Tag Archives: Austin Senators

Tragic Exits 2

5 May

Charles Rapp

Charles “Adonis” Rapp was a left-handed pitcher (he also played first base and outfield) who began his career with the Austin Senators in the Texas League in 1898.  For the next several years he played for a variety of Midwest based clubs (Fort Wayne, Saginaw, Grand Rapids) in the Interstate and Michigan State Leagues.

Contemporary newspaper reports say he was also a member of the South Bend Greens in the Central League, but he is not listed on any surviving rosters; he was also said to have been “tried out by Milwaukee, when that city was in the old Western League (1903).”

Rapp’s trail goes cold after the 1903 season until 1909.  Rapp was living in his hometown of South Bend, Indiana.  The Indianapolis News reported on May 17:

“Charles Rapp, former ball player, and well known throughout the city, killed his mother late Saturday and then committed suicide.  The weapons used were a hammer, a dull paring knife and a small pair of shears.  It is said that Rapp had a tendency towards insanity, that the tendency had been marked during the last few days and that he undoubtedly deranged when he attacked his mother.

“Rapp did not die until several hours after the double crime had been committed and after he had been removed from the Rapp home to the St. Joseph County Jail.  Before death came, and in reply to a query about the crime, Rapp said: ‘I tried to get the whole family.’

“The last person to see Mrs. Rapp alive and the first one to discover the body of the woman and the dying son was Charlotte Benz.  Mrs. Benz had spent the day at the Rapp home and left the house late in the afternoon…On her return she stopped at the Rapp place, entering by the rear door…and then suddenly a sickening sight met her gaze.  Lying in a pool of blood at one side of the sitting-room were Rapp and the body of the mother.  The heads were close together and as Mrs. Benz entered the young man cried out: ‘Get out of here, Lottie, get out of here.’  It was evidently his intention to kill the Benz woman, but Rapp was unable to move from loss of blood.”

The Associated Press said of the incident:

 “Until Rapp fell a victim to the liquor habit he was one of the most popular young men in the city.”

Henry Long

Henry Long was born in Chicago in 1870 or 1871 (cemetery and death records disagree), he was the younger brother of  Herman who had a 16-year big league career.

Herman Long

Herman Long

Little is known about Henry’s early life, or when exactly he began playing professional baseball.  Based on newspaper reports he appears to be the “Long” who played with the Battle Creek Adventists in the Michigan State League in 1895.

Before the 1896 season he was signed by the Lewiston team in the New England League.  The Lewiston Daily Sun said:

“Manager (Michael) Garrity has signed pitcher Henry Long of Chicago, a brother of Herman Long of the Bostons, and is said to be a good pitcher, a hard hitter and a good all-around man.”

Long didn’t last in Lewiston, he was 0-2 in just three games before he was released.  Long then appeared in one game for the Shamokin Actives in the Pennsylvania State League, and then joined the Hagerstown Lions in the Cumberland Valley League.

The right-handed pitcher started seven games for the Lions and was 4-3 with a 1.29 ERA.

On July 10 he missed the team’s train for a game in Hanover, Maryland.  The Philadelphia Times said he attempted to hop a freight train and fell; his right arm was crushed under the wheels.  His arm was amputated “but Long sank rapidly and died in the hospital” in Hagerstown.  While contemporary news reports said the body was to be shipped back to Chicago, where it would be “received by his brother Herman,” he was instead buried in Maryland

Matt Barry

In 1900 The Sporting Life said Matthew “Matt” Barry had been “the first player from Rhode Island to receive money for playing ball.”

Information on where he played is sketchy—he was the Rhode Islands in the New England League in 1877 and Springfield (MA) of the International Association in 1878–but beyond that, there are few references to where he played during his career.

The Providence News-Democrat called Barry, who was born in Providence in 1850, a “well-known ballplayer and one of the best-known members of the sporting fraternity in the state.”

Barry eventually returned to his hometown, Providence where he operated the Empire Saloon, on Empire Street.

After the turn of the century, Barry suffered a series of financial setbacks.   On August 30, 1907 The News Democrat said:

 “(Barry) attempted suicide by inhaling illuminating gas in his room in the Essex house, at 23 Burrill Street.”

Barry was discovered by the owner of the house:

 “The room was locked, but the door was forced, and then Barry was seen unconscious on the bed with gas streaming from an open unlighted jet…as Barry’s usual custom was to sleep with all the windows open , the fact that they were closed , indicated that he had prepared to take his life.”

He was taken to Rhode Island, where he died on September 2.

Barry’s friends disputed the story that he had taken his own life, claiming his “financial embarrassments” had been overstated and that he “was in better condition financially than he had been for years.”  His friends instead said Barry, who “had been troubled with insomnia” and took morphine to sleep, turning off the lights “at that time the morphine would begin to get in its work,” had accidentally turned on the gas when he meant to turn off the light “which was on the same chandelier.”

The cause of death was never officially determined.

Lost Pictures–Hatton Ogle

17 Oct

hattonoglepix

Hatton Geter Ogle (Texas papers often misspelled his last name “Ogles”) pitched in the Texas League from 1909 to 1916.  He was most likely born in 1885 (Baseball Reference lists his birth date as 1883, but North Carolina and Texas records disagree).

The six-foot, 185 pound Ogle began his professional career with the Wilson Tobacconists in the Eastern Carolina League;  complete records are not available, but in July The Raleigh Times said he “has pitched and won 11 games, having a clean slate.”

The Dallas Morning News said former pitcher Cy Mulkey watched him play in Wilson and signed him to a 1909 contract for the Dallas Giants;  Mulkey compared him to Texas League star Harry Ables.

Ogle moved to Texas after the 1908 season and took a job teaching school near Dallas, in Coppell; his off-season job earned him the nickname “professor’ in Texas papers–he continued teaching in the off-season through at least 1915.

He was just 7-14 with Dallas in 1909 and joined the Waco Navigators in 1910.  After an 11-22 season in 1910, Ogle had a three-year run as one of the best pitchers in the Texas League.

From 1911 until 1913 he was 21-11, 17-14, and 19-12.

In 1912 he pitched in two exhibition games against the Chicago White Sox, on March 17 and March 30, allowing just two runs and six hits in nine innings.  He also had his first no-hitter that season, an 11-0 victory over the Galveston Pirates.

The Waco-News Tribune said:

“(Ogle’s) principal asset was his head, but when the occasion made it necessary ‘the professor’ shows his usual assortment of curves and speed.”

He continued pitching in the Texas League with Waco, the Houston Buffaloes, the Austin Senators and San Antonio Bronchos, through the 1916 season; he added a second no-hitter for Waco in 1914, defeating Austin 6-0 on April 26.

After an 8-17 season in 1916 his career was over.  He returned to the classroom until 1918 when he contracted tuberculosis and moved to El Paso, Texas, where he died five years later, on May 27, 1923.

The Waco News-Tribune–seven years after his career ended, and four years after Waco’s Texas League franchise had folded–simply said in Ogle’s small obituary:

“(He) was one of the popular tossers of the old Waco Navigators.”

Ogle's 1912 no-hitter

Ogle’s 1912 no-hitter

Ogle's 1914 no-hitter

Ogle’s 1914 no-hitter

The Worst, or Best Game Recap Ever—1888

9 Apr

In June of 1888 the Dallas Hams were coasting to the Texas League championship; the team was so good, and so far in front, the league would be reformed in July as the Texas Southern League.  Dallas would win that championship as well.

The 1888 Dallas Hams

The 1888 Dallas Hams

Unfortunately most stories did not have bylines in 1888, as a result we’ll probably never know who wrote this recap of the June 12 game between the Hams and the Austin Senators in The Dallas Morning News:

“It was a good game on both sides, still a listless, lifeless, inanimate game.  Neither side showed any life or spirit.  They played like they were asleep, or dead.  There were only about 150 spectators and the boys couldn’t throw any life into the game.

“For seven innings neither side made a run.  Each side played ball and kept the other from scoring. In the eighth inning (Frank) Hoffman for Austin scored.  It was (William) ‘Kid’ Peeples error that lost the game.  A beautiful, way up, pop fly came over to him, falling so prettily right into his hands, and he let it slip—muffed it.  Jack Wentz was on one side of him (Clarence) ‘Daddy’ Cross at the other, each one standing ready and waiting, but it was Peeples’ ball and they stood by.  He muffed it.  He said afterward that he had his hands out for it to come down between his breast and his hands, which it did, but he had his hands too far out and it slipped through.

“The game was lost for Dallas by Peeples’ error of the fly already mentioned.  Look at the score and you will see that while Austin made five base hits, Dallas made nothing except Charlie Levis’ two bagger.

“It is not necessary to go through the minutia of the game.  It was goose egg after goose egg up to the eighth inning, when Austin made one.  There wasn’t a brilliant play in the whole game.  Charlie Levis did make a two bagger, and is entitled to credit for it.  Nobody else did anything.

“Only about 150 people were present to see the game.  The small crowd discouraged the boys and they played without verve, without spirit, without animation.”

The Box Score

The Box Score

John Bradley

18 Jan

Two members of the 1888 Dallas Hams were shot and killed in Texas.

One, George Kittle, I wrote about in September.

John Bradley was the other one.

Charles M. “John” “Brad” Bradley (wrongly listed with the middle initial “H” on Baseball Reference) left Oil City, Pennsylvania where he was born in June of 1864, to go west and play baseball.  An article in The Louisville Courier Journal said he was born to wealth and left Pennsylvania because of his father’s disapproval of baseball:

“(Bradley) was surrounded with every luxury.  He acquired a collegiate education and all the ornamental accomplishments of modern times.  He was possessed of a charming tenor voice; was a brilliant pianist and an expert linguist.  He was passionately fond of the national game…An early disagreement with his father, the result of his penchant for baseball, led to an estrangement, and, troubles never coming singly, he was rejected by a young lady of Oil City, PA, to whom he was devoted.”

After playing in Corning, New York in 1885 Bradley went to Kansas.  Various sources place him with the Topeka Capitals in the Western League and/or a team in Abilene in 1886 though neither can be verified.  Bradley then played with the Emporia Reds in the Western League in 1887.

He signed with the Austin Senators in the newly formed Texas League in 1888.  In March, Bradley caught for Austin in two exhibition games with the Cincinnati Red Stockings of the American Association—the Statesmen lost the first game 2-0, but won the second 3-0.

Box score of 1888 Austin -Cincinnati game won by Austin 3-0.

Box score of 1888 Austin-Cincinnati game won by Austin 3-0.

Bradley was Austin’s starting catcher until the dissolution of the Texas League in July.  When the reformed Texas Southern League commenced play later that month, Bradley was with Dallas where he shared catching duties with Kittle.

Bradley hit .158 as Dallas coasted to a championship.

The 1888 off season was an eventful one.

Bradley was offered a contract for 1889 with the St. Joseph Clay Eaters in the Western Association.

He also started seeing Dolly Love, “A woman of bad repute,” as The Dallas Morning News said; problem was Love was also involved with a livery driver named Tom Angus.

At the same time Bradley got in trouble with the law in December of 1888.  The Austin Weekly Statesman said:

“(Bradley) shot a man named Billups in a (Dallas) bar room, because Billups attacked him with an empty beer keg because he refused to pay for drinks.”

Bradley was charged with “assault with intent to kill” and was scheduled to appear in front of a Dallas Judge at the end of January.  He was also arrested twice in early January for altercations with Love at the brothel she operated.

Throughout the chaos Angus and Bradley were trading threats over Dolly Love.

The rivalry came to a head on January 16.  Shortly after 10:30 a.m., Bradley and a friend exited Swope & Mangold’s Saloon at the corner of Main and Austin to return to his room at the Grand Windsor Hotel across the street.  The Austin Weekly Statesman said Bradley was:

“Shot down like a dog by Tom Angus, a hack driver, who followed him and fired in his back.”

The Headline in The Dallas Morning News said:

“The Killing of Charles Bradley the Baseball Catcher, all about a Fallen Woman.”

Bradley was shot through the back and began to run as Angus fired two additional shots; after running about 120 feet, Bradley fell dead in the street.  Angus was immediately arrested and ordered held for trial.

A letter from five representatives of the Texas/Texas Southern League and addressed “To the Baseball Profession of the Union” was published in newspapers around the country soliciting funds “In order that able counsel may be obtained to conduct the prosecution,” the letter concluded:

“John Bradley played with Austin and Dallas in 1888, and had recently signed with St. Joe for the season of 1889. He was a gentleman, an excellent ballplayer and altogether an honor to our profession.  To ball players this case suggests not only a duty but a privilege, and we trust that a suitable response will be made.  Yours fraternally,

J. J. McCloskey, manager Austin team, I888.

Charles Levis, manager Dallas team 1888

Doug Crothers, manager Dallas team, 1889.

Kid Peeples, short stop Dallas team 1888.

Billy Joyce, third base Ft. Worth and New Orleans, 1888.”

It is unknown how much money was raised.

Dolly Love left Dallas for Fort Worth to escape the publicity.  Tom Angus spent more than a year in jail awaiting trial during which time he got married.  Dick Johnson, a friend of Angus’, who was at the scene of the shooting, was charged as an accessory, but was acquitted in a separate trial.

When the trial began in April of 1890 The Dallas Weekly Times-Herald headline called it:

“The Most Sensational Case that Has Been up for Years.”

Several witnesses, including a Dallas police officer testified that Bradley had also made threats against Angus in the weeks leading up to the killing, and that he often carried a gun.  Although Bradley wasn’t carrying a gun on the morning he was shot, and was shot in the back, the defense claimed that Angus had acted in self-defense.  Angus was found guilty, but sentenced to only five years in prison.

The sentence was upheld on appeal, the decision said:

“The accused should congratulate himself upon the mildness of the sentence.”

Angus was released from prison in the spring of 1895; in December he was arrested for shooting a man over a dispute about a horse.

Bradley was buried in Dallas.

The 1888 Texas Southern League

17 Jan

The Texas Southern League was in existence for half of one season; the reason for its creation was that the Dallas Hams were just too good a team in 1888.

In the winter of 1887 the Texas League was formed with six teams: the Dallas Hams, Austin Senators, Fort Worth Panthers, Galveston Giants, Houston Babies and San Antonio Missionaries.  Representatives from the Memphis Grays and New Orleans Pelicans in the Southern League, which was struggling to replace teams that had folded, also attended the meeting and lobbied for the league to be expanded to eight teams, but the six Texas-based teams voted not to include them;   New Orleans and Memphis joined the 4-team (down from 7) incarnation of the Southern League, which also included the Birmingham Maroons and Charleston Sea Gulls.

Charlie Levis, who had played Major League ball in The Union Association and American Association in 1884 and ’85 was named manager and played 1st base for Dallas.  Levis, a St. Louis native, brought in several Missourians including some who had spent time in the Major Leagues and built a strong team.

The Sporting News said Levis:

“Signed a team of professionals for Dallas that would do credit to almost any league in the country…They are all splendid fielders and batsmen and fair base runners.”

The team was so strong according to The Dallas Morning News that:

“So good was the Dallas team that club after club dropped out after repeated drubbings at its hands.  Dallas won so many consecutive victories that the other cities lost their appetite for baseball and withdrew.”

By late June, Dallas led the league with a winning percentage above .800; Austin and Fort Worth had dropped out and all the remaining teams were losing money with players often going several weeks between paydays.  At the same time, the Southern League was collapsing.  In early July, a deal was struck to create the five-team Texas Southern League with New Orleans joining Dallas, Galveston, Houston and San Antonio.

The 1888 Dallas Hams--Identifiable players: Front right Bill Goodenough, front left, Pat Whitaker, seated left, Ducky Hemp, standing left Charlie Levis, standing right John Fogerty,

The 1888 Dallas Hams–Identifiable players:
Front right Bill Goodenough, front left Ducky Hemp, seated left Pat Whitaker, standing left Charlie Levis, standing right John Fogarty,

While New Orleans provided some much-needed competition for Dallas the Texas Southern League half-season was not much different from the Texas League half-season.  Dallas finished with a winning percentage of .826, New Orleans finished second followed by San Antonio, Galveston and Houston.  The Morning News said on the final day of the season:

“The league is dead, and the Dallas club carries off the glory, waves high the pennant, and stands the champion club not only of the league but of all the South.”

The following season Austin and Fort Worth rejoined and the Waco Babies replaced the San Antonio Missionaries to again form a six-team Texas league; New Orleans returned to the Southern League, and the Texas Southern League was finished.

The story of one member of the 1888 Dallas Hams tomorrow.

“A Leaden Messenger of Death”

12 Sep

George Kittle played in Texas and Nebraska from 1888-90.  Very little is known about his life before 1888, other than that he was most likely born in Taylorville, Illinois between 1860 and 1862.

Kittle appears in Texas in 1888 as an outfielder and catcher for Dallas in the Texas Southern League and Fort Worth in the Texas League.  In 1889 he pitched for the Austin Senators in the Texas League posting a 25-16 record.  Kittle spent the first half of 1890 pitching for the Waco Babies.  He was 9-8 when, on June 20, he was sold to Omaha in Western Association.

No records exist for Kittle’s time in Omaha and he was not listed on the roster of any team for 1891, but it appears he was playing baseball in or around Waco that season.

On January 19, 1892 Kittle and two friends entered one of Waco’s legal brothels.  Just after arriving one of Kittle’s friends became involved in altercation with another customer.  Hattie Tyree, who operated the brothel, became involved in the dispute and had a physical altercation with Kittle.  She returned to her room and came back with a pistol.  She fired one shot at Kittle, who was immediately taken from the brothel to a nearby hotel and a doctor was called.  Kittle died from the gunshot wound early the following morning.

Ren Mulford Jr., the famous baseball writer for the Cincinnati Enquirer and  Sporting Life described the shooting:

“George Kittle, the Texas Leaguer, was sent to his grave by a siren named Hattie Tyree, who fired a leaden messenger of death into him at Waco. That murder was cold blooded.”

Ren Mulford

Tyree’s trial was a sensation in Waco, where she was well known; Kittle was not the first person she had shot in her house (the first had survived).  Despite public outcry and multiple witnesses who testified that Kittle was not the aggressor in the altercation, Tyree was acquitted by a Texas jury in the spring of 1882.