Bobby Messenger

This article was written by Bob Muldoon

Bob Messenger (BASEBALL-REFERENCE.COM)Bob Messenger, Bates College Class of 1908, is an enigma. Like a meteor, he blazed a trail across the school’s Garcelon Field, then vanished in a flash. Five years later, reunited with classmate Harry Lord, he reappeared with the Chicago White Sox. But what a life he lived — before, between and after. Messenger played 15 years of professional baseball with 14 teams1 in 11 states and three countries.2 A folk hero and living legend, he was lionized across swaths of America — dubbed the “human flash of speed”3 and “fastest pair of legs this side of the Mason-Dixon line.”4 Yet even where he was a legend — he remained an enigma. The “Can’t Miss” Kid who missed — three times. After retiring from baseball, he returned to Maine under a different name to solve sensational murders that were splashed across national headlines.

Today Bob Messenger is all but forgotten, rated the briefest of mentions in Wikipedia. Even his obituaries didn’t do him justice. One said he graduated from Bates in 1907;5 another he left Bates for Toronto in the minor leagues;6 a third he played infield in the majors.7 All are wrong. He had two names — and adventures too many to regale.

This is Charles Walter “Bob” Messenger’s American journey. Born in Bangor, Maine on March 19, 1884, he played football and graduated in 1904 from Gardiner High. In an 11-5 win over Portland High in which he scored, “…the work of her wonderful little back Messenger, surpassed anything seen in Portland for some time.”8 Captain of the basketball team, he played right field for Gardiner in the Maine Trolley League.9 In a 9-2 thrashing of Winthrop, “Messenger put one up against the horse shed and the ball was lost in the bushes and he got a home run out of the caper.”10

In September 1904, he entered Bates as a 20-year-old along with Harry Lord of Kezar Falls, Maine. By tradition, the first big event was the freshman-sophomore baseball game. With bragging rights at stake, the freshman won, 9-3. Lord leading off, played third base. C.W. Messenger batting fifth, played second. Both went 1-for-5. “The Freshmen have some promising material and the chances for a good college team next spring are bright,” the Bates Student observed.11

On September 24, football opened at Garcelon Field12 with a 6-0 win over NH State. Messenger subbed at halfback on a team of 30.13 Holy Cross was next. Coming off an 8-2 season, “Holy Cross ranks with Harvard and Yale and is the strongest team that ever came to Maine.”14 Holy Cross featured Bill Carrigan, a halfback from Lewiston who later played 10 seasons for the Red Sox. But Bates, with 159-lb Lord and 148-lb Messenger in the backfield, outrushed Holy Cross 125-95 — but with a costly miscue. “Had it not been for a fumble by Bates…a touchdown undoubtedly would have been scored.”15 Messenger was the culprit.16 Final score 0-0.

Next up Harvard, coming off a 9-3 season. After Messenger’s fumble, Coach Royce Purinton17 ’00 shifted him to right end, in an era when the forward pass was not legal. In a downpour at Soldier’s Field, Harvard won 11-0, with touchdowns worth five points, and extra kicks one. On defense, “A very noticeable strong point on the Bates team is their ends Messenger and Mahoney. No college, not even Harvard, could get by either of these men.”18

Bates beat Maine at home 6-0 before 2,000 fans, with Messenger kicking the extra point. On defense, “Messenger was in the right place at the right time.”19 Bates walloped the Pine Tree AA 40-0, before the highly anticipated Colby game. Special trains to Waterville accommodated big crowds. “BATES WHALES ‘EM,” blared the front page, adding ominously. “SLUGGING USED FREELY BY BOTH SIDES.”20 Bates won 23-0, led by two Lord touchdowns. Messenger topped off the rout with three extra-points and a kick-off recovered by Bates.

The finale at Bowdoin for the Maine Championship attracted 3,500 fans. Both were 2-0 in state play. Bates took a 6-0 lead, with Messenger kicking the extra point. But Bowdoin scored two TDs, to lead 12-6. With nine minutes left, Messenger replaced Lord at halfback.21 On third and two, he was stopped at midfield. Bowdoin players were carried off the field on the shoulders of fans. On defense, “Messenger and Mahoney distinguished themselves by cutting short, for a loss, both the end runs and the much talked of quarterback runs. This is undoubtedly the best pair of ends in the state.”22

Bates ended the season 5-3-1. Messenger earned “All Maine First Eleven” at right end: “This place is given to Charles W. Messenger of Bates, won by splendid playing this season his first on the varsity. His rise has been brilliant but certain, and he has developed into the toughest proposition for a back to get by … Messenger is handy with his boot and can kick goals and punt. He has 3 years more to play for the garnet.”23 In December, the classes broke into squads for gym work. “Some of the strongest men who entered Bates are to be found in this year’s entering class.”24 The top 20 included: Messenger #1, Lord #4.

Coming off an 8-6-1 season, baseball opened on April 25 at Garcelon with Bates walloping Hebron 12-4. Lord, leading off, hit a home run. Messenger, in center, added three RBIs and stole two bases. “Assured that Bates will be represented by a winning team this season. All are in good condition and the new material is fast.”25 Then something unexpected happed: C. W. Messenger vanished, never again appearing in a Bates uniform. To the wider world, he emerged four years later as Bob Messenger, Chicago White Sox outfielder, 1909-11, and St. Louis Browns, 1914.

On Memorial Day, something unexpected happened again: Harry Lord vanished — reappearing weeks later, playing against Bates for the Portland Pine Tree AA, at $25 a game.26 27 Lord had found love and dropped out.28 Alas, posterity missed a preview of three future rivals, as Bates twice played Colby led by Jack Coombs, who pitched for the Philadelphia Athletics. “Colby Jack” posted a 31-9 record in 1910, winning three World Series games. Against depleted Bates, he split: winning 3-2, then losing 1-0 in 11 innings.29 Bates ended 1905 with a 3-13 record, the worst in 21 years.

Messenger finished the academic year. On June 14, a local paper noted: “’Bobby’ Messenger, arrived home from Bates College last evening, and the condition of his personal affects attracted considerable attention. Messenger’s trunks and bags were liberally bedaubed with white paint and such quotes as ‘Professor of Girl-ology’ and ‘Messenger-The Day Sleeper’ etc. were painted in great glaring letters. Classmates of the popular young baseball-football player were responsible.”30

Days earlier, he had “signed” with the semi-pro Maine Trolley League31, just as he had the summer before. A teammate Chet Chadbourne later played in the majors. Messenger was tagged “a natural born athlete. He accomplished good work on the Bates football 11.”32

In 1906, “Bob” Messenger surfaced in Manchester, Connecticut playing for Manager Lew “Home Run” Breckenridge.33 With a 23-8-1 record, the team won the Big Four independent championship of Connecticut.34 Messenger, in right field and batting fifth, didn’t make much of an impression. “No boy in town thought that he would ever make a big league team as he had about as odd a way of playing ball as was ever seen in the local field. He had a way of running under a fly and then catching it back of his neck. Nobody but Breckenridge saw a ballplayer in him.”35

Manchester played barnstorming Negro League and Indian Teams.36 On July 10, they beat the Cuban Giants 4-1, with Messenger going 2-for-4.37 Weeks later, they walloped the New York Colored Giants, with 40-year-old Hall of Fame second baseman Frank Grant, 11-2.38 On August 9, they beat the Brooklyn Royal Giants 5-4 in 11 innings, despite 16 strikeouts by Billy Holland.39 On Labor Day, trailing Rockville 1-0, Breckenridge inserted the same Billy Holland of Brooklyn. Rockville refused to continue. After a near riot, Holland was removed — and Rockville won.40 At season’s end, Messenger coached the Edward Little High football team in Auburn, Maine.41

In 1907, the Fall River Indians of the Class B New England League acquired Messenger for his “speed.”42 He hit .254, then .261 in 1908 — before a breakout 1909 leading the Indians with a .310 average and 8 homeruns, more than the rest of the team combined. In January, a cheeky headline, “Messenger’s Fair Catch Recorded in Providence,”43 noted he had eloped with Rachel Cunningham, 21, of Gardiner. In a June in-game ceremony at home plate, the switch-hitter was presented a $50 check for hitting the Bull Durham tobacco sign in right field at the Athletic Grounds. “Both teams gathered around the lucky Bob.”44 Moments after, he fanned — but added two singles and a steal later.

By July, the 5’10” and 160 lbs. Messenger was tearing the cover off the ball — and scouts were drooling. White Sox Scout Ted Sullivan considered him “the fastest fielder in the New England League.”45 On July 8, Messenger was told Sullivan would be watching. “As Bob is a reticent chap, this news made him so nervous that he could not do himself justice.”46 Fortunately, the scout missed the game. By July 12, a signing war had erupted. When Sullivan received a wire from owner Charles Comiskey ordering him to report to the west coast, he flatly refused. “Won’t leave east until I get Messenger,”47 he wired back. “Suit yourself,” Comiskey replied.

Cardinals manager Roger Bresnahan who “had entered the Wilbur Hotel on the same errand (signing Messenger) …made up his mind before leaving St. Louis to buy the player as soon as he reached (Fall River).”48 In a madcap dash from the train station, Bresnahan raced to the hotel to sign him. Too late! “Crack Centerfielder Sold to Chicago for $1800,”49 headlines blared. The deal called for Messenger “not to be delivered until end of season.”50

By August, Chicago could wait no longer: “Comiskey has been making the wires smoke of late trying to let… Messenger report at once to Chicago.”51 At last, the team relented, and Messenger left for a short rest in Maine. Returning to Fall River before reporting to Chicago, when Manager John O’Brien beseeched him to play one last time, he could not resist. “Bob Messenger, Back in the City, Helps Out Locals”52 screamed headlines. Risking injury, he played both games of a doubleheader. “Every play he made was watched with great interest.”53 The locals swept, with Messenger “showing his speed by beating out two bunts.”54

In his major league debut on August 30, 1909, he struck out and walked in a loss to Hall of Famer Eddie Plank, of the Athletics. Next day, leading off and playing right field, he went 2-for-4, stole a base and scored in a 2-0 win. On September 6, in game two of a Labor Day doubleheader, he had three hits against Cleveland. Back in Fall River, the fans were hanging on every pitch. “Four Safe Hits-Gathered in Two Holiday Games at Cleveland by Messenger,”55 headlines trumpeted. Connecticut folks were reveling too, recalling his Manchester days.56

At Boston’s Huntington Grounds on September 16, he met Harry Lord, his old Bates classmate, now in his second full season with the Red Sox. Chicago finished fourth; Messenger batted .170, with 7 steals in 31 games. Lord, the Red Sox Captain, hit .315, with 168 hits and 36 steals.

Hard-pressed to make the 1910 team, Messenger was pictured sliding into third, spikes high, in an exhibition against the San Francisco Seals. The Cobb-like slide under headlines “Those Spikes Again-First of 1910” made national wires.57 But it wasn’t enough. In May, Messenger was signed by the Birmingham Barons of the Class A Southern Association, where his verve and dash gained attention. When he scored from first on a double, “a white streak was all that could be seen, and not until he crossed the pan could fans recognize the somber features of Silent Bob.”58 The headline read: “Bob Messenger Is A Star.”59

He played right field when Rickwood Field, now America’s oldest professional ballpark, opened on August 18 before 10,000, with businesses closed citywide on the occasion. Adding to the hoopla, Messenger got into a fight with teammate pitcher Harry Coveleski. At issue a fly (fair or foul?) that Messenger dove into the crowd to catch, allowing the tying run to score in the ninth. “Ten policemen and Acting Mayor Harry Jones got busy, stopped the fight and backed the crowd off to permit the game to proceed.”60 Fisticuffs notwithstanding, the Barons prevailed 3-2 over Montgomery.

In September, Messenger was brought back up to Chicago, joining Harry Lord, who had been traded to the White Sox in mid-August. In a 14-inning loss on September 25 to “Colby Jack” Coombs, Lord went 4-for-6, Messenger pitch hit, going 0-for-1. Five days later, “Messenger Star of White Legs”61 headlines trumpeted, as he went 2-for-3, with three runs and a steal. He finished the season with a .231 average in nine games.

Overcoming “the fiercest competition now in the big show”62, he made the 1911 White Sox. With Messenger on board from the start, the press discovered he and Lord were “old college chums” who played football at Bates. “Each said the other was a star.”63 But in Chicago, only Lord was a star: Captain, .321 average, 180 hits. Messenger started only 4 games, with two hits, and a .118 average. At a late September field day at Comiskey Park, under lights,64 Messenger won a 100-yard dash in 11 seconds against the league’s fastest (defeating runner-up Harry Hooper).65 The White Sox finished fourth (77-74), but swept a four game “City Series” against the defending National League Champion Cubs led by Johnny Evers.66

Feeling “badly treated”67 in Chicago, Messenger was sold to Birmingham in January 1912. The demotion made national wires, but was leavened with Messenger is “made of big league material and no doubt will be brought back into the league in another year.”68 He helped the Barons to the 1912 pennant, batting .259 at lead-off. Off-field, there was drama too. “Messenger Robbed — Revenge is Motive” a lurid headline blared. The “savior of Birmingham’s baseball honor” was sleeping when a thief slipped through a window, stealing $6 from his pants. A suspect “B Smith” was being sought.69

In 1913, he led the Southern Association with 67 steals, and 176 putouts in center. In November, the Barons barnstormed in Cuba, but Bob bailed early: “the dusky isle grew too monotonous for Bill McGilvray and Bob Messenger long before they had spent the contracted time, and they hit the homeward path rather early in the game.”70

Manager Branch Rickey, of the St. Louis Browns, drafted him in 1914. In an exhibition against the cross-town Cardinals, he stole three bases71 — but it wasn’t enough. On May 5, he played his final major league game against Harry Lord’s White Sox. It was his last major league game. Days later, Lord left Chicago over salary disputes, never again playing in the majors.72 The classmates who left Bates College a month apart, left the majors a week apart. Rickey dealt Messenger to the Rochester Hustlers of the International League. At 30, for the better part of another decade, he strived mightily (like Sisyphus) to push the baseball back to the top of the hill. Barrels of ink would be spilt, speculating over why he could not stick in the big leagues. He seemed to have it all: speed, range, success in the high minors.

In “Messenger One of Game’s Freaks,” one paper surmised: “Messenger seems to be one…who can star only under conditions that surround him in certain company…maybe this is what is called temperament, or lack of it.”73 Another chimed in: “He always proved a star in Birmingham and was known as ‘the human flash of speed.’ Base stealing and .300 hitting was his specialty, yet…Bob depends more on his mechanical skills than his brain and this probably accounts for the fact that he has never landed a berth in the big show.”74

Still he could dazzle. “Bob Messenger Knocks One of the Cleanest Homers Ever”75 in a victory over Toronto. In May 1915, Rochester sent him to Toronto for 15 days.76 In June, he went to the Cleveland Spiders of the American Association for 10 days.77 At 31, he was expendable. “Two players could be commanded for Messenger’s salary,”78 the press griped. Still he churned on the minor league gerbil wheel.

Little Rock purchased him in a ballyhooed return to the Southern League. “Speed Sensation of 1913 Season with Birmingham Bought from Rochester — Will Be Leadoff Man.”79 Clouting .265 in 93 games, he earned raves “Bob Messenger Bat a Deciding Factor — Offensive Laurels to Bob”80 and “Travelers Pull Torrid Rally After Messenger’s Catch Robs Vols.”81 But there was also: “Bob Messenger Dumb Fielding Costs Game.”82

In 1916, it was on to a circuit rival, the Chattanooga Lookouts. Belting a “lusty triple”83 to beat Atlanta, “the crowd rose as one and acclaimed Sir Robert the greatest hero since King Arthur.”84 Returning to Birmingham, he was greeted like the prodigal son: “Wearing Fighting Togs of Enemy Bob Messenger is Back in Town.”85 In homage to his 67 steals in 1913, his gams were anointed “the fastest pair of legs this side of the Mason-Dixon Line.”86 For years, “faster than Bob Messenger”87 was the highest laurel bestowed on any “fleet footed Achilles”88 of the south. He hit .257 in 132 games for the Lookouts. But in 1917 he was abruptly shipped to Montana, to the Great Falls Electrics of the Northwest League, a B League. He finished at .271 in 291 at bats.

Bouncing back east to the New London (Connecticut) Planters of the Class A Eastern League in 1918, he hit .242 in 48 games — then to the Pittsfield (Massachusetts) Hillies. At 35, hitting .309, he led the Hillies to the 1919 Eastern League pennant. In so doing, he added Pittsfield to Fall River and Birmingham, cities that forever claimed Messenger as “Our Bob.”

Streaking out fast in 1920 — .381 after 6 games — he abruptly bolted for Lebanon, Pennsylvania in the unaffiliated Steel League. The locals were livid: “Messenger’s departure was anything but to his credit.”89 Suspended from organized baseball for the jump, he filed a request for reinstatement, but Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis refused him.90 He capped his career managing the Mahanoy, Pennsylvania club in 1921.91

After 17 years, 15 teams, and 12 states at all levels of baseball,92 the “human flash of speed” was at last stilled. He had played 54 major league games, 157 at-bats, 27 hits (four for extra bases), .172 average, 0 homers. In the minors, he played over 1,203 games, with 4,666 at bats, 1,276 hits, a .270 average, and 20 homers. After a stint managing a Chicago indoor baseball called the Wamlins93, the baseball chapter was closed.

Jettisoning his nom de bal “Bob,” he returned home to Maine. Settling in Richmond and Bath, he served as Deputy Sheriff of Sagadahoc County for 12 years. In 1936, he ran for Sheriff and won. For the next eight terms, Sheriff Charles Walter Messenger investigated everything from murders, hunting deaths,94 drownings95 to vandalism of Civil War cannons.

At age 52, in law enforcement, he had finally made the jump from minors to majors. The 1941 murder trial of Dr. Merrill Joss made spectacular national headlines. Joss’s wife, a doctor also, was bludgeoned to death. Joss said he left home at 8:00 p.m. on a house call, encountered a bearded stranger who demanded narcotics, then returned 12 minutes later upon hearing his dog Trixie barking. There, he found the basement door ajar and his wife’s body.

The New York Daily News covered every gruesome detail. “The physician was questioned at length by Sheriff Charles W. Messenger.”96 Investigation turned up “another woman”, Mrs. Elizabeth Chapman Mayo, a movie-star glamorous patient whom Joss had treated for a throat ailment. Joss admitted giving her a “pick-a-back”97 carry to his car one snowy day when her shoes were tight. Crime scene evidence found his wife’s bloody watch stopped at 8:16, but police were not called until 9:03. Her head was struck 27 times — and a flat stone found nearby.

“Dr. Joss was arrested by Sheriff Messenger at his home in Richmond yesterday after the funeral of his wife.”98 At pre-trial, “Sheriff Charles W Messenger said the nattily dressed doctor smoked several cigarettes in virtual silence on a motor trip from jail where he vainly tried to kill himself.”99 At trial, the defense presented a “bearded stranger,” but the elegant Mrs. Mayo testified to “sweetheart notes,” a fraternity pin gift, and mutual divorce plans.100 Joss was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 10-20 years of hard labor in state prison.

After 16 years, Sheriff Charles Walter Messenger resigned in failing health at age 67. He died on July 10, 1951. Maine Governor Frederick Payne praised his service.101 Newspapers in Alabama, Massachusetts, and elsewhere carried his obituary. In Birmingham, they recalled the 1912 pennant, his 67 steals and fabled fight with Harry Coveleski at Rickwood Park’s opening. In Pittsfield, they recalled the 1919 pennant. He was survived by Rachel, his beloved “fair catch” of 42 years ago.

At Bates, despite playing only one football season, Messenger made the 60th Anniversary “All-Time Bates Eleven” Second Team at end in 1935.102 In the 1908 yearbook, “Sometime Members” Charles Walter Messenger and Harry Donald Lord appear in the rear of the book.103 There, the freshman-sophomore baseball game of 1904 is recalled, when hope and promise filled the air, and the “motley throng” of freshman won 9-3. The lineup is posted for posterity: Lord, 3b, lead off; Messenger, 2b, batting #5.104

The great journey of life had just begun. Who knew where the road, with all its twists and turns, might one day lead? The race might not always go to the fleet of foot, but to those who persevere to the end.



This story was reviewed by Bill Lamb and Norman Macht and fact-checked by Evan Katz.



In addition to the sources in the endnotes, the author used, Negro Leagues Database, and an online Bate College article written by the author about Harry Lord ‘08, Messenger’s Bates classmate.



1 lists 11 teams — not including Manchester (Connecticut) in the Big Four independent league in 1906; Cleveland Spiders in the American Association in 1915 (for 10 days); and Lebanon (Pennsylvania) in the Steel league in 1920.

2 Includes a 1913 barnstorming trip to Cuba with the Birmingham Barons.

3 “Short Splinters,” Arkansas Democrat, June 24, 1915: 14.

4 “Wearing Fighting Togs of Enemy Bob Messenger Back in Town,” Birmingham (Alabama) News, May 22, 1916: 10.

5 “Death of Messenger Brings Back Memories of ‘Wood Dedication,’” Birmingham News, July 17, 1951: 19.

6 “Bob Messenger, Former Hillie, Dies in Maine,” Berkshire (Massachusetts) Eagle, July 11, 1951: 25.

7 “Maine Sheriff, League Ball Star, Succumbs at Bath,” Bangor (Maine) News, July 11, 1951: 2.

8 “Mid-Season Games on Many Gridirons,” Bangor News, October 26, 1903: 9.

9 Teams were Augusta, Hallowell, Winthrop and Gardiner.

10 “Gardiner 9, Winthrop 2,” Kennebec (Maine) Journal, August 11, 1904: 4.

11 “The Freshman-Sophomore Baseball Game,” Bates Student, September 1904: 206.

12 Built in 1899 and still in use, Garcelon ranks among the top 10 historic fields in college football, according to Bates College.

13 “Bates 6 — New Hampshire State 0,” Bates Student, September 1904: 208.

14 “Football Holy Cross vs. Bates,” Lewiston (Maine) Sun, October 1, 1904: 1.

15 “Bates 0, Holy Cross 0,” Boston Globe, October 2, 1904: 10.

16 “Bates-Holy Cross,” Lewiston Sun, October 3, 1904: 1.

17 Purinton played Bates baseball years (1897-1900) as a catcher. He also quarterbacked the football team four years (including undefeated teams in 1898 and 1899). A teammate Nate Pulsifier ’99, played 12 years of minor league baseball (while attending Harvard Medical School and eventually settling down in Lowell, Massachusetts as a physician). In 1899 Purinton played minor league baseball with the Class F Portland Phenoms, named for manager Phenomenal Smith. His name in Baseball-Reference is misspelled as “Pussington.” Purinton helped Harry Lord ’08 launch his career in pro baseball in 1906 by referring him to Fred Doe.

18 “Bates College,” Bangor News, November 15, 1904: 8.

19 “Bates Takes Big Game from U. of M.- 6 to 0,” Bangor News, October 24, 1904: 5.

20 “BATES WHALES ‘EM,” Lewiston Sun, November 7, 1904: 1.

21 “Bowdoin State Champion Now,” Lewiston (Maine) Journal, November 14, 1904: 3.

22 “Bates College,” Bangor News, November 15, 1904: 8.

23 “Bangor Daily News All-Maine Football Team 1904,” Bangor News, November 19, 1904: 10.

24 “Athletics,” Bates Student, December 2004: 293.

25 “Bates 12 Hebron 4,” Lewiston Sun, April 25, 1905: 8.

26 “Sporting News,” Lewiston Journal, June 8, 1905: 7.

27 “Portland 3 Bates 1,” Lewiston Sun, June 19, 1905: 5.

28 Paul Shannon, “Journey to the Homes of New England’s Great Ball Players,” Boston Post, January 18, 1913: 6.

29 “Bates 1 Colby 0,” Lewiston Sun, June 12, 1905: 1.

30 “Gardiner,” Kennebec Journal, June 14, 1905: 10.

31 “Baseball Jottings,” Kennebec Journal, June 9, 1905: 9.

32 “Gardiner Baseball Team,” Kennebec Journal, August 4, 1905: 4.

33 “Baseball Season’s Review,” Fall River (Massachusetts) Globe, September 11, 1909: 9.

34 “Manchesters Are Baseball Champs,” Hartford Courant, September 8, 1906: 16. League teams were Manchester, Rockville, Willimantic and Bristol.

35 “Bob Messenger,” Hartford Courant, September 3, 1909: 10.

36 “Manchester Beats Cherokee Indians In Fast Game,” Hartford Courant, August 10, 1907: 10.

37 “Manchester 4, Cuban Giants 1,” Hartford Courant, July 11, 1906: 2.

38 “Manchester Team Wins,” Hartford Courant, July 27, 1906: 13.

39 “Manchester Trimmed the Royal Giants,” Hartford Courant, August 10, 1906: 2.

40 Earl Yost, “Golden Days of Baseball Recalled,” Hartford Courant, September 27, 2001. The account of the 1906 game is based on the recollections of Jack Barry, who played third base for Manchester and later shortstop with the Philadelphia Athletics on the famous $100,000 infield. This Billy Holland was born in 1874.

41 “Gardiner,” Kennebec Journal, October 1, 1906: 2.

42 “Baseball Season’s Review,” Fall River Globe, September 11, 1909: 9.

43 “Messenger’s Fair Catch Recorded in Providence,” Fall River (Massachusetts) Herald, January 25, 1909: 3.

44 “Fall River Wore Batting Togs”, Fall River (Massachusetts) News, June 12, 1909: 6.

45 “Sullivan Offers $2,500,” Fall River (Massachusetts) News, July 10, 1909: 9.

46 “Game Notes,” Fall River News, July 10, 1909: 3.

47 “’Bob’ Messenger Deal is Completed,” Fall River (Massachusetts) Globe, July 12, 1909: 7.

48 Same as above.

49 “Messenger Deal is Completed,” Fall River News, July 12, 1909: 3.

50 Same as above.

51 “Messenger Leaves,” Fall River News, August 24, 1909: 7.

52 “Double Victory Over Lawrence,” Fall River News, August 30, 1909: 3.

53 Same as above.

54 Same as above.

55 “Four Safe Hits,” Fall River Globe, September 7, 1909: 7.

56 “Bob Messenger,” Hartford Courant, September 3, 1909: 10.

57 “Those Spikes Again – First of 1910,” Leavenworth (Kansas) Times, March 17, 1910: 10.

58 “Bob Messenger Is A Star,” Birmingham News, June 25, 1910: 7.

59 Same as above.

60 “Messenger In A Mixup,” Fall River Globe, August 26, 1910: 10.

61 “Brown’s Errors Give Sox Victory,” Chicago Tribune, October 1, 1910: 10.

62 “Messenger In Hot Scrap,” Birmingham News, March 24, 1911: 6.

63 “White Sox in Wake of Storm,” Chicago Tribune, March 19, 1911: 2.

64 The Field Day began at 7:30 p.m. under 20 lamps of 135,000 candlepower each.

65 “Walsh Champion as Fungo Hitter,” Chicago Tribune, October 1, 1911: 25.

66 The City Series ran between October 13-19, 1911. Harry Lord and Johnny Evers penned daily olumns for the Chicago Tribune.

67 “Notes of the Game,” Cincinnati Enquirer, March 27, 1912: 9.

68 “Two Sox Outfielders Sold,” Hope (North Dakota) Pioneer, January 18, 1912: 6.

69 “Messenger Robbed,” Birmingham News, June 5, 1912: 7.

70 “Sidelights On the Baron’s Trip to Isle of Cuba,” Birmingham News, November 30, 1913: 13.

71 “Brownies Beat Cards,” St. Louis Star and Times, March 4, 1914: 10.

72 In 1915, Lord played in the Federal League for Buffalo.

73 “Messenger One of Gamer’s Freaks,” (Little Rock) Arkansas Democrat, July 1, 1915: 9.

74 “Short Splinters,” Arkansas Democrat, June 24, 1915: 14.

75 “Bob Messenger Knocks One of the Cleanest Homers Ever,” Rochester (New York) Democrat and Chronicle, September 8, 1914: 19.

76 “Bob Messenger Goes to Toronto,” Buffalo Commercial, May 12, 1915: 7.

77 “Miller Notes,” Minneapolis Star Tribune, June 11, 1915: 14.

78 “Bob Messenger Again Has to Make Change of Base,” Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, June 18, 1915: 23.

79 “Whirlwind Bob Messenger Purchased by Prexy Allen,” Arkansas Gazette, June 17, 1915: 9.

80 “Merritt Delivers Again,” Arkansas Gazette, June 24, 1915: 8.

81 “Travelers Pull Torrid Rally After Messenger’s Catch Robs Vols,” The (Nashville) Tennessean, June 23, 1915: 10.

82 “Heartbreaking Duel Lost by Bill Fincher in 15th,” Arkansas Gazette, August 16, 1915: 6.

83 “Double Win for Reuben,” Chattanooga (Tennessee) Times, June 24, 1916: 8.

84 Same as above.

85 “Wearing Fighting Togs of Enemy Bob Messenger Back in Town,” Birmingham News, May 22, 1916: 10.

86 Same as above.

87 “Barons Secure Star Player from Pirates,” Knoxville (Tennessee) Sentinel, January 31, 1918: 16.

88 Same as above.

89 “Steel League Club Makes Effort to Secure Hammond,” Berkshire Eagle, May 22, 1920: 10.

90 “Here and There,” Record-Journal (Meriden, Connecticut), April 6, 1921: 3.

91 “Bob Messenger New Manager,” Pottsville (Pennsylvania) Daily Republican, August 26, 1921: 8.

92 This includes independent and semi-pro leagues. lists 11 teams — not Including Gardiner in the semi-pro Maine Trolley League in 1904 and 1905; Manchester in the Big Four independent league of Connecticut in 1906; Cleveland Spiders in the American Association in 1915 (for 10 days); and Lebanon in the Steel league of Pennsylvania in 1920.

93 “Indoor Team Wants Game with Racine,” Racine Journal News, March 25, 1922: 33

94 “Autos, Hunting Claim 4 Lives Over Holiday,” Boston Globe, December 1, 1939: 1.

95 “Bath Fisherman Feared Drowned,” Bangor News, January 24, 1941: 13.

96 “Maine’s Mystery of Erring Husband and Dying Wife,” New York Daily News, August 3, 1941: 52.

97 Same as above.

98 “Joss Pleads Not Guilty to Killing Wife,” Boston Globe, March 31, 1941: 1.

99 Bangor News, January 7, 1941.

100 “Maine’s Mystery of Erring Husband and Dying Wife,” New York Daily News, August 3, 1941: 52.

101 Bates Alumnus Edmund S. Muskie ’36 was governor from 1954-58.

102 Bates Student, 1935.

103 The Mirror,1908: 432.

104 The Mirror, 1908: 435.

Full Name

Charles Walter Messenger


March 19, 1884 at Bangor, ME (USA)


July 10, 1951 at Bath, ME (USA)

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