County, New Jersey

And I think that really explains the great mystery of Graffen's resignation. Graffen's wife has a baby on August 20, 1876. The Brown Stockings are in Philadelphia to play games on September 8 and 9. He has a young wife, a new baby and two other young children who, it appears, are still living in Philadlephia while Graffen is in St. Louis, managing the Brown Stockings. He gets back home to Philadelphia early in September, just after the baby is born, and decides to resign and stay with his family. It's a simple explanation that makes sense. This is why nobody made a big deal about it. Graffen didn't resign in disgust and he wasn't fired to make room for George McManus or Harry Wright.

It simply wasn't that big of a story. Graffen was needed at home and so he went home. The reason for the resignation wasn't mentioned by the Globe because this was the 19th century and it was a private family matter.

Now the grand, epic post that I had written involved a convoluted explanation that involved Harry Wright, Orrick Bishop, Mike McGeary and my usual take on a corrupt organization, a divided team and directors that were undercutting their manager to the point that he resigned in disgust. I also worked in the possibility that Graffen was fired.

It's likely that some of that may have played a part in Graffen deciding to step aside but the simplest explanation is that he had a young family and resigned so that he could spend more time at home with them. It's not nearly as good a story as my grand epic but I think it's closer to the truth. The corruption and craziness that surrounded the Brown Stockings probably made it easier for Graffen to make his decision but, in the end, I think he went home to be with the wife and kids.

I'm bitterly disappointed that you didn't get to read "The Curious Case of Mase Graffen" but I'm going to talk a bit tomorrow about some craziness regarding Brown Stocking management that I hope, in some small part, will make up for it. And I might post some biographical information about Graffen before I get to the last few games of the 1876 season, since it doesn't appear that I've ever mentioned him on the blog before.

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