Tag Archives: Heinie Groh

Lost Advertisements–Heinie Groh for Sweet Caporal

4 Mar


A 1914 Sweet Caporal advertisement featuring Heine [sic] Groh–the company didn’t spend a great deal of time checking the spelling of the names of their endorsers.

“For a fine, mellow cigarette you can’t beat Sweet Caporal.  They’ve got a good, pure tobacco flavor that’s great.”

The salary dispute that culminated with Groh’s trade from the Cincinnati Reds to the New York Giants after the 1921 season had been ongoing since at least 1917 and earned him the title “last of the holdout kings” from The Washington Herald.

His 1920 holdout was, according to Groh, inspired by his wife Marguerite, who also spoke to the press on her husband’s behalf as the dispute ground on into March.

The Cincinnati Times-Star said while speaking at a “local banquet,” Groh told the audience:

“We were sitting in a vaudeville show not long ago and were listening to the thunderous applause being accorded a couple of high salaried dancers.

“My wife touched my arm.  ‘Do you see how they are being praised now?’ she asked. ‘But what will happen to them in a few years when their legs start to go bad?  They’ll get asked to leave won’t they? That’s why they’re so high-priced now.  Let that be a lesson to you.’

“So right then and there Mrs. Groh made me promise that I would not sign a Reds contract until I got my figures…When my wife says sign, I’ll sign and not a minute before.”



Marguerite Groh was more direct when she spoke to the paper:

“I don’t care if all the other players sign, and if Heinie can’t do anything better next summer than work in the garden I think he should continue holding out for what he wants.

“We both believe Heinie has been underpaid for several seasons.  This is the year in which we can afford to be independent, and I am urging Heinie to continue his fight to get what he believes he is entitled to.

“It is not a question of how much Heinie can make in some other business. We both know the Reds are willing to pay him more than he will make if he does not sign at the club’s terms.

“But we will be perfectly able to get through the year without any baseball income if the Reds don’t meet Heinie’s terms, and they’ll have to do it if he is to play for them.”

After the Reds left for Miami, Florida without Groh on March 5, The Associated Press said:

“Heinie Groh, or rather Mrs. Heinie Groh, is still among the holdouts in baseball.  There is lurking suspicion that Heinie would like to end the controversy and join his teammates in the South, but Mrs. Groh absolutely refuses to let him go unless (Reds owner August) Garry Herrmann offers her little Heinie more money.”

Four days later Groh agreed to terms, The Cincinnati Enquirer said the Reds “Would not state the amount” of the contract, but said Groh had asked for $12,500 and the team had originally offered $10,000.

During Groh’s long holdout the following year, Mrs. Groh’s opinion was never reported.



Tragic Exits 3

23 Mar

Eddie Meade

Edward “Eddie” Meade appeared headed to the big leagues.  After beginning the 1926 season with the Kinston Eagles in the Virginia League, the 24-year-old left-hander was acquired at midseason by the St. Paul Saints of the American Association and posted a 12-7 record with a 3.40 ERA in 22 games.

Meade began the 1927 season with a 6-0 shutout of the Louisville Colonels on April 17.  The same week he recorded his first victory, The Associated Press said he was about to become a member of the defending American League champions:

“The Yankees talked of possible reinforcements in the shape of Eddie Meade, of St. Paul, called the best young pitcher in the American Association.”

Eddie Meade

Eddie Meade

During the same week, Meade became ill; although the nature of the illness was never disclosed.  Eight days later he started a game with the Columbus Senators but was pulled after giving up six runs in the fifth inning of 9 to 8 loss.  Five days later he pitched in relief against Louisville, but The Minneapolis Journal said he lasted less than an inning due to his “impaired physical condition.”

When the Saints left Minnesota for a series in Kansas City on May 16, Meade stayed behind.  The following evening Meade checked into St. Paul’s Boardman Hotel and shot himself to death.

The day after his suicide, The Journal said, “it was learned today that Meade was slated to go to the New York Yankees in the fall.”

St. Paul Manager Nick Allen told The Associated Press:

“He was one of the hardest working youngsters we ever had on the club and the outlook for his future was bright, as he had only two years in baseball.  The only motive he could have had for such action would be mental depression.  He was not married.  The nature of his illness was no cause for alarm, but he apparently believed it otherwise.”

Tommy Coates

Thomas A. “Tommy” Coates was born in Omro, Wisconsin on February 18, 1886 (Baseball Reference lists his middle initial as “O” but birth and death records  list it as “A”).

After starring, along with his older brother Hiram, on Omro High School’s undefeated baseball team in 1901—The Omro Herald called the team “possibly the best in the state”—Coates played industrial league and semi-pro ball in Central and Northern Wisconsin.

After playing in Rhinelander, Wisconsin in 1908, The Oshkosh Northwestern said:

“Coates had lots of confidence in himself, and during the winter months the Omro boy came to the city one day and sought out “Pink” Hawley. Hawley agreed to give him a trial.”

Emerson Pink Hawley, a Wisconsin native who pitched in the major leagues for a decade, was the manager of the Oshkosh Indians in the Wisconsin-Illinois League.

Tommy Coates

Tommy Coates

 “Coates came to this city from his home at Omro (for his tryout).  He donned baseball togs and he ‘made good’ from the start.”

Coates, who The Northwestern said  was “tall (and) built something like the great Ty Cobb,” became the Indians starting left fielder one week into the season and went on to lead  the team with a .299 batting average (he hit .002 better than his 19-year-old teammate Heinie Groh).

In September, The Sporting News reported that with just one season of professional experience, Coates “Looks good to Connie Mack,” and was drafted by the Philadelphia Athletics. He was the only member of the Indians drafted by a big league club in 1909.

At season’s end in September, Coates, with an invitation to train with Mack’s club in the spring, spent most of his time hunting.

On October 11 Coates was in a row-boat with a friend, hunting in a marsh near Omro.  The friend told The Omro Herald:

“Tom saw a mud hen rise up on the right hand side.  He turned about quickly and took hold of his gun which was at his left side and pulled it toward him…I turned about as soon as I heard the shot, and to my horror saw Tom lunge forward.”

Coates accidentally discharged his gun, shooting himself in the left eye.

Twelve days after the Oshkosh Indians received a $300 check from Connie Mack—his draft price—Coates was dead.

The Northwestern said:

“He was quiet and unassuming. After making a sensational play in the field or batting out the hit that won the game…the Oshkosh fans could not induce Coates to doff his hat.  He would return to the bench with face covered with blushes.”


“His more ardent admirers were confident he would make good in the American League, and one of their first thoughts upon hearing of the unfortunate accident, was the promising career he had before him.”

%d bloggers like this: