Charles Krehmeyer (The Tennessean)

Charlie Krehmeyer

This article was written by Paul Winter

Charles Krehmeyer (The Tennessean)Charles Krehmeyer joined his first professional team in June 1883, signing with the Terre Haute (Indiana) Blues. When he made his major-league debut the following season, he joined a select club that even today numbers fewer than two dozen – catchers who threw left-handed and played more than one game in the majors. With only 12 games behind the plate, Krehmeyer ranks 16th on that list.1 He was 5-feet-11 and weighed between 180 and 190 pounds at various points in his career, and he spoke with a heavy German accent.2

[Tim] O’Rourke’s description of Krehmeyer is unique. Krehmeyer, says O’Rourke, is a big German and looks like a terrier; he is very bow-legged, a left-hand thrower and a hitter for your life. Last year there were some very fast base-runners in the Interstate league, but when they would attempt to steal a base on Krehmeyer, they would always find the ball at second base waiting to shake hands with them.”3

His big-league career was short – just 29 games over two seasons – but his time in the minors spanned more than a decade, mostly at a time when catchers didn’t wear gloves. When he died, his obituary noted, “His hands, like those of other old-time catchers, were disfigured from catching bare handed,” a testament to his career at baseball’s toughest position.4 It was a career he enjoyed, pursuing it into his late 30s.

Charles L. Krehmeyer was born on July 5, 1859, in St. Louis, the eldest of 10 children of Prussian immigrants Frederick and Louisa (Trennelmann) Krehmeyer.5 Several of his brothers also played baseball. Fred and Gus Krehmeyer played second base and center field, respectively, for the “Future Greats” in 1886.6 His second-youngest brother, George, played (and later umpired) in the St. Louis semipro leagues in the late 1890s and early 1900s. A nephew, Ervin (Fred’s son), played minor-league baseball for more than 10 years in the 1920s and 1930s. Charlie’s father committed suicide in 1890 at the age of 59, while his mother died in 1908 at the age of 75.

Krehmeyer first appears in the St. Louis Street Guides as a laborer living at home (1413 North Market St.) with his family in 1875. In 1880, his profession was given as a carpenter in the U.S. Census. He was playing baseball at least as early as 1878, when he was identified as the catcher for the Lyons Baseball Club.7 He played for the St. Louis Reds (the continuation of the National Association club of 1875) in 1880 and 1881. During this period in St. Louis, he played with numerous past and future major-leaguers, including both Gleason brothers (Jack and Bill), Jumbo McGinnis, Ned Cuthbert, Joe Blong, Trick McSorley, and Eddie Fusselback.

In 1883 Krehmeyer was playing with the Prickley Ash, a local amateur club, when he signed with the independent Terre Haute Blues. He made his professional debut on July 2, 1883, days before his 24th birthday. “Kremeyer [sic], the new catcher, made his first appearance and distinguished himself with the ash. Out of six times at the bat he made three singles, a double and a triple bagger, a total of eight.”8 The Blues won the game 25-8, with their opponent, the Vincennes (Indiana) Excelsiors, making 27 errors.

Before the end of the season, the Blues merged with the other major independent club in Terre Haute, the Awkwards. Krehmeyer remained with the amalgamated club through the end of the season. In 40 games, he hit .288 (52 hits in 181 at-bats). His .908 fielding percentage was second-best on the club.9

When the Union Association formed for 1884, the franchises in the American Association formed reserve clubs as a response, signing extra players for these squads to keep them away from the new league. Krehmeyer signed with the reserve club for the St. Louis Browns in December 1883. The reserve teams played each other and other independent clubs, in theory filling the home parks while the major-league clubs were on the road.

Browns owner Chris Von der Ahe shut down the Browns reserve club at the beginning of June, releasing most of the players. Krehmeyer was retained as a backup for the Browns. He made his major-league debut in St. Louis against Pittsburgh a month later, on July 8, 1884, playing first base. “Capt. [Charlie] Comiskey being sick, Krehmeyer was substituted and filled the bill.”10 He got a hit in his first at-bat, scoring Bill Gleason in the second inning for the Browns’ first run of the game. (St. Louis won, 7-1.) It was his only hit in four at-bats. He finished the game with 15 putouts, one assist, and one error in the field. It was his only game at first base; most of his appearances that season were in the outfield (15 total), where he made eight errors in 21 chances, an abysmal .619 fielding percentage. In contrast, he made only three errors, with six passed balls, while catching 41 innings over seven games. Of his 16 hits, just one was for extra bases. He hit.229 in the majors for the season.

By the end of 1884, Krehmeyer may have been married. At the time of his death, it was noted he was survived by a son, Daniel.11 Daniel’s mother was Philimina (McBride) Krehmeyer, but no record of a marriage has been found. “Minnie” Krehmeyer died in St. Louis in 1926, just a few months after Charles.12

Krehmeyer started in the spring of 1885 as a backup catcher with the Browns behind Doc Bushong, along with Cal Broughton. Through the first five weeks or so of the season, Broughton caught just a few games, while Krehmeyer did not play at all prior to being released in late May. He signed with Louisville of the American Association, where he was an immediate success. In his first appearance at Exposition Park in Louisville on June 24, he had four hits in four at-bats, including a home run and a triple, along with a walk. Unfortunately, that was an exhibition game. In seven association games for Louisville, Krehmeyer was less successful, hitting .226 in 31 at-bats, with one double and one triple. He was released in August and signed with Columbus, Georgia in the Southern League. He was credited with leading that league in hitting, despite playing in just 12 games for the club. He finished with a .347 average; all 17 hits in 49 at-bats were singles. At the end of the season, he caught one game for the St. Louis Maroons (by then in the National League) on October 5, 1885. He made four errors in seven chances while catching John Kirby, and the Maroons lost 5-2 to Philadelphia. It was Krehmeyer’s last game in the majors.

Before the next season, the Columbus club, including Krehmeyer, was purchased by a group from Memphis. Renamed the Grays, the club joined the Southern Association. After dealing with several injuries, Krehmeyer was traded to the Nashville Americans in June for Billy Earle. Initially, the Nashville press proclaimed, “The trade of Earle for Krehmeyer, all the circumstances being considered, was of decided advantage to the Nashvilles.”13 That proved wrong; he was released by Nashville at the end of July. He played in just 27 games between the two clubs, batting just .212, well below his previous season’s success. Krehmeyer quickly signed with Bridgeport, Connecticut, of the Eastern League, but fared little better there, hitting just .205 in 32 games.

At the conclusion of the season, he returned to St. Louis. He subsequently caught Bill Sowders and Joe Murphy in three exhibition games for the Maroons in Little Rock, Arkansas. These were the final games for the St. Louis Maroons because the club was transferred to Indianapolis prior to the start of the 1887 season. The Indianapolis Hoosiers, as they became known, played from 1887 through 1889.

Krehmeyer had a renaissance in 1887 with Omaha in the Western League. He caught 51 games (playing in 69 total) and hit four home runs en route to a .367 batting average. However, the season was not without controversy. In July, the Omaha club openly split into factions. It started with fines imposed on two players, Dan O’Leary and Herman Bader, one of which was imposed by team captain Joe Walsh. After receiving their paychecks on July 5 with the fines deducted, Bader and O’Leary, accompanied by Krehmeyer and others, encountered Walsh, Dick Dwyer, and Jack Messitt outside of Saxe’s hat store in Omaha. Words were exchanged between the two fined players and Walsh, with Messitt coming to Walsh’s aid and Krehmeyer, Frank Genins, and Albert Swift supporting O’Leary and Bader.

“It has been evident to everyone that the men of the nine have not been on good terms, nor playing together for some time. It appears now that they were divided into cliques. O’Leary, Krehmeyer, Swift, Genins and Bader are the St. Louis or southern lot. Dwyer, Messett [sic] and Walsh the eastern, and Healey, Harter, Bandle and Barston have remained neutral.”14

Messitt accused O’Leary, Krehmeyer, and Bader of throwing games. O’Leary and Swift were released the next day, while Genins and Healy left the club. The latter two returned a few days later, rejoining the team in Lincoln. Several of the Omaha newspapers felt that Krehmeyer should have been released as well, but he lasted the season. His .367 average was second on the Omahogs behind Swift, while his four home runs tied him with Dwyer for second on the club behind Walsh (7).

The Western League collapsed after the 1887 season when most of the stronger clubs pulled out to join the new Western Association. The league re-formed in February 1888, and Krehmeyer, Bader, and Genins joined the Denver Mountain Lions along with fellow St. Louis player Jack Gorman. The reconstituted league collapsed in mid-June with Denver well ahead in the standings. According to Madden and Stewart’s history of the Western League, Krehmeyer led the league in hitting, with a .337 average (minimum 72 at-bats) and was the top fielding catcher with a .952 fielding average.15 After the league disbanded, he joined the Kalamazoo (Michigan) Kazoos in the Tri-State League.

For the 1889 season, Krehmeyer headed west to join Sacramento in the California League. He played first base and change catcher until he was released in July as the club cut salary. He signed with Peoria in the Inter State League a few weeks later and finished the season with that team. Krehmeyer appeared in 43 games with Sacramento and 15 with Peoria. He hit .225 between the two clubs (51 hits in 227 at-bats) while scoring 34 runs. Fielding records for Peoria are not available, but he led the California League in fielding percentage at first base, handling 342 chances with only 13 errors. His catching was less spectacular, with two errors and 15 passed balls in 73 chances for a .767 percentage.16

Krehmeyer’s migration through the minors continued the next season as he went down to Houston to play in the Texas League, where he caught and played first base. One of his brothers was an umpire for the league.17 The league folded in early June. After that, there was a Krehmeyer umpiring games for the Interstate League in June and July. It is not clear if this was Charlie or his brother, but towards the end of July, Krehmeyer was catching for the Interstate Reserves, an independent collection of players.18

Krehmeyer signed with Green Bay in the Wisconsin State League for 1891. In early August, the owner of the club released the entire roster (except for pitcher Ernie Beam) and imported the club from Terre Haute of the Northwestern League. Krehmeyer signed with Oshkosh in the same league. “Krehmeyer, who formerly played first base for Green Bay, has been signed to play first base for Oshkosh for the present. He is a heavy hitter and a fair fielder.”19 Late in the season, he played for Fond du Lac, also in the Wisconsin State League.20 The Spalding Guide for 1891 credits Krehmeyer with hitting .264 for the season in 53 games (19th best in the league), with a .978 fielding percentage (second among first basemen and the league overall). His 568 total chances were the fourth-most in the league and over 400 more than Sam LaRocque, the first baseman who replaced him on the Green Bay club and finished ahead of him in fielding percentage.

Krehmeyer was back in the Texas League in 1892, playing with four teams over the course of the season. He started the season with Fort Worth, the club with which he remained the longest. By early July he was playing for Dallas. After Dallas folded in mid-July, he joined Waco, and he finished the season with Houston. He played in 82 games overall with 87 hits in 332 at-bats, good for a .262 average. He also played with four teams in 1893, starting with Birmingham in the Southern Association in April, then playing in at least one game with Jackson in the Mississippi State League in May before signing with Lawrence (Kansas) in the Western Association on May 20.21 After the Lawrence club folded in June, he joined an independent outfit in Joplin, Missouri.

After two seasons bouncing around, Krehmeyer joined Quincy (Illinois) in the Western Association for the 1894 season. He lasted the full season, despite the club undergoing several changes. “The Quincy team has been changed entirely. Krehmeyer and [Al] Fisher are the only men left out of the aggregation who first appeared here [Lincoln, Nebraska].”22 He played in 75 games, batting .317 and fielding at a .957 pace.23 Krehmeyer returned once more to Houston and the Texas League for what would be his final season in an organized league in 1895. Houston had a record of 5-30 when the club disbanded on August 7, 1895.

While organized baseball was done with Krehmeyer, he was not done with baseball. In the spring of 1896, he signed up to catch for an independent club in Mt. Carmel, Illinois. “Krehmeyer plays ball like a man who wants to earn his salary.”24 The following year, he was captain of a club in West Plains, Missouri. At the conclusion of the season, he took a job with the Kansas City Lumber company.25 He was still in Kansas City in 1898, when he was a member of the West Plains Regiment stationed in Kansas City during the Spanish-American War.26

Records for Charles Krehmeyer are sparse after his playing days ended. He doesn’t appear in the street guides for St. Louis after 1900. He died in St. Louis on February 10, 1926. His obituary states that he became a sawyer in a planing mill and that he lived at 1527 North Fifteenth. He went into the hospital with pneumonia a few days before he died. The cause of death was listed as chronic myocarditis and chronic nephritis. He is buried in an unmarked grave in the New St. Marcus Cemetery in Afton, Missouri (just south of the city of St. Louis), where brothers George and Edward are also likely buried.27 As noted, Minnie Krehmeyer died in July 1926.

Charles Krehmeyer was described by historian David Nemec as “rough around the edges” and “not the sharpest knife in the drawer.”28 While he was respected for his hitting and fielding, he never stayed with one club more than a season, perhaps a reflection of his nature. Still, from the 1870s to the late 1890s, he pursued opportunities to play baseball across the country, playing one of the more demanding positions into his late 30s, when his passion for the game was still recognized. “Krehmeyer runs bases like a ‘house-a-fire,’” wrote the Mount Carmel Register of the then 36-year-old catcher.29 His obituary called him an “old-time baseball catcher” and it’s reasonable to think that he would be quite content with that epitaph.



This biography was reviewed by Bill Lamb and Rory Costello and fact-checked by Terry Bohn.



US Census data was accessed through and, and other family information was found at and Stats and records were collected from Baseball-Reference unless otherwise noted. Stats and records from some seasons were also found in the annual Spalding Base Ball Guides. Articles cited in this biography were typically accessed through and/or Street guides were accessed through

Image from the Tennessean (Nashville, Tennessee), June 18, 1886, page 5.



1 As of the start of the 2022 season, just 23 left-handed catchers had caught more than a single game in the major leagues.

2 The Galveston Daily News gave his weight as 190 pounds (March 11, 1890: 11), while the Green Bay Weekly Gazette listed his weight at 179 pounds the following spring (May 27, 1891: 1). His accent was mentioned in a story in the Boston Globe about a practical joke played upon Krehmeyer by Joe Miller when both were playing with Louisville in 1885.

3 “Sporting Intelligence. Gossip about the Texas League and Its Prospects,” Galveston Daily News, January 19, 1890: 3. Tim O’Rourke was a teammate of Krehmeyer with Peoria in 1889 and again with Houston in 1890.

4 “Former Baseball Player Dies,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 10, 1926: 3.

5 The generally reported date of birth for Charles Krehmeyer was July 5, 1863. The Green Bay Press-Gazette noted on July 6, 1891 that, “Charles Krehmeyer was presented a box of cigars, it being his 28th birthday” in discussing the post-game activities of the Green Bay club the night before (“Still at the Head,” 3). When he died in 1926, his age was reported as 62, also pointing to a birthday in 1863. However, when he signed with Houston one year prior, the Galveston Daily News stated he was 29 years old (“Arrival of Krehmeyer,” March 11, 1890: 11), which would put his birth date in 1861. His Sporting News Player Card has a birth date of July 5, 1857. The Nashville Tennessean reported he was born in 1859 upon the occasion of his joining the Nashville club in June 1886 (“Charles Krehmeyer, Catcher,” June 18, 1886: 5). This agrees with the 1870 (under the last name Krameyer) and 1880 US Census records, which put his age at 11 and 21, respectively, putting his year of birth as 1859. No 1860 Census record has been located for Charles or his parents. A birth year of 1859 also agrees with his first appearance in the St. Louis Street Guides of the time (1875), which generally didn’t list someone until they were sixteen years old. While no documentation has been found, the middle initial L. is likely for Louis, which was the name of his oldest brother, born two years after him.

6 “Game Gossip,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 23, 1886: 5.

7 “Base Ball. Two Good Local Games,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 19, 1878: 3.

8 “Blues Win Again,” Wabash Daily Express (Terre Haute, Indiana), July 3, 1883: 1.

9 “Base Ball,” Wabash Daily Express, October 10, 1883: 4.

10 “The Browns’ Second Victory,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 9, 1884: 5. Per the box score, the game went nine innings. erroneously indicates that Krehmeyer, who played only one game at first base, appeared in 13 innings at that position. He appeared in only nine innings at first base.

11 “Deaths. Krehmeyer,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, February 12, 1926: 25. “Entered into rest on Wednesday, February 10, 1926, Charles Krehmeyer, dear father of Daniel, dear brother of Louis and Theodore.” This notice was the key to unlocking the rest of his family history, as the widely listed incorrect birth date of 1863 made finding other records difficult at first.

12 Daniel’s date of birth is given variously as November 25, 1884 on his death certificate, November 25, 1886 on his World War I Draft Registration Card (age given as 30), and November 1887 (age 12) on the 1900 Census. By the 1900 Census, Philimina and Daniel Krehmeyer were identified as living with Victor Schuler, married and with one child, but she is identified in the St. Louis Street Guides in the 1890s and 1900s as Minnie Krehmeyer, the widow of Charles. The death certificate for Philimina Krehmeyer lists her date of birth as June 17, 1870. In the 1880 Census record for the family of parents Daniel and Susan McBride, there is a daughter Susan born in 1870, but she is clearly distinct in the records from Minnie. There is also a daughter Leonora P., who was born in 1866. This is likely Philimina.

13 “Umpire and All. Nashville Wins a Clean, Decisive Victory Over Memphis,” Nashville Tennessean, June 12, 1886: 8.

14 “The Omaha Ball Club,” Omaha Daily World, July 6, 1887: 1.

15 W. C. Madden and Patrick J. Stewart, The Western League: A Baseball History, 1885 through 1999 (McFarland, 2002), 31.

16 The Sacramento Bee published the season statistics for the Sacramento players in December 1889. Krehmeyer played 30 games at first base, with 318 put outs, 11 assists and 13 errors, and he caught just 13 games, with 41 put outs, 15 assists, 2 errors and 15 pass balls. He had 168 at-bats with Sacramento, scoring 29 runs with 36 hits and 5 sacrifice hits, for a .214 average. “Interesting To Baseball Cranks: The Record Attained by the Sacramento Team,” Sacramento Bee, December 7, 1889: 7. Baseball-Reference indicates he played 15 games for Peoria, with 59 at-bats, 5 runs, and 15 hits for a .254 average.

17 “Baseball Notes,” Fort Worth Daily Gazette, May 25, 1890: 3. Umpire Krehmeyer passed on working a series between Fort Worth and Houston because his brother was catching for Houston. It is not clear which brother this was.

18 “Gossip of the Diamond,” Evansville (Indiana) Journal, July 20, 1890: 1.

19 “Base Ball News,” Oshkosh (Wisconsin) Northwestern, August 11, 1891: 1.

20 Baseball-Reference and the 1891 Spalding Base Ball Guide only list Green Bay as his team in 1891, but he appears in box scores both Oshkosh (e.g., in a game against Green Bay in the Green Bay Press-Gazette, August 13, 1891:3) and Fond Du Lac (e.g., in a game against Green Bay in the Green Bay Press-Gazette, August 25, 1891: 3) during the rest of the season.

21 Lawrence (Kansas) Daily World, May 20, 1893: 1.

22 “Hard to Head Off. Lincoln Jumps to Second Place by the Quincy Route,” (Lincoln) Nebraska State Journal, June 30, 1894: 2. According to Baseball-Reference, Quincy used 31 players during the season.

23 “Averages of Western Players,” Nebraska State Journal, November 25, 1894: 16.

24 “Base Ball,” Mount Carmel (Illinois) Register, May 14, 1896: 4.

25 “40 Years Ago, Thursday, November 25, 1897,” West Plains (Missouri) Journal, November 25, 1937: 2.

26 “Twenty-five Years Ago in Howell County,” West Plains Journal, July 12, 1923: 7. The entry lists members of the West Plains regiment “quartered in the city at the mouth of the Kaw” (Kansas City) over the July 4th celebration in 1898, including Charley Krehmeyer.

27 George Krehmeyer died November 10, 1922, and Find-A-Grave lists a George Krehmeyer in the cemetery as buried November 12, 1922. Edward Krehmeyer died July 31, 1924, and Find-A-Grave lists an Edward Krehmeyer in the cemetery as buried August 3, 1924. There is also a Theodore Krehmeyer in the cemetery, who died in 1945, who may be Charles’ youngest brother.

28 David Nemec, The Rank and File of 19th Century Major League Baseball (McFarland, 2012), 245.

29 “Play Ball,Mount Carmel Register, April 30, 1896: 4.

Full Name

Charles L. Krehmeyer


July 5, 1863 at St. Louis, MO (USA)


February 10, 1926 at St. Louis, MO (USA)

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