Martin Flaherty

This article was written by Mike Passey

Martin Flaherty was a major-league owner, player, and umpire during the 1880s – sort of. Mostly, he was a fan. For six innings in 1881, he played outfield as an emergency substitute for the Worcesters, a National League team he partly owned. The following season he umpired a single game: the Worcesters’ final nine innings as a professional franchise. The rest of his major-league experience took place off the field rooting for (and often betting on) his favorite teams.

Martin John “Flip” Flaherty was born on September 24, 1853, in Worcester, Massachusetts. His parents, John and Mary (Welch) Flaherty, had fled the Great Famine in Ireland and settled in Worcester sometime before his birth. Like many of the city’s Irish immigrants, the Flahertys were parishioners of St. John’s Catholic Church, where Martin and his two younger siblings, Anna and James, were baptized.1 John worked at a local shoe factory to support the family.

Martin grew up near the Worcester Agricultural Fairgrounds, a busy 20-acre site that boasted the fastest horse track in New England.2 In 1861 thousands of Union soldiers trained there, raising the possibility that Flaherty, then 8 years old, might have spent time watching the soldiers drill and play games of “ball” like the one the Worcester Spy observed on October 3, 1861.3 The site later housed the Worcester Driving Park Grounds, where the Worcesters played home games from 1879 to 1882.

Little is known about Flaherty’s early life and education, but he was, from a young age, “a lover and a player of sports” and adept “at every sport except ping-pong,” according to the Providence News.4 During his late teens and early 20s, he became a well-rounded athlete, running track, rowing crew, swimming, and competing in six-day bicycle races.5 A left-handed batter and thrower, he also played baseball. In 1876 and 1877 he managed and played for the semipro Worcester Irvings – “a very creditable nine,” the New York Clipper opined.6 In 1878 he umpired amateur games while managing and playing for the Mazeppa Club of Worcester.7

When not preoccupied with sports, Flaherty worked as a teamster, and then as a clerk, before settling into a job as proprietor of a sporting-goods store in Worcester.8 The store, which opened on Pearl Street in 1878, sold “everything wanted by [baseball] players, all grades and prices,” the Spy enthused.9 The business almost certainly benefited from Flaherty’s prominence in the city’s vibrant amateur baseball community.10

In 1879 Flaherty helped bring professional baseball to Worcester. That year a group of local citizens formed the Worcester Base Ball Club – the Worcesters – to represent the city in the National Association. Flaherty was among the organization’s leaders.11 To raise funds and sell tickets, the club sponsored a variety of events, including a “go-as-you-please” race in which Flaherty competed barefooted and finished second.12 The Worcesters went 26-31 during their inaugural season but nevertheless drew the National League’s attention, thanks largely to the outstanding pitching of J. Lee Richmond. When the team entered the NL on February 3, 1880, Flaherty and the club’s other shareholders became part-owners of a major-league team.13

On April 8, 1880, the Worcesters opened their first NL campaign at home with an exhibition game against Harvard University – and with Flaherty playing right field. The Worcesters were shorthanded because several players had been delayed during their return from the team’s offseason barnstorming tour of Louisiana.14 As a result, manager Frank Bancroft turned to Flaherty and other amateurs to fill out his roster. “The game was limited to five innings and rendered uninteresting by the cold, blustering weather,” according to the Clipper.15 Flaherty walked once and scored a run, and the Worcesters defeated Harvard, 9-5, in front of nearly 2,000 spectators (including more than a few rowdies).16

Flaherty’s only regular-season major-league appearance came the following year, a month before his 28th birthday. On August 18, 1881, during the fourth inning of a game against the visiting Providence Grays, Worcester’s shortstop, Arthur Irwin, broke his right ankle while sliding into second base. With no substitutes on the bench because of injuries, the team looked into the stands for help. And there, despite a heavy mist, sat Martin Flaherty.

Flaherty reported to left field, where he struggled. “The Worcesters now had no outfield worth mentioning, and many balls were lost that ought to have been caught,” the Worcester Evening Gazette complained.17 Other witnesses agreed. “[T]hree of the hits with the usual outfield would have been out, and not a run would have scored,” the Spy grumbled about the Grays’ four-run seventh inning.18 At some point during the game, Flaherty switched positions with center fielder Pete Hotaling, but the change made little difference. Providence, which had been losing 7-0 when Flaherty entered the game, tied the score, 8-8, in the ninth.

Flaherty fared no better at the plate. He struck out twice in two at-bats, both times against future Hall of Famer John Montgomery Ward. When he struck out to end the ninth inning, with a runner on base and Hotaling, one of the team’s top hitters, on deck, the game was called on account of rain and ended in an 8-8 tie. The Evening Gazette declared it “perhaps the dampest, slowest, most unsatisfactory game” ever played at the Fairgrounds.19 The paper singled out Flaherty for criticism: “He is hardly a strong enough player for a League game.”20

Flaherty continued to play amateur baseball despite his major-league debacle. In July 1882, for example, he helped lead the Worcester Amateurs to a 17-16 victory over the Cherry Valleys in an exhibition game in Worcester. Playing in front of 300 spectators, Flaherty hit two singles, scored three runs, and committed no errors in the outfield. He and his teammates split a $100 purse.21 He wouldn’t retire from amateur baseball until July 1884.22

In September 1882 Flaherty received a second shot at the big leagues, this time as an umpire. The Worcesters asked him to officiate their last game of the season, probably because no one else wanted the job. On September 29, with just 18 people in the stands, Flaherty called balls and strikes in what ended up being the Worcesters’ last gasp as a professional franchise.23 The team committed nearly a dozen errors, gave up eight unearned runs, and lost to the visiting (and equally struggling) Troy Trojans, 10-7. Poor home-field attendance, shaky fielding, a high-scoring loss: It was a microcosm of the Worcesters’ entire season. To no one’s surprise, the team folded on December 6, 1882, and its players moved on.

As the Worcesters slouched toward extinction, Flaherty bided his time, expecting to umpire in either the NL or the American Association when the new season began in 1883.24 He no longer worked at the sporting-goods store and was forced to move in with his mother.25 For money, he turned to politics, helping the city’s Democratic committee in the runup to state and local elections on November 7, 1882.26 At least two prominent Democrats paid him for unspecified services.27 To supplement his income, he raised and trained dogs, one of his lifelong passions.28

Flaherty also pursued another passion: gambling. His involvement in illegal gaming and bookmaking had probably begun years earlier, but it wasn’t until the summer of 1882, when he worked for a “Mr. Sullivan” running baseball pools and combinations, that law enforcement took an interest in his activities.29 Over the course of several months, a team of Worcester police officers built a case against him.

On February 3, 1883, they struck. The officers raided a room in the Front Street Exchange, where they arrested Flaherty as he played a hand of the card game old sledge.30 “There was money on the table, and Flaherty picked up some of it as the officers entered,” the Spy reported.31 Two other members of his “gambling gang,” including a former police officer, were taken into custody as well.32 The court found Flaherty and his two accomplices guilty of vagrancy and sentenced them each to three months in jail. The Spy summarized the court’s findings:

“The court ruled in each of the vagrancy cases that on the evidence the defendants had not for substantially a year or more engaged in any legitimate or legal employment; that they were the associates of gamblers; they were frequenters of liquor saloons, and had no visible means of support. The statutes were cited to show that they were persons whose mode of living came within the statute defining the offense of vagrancy.”33

Flaherty appealed the decision, but his conviction for gambling, even if overturned, had probably rendered him unemployable as an umpire, especially in the wake of the Louisville Grays scandal that had rocked baseball in 1877.

In 1884 Flaherty married an 18-year-old woman named Elizabeth Taylor and relocated to Washington, DC. There he and two associates opened a saloon, the Dorrance, which by the summer of 1886 was, according to the Washington Post, “generally known as the [city’s] baseball headquarters.”34 Located at 933 D Street NW – not too far from the Swampoodle Grounds, where the NL’s Washington Nationals played home games – the Dorrance received by telegraph each day baseball scores from across the country.35 The Daily Critic noted that young boys, “anxious to find out whether the Nationals [had] won or lost,” often slipped in when the results arrived.36

The Dorrance sold “extra pale Bohemian Beer in bottles” and, of course, baseball pools and combinations.37 Its gambling activities, particularly the possible involvement of minors, soon caught local authorities’ attention. On August 24, 1886, a squad of 18 police officers, batons drawn, raided the saloon and arrested Flaherty and at least 35 of the nearly 200 patrons who were there at the time.38 Boys as young as 11 years old were identified in the crowd.39

Flaherty’s trial began – and ended – on September 10, 1886. The prosecution’s first witness, a Dorrance regular, sought to “educate the court in the mysteries of betting on baseball games,” according to the Daily Critic.40 The paper condensed his testimony for its readers:

“The witness said he was in the habit of going to the pool rooms every day, and he generally bought combinations, but sometimes he would buy a ‘do’ or a ‘don’t.’ Buying combinations, he explained, was betting that four clubs would beat four other clubs in the League. As to the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts,’ he would bet that a club would or would not score in a certain inning. He said the proprietor deducted ten per cent from the amount of money put up and divided the balance among the winners. He also said that he had seen boys between 10 and 13 years of age buy tickets on the games.”41

After additional testimony from other witnesses, the judge dismissed the charges. “[I]n disposing of the case, [the judge] said that he saw no reason for reversing his former decision in a similar case brought before him a year ago,” the Post elaborated.42 Undeterred, the police department escalated its “war on gambling dens” and kept its sights trained on Flaherty.43

Flaherty doubled down, brazenly expanding his gambling racket. In 1887 he organized the Winthrop Club, a “literary” society that was, in truth, little more than a gambling fraternity.44 Its members met at a hotel on Sixth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, where they kept poker tables, cards, chips, and a library consisting of “several news and sporting papers, and also a copy of Hoyle on cards.”45 There were no books.46 One member, later testifying in court, described the club’s activities. “Did you ever indulge in any literary exercises?” the judge asked. “No, sir,” he replied. “I never had time.”47

Flaherty also moved on from the Dorrance, which by 1887 had lost its crown as DC’s “baseball headquarters” to Scanlon’s Billiards Rooms, a nearby pool hall owned by former Nationals manager Mike Scanlon.48 In 1888 Flaherty opened his own bar at 2221 L Street NW.49 The bar doubled as a grocery store and probably helped conceal at least some of his ill-gotten gains.

In 1890 the Washington police department took another unsuccessful run at Flaherty. At 10:30 P.M. on August 23, “when the lights were at their brightest and the chips rattled most merrily on the round, green felt-covered tables,” a team of officers descended on the Winthrop Club.50 The Post described the ensuing scene:

“Three sharp raps on the door and a cry ‘Put out the lights’ interrupted the previously quiet and orderly games. The men at the tables jumped up and made a wild rush for the door, while the dealer threw the cards and chips into a hole in the chimney. Then there was a crash at the locked door, and then another louder one, the second heavy enough to burst it from its fastenings and open it.”51

Officers swarmed through the doorway and arrested seven men, including Flaherty.52 The case went to trial on August 28. “Evidence was given that gambling had been carried on in the club rooms, but none could be found proving Flaherty to be the responsible party, and the case against him was dismissed,” the Sunday Herald reported.53

Five months later Flaherty’s hot streak began to sputter. On January 3, 1891, officers again raided the Winthrop Club and broke up a poker game. “The proprietor, Martin Flaherty, was arrested, together with about a dozen others as witnesses,” according to the Sunday Herald.54 Flaherty was subsequently indicted by a grand jury, thereby moving his case from the Police Court – which had let him off twice – to DC’s Supreme Court, where prosecutors expected a more favorable result.55 The law was closing in.

Meanwhile, in between arrests and court appearances, Flaherty climbed toward the middle ranks of Washington’s baseball establishment. By 1887 he had secured an off-field management role with the Creightons, one of the city’s most venerable teams.56 Founded in 1867 and named in honor of Jim Creighton, one of baseball’s earliest stars, the team had won a string of championships during the 1870s with players like Joe Gerhardt, Paul Hines, Sadie Houck, and Charley Snyder.57 That such a storied (though somewhat diminished) organization would associate itself with Flaherty suggests that his notoriety for gambling wasn’t much of a liability in DC baseball, at least among the city’s amateurs. Perhaps it even helped.

In March 1887 Flaherty fought to protect his players’ amateur status during negotiations to form the District Amateur League. “Several players belonging to [the Creightons] had at different times received money for their services,” the Evening Star explained, but Flaherty “did not think … it was just to class them as professionals and exclude them from the amateur ranks, as they now … played ball simply for the love of the sport.”58 Rather than compromise and risk undermining the Creightons’ competitiveness, he withdrew from the league.59 Two other teams followed suit, highlighting Flaherty’s influence in local baseball circles.60

Flaherty prospered beyond baseball as well. Far from living like a vagrant, as he once had in Worcester, he now enjoyed an income that allowed him to hire domestic help and occasionally travel home to visit friends in central Massachusetts.61 In 1890 he earned enough money to give $100 to his wife for Christmas (the equivalent of nearly $3,000 today).62 An active member of the Washington Kennel Club, Flaherty acquired several purebred hunting dogs, including a prize-winning pointer named Bessie and a black-and-white English setter named Florence.63 He also joined the Washington Rod and Gun Club, which honored him in 1892 by adding to its taxidermy collection a forlorn, badly mangled quail labeled with a joke: “The only bird ever shot by Martin Flaherty was chewed by his dog.”64

Flaherty’s legal problems finally caught up with him in 1893. That year Congress passed a law that increased the discretion of DC authorities to deny liquor licenses to bar owners. Under the law, Washington’s excise board could now determine “whether [an] applicant’s bar room … [was] necessary for the accommodation of the public” and “whether he or she [was] a fit person to be granted a license to sell intoxicating liquors.”65 In other words, local authorities had been empowered to shut down the bars of anyone they didn’t like. In March 1893 they did just that, rejecting Flaherty’s application to renew his liquor license and forcing him to close.66

By the fall of 1893 Flaherty had relocated to Providence, Rhode Island.67 During the next three decades, he worked as an office clerk, bred dogs, and focused his athletic pursuits on hunting, fishing, and betting on horses. He also developed his command of sports trivia. “He had all kinds of dates and data in connection with sports always on his fingertips,” the Providence News recalled. “If there was a bet to be settled or a dispute, he was always resorted to, because he always knew.”68 It probably helped that he was also a bookie.

Personal tragedy marred Flaherty’s later years. On July 31, 1909, while he was visiting “his summer place near Kingston station,” Elizabeth died at the couple’s home on Pine Street in Providence.69 “Mrs. Flaherty, apparently in good health, was making ready to go to Kingston to join her husband, and had just finished dressing herself for the trip, when she went into the dining room and drank a large quantity of carbolic acid,” a local newspaper revealed.70 The city’s medical examiner pronounced her death a “probable suicide.”71 Flaherty subsequently moved out of his Pine Street home and fell into what the Providence Sunday Tribune called “a long illness, mental and physical.”72

On June 10, 1920, Flaherty died at his residence on Bridgham Street in Providence. He was 66 years old. The Providence News proclaimed Flaherty the “dean of all Rhode Island” sportsmen and reported that his death had caused “genuine grief” for the “thousands and thousands” of people in Rhode Island and central Massachusetts who knew and admired him.73 His funeral was held at the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul on June 12, and he was interred next to Elizabeth at St. Ann Cemetery in Cranston, Rhode Island.74 The couple appears to have had no children.



The author would like to thank Bob Richardson for his comments on an earlier version of this article.



In addition to the sources cited in the Notes, the author also consulted the following: 1900 United States Federal Census. Online database. Provo, Utah: Operations, Inc., 2004.

. 1910 United States Federal Census. Online database. Provo, Utah: Operations, Inc., 2004.

. Massachusetts, Birth Records, 1840-1915 [database online]. Provo, Utah: Operations, Inc., 2013.

. Rhode Island, Death Index, 1630-1930 [database online]. Provo, Utah: Operations Inc, 2000.

. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database online]. Provo, Utah: Operations, Inc., 2011.

. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database online]. Provo, Utah: Operations, Inc., 2012. and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, Utah: Operations, Inc., 2010.

Boyd, W. Andrew. Boyd’s Directory of the District of Columbia, 1888 (Washington: William H. Boyd, 1888).

. Boyd’s Directory of the District of Columbia, 1889 (Washington: William H. Boyd, 1889).

. Boyd’s Directory of the District of Columbia, 1890 (Washington: William H. Boyd, 1890).

. Boyd’s Directory of the District of Columbia, 1891 (Washington: William H. Boyd, 1891).

. Boyd’s Directory of the District of Columbia, 1892 (Washington: William H. Boyd, 1892).

. Boyd’s Directory of the District of Columbia, 1893 (Washington: William H. Boyd, 1893).

“Is Bookmaking Illegal?” Washington Evening Star, November 3, 1887.

Nemec, David. The Rank and File of 19th Century Major League Baseball (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2012).

Rice, Franklin P. “Base Ball,” in Dictionary of Worcester (Massachusetts) and Its Vicinity (Worcester, Massachusetts: F.S. Blanchard & Co., 1893): 9-10.

Soos, Troy. Before the Curse: The Glory Days of New England Baseball, 1858-1918 (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2006).

Sylvester, Richard. District of Columbia Police (Washington: Gibson Bros., 1894): 65, 132.



1 Martin Flaherty was baptized by Fr. John Boyce (1810-1864) on September 25, 1853. His godparents were Patrick McCormick and Maria Kennedy. St. John’s Catholic Church, email to Mike Passey, August 10, 2015.

2 Franklin P. Rice, “Worcester Agricultural Society,” Dictionary of Worcester (Massachusetts) and Its Vicinity (Worcester, Mass.: F.S. Blanchard & Co., 1893): 126-127; Charles Brian Goslow, “Fairground Days: When Worcester Was a National League City (1880-82),” Historical Journal of Massachusetts vol. 19, no. 2 (Summer 1991): 133.

3 “City and County,” Worcester Spy, October 3, 1861. For (slightly) more information about how these games were played, see J. Waldo Denny, Wearing the Blue in the Twenty-fifth Mass. Volunteer Infantry (Worcester, Massachusetts: Putnam & Davis, Publishers, 1879): 34-35.

4 “Martin J. Flaherty, A Square Sport, Answers Last Call,” Providence News, June 11, 1920.

5 “The St. Anne’s [illegible],” Worcester Spy, August 1, 1878; “In Brief,” Worcester Spy, December 22, 1879; “Martin J. Flaherty, A Square Sport, Answers Last Call.”

6 Charles Nutt, History of Worcester and Its People, vol. 2 (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1919), 1120; “Baseball Notes,” New York Clipper, June 22, 1878; “An Opinion,” Westborough Chronotype, March 30, 1878; “New Association,” New York Clipper, March 30, 1878; “Rhode Island vs. Irving,” New York Clipper, September 1, 1877.

7 “In Brief,” Worcester Spy, March 18, 1878; “In Brief,” Worcester Spy, March 29, 1878; “Base Ball,” Worcester Spy, May 10, 1878; “Baseball Notes,” New York Clipper, June 22, 1878; “Manchester vs. Worcester,” New York Clipper, August 24, 1878; “Worcester vs. Lowell,” New York Clipper, August 24, 1878; “Worcester vs. Holyoke,” New York Clipper, August 17, 1878; “Westboro vs. Worcester,” New York Clipper, August 17, 1878; “UNA vs. Mystic,” New York Clipper, August 17, 1878; “New Bedford vs. Westboro,” New York Clipper, August 10, 1878.

8 “In Brief,” Worcester Spy, March 30, 1878; “Base Ball,” Worcester Spy, May 10, 1878; Charles Nutt, History of Worcester and Its People, vol. 1 (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1919): 306.

9 “In Brief,” Worcester Spy, March 30, 1878; “Base Ball,” Worcester Spy, May 10, 1878. The location on Pearl Street had formerly been the headquarters of Worcester’s Republican Party.

10 See, e.g., “Base Ball,” Worcester Spy, May 20, 1878.

11 Charles Nutt, History of Worcester and Its People, vol. 1, 306. Flaherty also umpired at least one of the Worcesters’ games during the 1879 season. “The Ball Field,” Worcester Spy, August 12, 1879.

12 “Pedestrianism: The Fifteen-Mile Race – Henry S. Hall the Winner, M.J. Flaherty Second,” Worcester Spy, April 10, 1879.

13 “The Worcesters Admitted to the League,” Worcester Evening Gazette, February 4, 1880; “Martin J. Flaherty, A Square Sport, Answers Last Call.”

14 “Worcester vs. Harvard,” New York Clipper, April 17, 1880; “Later Baseball Notes,” New York Clipper, April 3, 1880; “Baseball in New Orleans,” New York Clipper, 6 March 1880.

15 “Worcester vs. Harvard,” New York Clipper, April 17, 1880.

16 “The absence of police allowed the crowd to throng the diamond and gave a chance for such unpleasant interruptions as a disgraceful fight over a bet, in the center of the grandstand, one man being thrown headlong down the seats and another having his head smashed with a bottle,” according to the Worcester Evening Gazette. Charles Brian Goslow, “Fairground Days,” 136.

17 “A Damp Ball Game,” Worcester Evening Gazette, August 19, 1881.

18 “The Ball Field,” Worcester Spy, August 19, 1881.

19 “A Damp Ball Game.”

20 “A Damp Ball Game.”.

21 “The Ball Field,” Worcester Spy, July 20, 1882.

22 “About Town,” Worcester Spy, July 17, 1884.

23 “Base Ball: The Latest Developments in the League Row,” Worcester Evening Gazette, September 30, 1882; “The Last Game,” Worcester Spy, September 30, 1882; “Troy Wins the Final Game from Worcester,” Providence Morning Star, September 30, 1882; “Troy vs. Worcester,” New York Clipper, October 7, 1882.

24 “Court Calendar. Central District Court – Utley, J.,” Worcester Spy, February 6, 1883.

25 “Court Calendar. Central District Court – Utley, J.”

26 “Court Calendar. Central District Court – Utley, J.”

27 “Court Calendar. Central District Court – Utley, J.” One of the two local Democrats who paid Flaherty, James E. Estabrook (1829-1915), later served as Worcester’s postmaster (1887-1891). The other, George F. Hewett (1835-1910), was a well-known bottler who ran a liquor store on the corner of Foster and Waldo Streets in Worcester. A third prominent Democrat who might’ve helped Flaherty was Charles B. Pratt (1824-1898), who served as the Worcesters’ team president from 1879 to 1882. Pratt was Worcester’s mayor from 1877 to 1879. According to Bill Ballou, Pratt “made a fortune in fairytale fashion. He dove after sunken treasure from a British ship that went down in the East River in 1780 – and found it. Pratt retrieved enough from his 1852 dive to become very well off financially and, eventually, mayor.” Bill Ballou, “Glory Days: The History of Professional Baseball in Worcester,” Worcester Telegram & Gazette, May 22, 2005.

28 “Court Calendar. Central District Court – Utley, J.”

29 “Court Calendar. Central District Court – Utley, J.” “Mr. Sullivan” might be a reference to Yank Sullivan, who ran a gambling room at 419 Main Street in Worcester during the 1870s. See Herbert Sawyer, History of the Department of Police Service of Worcester, Mass. (Worcester, Massachusetts: Worcester Police Relief Association, 1900): 87.

30 “About Town,” Worcester Spy, February 5, 1883.

31 “Court Calendar. Central District Court – Utley, J.”

32 “Court Calendar. Central District Court – Utley, J.”

33 Flaherty’s attorney was John Randolph Thayer (1845-1916), another prominent local Democrat whom Flaherty counted among his associates. “Court Calendar. Central District Court – Utley, J.” Thayer served three terms in the US House of Representatives from 1899 to 1905. One of Thayer’s cousins, Ernest Thayer (1863-1940), was the author of “Casey at the Bat.”

34 Flaherty opened the Dorrance with restaurateur John A. Kennedy and sportsman Jerry Lynch. “A Regular Bombshell,” Washington Post, August 25, 1886; “The Raid on the Baseball Pool-Room,” Washington Post, August 26, 1886; “Will More Prosecutions Follow?” Washington Post, September 1, 1886. They probably launched the bar at some point during the second half of 1884. “Local Briefs,” Evening Critic, December 31, 1884.

35 “Pool Sellers Raided: Lieutenant Arnold’s Men Capture Patrons of the National Game,” Daily Critic, August 25, 1886.

36 “Pool Sellers Raided: Lieutenant Arnold’s Men Capture Patrons of the National Game.”

37 “Personal,” Washington Post, February 9, 1886; “Wanted – Employment,” National Republican, February 15, 1886.

38 The authorities arrested Flaherty with two of his assistants, Patrick Copley and Charles Hennessey. John Kennedy was also arrested. Jerry Lynch does not appear to have been in the Dorrance at the time of the raid. “A Regular Bombshell,” Washington Post, August 25, 1886; “A Rush for the Doors,” Washington Evening Star, August 25, 1886; “The Base Ball Pool Room Case,” Washington Evening Star, September 10, 1886.

39 “A Regular Bombshell”; “A Rush for the Doors”; “The Base Ball Pool Room Case.”

40 “Baseball Pools: The Case Against Martin Flaherty in the Police Court,” Daily Critic, September 10, 1886.

41 “Baseball Pools: The Case Against Martin Flaherty in the Police Court.”

42 “The Pool Room Cases Dismissed,” Washington Post, September 11, 1886. Judge William B. Snell (1838-1890) of Washington’s Police Court presided at trial.

43 “War on Gambling Dens,” Washington Post, August 27, 1890.

44 The stated object of the club was “the mutual improvement of its members,” according to its articles of incorporation. “Small Things of a Day,” National Republican, November 2, 1887.

45 “The Winthrop Club Raid: Manager James Held in $300 to Await the Action of the Grand Jury,” Washington Evening Star, January 6, 1891.

46 “Another Club Room Raided,” Washington Evening Star, February 5, 1891.

47 “Another Club Room Raided.”

48 “Mike Scanlon – ‘Daddy’ of DC Baseball,” Washington Post, November 13, 1927. In addition to his long association with the Nationals, Scanlon managed the Creightons in 1867 and 1868. For more background on Scanlon, see “Mike Scanlon, Dead at 81, ‘Daddy’ of Baseball Here,” Washington Post, January 19, 1929.

49 “Action on Liquor Licenses,” Washington Post, December 1, 1888; “The District Government,” Washington Evening Post, December 1, 1888.

50 “A Blow at Poker Clubs: A Flank Movement Executed on the Gambling Fraternity,” Washington Post, August 24, 1890.

51 “A Blow at Poker Clubs.”

52 “A Blow at Poker Clubs.”

53 “Town Talk,” Sunday Herald, August 24, 1890.

54 “Another Club House Raided,” Sunday Herald, January 4, 1891.

55 “Indictments by the Grand Jury,” Washington Evening Star, June 25, 1891.

56 “Amateur Base Ball: A League Organized Last Evening,” Washington Evening Star, March 11, 1887; “Amateur Baseball League,” Washington Post, March 11, 1887; “Amateur Players,” National Republican, March 11, 1887; “Amateur Base Ball: Meeting of the District League Last Night,” Washington Evening Star, March 15, 1887.

57 “National Club of Washington, DC,” New York Clipper, January 2, 1875; “Our National Nine,” Washington Post, April 3, 1880; “Baseball,” New York Clipper, September 9, 1882; “Manager Snyder,” Washington Evening Star, April 27, 1891; “Old-Time Ball Players,” Washington Post, January 11, 1903; John Thorn, Baseball in the Garden of Eden: The Secret History of the Early Game (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011): 122-126.

58 “Amateur Base Ball: Meeting of the District League Last Night,” Washington Evening Star, March 15, 1887.

59 “Amateur Base Ball: Meeting of the District League Last Night.” The District Amateur League collapsed in July 1887. See “The Amateur Clubs,” Washington Critic, July 11, 1887.

60 “Amateur Base Ball: Meeting of the District League Last Night.”

61 “About Town,” Worcester Spy, April 6, 1888; “Sent to Jail for Stealing,” Washington Evening Star, March 23, 1891; “Personal,” Worcester Spy, September 10, 1891.

62 “Sent to Jail for Stealing.”

63 “Arranging for the Bench Show: The Kennel Club Elects Officers and Appoints Committees,” Washington Evening Star, February 4, 1892; “The Coming Dog Show,” Washington Evening Star, March 2, 1892; American Kennel Club. The American Kennel Club Studbook, vol. 9 (New York: Rogers & Sherwood Printing Co., 1892), 446; “The Washington Show,” Forest and Stream, March 17, 1892: 255.

64 “Washington Rod and Gun Club,” Forest and Stream, March 24, 1892: 277.

65 “The New License Law,” Washington Evening Star, March 9, 1893.

66 “Liquor Men Exercised,” Washington Evening Star, March 10, 1893. Flaherty appears to have applied for, and been denied, a liquor license in 1894 as well. See “District Government: The Excise Board,” Washington Evening Star, February 21, 1894.

67 The timing of Flaherty’s move to Providence can be gleaned from reporting on his dog-breeding activities. See American Kennel Club, The American Kennel Club Studbook, vol. 9; “Kennel Notes,” Forest and Stream, November 25, 1893: 458; American Kennel Club, The American Kennel Club Studbook, vol. 11 (New York: Rogers & Sherwood Printing Co., 1895). His Providence News obituary claims that he “first came to this city in 1888,” but the author was probably referring to a visit, not Flaherty’s permanent relocation from Washington.

68 “Martin J. Flaherty, A Square Sport, Answers Last Call.”

69 Find a Grave, “Elizabeth Taylor Flaherty,” (accessed August 17, 2020). The web page includes a scanned copy of a newspaper clipping entitled “Mrs. Martin Flaherty Drinks Carbolic Acid,” with a handwritten date of August 1, 1909. The website does not identify the newspaper that published the article.

70 Find a Grave, “Elizabeth Taylor Flaherty.”

71 Find a Grave, “Elizabeth Taylor Flaherty.”

72 “Old-Time Sport Dead: Martin J. Flaherty, Bookmaker, Succumbs to Long Illness.”

73 “Martin J. Flaherty, A Square Sport, Answers Last Call.”

74 “Funerals: Martin J. Flaherty,” Providence News, June 12, 1920.

Full Name

Martin John Flaherty


September 24, 1853 at Worcester, MA (USA)


June 10, 1920 at Providence, RI (USA)

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