Assumed Names

9 Aug

In the early days of baseball assumed names were common; either to avoid the stigma of being a professional baseball player—not the top of the social strata of 19th and early 20th century America–to avoid the law, or to jump a contract.  Or sometimes just because.

William McGill, listed as simply McGill on Baseball Reference, is one such case.  McGill, a  pitcher and outfielder with the 1901 Reading team in Pennsylvania State League was, as theReading Eagle reported “Born Sauers and Christened John Sauers.  Someone nicknamed him William McGill and he has gone by that name on the diamond.”

McGill was born in Reading in 1878 or ’79 and was a well known amateur and semi-pro player in the Reading area, hardly the candidate for an assumed name in his home town.

John Sauers/William McGill

Newspaper accounts seem to indicate that McGill is the same William McGill who played briefly in the Texas League the following season.

The trail of Sauers/McGill goes cold after 1902.

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