When Homer Hausen of the Sioux City Cornhuskers hit Omaha Omahogs catcher Bill Wilson in the head with a bat it was the culmination of a feud a over a woman.
While initial reports said Wilson was near death, the catcher made a full recovery.
In the aftermath of the July 1900 incident, Hausen was blacklisted by the Western League, joined a semi-pro team in Rock Rapids, Iowa, and was reported to have married the object of the feud.
If the wedding happened, as reported by The Associated Press, it didn’t last—there is no record confirming the marriage took place, and there is a record, six years later, for Hausen’s marriage to his wife Nellie.
Hausen went to Utah in 1901 and joined the Ogden club in the newly formed Inter-Mountain League; then returned to the Western League in 1902, splitting time between the Denver Grizzlies and Colorado Springs Millionaires.
During his time in Ogden in 1901 The Deseret News said Hausen seemed to “have trouble wherever he goes,’ with Utah fans:
“This happened again yesterday afternoon at Lagoon and Hausen attempted to reply to the taunt. That only made matters worse and he got it harder than ever. He remarked that some of the rooters were ‘Salt Lake curs,’ and said that he would ‘spoil the face of one dirty cur.’ before he left the state.”
Despite his problems with the state’s fans, he returned to Utah in 1903, and became involved in another incident involving a bat to the head.
This time he was on the receiving end.
On June 28 Hausen was behind the plate for the Ogden team in a Utah State League game against Salt Lake City in Ogden.
The Desert News said:
“A most brutal and murderous assault took place yesterday afternoon on the Glenwood park ball grounds when George Marshall, one of the Salt Lake baseball team maliciously struck Hausen of the Ogden baseball team over the right side of the head with a baseball bat, breaking Hausen’s upper jaw and terribly battering his face.“
The Salt Lake Herald said:
“(Pitcher Erven “Si”) Jensen delivered one that went wide of the plate and was called a ball…Hausen had returned the sphere to Jensen and was squatting back, apparently giving the signal to Jensen for the next delivery when Marshall whirled and brought his bat down on the catcher’s face…Marshall was quite excited and shouted to the grandstand that Hausen had called him an insulting name.”
The blow broke his cheek bone below his right eye—rather than his “upper jaw”—had been broken, and “But for the mask the blow might have killed Hausen.”
From an Ogden jail cell, Marshall told a reporter from The Herald he “resented” a name Hausen had called him but, “did not mean to strike hard enough to break any bones.”
The Deseret News said the incident was the result of a long-standing feud between the players:
“Yesterday morning, it is stated, the two men had words in a cigar store, in this city, which almost resulted in blows, and it is also stated that the police have proof that Marshall has made the statement that he would hit Hausen the first chance he got, and it is fully believed by those who saw the murderous blow struck yesterday that Marshall intended to kill Hausen.”
Unlike Hausen, who three years earlier, avoided any legal action in Iowa, Marshall was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, and was unable to make bail. Despite the serious charge, and the alleged “proof” of intent the police were said to have, the charges were reduced to assault and battery and a sympathetic judge “took into consideration the boy’s age—18—and the fact that he had already served considerable time in jail (nine days)” and sentenced Marshall to time served and a $50 fine.
It’s unknown what became of Marshall after his release.
Hausen continued the life of an itinerant early 20th Century ballplayer. He returned to Iowa late in 1903, then back to Salt Lake City in 1904, for his best season. He hit .318 for the Salt Lake City Elders in the Pacific National League, and his contract was purchased by the St. Louis Cardinals, but was returned to the minor leagues early in the spring.
Hausen spent time in the Southern Association and Central League before returning to Utah in 1909. He played several more seasons of semipro ball until retiring to a farm in Rupert, Idaho. He died there in 1935.
Despite his early trouble with fans in Utah, they seemed to have warmed to him later in his carer;
During one of his many stints playing in the state, The Salt Lake Tribune said of Hausen:
“No better or more faithful ball player ever stepped on a Utah diamond.”