Bill Merritt (COURTESY OF MARK PESTANA)

Bill Merritt

This article was written by Bob LeMoine

Bill Merritt (COURTESY OF MARK PESTANA)Bill Merritt was a backup catcher during the 1890s, appearing in 401 games in eight seasons with five major-league teams. Needed for his glove and throwing arm, Merritt could also at times find his way with the bat, even leading the league in hitting at various times during the seasons in which he played, despite a career batting average of only .272. Known as Billy in his hometown, Merritt always stayed close to his New England roots, playing, managing, and even owning a minor-league franchise. He was part of one pennant-winning team, the Boston Beaneaters of 1893, but spent most of his career with second-division clubs.

William Henry Merritt was born on July 30, 1870,1 in Lowell, Massachusetts, to William and Mary (Cleary) Merritt, who had emigrated from Ireland. In 1872 the couple lost a daughter Josephine at only five days of life on April 19, then a daughter Elizabeth at just 17 days of life on May 2. At the 1880 census, Merritt’s father, William, worked as a laborer. Other siblings included a sister Sarah, who worked at a woolen mill, a sister Isabella, who worked in a cotton mill, and a brother, Frank, who was listed without an occupation.

Merritt attended the Colburn and Edson schools in Lowell. He played baseball for a local team called the Burkes, believed to be from a Temperance Society named after a Father Burke.2 Merritt later played college baseball for Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, 40 miles west of Boston. “He was a great favorite with the college boys,” the Boston Globe wrote, “and especially with the ball team. He rapidly developed into a catcher after entering the school, and was a receipt of numerous professional clubs, but declined them and continued his studies.”3

In 1891 Holy Cross pulled off a major upset, defeating Harvard for the first time in their baseball history. The 3-2 win at Harvard on June 10 was the result of strong pitching by John Stafford, baserunning, and “the catching and throwing of Merritt,” according to the Worcester Daily Spy. Students had “joy with a big J” and prepared a major celebration when the team returned to campus on the 11 o’clock train. “Students were sent to the city for fireworks, and the supply ran out so quickly another delegation was sent back for more.” The crowd chanted, “Sis! Boom bah! Here we are! What did we do? We beat Harvard, three to two!” Players were hoisted on the shoulders of celebrating fans and probably no one who lived near campus got any sleep that night.4

Just as the Holy Cross season was ending, both Merritt and Stafford were signed by the Woonsocket (Rhode Island) club in the New England League.5 “He [Merritt] is a heavy hitter,” Brattleboro, Vermont’s Phoenix newspaper commented, “a splendid back stop, and the best thrower in New England.”6 Merritt wouldn’t stay long, however. The Chicago Colts came to Boston for a series in early August. Manager Cap Anson was in need of a catcher (he had tried five during the season and he himself caught a couple of games). According to a story years later, Merritt sought out Anson for a tryout wearing raggedy clothes and no shoes. While Merritt did meet Anson, the poverty details were made up. Merritt himself responded to the story in 1899:

“A most absurd story has been going the rounds about my debut in baseball. I don’t know the person that wrote it up first, but if I did I promise you I would make it hot for him. I want it understood that I never walked up to Anson in Boston in my bare feet and poorly dressed. I always had good clothes to wear before I ever played base ball and I shall have them after I quit playing the game. In justice to myself and my parents who reside here in Lowell I want you to contradict the absurd and false story in your paper. If my parents should read that in the paper they would feel very much put out over it. When I asked Mr. Anson for a trial in Boston, my clothes were just as good and costly as Mr. Anson’s.”7

In any event, Merritt received a tryout for the August 8 game.8 “He proved a find,” wrote Chicago’s Inter Ocean, noting that Merritt was “shifty and easy on his feet, a good backstop, and he throws to bases cleverly. Anson is greatly pleased with him.”9 Chicago was driving toward the pennant and on August 26 the “Woonsocket Wonder,” as Merritt was called at the time, scored the go-ahead run in a three-run eighth to give Chicago a 9-8 win.10 A streaking Boston team would eventually surpass the Colts, and Merritt’s season was over after he batted.214 in 11 games.

Merritt was not given a contract by Chicago for 1892 and went to Columbus (Ohio) of the new Western League. He was batting.224 in 40 games when the league disbanded in the middle of July. By the end of the month he was playing for Memphis of the Southern Association.11 Merritt batted only .167 in a dozen games but “has done remarkable back stop work in Memphis,” according to the Baltimore Sun.12 Before going to Memphis, however, Merritt had received a letter from Fred Pfeffer, manager of the Louisville Colonels of the National League, asking what his terms were to come to Louisville. Merritt responded, but the reply did not reach Pfeffer for three weeks, and in the meantime Merritt signed with Memphis. “The supposition,” wrote the Louisville Courier-Journal, “is that Merritt handed the letter to someone to mail, who was desirous of keeping the man away from Louisville and therefore failed to post it for three weeks.”13

Because the Southern Association was part of the National Agreement, under which competing leagues would honor one another’s contracts,14 the issue went before National League President Nick Young to arbitrate. It was a quick decision, and Louisville acquired Merritt around August 17. He spent the remainder of the season there. “Manager Pfeffer saw Merritt play in Chicago,” wrote the Courier-Journal, “and knew what he was doing when he signed the man. Merritt is one of the quickest throwers in the country.”15

“He is a ward worker,” the Courier-Journal wrote of Merritt’s first few days with the team. “He is a fighter from ‘way back,’ and never quits playing until the bats are packed up. He is a man of the best habits.”16 Merritt impressed his new team in his first game, on August 20, in a 4-2 win over Washington in which he scored a run and “nailed every man that tried to go down [to steal].”17 Merritt played both games of a doubleheader with Chicago on September 28, the day after fire destroyed the grandstands of the original Eclipse Park. Temporary seating was in place, but a few fans of the 700 present had to scurry as smoldering debris kicked up another flame. Louisville split the doubleheader.18 In 46 games (43 of them said to be consecutive19), Merritt batted just .196 and made 15 errors with a .940 fielding percentage for the ninth-place club. He signed with Boston in the offseason to be a backup to the aging Charlie Bennett.20 In the offseason, Sporting Life noted that Merritt had a thriving wood and coal business in Lowell and “is a great favorite in the Spindle City.”21

For a ballplayer in the nineteenth century to have his sketch and biography featured in the New York Clipper is probably the modern-day equivalent of being on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Such was the experience of Merritt, who was profiled in the February 25, 1893, edition with the description of being a “young and promising player” who “faces pluckily the swiftest and wildest pitching, and promises to excel as a catcher.”22 Merritt was impressive in the preseason. “Young Merritt promises to win golden opinions,” wrote the Boston Herald. “He handles the bat well, and is a strong thrower and sure catch of pitched as well as foul balls.”23

While he was needed for his glove, it was Merritt’s bat that was being noticed early in the 1893 season. “Merritt’s hitting was greatly enjoyed,” the Boston Herald commented on his contributions in an 18-6 thrashing of Philadelphia on May 23. “This youngster does not try to see how near he can come to putting himself out of joint when he hits at a ball, but he meets it finely.”24 He certainly did that day, powering two home runs, the second of which “stirred the triumvirs,” the nickname for the three Boston team executives Arthur Soden, William H. Conant, and James B. Billings, “to such an extent that they applauded until their hands burned. It would have been a good time to ask for an increase in salary.”25

The unofficial batting averages listed by the Boston Herald on June 12 showed Merritt leading the league at .490 (25-for-51) with four teammates batting over .300.26 Boston was already 11 games up in first place when on August 28 Merritt singled in a game-tying run in the ninth inning in a game Boston won in the 10th.27 While Boston surged, Merritt’s batting average had fallen back to earth, possibly due to an injured finger that cost him a few weeks, but still was at an astounding .372, listed as 10th in the league, on September 5.28 On September 5 a foul tip split his right hand open, and his season was over as he returned to Lowell to recover.29 He finished the year batting .348 with 3 home runs and 26 RBIs in 39 games, and Boston easily won the pennant.

Merritt began the spring of 1894 holding out for more money, “and the directors do not seem to care much whether he signs or not, believing they are well enough equipped [with catchers],” wrote the Boston Herald.30 Merritt eventually signed, but the team’s outspoken captain, Billy Nash, took exception to this attitude by the triumvirs. “I am free to say, and so is every member of the Boston club, that catcher Merritt was shamefully treated in the matter of salary this year, after the way he played to bring the pennant to Boston last season. If they did not want to give him the figures he earned fairly and squarely in the estimation of press and players, why did they not let him go where he could do better? Surely the Boston club could afford to pay him as much as he could get elsewhere.”31 After playing in only 10 games, Merritt was released by Boston at the end of May because “President Soden said that the club was carrying too many catchers.”32

On June 1 Merritt was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates,33 where he backed up player-manager and future Hall of Famer Connie Mack in his first year of a 53-year managing career. Merritt played in 36 games for the Pirates, six of them at first base or in the outfield, batting .275 with one home run. As Pittsburgh fell out of the pennant race, Merritt was let go on August 21.34 He was quickly signed by the Cincinnati Reds, and, having just turned 24 that summer, was playing for his fifth major-league club in four years.35 He batted .325 for the Reds in 30 games with a .956 fielding percentage as catcher.

He remained with Cincinnati in 1895, batting .177 in 22 games. Merritt was released in June, and Mack, seeing him available, re-signed him for Pittsburgh, making him their starting catcher, replacing a suspended Tom Kinslow.36 Merritt excelled in his role, batting .333 (27-for-81) in his first 24 games.37 While he had a solid year at the plate (.285 for Pittsburgh with a .340 on-base percentage), his fielding suffered; his 25 errors were fourth-most in the league among catchers and he allowed 160 stolen bases, third-highest in the league.

Merritt had a solid year for Pittsburgh again in 1896, catching in 62 games and playing at least two games at every infield position. He was fifth in the league in assists for a catcher and in throwing out 85 would-be basestealers. He had a similar year at the plate as he did in 1895, batting .291 in 77 games.

On January 6, 1897, Merritt married Nellie Veronica Riley of Lowell. As one would expect, his hometown paper, the Lowell Sun, made this a front-page story with all the details of the occasion as Merritt married “a charming daughter of old Ward 3. Music and song was heard and an elaborate wedding supper was served by the Page Company.” His new Pittsburgh manager and Lawrence, Massachusetts, native Patsy Donovan was his best man. Donovan said it seemed the whole town of Lowell turned out, from the mayor to the policeman on the beat. The Merritts had “a tour of New York and the other large cities” for their honeymoon, and then returned to their new home in Lowell.38

Remaining with Pittsburgh, Merritt hit his only home run of 1897 in Boston to the cheers of the crowd.39 In a 16-3 pounding of Baltimore on July 24, Merritt went 4-for-4 with a walk.40 But management was disappointed with his “slow work” and in mid-August gave him a 10-day notice that his release was imminent if his performance didn’t improve.41 Apparently the warning lit a fire under the catcher and “he has been killing the ball recently,” wrote the Pittsburgh Press, and “the club decided it could not afford to part with the chunky backstop.”42 He finished with a .263 batting average in 62 games. Perhaps there were other reasons for Pittsburgh’s disdain for Merritt, since the team gave him a $500 bonus if he did not drink during the season.43

Merritt’s time in Pittsburgh came to an end after the 1897 season. Released to the Kansas City Blues of the Western League, he refused to go. “When I get through with the National League,” Merritt said, “I will quit the game. I would not leave my present position [clerk] at the Arlington Hotel for a berth in the Kansas City team.”44 In March the Washington Post commented, “Billy Merritt alleges that he is too speedy a member to be wasted in a minor league, and threatens to retire from the game unless Jimmy Manning, of Kansas City, to whom Billy was sold, takes the reef out of that $1,200 salary limit that is supposed to be a law in the Western League. Billy’s backstop talents should command at least $1,800, so Billy claims, though Manning is $600 shy of Merritt’s opinion.”45 A few days later the Kansas City Journal reported, “Saloonkeeper Billy Merritt says he will stay in Massachusetts and drink his own whisky before his will play ball in this city for a beggarly $200 a month.”46 The story hadn’t changed by April. “Billy Merritt was assigned to that team, but still refuses to report and announced his retirement from baseball,” the Pittsburgh Post reported on April 1.47 He never did go to Kansas City; instead he played for a Lowell team, South Ends.48 Sporting Life said in October that Merritt was doing well in the saloon business and didn’t plan on returning to baseball.49

Oddly, in 1899 there was the expectation that Merritt was still going to play in Kansas City. “Manager [Jim] Manning expects to have Billy Merritt, the old leaguer, behind the bat. It is not expected that he will hold out another year,” said one report.50 Manning was attempting to trade Merritt to Boston for Charlie Frisbee, who had been farmed out to the Worcester (Massachusetts) club, but that trade never happened.51 Things got even nastier by the end of August. “Merritt intends to bring suit against Manning for keeping him out of the game this season. He thinks he has a good case, as Manning’s actions has [sic] prevented him from earning a good salary at ball playing. Merritt has notified Manning that he intends to sue him. He is acting under the advice of legal friends in Lowell.”52 Apparently no lawsuit was ever filed.

Boston did not have the services of any catcher on their roster for the last game of the 1899 season and gave Merritt one last hurrah. “Behind the plate stood William Merritt of Lowell, who has been out of the game for a year,” the Boston Globe wrote about the rusty veteran. “Billy was fat as butter and displayed a porcelain wing. One time he chased a foul fly near to the fence and puffed like a flat boat stemming the Ohio River. Considering that he was out of condition the old leaguer was not half bad.”53 Neither team had anything at stake in the game, which was Merritt’s final appearance in the major leagues.

At the 1900 census, Bill and Nellie lived in Lowell and he worked as a “liquor dealer.” They had three children: sons Francis (Frank) Joseph and William Anthony, and a daughter, Margaret, who died that year just shy of turning 7 months old.54

Merritt returned to the diamond in 1901 in his familiar surroundings of Lowell. With former major leaguer Fred Lake (who would later manage both Boston teams), Merritt organized the Lowell club in the New England League and the two alternated between playing catcher and first base. “With these seasoned old-timers behind the bat,” wrote the Lowell Sun, “the younger players will be kept in line at all times.”55 Merritt spent 1901-1903 with Lowell, which won the pennant in 1903. The statistics we have available show Merritt batting .339, .276, and .280 in the three seasons.

In 1904 Merritt, dissatisfied with the club’s pay offer, made a difficult decision to leave his hometown team and play for the Manchester (New Hampshire) club, also in the New England League. “While I would have preferred to play at home,” Merritt confessed, “I did not feel like waiting the entire season for a settlement of affairs whereby I would be willing to go back to the Lowell team. It has been said that I was fussy and thought that the team could not get along without me, but I assure you I never felt that way, for I know too well that a ball player is only one man in a whole team and if he gets through or refuses to play there are plenty of good ones to take his place, and he is soon forgotten. It was never through any feeling of egotism that I refused to sign with the Lowells. It was simply because the money promised me as was promised the others for winning the pennant was not forthcoming.”56 Merritt mostly played first base for Manchester. In July he left Manchester for an opportunity to manage the New England League team in Nashua, New Hampshire. “Well, I guess I’ll be with you boys,” Merritt told the Nashua players awaiting his arrival.57 But at the end of August, he resigned to “attend to his business interests.”58

Merritt returned to Lowell as player-manager in 1905,59 but the team disbanded for financial reasons in early August. The franchise was moved to Taunton, Massachusetts.60 Merritt ended the season with the Manchester team, which had moved to Lawrence, Massachusetts. In 1907 Merritt was still playing locally when the Calgary (Alberta) team of the Western Canada League, which had been organized in Lowell, either fired its manager or saw him resign after one week. Merritt accepted the managerial job while the Canadian team was playing exhibitions in New England. But he was not satisfied early on. “Merritt does not think well of the Calgary bunch that was selected,” wrote the Winnipeg Free Press, “and it is understood that an entirely new bunch will be picked up.”61 It was an unsuccessful stint, however, as he lasted only a month. “Manager Merritt donned a uniform for the first time in Calgary at last night’s game,” quipped the Calgary Herald, “and he looks very pretty, but he also looks as though the sacrificing of about half a hundredweight of fat would not hurt him a bit.”62

Merritt returned to Lowell and umpired in the New England League.63 He scouted and later managed the Lowell team in 1909,64 then in 1910 became a scout for the Boston National League team, his former team later known as the Braves.65 His old friend Fred Lake was the manager, but the reunion didn’t last long. The team finished eighth and Lake retired, so Merritt also left and returned to Lowell to spend time in business. Merritt sent a letter seeking an umpiring position in the Eastern Association in 1913.66 Little is mentioned of Merritt for over a decade, with the exception of his son Frank serving in France in World War I and receiving a Purple Heart.67 At the 1920 census, Bill and Nellie were living in Lowell with both sons and Bill’s 89-year-old father, William. Bill worked as a watchman in a cotton mill. His son Frank was an electrician and William was a plumber’s apprentice.

Merritt got back into the game in 1929, purchasing the Salem (Massachusetts) franchise in the New England League and moving it to Lowell, which had been devoid of a team since 1926.68 While there was a touch of nostalgia in Merritt’s running his hometown team once again, the reality was that times had changed. By the end of May, the future of the club was in doubt. “Billy Merritt has had a woeful experience,” wrote the Lowell Sun. “There’s no denying it: Lowell has not supported inner-city league ball in the past and from the Lookout it looks as though this will be another entry on the dark pages. Merritt has been digging, with practically nothing coming in, and his private bank roll has been sadly depleted.”69

The team was sold and moved to Nashua. “He staked all he had on the ill-fated Lowell franchise of the New England League,” John F. Kenney wrote in the Lowell Sun in 1937. “We can remember him then, a hearty man beyond his fifties, to whom any true-blooded fan could warm up. He pushed his Lowell club vigorously … hoping … hoping it would click with the fans he felt sure would come through with support. Then, when the handwriting was seen on the wall, we could see the wound in Billy Merritt’s heart. It wasn’t altogether the financial loss. He could not understand why the game had not caught on as in the days gone by.”70

At the 1930 census, the Merritts were living in their own home valued at $3,500 in Lowell. Bill worked as a salesman, and although we don’t know his salary, they checked “yes” in the new category on the census: owning a radio set. In 1935 he sent a hand-written letter to National League President Ford Frick:71

Dear Sir,

I hear that a few of the old time ballplayers in my town (Lowell Mass.) received a complimentary pass for the ball games.

I am the oldest ball player that played in the N.L. for over forty five years having started in Chicago in 1891 with Mr. Anson. Played in Louisville in 92 with Fred Pfefer and Johnny Chapton. Boston in 93-94 Buckenberger Pat Donovan and Connie Mack.

And I done Scout for the Bostons Ame. in 1899 and with the Boston N. in 1910. If you have a pass to share I would be glad to have one as I go to Boston very often and would like to see the games.

Yours truly,

William H. Merritt

18 Fairfield St.

Lowell Mass.

A letter was sent in response by an unknown person on behalf of Frick:

Dear Mr. Merritt:

Mr. Frick turned over your letter to me, and he and I were both very glad to hear from you, as we are to get in touch with all those fine men who battled for their teams back in the 90’s.

Unfortunately, the way the league rules are at this time, your term of service in the league was not long enough to entitle you to a lifetime pass. However, Mr. Frick is hopeful of having the rule changed later this year to make it possible for us to include you in the select circle. I will keep your letter, and if this is done, you will receive your lifetime pass.

Cordially,

no name given

It is an interesting letter from Merritt. For one, if his handwriting is to be understood correctly, he claims to have scouted for the Boston Americans (future Red Sox) in 1899. This couldn’t have happened because the club did not yet exist, as it was a charter member of the American League in 1901. Several obituaries mention Merritt scouting for both Boston teams, but if and when he scouted for the Red Sox is unknown. Players with 10 or more years of experience were given lifetime passes by the National League.72 This action was taken at the National League winter meetings in December of 1934, which is why Merritt’s letter in 1935 would say he knows of other old-time players receiving one. Babe Ruth famously received one for the National League, even though he played in the NL for only three months out of his long career.73

Merritt attended Braves Field on June 25, 1936, when the 60th anniversary of the founding of the National League was celebrated. Also attending were Boston legends George Wright, Tommy Bond, and Merritt’s teammates Sliding Billy Hamilton, Fred Tenney, and Hugh Duffy.74

Bill Merritt died at St. Johns Hospital in Lowell after a brief illness on November 17, 1937, at the age of 67. The funeral was held on November 19 at his home in Lowell. Donovan, Merritt’s old manager in Pittsburgh, and Jack Ryan, his old teammate in Boston, attended the service. Mass was celebrated at St. Margaret’s Church, and Merritt was buried in the family lot at St. Patrick’s Cemetery. Merritt was a member of the Elks and Eagles lodges as well as the Lowell Holy Cross Club. Besides his widow and two sons, Merritt was survived by three grandchildren.

 

Sources

In addition to sources listed in the Notes, the author was assisted by the following:

Baseball-reference.com.

“Billy Merritt Dies Suddenly,” Lowell Sun, November 17, 1937: 1.

Retrosheet.org.

“Services for Billy Merritt,” Lowell Sun, November 19, 1937: 1, 7.

“William Merritt. Ex-Ball Player Dead,” Boston Globe, November 18, 1937: 15.

 

Notes

1 Some records list his birth as July 30, 1869.

2 “University of Massachusetts Lowell Center for Lowell History Oral History Collection,” retrieved April 25, 2017. library.uml.edu/clh/OH/WPOL/Rynne.pdf; “Talk of the Town,” Lowell Sun, March 26, 1892: 8.

3 “Amateur Notes,” Boston Globe, August 22, 1891: 3.

4 “Holy Cross Boys Happy,” Worcester Daily Spy, June 11, 1891: 1.

5 “Base Ball Notes,” Boston Globe, June 9, 1891: 5.

6 “Notes,” Vermont Phoenix, July 31, 1891: 5.

7 Article of unknown origin marked 4/9/1899 in Merritt’s Hall of Fame file.

8 “Base Ball Gossip,” Cincinnati Enquirer, April 12, 1898: 5.

9 “Lost in One Inning,” Chicago Inter Ocean, August 9, 1891: 2.

10 “Ten Won in Succession,” Chicago Tribune, August 27, 1891:7.

11 Bay City (Michigan) Times, July 23, 1892: 8.

12 “Southern League Stars,” Baltimore Sun, August 16, 1892: 8; “Chat of the Diamond,” Philadelphia Inquirer, August 20, 1892: 3.

13 “Base Ball,” Louisville Courier-Journal, August 7, 1892: 20.

14 See “National Agreement,” baseball-reference.com/bullpen/National_Agreement.

15 “Base Ball,” Louisville Courier-Journal, August 21, 1892: 13.

16 Merritt Arrives,” Louisville Courier-Journal, August 18, 1892: 6.

17 “Game After Game,” Louisville Courier-Journal, August 21, 1892: 10.

18 “Played Amid Ashes,” Louisville Courier-Journal, September 29, 1892: 5.

19 New York Clipper, February 25, 1893: 823.

20 “Bennett Has Signed,” Boston Post, March 30, 1893: 3.

21 “Lines from Lowell,” Sporting Life, December 24, 1892: 9.

22 New York Clipper, February 25, 1893: 823.

23 “The Bostons Are in New York,” Boston Herald, April 27, 1893: 12.

24 “Much Like a Walkover,” Boston Herald, May 24, 1893: 2.

25 Ibid.

26 “We Have the Leading Batsman,” Boston Herald, June 12, 1893: 10.

27 “Merritt’s Hit,” Boston Herald, August 29, 1893: 3.

28 “Heavy Batters of the League,” Boston Herald, September 5, 1893: 2.

29 “John’s Brother,” Boston Herald, September 6, 1893: 3; “From the Infield,” Boston Herald, September 10, 1893: 4.

30 “Games in the South Missed,” Boston Herald, April 9, 1894: 8.

31 “A Word from Nash,” Boston Herald, April 22, 1894: 23.

32 “Merritt Released,” Lowell Sun, May 25, 1894: 4; “Catcher Merritt Released,” Boston Journal, May 25, 1894: 3.

33 “Merritt in Pittsburgh,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 2, 1894: 6.

34 “Glasscock and Merritt Go,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 22, 1894: 6.

35 “Only Laughed,” Cincinnati Enquirer, August 24, 1894: 2.

36 “Merritt Is a Pirate Again,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 23, 1895: 6.

37 “Unlucky Browns Here,” Pittsburgh Daily Post, August 5, 1895: 6.

38 “Matrimonial,” Lowell Sun,” January 7, 1897: 1; “May Go to Atlanta,” Pittsburgh Press, January 11, 1897; “Donovan Arrives,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 11, 1897: 6.

39 “Red-Hot Finish by Pittsburgh,” Pittsburgh Daily Post, June 6, 1897: 6.

40 “Donovan’s Men Tear the Balls,” Pittsburgh Daily Post, July 25, 1897: 6.

41 “Sporting Notes,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 4, 1897: 6.

42 “Late Sporting News,” Pittsburgh Press, August 13, 1897: 6.

43 “Pittsburg Points,” Sporting Life, October 16, 1897: 7.

44 “Billy Merritt’s Position,” Lowell Sun, January 29, 1898: 2.

45 Washington Post article appearing in the Kansas City Journal, March 18, 1898: 5.

46 “Baseball Notes,” Kansas City Journal, March 20, 1898: 5.

47 “Magnate Auten Backer of Anson,” Pittsburgh Post, April 1, 1898: 6.

48 “South Ends 13, Emeralds 3,” Lowell Sun, April 20, 1898: 2.

49 “News and Comment,” Sporting Life, October 8, 1898: 5.

50 “Kansas City,” Topeka Daily Capital, February 24, 1899: 2.

51 “Puffs from the Pipe,” Kansas City Journal, April 15, 1899: 5.

52 “Baseball Notes,” St. Joseph (Missouri) Herald, August 27, 1899: 7.

53 “Watch the Clock,” Boston Globe, October 15, 1899: 7.

54 “Deaths,” Lowell Sun, September 28, 1900: 3.

55 “Merritt Signed,” Lowell Sun, April 16, 1901: 6.

56 “Billy Merritt,” Lowell Sun, June 11, 1904: 5.

57 “Merritt Engaged,” Lowell Sun, July 12, 1904: 5.

58 “Billy Merritt Severs His Connection with Nashua Team,” Lowell Sun, August 27, 1904: 5.

59 “Lowell’s Line-Up,” Sporting Life, April 15, 1905: 3.

60 “Lowell Disbands,” Lowell Sun, August 2, 1905: 1.

61 “Lethbridge Leaguers Here,” Winnipeg Free Press, May 13, 1907: 6; “Western Canada Baseball 1907,” attheplate.com/wcbl/1907_1.html.

62 Calgary Herald, May 30, 1907. Quoted in “Game Reports Western Canada League 1907.” attheplate.com/wcbl/1907_1i.html.

63 “Boston Briefs,” Sporting Life, March 21, 1908: 7.

64 “Lawrence Lines,” Sporting Life, July 31, 1909: 18.

65 “Billy Merritt to Scout for Boston National Team,” Lowell Sun, April 29, 1910: 44.

66 “News Items Gathered from All Quarters,” Sporting Life, March 15, 1913: 6.

67 “Many Attend Merritt Rites,” Lowell Sun, January 2, 1945: 3.

68 “N.E. League Meeting Here,” Lowell Sun, March 12, 1929: 13; “Lowell Formally Entered in New England Loop,” Lowell Sun, March 13, 1929: 14.

69 “From the Lookout,” Lowell Sun, May 20, 1929: 15.

70 John F. Kenney, “The Lookout,” Lowell Sun, November 18, 1937: 17.

71 Letters are from Merritt’s file from the Giamatti Research Center at the Baseball Hall of Fame

72 “Herman Bell May Be Having Trouble Selling Himself,” Kansas City Star, April 15, 1935: 12.

73 “N.L. Gives Babe Lifetime Pass,” Boston Herald, September 5, 1935: 27.

74 “ ‘Bostons’ Win Old-Time Game,” Boston Globe, June 26, 1936: 29.

Full Name

William Henry Merritt

Born

July 30, 1870 at Lowell, MA (USA)

Died

November 17, 1937 at Lowell, MA (USA)

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