Tag Archives: Julian B. Hart

The Quiet Town of Hingham is in Turmoil”

28 Apr

The Boston Post said:

The quiet town of Hingham is in turmoil over a proposed addition to its population.

The Boston Globe said:

“Enveloped in a maze of spreading branches of beautiful elm and Rock Maple trees is a quiet corner of the quiet town of Hingham, stands the elegant residence to be presented to M. J. Kelly, the famous ballplayer.”

The New York World said:

“The great ballplayer and enthusiastic Brotherhood man was presented with a house and lot valued at $10,000 and containing furnishings and adjuncts worth at least $3500 more.”

King Kelly had been feted on August 12, 1890, “After being cheered to the echo,” that day at the Congress Street Grounds; Kelly’s Boston Reds lost to Ward’s Wonders but maintained a one and a half game lead in the Payers League pennant race.

Mike “King” Kelly

After the game:

“King took a train for Hingham. He was followed by about 50 of his personal friends in a special train.”

A dinner was held the Cushing House; a then more than 200-year-old home that is one of the town’s earliest and was added to the National Historic Register in 1973.

 After the dinner, speeches were made by Kelly, “General” Arthur Dixwell—the Boston super fan, Hugh Fullerton called ‘the greatest” “crank” of all-time. John Montgomery Ward, Arthur Irwin, Julian B. Hart, the director of the Boston club, and John Graham—of the Boston Athletic Club, who, seven years later, helped originate what became the Boston Marathon—also spoke.

“King, in the course of his speech, remarked that he was overpowered, thanked his friends in San Francisco, New York, New Orleans, Chicago, and Boston who had contributed to the gift, and promised a ‘small bottle on the ice’ to any and all who might call during the winter months. After the speech making, the entire party were conveyed to the new home.”

The House

The Philadelphia Times‘ Boston correspondent said, “this present has been arranged by his friends as a tribute to him not only as a brainy ballplayer, but an all-around good fellow, ever ready with his last dollar to aid a friend.”

Kelly’s generous nature, even towards rivals, was the subject of a story that same month in The Cleveland News. Patsy Tebeau was badly injured by a batted ball during a July game with Kelly’s Reds:

“In the game in which Pat met with the accident in Boston, which laid him up for a couple weeks, Kelly was playing, and, as Kelly often does, he was chafing Tebeau all through the game.

“When Tebeau dropped senseless, after being struck by the ball, Kelly, thinking it one of Tebeau’s tricks, called out ‘Never touched him.’ When the third baseman failed to rise, however, he hurried to where he was lying on the ground and helped carry him to the carriage.”

Tebeau was confined to bed for five days.

“Naturally enough, he was blue and almost heartbroken at not being able to play. No one had been near him all morning, and in his own language he was ‘all broken up.’ He had hardly time to think over the situation when there was a knock on the door and in walked King Kelly. He carried in his hands a big basket of fruit of all sorts, and after leaving it within Tebeau’s reach he left with a few words of cheer.

“’I’ll tell you,’ says Pat, ‘the way that man treated me brought tears to my eyes.’”

Not to be outdone, friends of heavyweight champion John J. Sullivan decided to buy him a home in Hingham. 

That was a bridge too far for the residents. The Boston Post said:

“The inhabitants of the puritanical old town, who swear by their lineage and recognize only blue blood, being as conservative as any people on the New England coast, are much disturbed over the prospect of having a pugilist in their midst, and they freely give vent to their indignation. They swallowed Kelly with a grimace, but Sullivan is too much for them, they say, and steps are being taken to purchase the property and any other that Sullivan’s friends have in view.”

John L. Sullivan

Sullivan never got his home in Hingham, Kelly, who he called, “the greatest ball player in world,” didn’t spend a lot of time in his.

In April of 1893, The Boston Globe said the home, which also included a stable and a two acre lot, was sold for back taxes of $123.

Kelly died of pneumonia the following year; he died like lived, broke; primarily because, as The Fall River (MA) Daily Herald said:

“His many kindly acts to his fellows in want or illness endeared him to the baseball world, and hosts of friends will mourn his loss.”