This article was written by Chris Rainey
It’s not unusual for a player who has a cup of coffee in the majors to be unknown to fans; not every player can gain the notoriety of Moonlight Graham. Malachi Hogan could certainly claim to be more obscure than any of the others. He played a single game in August 1901, but his true identity remained hidden from the baseball community until August 2020. The baseball guides for 1901 did not list a first name for Hogan. Ever since the first baseball encyclopedia was published in 1951 there has been a Harry Hogan from Syracuse, New York, listed as playing that one game with Cleveland. Evidence presented recently to the SABR Biographical Committee led to the confirmation that Harry was actually Malachi Sylvanus Hogan from Marion, Ohio.
On March 10, 1860, Jane Fry wed Irish immigrant Thomas C. Hogan in Ohio. Jane eventually give birth to three boys and three girls. Malachi was born on April 16, 1878, in the small town of Broadway, Ohio, in Union County, northwest of Columbus. He joined siblings Emma (8) and Thomas (3). At the time of the 1880 census, Malachi was noted as having scarlet fever and Emma was suffering from scrofula, a condition that inflames the lymph nodes of the neck. Both children dealt with their conditions to reach adulthood, but the fever could explain the number of illnesses that Malachi had over the years.
Thomas Hogan was working in a sawmill in 1880 but the family moved northward to Green Camp and eventually Marion, Ohio. The family attended the Baptist church wherever they resided, and Malachi would continue that affiliation his entire life. Thomas was stricken with a stomach disease in 1894 and suffered through it until his death in 1895. Jane raised the family after that by working as a housekeeper.
Malachi attended high school before becoming a telegraph operator for the Erie Railroad in Marion. Despite the fever scare in 1880, he grew to be an athletic, energetic young man. He was a bicyclist as well as ballplayer, who was referred to in the local newspapers as M.S. Hogan. This was to avoid confusion with a Malachy Hogan who was a prominent boxing referee and was widely reported for his work in the Midwest.1 Being confused for someone else was a theme in the story of Hogan’s life.
In 1899 it was reported that M.S. Hogan had been elected president of the Athletic Association in Marion and was named captain of the ball team.2 Not only did he play baseball, but Hogan was a fan of the major leaguers. The local paper reported that he took vacation time to watch the Cincinnati Reds play Chicago that April (the teams played a four-game series from April 20 through April 23).3
Marion was thriving at the turn of the century thanks to its location on the major rail lines. Warren Harding’s Marion Star was quite the “social media” of its day and printed frequent news of the travel of the townspeople. It was not unusual to see M.S. Hogan listed as having visitors or having traveled to see acquaintances. Hogan’s job as a telegrapher did not interfere with his baseball because he was on the night shift. Not only did he play for Marion, but his talents were sought by teams in surrounding towns. He usually played second or third base, with the local paper apprising fans of his latest venture.
The Star reported on the comings and goings in the town but also mentioned the lives of the locals. When Hogan took ill in January 1900 the whole community knew it (or at least the subscribers).4 That illness laid him up for a week, but he bounced back and was ready for the baseball season.
In April Hogan was invited to try out for the Muncie team in the unclassified Indiana State League. The Muncie newspaper announced that “M.S. Hogan of Marion, O. … notified to hasten to Muncie and be in readiness for the practice games.”5 For some unexplained reason fans became excited because they believed Marty Hogan was coming to Muncie. That Hogan had played for Cincinnati and St. Louis and was regarded as a “fleet outfielder.”6 He had most recently been running a saloon in the Youngstown, Ohio, area.
When Malachi Hogan arrived, fans and teammates thought “he greatly resembled Marty in personal appearance.”7 They began to call him Marty and Malachi thought nothing of it.8 What did fans think when Hogan was sent to play the infield rather than the outfield? The press did not cover that angle. Malachi ended up getting injured in a play at second base during practice and was sent home with a sprained knee.9 It was about 10 days before the confusion was revealed. Hogan never did play for Muncie that season.
The fact that Malachi greatly resembled Marty Hogan would suggest, but not definitively prove, that he threw and batted right-handed. Playing second base as often as he did also points to being a right-handed thrower. M.S. Hogan’s draft registration from September 1918 listed him as tall and slender while Marty Hogan is listed as 5-feet-8 and 145 pounds in baseball sources.
In 1901 Malachi was appointed manager of an independent team headquartered in Marion. He now could recruit talent that would allow the team to play higher-caliber opponents. His biggest addition was pitcher Cliff Curtis, who would go on to major-league infamy with 23 consecutive losing decisions. Catcher Bert Curtis, Cliff’s brother, also joined the team. Telegrapher Hogan oversaw scheduling and one of the opponents he brought to Marion was the Royal Tiger Cigar team, a Black squad.
The Royal Tigers were an offshoot of the Page Fence Giants. They featured Harry Buckner as their pitcher, Harry Moore at second base, and Sherman Barton in the outfield. Hogan’s Marion team entertained the Tigers on June 6. The game was a 1-1 tie in the sixth when a rainstorm hit. The game was stopped for about 30 minutes and then proceeded on a soggy field. In the bottom of the sixth, Hogan got his second hit, stole second, and came home on a single by his shortstop. Behind excellent pitching from Curtis, the lead held up for a 2-1 Marion victory.10
Being the eyes and ears of the community, the Star dutifully reported all of Hogan’s arrangements, cancellations, and failed attempts. He tried to get the Bloomer Girls for a match and was constantly after the Cincinnati Reds to come on an offday. Otherwise he brought in competition from all around the state. One historically notable game was against the Ohio Wesleyan University team with a youthful Branch Rickey at catcher and batting leadoff. Marion won 9-6.11
The August 13, 1901, Marion Star ran an article saying Hogan had been invited to Cleveland by manager James McAleer. It offered that McAleer was “trying a number of amateur players in order to get some good material for next year’s team.”12 The Blues had struggled all season before matters worsened because of an injury to outfielder Jack McCarthy. They had tried catcher Joe Connor as an outfielder but were not satisfied. The door was open for Hogan to make his major-league debut.
On August 13 the Blues were nearing the conclusion of a series with Chicago. Hogan was sent into right field and listed second in the lineup. A local scribe mentioned that there was a “strange figure” in right field and opined that Hogan was a protégé of pitcher Harley McNeal, who was going to pitch the second game of the doubleheader.13 The White Sox sent Jack Katoll to the mound in the first game of the twin bill. In his first at-bat, Hogan fouled out to the catcher. In the third he slammed a line drive toward left that was caught by third baseman Fred Hartman. He struck out in the fifth and grounded out to shortstop in the seventh.14 In the field he had no chances to handle in the Blues’ 4-0 victory.
Charles “Shorty” Gallagher, making his debut, replaced Hogan in the bottom of the seventh. Gallagher would play the second game of the day and then, like Hogan, never play in the majors again. Hogan’s debut made such a minimal impression on sportswriters that the next day he was mentioned erroneously as “Billy” Hogan from Marion, Indiana. That writer went on to say that neither Gallagher nor Hogan “proved to be fast enough for the league and they were allowed to go back to their homes last evening.”15
The Star reported Hogan’s lack of success and his return to town. It also noted that he had been offered a chance to play in Baltimore “but he did not think his chances good enough to go there.”16 In October it was reported that Hogan was one of several baseball enthusiasts who met to discuss formation of an Ohio State League.17 Not long afterward he was transferred to the Cleveland office of the railroad.
Hogan was back in Marion in late January 1902 and signed a contract to play second base for the Concord Marines in the New England League. It was reported that he would earn $125 per month.18 Hogan joined manager Handsome Jack Carney and was installed at second base in the early exhibitions but the job eventually went to veteran minor leaguer Tommy Murphy. Hogan came to Concord with a reputation as a speedster and a “wonder” but after a single regular-season appearance Carney concluded that he “was not the man anticipated.”19
In 1902 Hogan found himself working for the railroad in Marion, Cleveland, and Galion, Ohio. While in Cleveland he played for the Wheel Club on the city’s sandlot fields from May through July. Over the winter his services were sought by the Wheeling Stogies and South Bend Greens, both in the Class B Central League. While Wheeling offered better pay, Hogan was obligated to the Greens because he had signed there first.20
Hogan came to Indiana in 1903 regarded as “an unusually fast outfielder and an excellent batsman.” He reportedly was recommended by the management of the Concord team.21 The Greens had brought a large group to training camp. The situation did not appeal to Hogan, who requested his release before leaving the team, ostensibly because of an illness in the family.22 Hogan finally returned to South Bend in July and suited up with the team.23 No box scores showing him with playing time have been uncovered. Most of Hogan’s game action that summer came at second base for the Manhattans in the Marion city league.
In 1904 it was reported that the Wheeling Stogies had signed Hogan, but no evidence of him playing with them has been found.24 He did play for the Marion city team when he was not on duty elsewhere for the railroad. His name in the press had gone from M.S. to Mallie by then. Hogan was kept busy socially that year as he courted Hazel Fawn White.
In keeping with the confusion that seemed to follow Hogan, the courtship ended with an unexpected colossal twist in 1905. It was announced that Hogan would make Hazel a June bride by taking her hand in marriage in June 1. Hazel’s friends at the Uhler & Phillips store, where she worked, threw a surprise shower a week earlier to celebrate the coming nuptials.25
On the evening of the rehearsal dinner the young couple stunned the gathering with the announcement that they had been secretly wed in November in Monroe, Michigan. It was also revealed that Hogan had been suffering from a stomach ailment that would curtail his baseball playing. The couple bade their friends adieu and moved to Toledo, where Hogan had taken a job as a telegraph operator with the board of trade.26
Within a year the couple moved to New York for Malachi to work on a board of trade there. He eventually was hired by the Wall Street firm J.S. Bache & Co. The couple’s first child, Edna, was born in New York in 1906.
In 1915 the family moved to Cleveland, where Hogan joined the brokerage firm Burke, Hord, and Curtiss. That firm eventually became Curtiss, House, & Co. and Hogan became a partner in the company.27
In 1916 the family was joined by a second daughter, Kathryn Ellen. They moved to Cleveland Heights in the 1920s. Hogan was active in the Baptist Church, serving on the finance committee of the Baptist Home of Ohio and acting as a trustee for his local congregation. Athletically he turned his attention to playing golf and vacationed once a year in Marion to golf with friends.28
In 1945 Hogan was taken ill and spent two weeks in a doctor’s care at University Hospital in Cleveland. He died in the early morning hours of March 4 from bronchopneumonia that had been brought on by liver and gall bladder issues. He was buried in Knollwood Cemetery in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. Survivors included Hazel, the daughters, their husbands, and two grandchildren.29
Baseball-Reference created a Malachi Hogan page in early September 2020. It was identical to the page they had for Harry Hogan except for the personal information on birth, death etc. As of October 2020 BR still listed Marty Hogan with Muncie in 1900. Ancestry.com was used for family information and the death certificate. A tip of the cap to SABR member Peter Morris, who uncovered the obituary from Marion that mentioned his baseball career; the Cleveland one did not.
This biography was reviewed by Gregory H. Wolf and Len Levin. It was fact-checked by Kevin Larkin.
2 “Veni, Vedi, Vici,” Marion (Ohio) Star, January 9, 1899: 8.
3 “Railroad Notes,” Marion Star, April 21, 1899: 5.
4 “Railroad Notes,” Marion Star, January 8, 1900: 4.
5 “Muncie Players Are Coming In,” Star Press (Muncie, Indiana), April 17, 1900: 2.
6 “Huge Joke,” Marion Star, May 4, 1900: 4.
7 “Home Sports and Pastimes,” Star Press, May 3, 1900
8 “Huge Joke.”
9 Muncie Daily Times, April 26, 1900: 4.
10 “A Very Fine Game,” Marion Star, June 7, 1901: 5.
11 “Local Stars Win,” Marion Star, May 18, 1901: 8.
12 “To Forest City,” Marion Star, August 13, 1901: 4.
13 “Chicago’s First Shutout,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, August 14, 1901: 6.
14 “Two Games with Buckeyes,” Chicago Daily News, August 13, 1901: 1, 2.
15 “Doings in Cleveland Club, Cleveland Leader, August 14, 1901: 7.
16 “Train Is Wrecked,” Marion Star, August 16, 1901: 8.
17 “Sporting Life,” Marion Star, October 24, 1901: 5.
18 “M. Hogan Signed to Play at Concord,” Marion Star, January 22, 1902: 8.
19 “Diamond Dust,” Lowell (Massachusetts) Sun, May 3, 1902: 19.
20 “ ‘Mallie’ Hogan Will Play with South Bend,” Marion Star, February 4, 1903: 5.
21 “Sign Two Players,” South Bend (Indiana) Tribune, January 30, 1903: 3.
22 “More Players Here,” South Bend Tribune, April 25, 1903: 3.
23 “Caught Between Innings,” South Bend Tribune, July 9, 1903: 3.
24 “Gossip of the Diamond,” Indianapolis News, February 16, 1904: 11.
25 “Given a Shower at O’Brien Home,” Marion Star, May 24, 1905: 8.
26 “Steal March on Friends,” Marion Star, June 1, 1905: 3.
27 “Malachi S. Hogan, 66, Dies,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, March 5, 1945: 6.
28 “M.S. Hogan, Former Marion Man, Dies,” Marion Star, March 5, 1945: 8.
29 “M.S. Hogan.”