Jack Katoll

This article was written by Bill Lamb

Jack Katoll (COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR)A preview of the pitching staff of the 1902 Chicago White Sox included a brief profile of right-hander “John Katoll, known to his teammates as ‘Big Jack’ … a blacksmith from Detroit … who has been a steady and reliable man if not brilliant in his work. He has great speed with fair control, and could be another Amos Rusie if he thought a bit more actively.”1 But by the time that the season was completed, Katoll’s abbreviated major league career was behind him, ended not such much by a sluggish brain as by a fragile pitching arm.

Before his meal ticket gave out, the large, well-muscled Katoll was center stage for a handful of singular events, both good and bad. For the minor American League White Sox of 1900, Katoll notched four consecutive shutout victories, each by the identical score of 3-0. The following season, he was a member of the four-man rotation that pitched Chicago to the AL’s inaugural pennant as a major league. But late that season, Katoll set off an in-game near riot that culminated in his arrest by police and indefinite suspension by league president Ban Johnson. On loan by the Sox to a Racine, Wisconsin club in June 1902, Big Jack threw a perfect game against a fast Chicago League semipro nine. Subsequently released to the Baltimore Orioles, he won four straight starts, then lost his next seven decisions—one to each of the seven other American League teams. Thereafter, efforts to continue his career were thwarted by recurring arm miseries, and by 1905 Katoll was out of Organized Baseball. He spent the remainder of his working life in the carting business, hauling paving stone and other construction material. Katoll was about five years into retirement when he succumbed to heart disease in 1955. His life story follows.

While not unique, Katoll’s immigrant background was atypical for a turn-of-the-century major leaguer. He was born Johann Katoll on June 24, 1875 in Finckenstein, a Prussian village now identified as Kamieniec, Poland.2 He was the oldest of eight children born to August Katoll (1854-1915) and his wife Wilhelmine (née Rost, 1850-c.1918), both ethnic German Lutherans. In 1880, the Katoll family, which by then included daughter Gustie (Augusta, born 1878), emigrated to the United States, settling briefly in Etna, Ohio, where son August, Jr. was born in 1881. By 1885, the family had relocated to a heavily Prussian immigrant section of Detroit, where son Charles and the remainder of the Katoll children were born. There, the Katolls became members of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, where meticulously kept and preserved sacramental records ultimately proved the key to resolving the biographical inconsistencies created by Jack Katoll’s propensity to fabricate his personal history.3

While still a boy, Johann’s name was Anglicized to John, while his mother became Minnie. Usually called “Jack,” our subject attended elementary school in Detroit and then entered the local workforce as a laborer. In time, he became a blacksmith. Like countless others, he began playing the game as a youngster on city sandlots.4 The first discovered newsprint mention of Katoll as a baseball player appeared in the June 27, 1896 edition of Sporting Life, which stated that “the Detroit club [of the minor Western League] has … released pitcher Katoll.”5 Days later, the Milwaukee Journal, commenting upon the pitching needs of the National League Chicago Colts, opined that “Katoll might be had for even less money than [Harry] Ely but that’s no reason for getting him.”6 Rebuffed by professional clubs, Jack, who’d turned 21, spent the summer pitching for the Athletics, a crack amateur team fielded by the Detroit Athletic Club. He returned to the DAC nine the following spring.

In May 1897, an excellent Katoll outing against the Page Fence Giants, a prominent black professional club, revived interest in him.7 Soon thereafter, he signed with the Bay City club of the Class D Michigan State League. Jack lost his pro debut to Jackson, 15-10, “but had no part in the defeat” as 12 Bay City errors behind him let in 13 unearned runs.8 From there, Katoll went on to become the leading pitcher in the MSL, posting a sparkling 19-6 record for Bay City.9

Jack moved up several competitive levels the following season, playing for no fewer than five different clubs. He began in the Class B New England League with an unimpressive audition (0-2 in three games) with the Taunton (Massachusetts) Herrings. He improved upon joining the league rival Fall River Indians, going 5-4 in nine appearances. In mid-July, Katoll spent a week with the Newark Colts of the Class B Atlantic League, then finished the league season with the Hartford Cooperatives, appearing in 15 games combined.10 Supposedly, a glowing report about Katoll’s pitching provided to Chicago Orphans manager Tom Burns by a Burns brother led to the big hurler being signed for the remainder of the season by the National League club.11 Meanwhile, Sporting Life’s Hartford correspondent advised readers that “Katoll, the big Dutchman, is pitching as good a ball as any man in the league.”12 Whatever the impetus, Jack Katoll had now reached the major leagues.13

At this point, Katoll was raw goods, having little more than a live fastball and imposing size—listed as 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds by modern reference works but likely every bit of the 6-foot-2, 207 pounds assigned to him by nineteenth-century baseball scholar David Nemec.14 Still, when given the chance, Katoll pitched well for Chicago. He made his major league debut on September 9, 1898, relieving starter Walter Thornton with Chicago trailing the homestanding Cincinnati Reds after five innings, 5-2. A leadoff walk and some shoddy defensive support cost Katoll an unearned run, but otherwise he showed creditably. Over three innings, he otherwise kept the Reds scoreless, allowing only two doubles and striking out one over three innings pitched in the 6-4 final.

A favorably impressed Chicago Record reporter informed fans back home that “Katoll performed excellently … show[ing] unusual speed and good control.”15 The Chicago Daily News concurred, declaring that the newcomer’s “initial appearance pleased the team, to say the least, and there is every promise of a winner in him with a few years’ experience in fast company.”16 The Cincinnati performance earned Katoll a starting assignment three days later, and he pitched even better. Displaying “magnificent form,”17 the big right-hander went the distance against the Pittsburgh Pirates, scattering six hits, fanning two, and walking none. Unhappily for Jack, he was again let down by his defense, two unearned runs spelling the difference in a 3-1 defeat. Strangely, manager Burns did not call upon Katoll again that season. He sat out the final 24 games of the Orphans’ fourth-place (85-65, .567) campaign. Still, he had shown club brass enough to be placed on Chicago’s reserved list for the 1899 season.18

Despite some arm problems,19 Katoll performed well in spring camp and made Chicago’s Opening Day roster. But once the regular season started, he saw no game action, employed solely as the club’s batting practice pitcher. But in late May, the unavailability of staff regulars Jack Taylor and Billy Phyle left manager Burns little recourse. Katoll was dispatched to face the Baltimore Orioles, matched against future Hall of Famer Joe McGinnity. “Tom Burns told Coat-tail to go in and do his best. Tom then sat back and prayed,” wrote Sporting Life correspondent W. A. Phelon, Jr.20 Prayers answered: Katoll pitched “a gilt-edged game,”21 setting down the Orioles on three-hits in a 6-1 complete game victory. Surprised but delighted, Phelon lavished praise on the emergency starter. “At every turn, Coat-tail outpitched McGinnity,” declared Phelon. Katoll “handled himself coolly, threw them in there with beautiful control and fearful speed. … He pitched the best game any Chicago twirler has hurled in weeks, and there wasn’t a point where he wasn’t easily the master of the field.”22

Katoll was roughed up in his next outing, a complete game 14-7 loss to Philadelphia. Ten days later, he was unconditionally released by Chicago. The move seemed inexplicable, and all that club boss Jim Hart would say was that Katoll’s release was “made at the request of manager Burns.”23 Sportswriter Phelon, for one, was at a loss, informing readers that “Katoll was popular with other players and expected by the best judges to be an A1 man. Nobody seems to know the why or wherefore, and the oddest thing is that he should have been let out direct and not sent to any league. … Something must have gone amiss between Katoll and Burns.”24

Katoll registered no immediate complaint. But later, he expressed bitterness toward Tom Burns. “I’ve got one hope in my vest. That is that I get on some team and pitch against Chicago when Burns is managing there. He gave me a throw-down good. I got no chance to see what I could do.”25 For the time being, however, Katoll was without a job. Baltimore player-manager John McGraw expressed interest in acquiring Katoll,26 and other major league clubs were expected to pursue him, but no contract offers were forthcoming. After six weeks on the sidelines, Katoll chose the St. Paul Saints from among Western League suitors. Under the supervision of manager Charles Comiskey, Katoll more than met expectations, posting an excellent 12-6 (.667) mark for a fifth-place (59-67, .452) St. Paul club.27

In late October 1899, the Western League changed its name to the American League, signaling its intent to expand from a regional circuit into a national one. To that end, several former WL franchises, including the St. Paul Saints, were relocated to larger venues. After much off-season maneuvering and taut back stairs negotiation, the club became the Chicago White Stockings. For the 1900 season, however, the American League remained a minor league circuit.

Jack Katoll retained his club affiliation, but altered his domestic situation. That April, he married Gertrude “Maggie” Jordan in their hometown of Detroit. He then joined the Sox, for whom he posted some career-best numbers as a reliable fourth member of the Chicago pitching rotation. Notwithstanding a mid-season recurrence of arm trouble, Jack went 16-14, allowing 247 base hits in 282 innings pitched, striking out 81, walking 60. His numbers were overshadowed by hurling mates Roger Denzer (20-10), Chauncey Fisher (19-9), and Roy Patterson (17-8), but for a stretch from mid-June through mid-July, Katoll was invincible, throwing an AL-leading six shutouts, four of them consecutively by identical 3-0 scores.28

Behind its stalwart hurling quartet, Chicago (82-53, .607) cruised to the American League pennant, leading the circuit in home game attendance (175,000) in the process. Surprisingly, Katoll went undrafted by the National League that fall, but widespread rumor had it that he was ticketed for the Cincinnati Reds, perhaps in exchange for outfielder Algie McBride.29 But for the moment, the extent to which Katoll could concentrate on his baseball future was unclear, as his life was beset with personal tragedy. On September 10, newborn son August died hours after his birth from breathing-related convulsions.30 Four days later, wife Maggie succumbed to childbirth complications.31

For the 1901 season, the American League declared itself a major circuit and then embarked upon recruiting National League players. Katoll retained his place on the Sox roster but got off slowly, dropping a 10-4 decision to Cleveland in his first outing. Anxious to redeem himself the next time out against the Milwaukee Brewers, Jack declared, “If they get more than four runs off me today, I’ll eat the cover off the ball. And if they beat me, I’ll eat the whole ball.”32 Mercifully, Katoll pitched well that afternoon and throttled the Brewers, 11-3. Thereafter, he settled into the familiar role of fourth starter, providing helpful backup to staff mainstays Clark Griffith (24-7), Roy Patterson (20-15), and Jimmy Callahan (15-8). Despite a mid-season throwing hand injury, Jack chipped in an 11-10 record, with a 2.81 ERA in 208 innings pitched. Adjudged “one of the poorest hitters on earth,”33 the lefty-swinging Katoll even contributed his first and only major league home run to the cause.34 The White Sox near duplicated their record from the season before, going 83-53 (.610) and capturing the first pennant contested by the American League as a major league. The late stages of the campaign, however, had their disagreeable moments for the club, one of which was precipitated by Jack Katoll.

For an August 22 road game, Chicago sent Katoll to the hill to face the Washington Senators. Several disputed calls by umpire Jack Haskell went against Chicago but things did not get out of hand until the fourth inning. With the Senators leading 1-0, Haskell missed, in the heated opinion of the Sox battery of Katoll and Joe Sugden, an inning-ending third strike against Washington batsman Bill Coughlin, awarding him a bases-loading walk instead. Next batter Billy Clingman then cleared the sacks with a triple. Katoll’s first delivery to the next man up, Washington pitcher Win Mercer, was a blistering high fastball that Sugden made no effort to catch. The ball struck umpire Haskell on the shoulder and bounded away, bringing in Clingman with the Senators’ fifth run. Katoll retrieved the errant pitch and then fired the ball at Haskell, striking him in the shin. Haskell’s ejection of the angry pitcher served as prelude to another ruckus in the top of the next inning which ended with Sox shortstop Frank Shugart punching the beleaguered umpire in the mouth, splitting his upper lip. Incensed Washington fans then descended upon the field, trying to get at Katoll and Shugart, who were placed under arrest by DC police.35 Some hours after Washington had completed an 8-0 victory, the two were released from custody on bail.

The incident came on the heels of Joe McGinnity’s assault of umpire Tommy Connolly during a Baltimore game, and made a mockery of the clean image that American League President Ban Johnson was trying to project for his new circuit. An example, therefore, needed to be made of these miscreants. All three were suspended indefinitely. Ten days later, a contrite Katoll was reinstated, paying a $10 fine and promising to apologize to umpire Haskell. Explaining the commutation of sentence to the press, Johnson said, “It was Katoll’s first offense. Besides I really do believe that if he had been seriously desirous of hurting Haskell he would have thrown at his head instead of his shins.”36 Big Jack was victorious his first time back out, holding Milwaukee scoreless for seven innings and then holding on for a 9-5 win. But he lost three of his final four starts, and thereafter his status would never be the same with the White Sox.

In 1902, Katoll found his livelihood in jeopardy. Club boss Comiskey had 16 ballplayers under contract, but the American League had imposed a 15-player roster limit for the season.37 Odd man out was Jack Katoll, who spent most of the early going out of uniform, appearing in only one White Sox game.38 Otherwise, he kept in shape by pitching for teams outside Organized Baseball. On loan to a club based in Racine, Wisconsin, Katoll threw a perfect game vs. the Spaldings, a hotshot outfit in the semipro Chicago League.39 Meanwhile, Comiskey tried to find a home somewhere in the AL for the pitcher, a sentimental favorite of the club owner stemming from their days together in St. Paul. But Katoll did not make it easy. Comiskey attempted to arrange for the pitcher’s transfer to Philadelphia A’s,40 but Katoll refused to report to Connie Mack’s club. But curiously, Katoll was receptive to demotion to the unaffiliated minor league American Association, and accepted his option to the Minneapolis Millers.

Katoll quickly became the mainstay of the Millers’ staff and a friend of outfielder-manager Walt Wilmot. In his relatively brief sojourn in Minneapolis—interrupted by the short honeymoon that followed Jack’s marriage to Gertrude Margaret Hoge of Chicago in mid-July—he posted a 9-5 (.643) record for a bad ball club headed for a seventh-place (54-86, .385) finish. Simultaneously, Ban Johnson and the still-fledgling American League had to deal with the coup that had placed the Baltimore Orioles franchise in the hands of a fierce enemy: Andrew Freedman, majority owner of the NL New York Giants.

Orchestrated by Cincinnati Reds club boss and longtime Johnson adversary John T. Brush, the devious conspiracy that spawned the hostile takeover of the Orioles involves a tale lying beyond the scope of this bio.41 Suffice it to say that immediately upon securing control, Freedman and Brush, bent on the destruction of the Baltimore club (if not the American League entirely), engineered the defection of Orioles stars Joe McGinnity, Roger Bresnahan, Joe Kelley, and Cy Seymour, plus two other Baltimore players to the Giants and Reds. Fortunately for the AL, administrative missteps by the club’s new regime soon allowed Johnson to regain control of the franchise and make it a ward of the league.42 But the depleted Orioles playing roster was in desperate need of replenishment.

Jack Katoll and outfielder Herm McFarland were to be Chicago’s contribution to the Baltimore relief project. But Katoll, happy with a congenial situation in Minneapolis, balked at going.43 It finally required the intercession of AL president Johnson with American Association counterpart Thomas J. Hickey to get the reluctant hurler on a train to Baltimore.44

Joining a dismal cellar-dwelling team, Katoll got off to a surprisingly good start with the Orioles. He was beaten in his initial appearance in Baltimore livery by Cleveland, 7-1. Big Jack then reeled off four straight victories for his new club. His next seven outings, however, ended in defeat—each one inflicted by a different American League club, including a 23-7 pasting by Cleveland on September 2 in which Katoll went the distance.45 On September 29, 1902, Jack Katoll made his final appearance in a major league uniform, playing a fill-in left field for Baltimore and going an uncharacteristic two-for-five off Tully Sparks in a 9-5 Boston win.

Including the 5-10 mark that he posted in Baltimore, Katoll’s career numbers were mediocre: In 47 major league games, he went 17-22 (.436), with a 3.32 ERA in 361 innings pitched. He struck out 90, walked 90, and surrendered a .294 batting average to opposition hitters (hefty for the Deadball Era). A pair of two-hit outbursts in his final big-league month raised Katoll’s own career batting average to an anemic .134, and he defended his position poorly, a 20/134/15 fielding line yielding a substandard .911 FA. But then as now, high-echelon pitching was a valuable commodity, and Minneapolis wanted Katoll back if he was available.46

During the offseason, Jack kept busy by joining his father in the carting business, specializing in the hauling of stone and other building material.47 When finally released by Ban Johnson,48 Katoll signed with Minneapolis.49 But he no longer had the fastball that had been his out pitch and tried to get by on guile and good control. Despite treatment, including an early season respite in warm Southern weather, Katoll’s arm did not come around. He eked out a 3-3 record in 17 appearances but sat out long stretches of the season. Before August was over, he shut it down completely, Sporting Life reporting that “Jack Katoll has left Minneapolis for home and will pitch no more ball this season. His throwing arm, which has given him trouble all season, is still in bad shape and Katoll has finally given up hope of getting it right this season.”50

Katoll was back home in time for the October birth of son Walter Wilmot Katoll, named for his friend and onetime Minneapolis manager Walt Wilmot. Second son John Herman Katoll arrived three years later. In the meantime, Minneapolis had not given up on the big pitcher, still only 28 years old, and reserved him for the 1904 season.51 The ensuing spring, the Millers babied Katoll, holding him out of spring training exhibition games entirely.52 The strategy seemed to pay off when Jack set down Indianapolis, 3-2, in his 1904 season debut, spacing nine hits and striking out three. Sadly, it proved Katoll’s last professional hurrah. He was hit hard in two subsequent starts, and with arm aching, packed it in with his Minneapolis record standing at 1-2 in four games-pitched.53 The career of Jack Katoll in Organized Baseball was now over.54

For the next three years, Katoll’s name occasionally appeared in newsprint, mostly in connection with playing weekend first base for a Chicago semipro club called the Marquettes.55 He also tried, without success, to land a job with the Chicago Police Department.56 Thereafter, Katoll drifted into the anonymity of private life. US Census reports and other government records provide the only surviving insight into his activities and whereabouts.

Katoll remained in residence in Chicago into the early 1920s, supporting his family as a self-employed truck driver/hauler of building material. Sometime thereafter, he and wife Gertrude divorced. She remained in the Windy City while Jack moved to McHenry County to the northwest. A 1950 column by Chicago sportswriter John P. Carmichael mentioned that Katoll was retired and living in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park.57 Alone and suffering from chronic arthritis and advanced heart disease, Katoll was admitted to a Woodstock, Illinois nursing home and died there on June 18, 1955. Johann/John “Big Jack” Katoll was 79. Following funeral services, his remains were interred at Forest Home Cemetery, Forest Park, Illinois. Survivors included sons Walter and John, five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.58 Ex-wife Gertrude Hoge Katoll also outlived him by a year.



This biography was reviewed by Rory Costello and Joel Barnhart and checked for accuracy by SABR’s fact-checking team.



Sources for the biographical detail supplied herein include the Jack Katoll file at the Giamatti Research Center, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown, New York; the Katoll profile in The Rank and File of 19th Century Major League Players, David Nemec, ed. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2011); government records, other documents, and Katoll family posts accessed via Ancestry.com; and various of the newspaper articles cited in the endnotes, below. Unless otherwise specified, stats have been taken from Baseball-Reference.



1 1902 Reach Official Base Ball Guide, 59.

2 The effort to correct the erroneous birth name, date of birth, place of birth, and batting side currently listed for Jack Katoll in Baseball-Reference, Retrosheet, and other authority was ongoing at the time this bio was composed.

3 To census takers, other government record keepers, and baseball officials, Katoll gave birth dates that ranged from 1872 to 1879. He always claimed an American birth place, variously offering Etna, Ohio where his younger brother Charles was born; unspecific in Ohio; Detroit, where he was raised; unspecific in Michigan; and unspecific in Illinois where he lived most of his adult life. Lutheran Church records, however, document that Johann Katoll was born on June 24, 1875 in Finckenstein, Prussia; baptized on July 11, 1875 in Finckenstein; and confirmed on April 14, 1889 in Detroit.

4 Per a profile of Katoll published in the New York Clipper, July 19, 1902.

5 “News and Comment,” Sporting Life, June 27, 1896: 5. Two months earlier, Jack Katoll’s participation in a Detroit vs. Cleveland amateur boxing tourney had received widespread notice. See e.g., “The Ring,” Cleveland Leader, April 18, 1896: 2; and “Intercity Boxing Matches,” Coldwater (Michigan) Reporter, April 20, 1896: 3; Paw Paw (Michigan) Northerner, April 22, 1896: 8; and Owosso (Michigan) Times, April 24, 1896: 9.

6 “Diamond Dust,” Milwaukee Journal, June 30, 1896: 8.

7 The battery work of Katoll and Kossuch “bordered on phenomenal” in a 4-3 loss, according to the Adrian (Michigan) Telegram, May 20, 1897.

8 Per “Encore!” Bay City (Michigan) Tribune, June 27, 1897: 1. The paper sub-headlined its account of the game: “He Was Good, But Support Was Awful.” A rival Bay City newspaper also complemented the pitching of Katoll. See “Sporting News,” Bay City Times, June 26. 1896: 3.

9 Per the Katoll profile in The Rank and File of 19th Century Major League Baseball, David Nemec, ed. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2011), 49.

10 According to Atlantic League stats published in the Philadelphia Inquirer, November 21, 1898: 4, and the 1899 Spalding Official Base Ball Guide, 114. Regrettably, those stats do not include pitching numbers.

11 Per the Waterbury (Connecticut) Evening Democrat, August 27, 1898: 8.

12 Tim O’Keefe, “Roach’s Rovers,” Sporting Life, August 20, 1898: 17.

13 Chicago’s signing of Jack Katoll was noted in the national press. See e.g., Philadelphia Inquirer, August 28, 1898: 12; Cleveland Plain Dealer, August 30, 1898: 5; Sporting Life, September 3, 1898: 5.

14 Nemec, 49. A 1901 Chicago White Sox club photo shows Katoll two to three inches taller than 6-foot Roy Patterson standing next to him; a posthumous player questionnaire completed by son Walter Katoll listed his father as 6-foot-4/200 pounds; while a hyperbolic contemporary news account described the pitcher as a giant. See “Caught on the Fly,” Boston Herald, May 28, 1899: 28: “Katoll is not only a Titan in size—he stands nearly seven feet, and his lateral dimensions would make the eyes of a dime store museum bulge with hope,” re-printing an unidentified item published in the Chicago Chronicle.

15 “Cincinnati 6, Chicago 4,” Chicago Record, September 10, 1898: 6.

16 “Burns Tries a New Man,” Chicago Daily News, September 10, 1898: 6.

17 In the estimation of the Chicago Tribune, September 13, 1898: 4.

18 Per “The League List,” Sporting Life, October 8, 1898: 1.

19 As noted in “Nine Ready for Real Work,” Chicago Daily News, April 3, 1899: 6. This is the first discovered newsprint mention of the arm problems that would plague Katoll throughout his career.

20 W.A. Phelon, Jr., “Chicago Glum,” Sporting Life, May 27, 1899: 6. Coat-tail, a mangling of the pitcher’s surname, was a nickname hung on Katoll in Bay City.

21 The description supplied in a nationally-circulated wire dispatch account of the game. See e.g., Dallas Morning News, Duluth (Minnesota) News Tribune, and Omaha World-Herald, May 22, 1899.

22 Phelon, “Chicago Glum,” Sporting Life, May 27, 1899: 6.

23 See “Chicago Releases Pitcher Katoll,” Baltimore Sun, June 2, 1899: 6; “Pitcher Katoll Released,” Chicago Tribune, June 2, 1899: 4; “Big Jack Katoll Released,” Rockford (Illinois) Register-Gazette, June 2, 1899: 3.

24 Phelon, “Chicago Cheered,” Sporting Life, June 10, 1899: 4.

25 Chicago Daily News, July 15, 1899: 6. The source of the friction between manager Burns and the generally affable Katoll went undiscovered by the writer.

26 As reported in the Rockford (Illinois) Republic, June 2, 1899: 5, which quoted McGraw as saying that Katoll “had the speed of Rusie and as pretty a break on his curve ball as any man in the business.”

27 Per Western League stats published in Sporting Life, October 21, 1899: 6. Baseball-Reference provides no pitching numbers for Katoll in St. Paul.

28 Katoll’s six shutouts were matched by teammate Chauncey Fisher and Joe Yeager of the Detroit Tigers. Jack’s four consecutive 3-0 whitewashes came at the expense of Cleveland (June 8), Indianapolis (June 14), Indianapolis, again (June 17), and Kansas City (June 23). The following month, he posted 1-0 victories over Indianapolis on July 5 and July 31.

29 See e.g., “Players in Clover,” New York Daily People, November 9, 1900: 3; “New Men for Cincinnati,” Washington Evening Star, November 7, 1900: 10; “Cincinnati Chips,” Sporting Life, November 17, 1900: 7.

30 Per the Michigan death certificate for infant August Katoll accessible on-line via Ancestry.com.

31 Per State of Michigan death records. See also, “Some Foul Tips,” Rockford Republic, September 15, 1900: 5.

32 Chicago Daily News, May 4, 1905.

33 1902 Reach Official Base Ball Guide, 64.

34 Modern baseball reference works list Katoll as a righty batter. But photographic evidence irrefutably establishes that Katoll batted from the left side. See Chicago Daily News, May 24, 1902: 6.

35 As reported in “Two White Sox Arrested,” Chicago Tribune, August 22, 1901: 4: “White Sox Arrested,” Washington Post, August 22, 1901: 8; and elsewhere in newspapers nationwide.

36 Per “May Now Pitch Katoll,” Chicago Daily News, September 3, 1901: 1; “Johnson Relents,” Decatur (Illinois) Review, September 4, 1901: 4; “Shows Clemency,” Philadelphia Inquirer, September 4, 1901: 6. McGinnity and Shugart were subsequently reinstated, as well.

37 Per “Comiskey Must Lose a Player,” Washington Evening Star, June 18, 1902: 10.

38 Katoll pitched an inning of scoreless relief in a 2-0 loss to Cleveland on April 28.

39 As reported by the Chicago Daily News, June 2, 1902: 8. See also, W.A. Phelon, Jr., “Chicago Gleanings,” Sporting Life, June 14, 1902: 8.

40 Per “Mack Gets Two Pitchers,” Boston Herald, May 27, 1902: 8; “Nailed at the Plate,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 28, 1902: 8; “American Affairs,” Sporting Life, May 31, 1902: 5.

41 For exposition of the matter, see William F. Lamb, “A Fearsome Collaboration: The Alliance of Andrew Freedman and John T. Brush,” Base Ball: A Journal of the Early Game, Vol. 3, No. 2 (Fall 2009), 14-15.

42 When the Orioles failed to field nine players for a game against the St. Louis Browns, Johnson seized control of the franchise pursuant to provisions of the American League constitution.

43 Per “American Association,” Minneapolis Journal, July 25, 1902: 10.

44 See “Katoll Goes to Baltimore,” St. Paul Globe, August 3, 1902: 11; “Baltimore To Get Katoll,” Boston Herald, August 4, 1902: 6.

45 Cleveland’s 23 runs were an American League high for the 1902 season. Katoll’s other defeats were 1-0 in 10 innings to St. Louis, August 28; 11-2 to Chicago, August 31; 6-2 to Detroit, September 6; 5-4 to Philadelphia, September 10; 15-1 to Washington, September 12; and 7-2 to Boston, September 16.

46 As reported by the Minneapolis Journal, October 25, 1902: 12.

47 Per the Minneapolis Journal, February 23, 1903: 17. See also, Chicago Daily News, April 25, 1903: 4.

48 The Baltimore franchise was essentially defunct, with AL President Johnson then in search of someone with the financial and political clout needed to place a new ball club in New York. Johnson was stockpiling players for this potential New York operation, but Katoll was not one of them and made available for signing by other major and minor league clubs.

49 Per “Oyler Has Signed,” Minneapolis Journal, February 21, 1903: 17. See also, March 1903 correspondence between Minneapolis club president Edward A. Thompson and the pitcher in the Jack Katoll file at the GRC.

50 “American Association,” Sporting Life, September 5, 1903: 16.

51 Per Sporting Life, October 10, 1903: 13.

52 As reported in the Minneapolis Journal, April 26, 1904, 1904: 19.

53 Per the writer’s review of published 1904 Minneapolis box scores. Baseball-Reference provides no statistical data for Katoll in 1904.

54 The Baseball-Reference entry for Jack Katoll lists him as a member of the Simcoe (Ontario) club in the Class D Canadian League in 1905, but no evidence of this affiliation was discovered by the writer. Contemporaneous newsprint indicates that Katoll spent that summer playing for a semipro club in Chicago.

55 See e.g., “Sample Case,” Cincinnati Post/ (Covington) Kentucky Post, April 8, 1905: 6; “American League Notes,” Sporting Life, April 22, 1905: 7; “Play for City Title,” Chicago Daily News, June 25, 1906: 6; “Old Leaguers on Marquettes,” Rockford Register-Gazette, June 5, 1907: 5.

56 “Test To Join Police Force,” Chicago Daily News, April 18, 1906: 4; “American League Notes,” Sporting Life, April 22, 1906: 7. Katoll obviously had the physical size desired of a police recruit. Although literate, Katoll was not particularly bright, making his prospects for passing the written entrance exam another matter. But the actual reason why Katoll was not hired is unknown.

57 John P. Carmichael, “The Barber Shop,” Chicago Daily News, August 9, 1950: 33.

58 Per obituaries published in the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Daily News, June 20, 1955.

Full Name

Johann Katoll


June 24, 1872 at Kamieniec, (POL)


June 18, 1955 at Woodstock, IL (USA)

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