September 14, 1901: Casey at the altar: Cleveland spoils wedding day for Detroit captain ‘Doc’ Casey

This article was written by Andrew Harner

Doc CaseyThere was a brief pause in the action when Detroit Tigers captain James “Doc” Casey strode to the plate for his first at-bat on September 14, 1901,1 to face streaking Cleveland Blues ace Earl Moore.

During the break, the Tigers weren’t talking about strategies to attack the confident rookie phenom who had fired four straight complete-game victories.

Instead, there was a presentation in honor of Casey. A set of fine silver table service was given to the popular 31-year-old veteran as a wedding gift. He married Miss May Bristol in a private Saturday evening ceremony after the game.

Unfortunately for Casey and his teammates, the Tigers couldn’t add an afternoon to remember. The Blues picked up a 5-3 victory to snap Detroit’s seven-game winning streak as the season wound down for two teams out of the hunt for the first-ever American League pennant. A crowd of 3,795 was on hand for the final game of the season at Bennett Park.2

Casey had one hit in the game and a hand in four defensive plays – including one double play – but Moore did well in spreading out the offensive damage doled out by the Tigers, who were retired in order in just one inning and left eight men on base while trying to give their captain a win for his wedding day.

Cleveland struck first in the top of the second when Bill Bradley hit his first of two doubles, and while dancing off second base, baited Detroit starter Joe Yeager into trying to pick him off. Yeager’s throw went wild and into the outfield, allowing Bradley to score.

Detroit threatened in the third by loading the bases with one out, but Moore worked out of the jam. The final out of the inning came at the plate, when Zaza Harvey’s throw from left field was on the mark.

But the Tigers finally pieced together some scoring offense in the sixth. Kid Elberfeld singled and Kid Nance followed with a walk.3 Pop Dillon hit into a fielder’s choice to leave runners on the corners, and when he attempted to steal second, the Blues trapped him in a rundown. At the same time, Elberfeld made a dash for home and scored on his 23rd steal of the season, tying the game, 1-1.

Bradley got Cleveland’s offense moving again in the seventh with a two-out double, and he scored on a single by Harvey, who advanced to second on the throw to the plate and scored himself when Jim McGuire added a single. Harvey’s two hits in the game pushed his hitting streak to 13 games, a stretch during which he raised his season average from .284 to .352.4 The Blues led, 3-1.

Yeager hurt himself again in the eighth. Moore opened the frame with a dribbler up the third-base line, and Yeager overthrew Dillon at first base to give Moore an extra base.

Moore moved up again on a sacrifice by Ollie Pickering and scored on an unusual play that followed Tom Donovan’s fly out to center fielder Jimmy Barrett.

Moore tagged up to score, and as Barrett’s throw came to the infield, Elberfeld figured he could beat Moore to the plate with a relay throw. Elberfeld jumped in the air to snare the ball, but catcher Sport McAllister didn’t catch his relay cleanly, allowing Moore to score.

Erve Beck followed with Cleveland’s third double of the game and scored when Candy LaChance singled, giving the Blues a 5-1 advantage.

The Tigers tried to rally in the bottom of the ninth, but Moore stalled the brief outburst after two runs had scored. Nance opened the inning with a walk and Dillon followed with a double to center.5 McAllister bounced into a fielder’s choice to drive in Nance, and Barrett’s single brought Dillon across the plate, but Moore struck out Holmes looking to end the game and earn his 16th victory of the season and fifth straight complete-game win.6

Yeager fell to 10-11 with the loss, but because only two of the five runs he allowed were earned, his ERA dropped to 2.68.

Combined, the teams turned seven double plays in the game – four by the Tigers and three by the Blues. The most impressive defensive play of the afternoon came when Dillon speared a line drive off Donovan’s bat in the sixth. He fell to the ground to make the catch, but because Pickering had taken such a large lead off first base, Dillon was able to crawl to the basepath and tag him for the unassisted double play, “one of the most remarkable plays made on the grounds this season.”7

Cleveland had lost its last four games – including three losses to the Tigers in the final series of the season at League Park over the previous two days – and won just two of the final 13 games to close out the season with a seventh-place finish in the standings and a 54-82 record. Detroit went 6-5 down the stretch to close the year at 73-61 and finish third in the AL, 8½ games behind the pennant-winning Chicago White Stockings.

After the game, Casey hurried out of his uniform and into formal wear for a 7:30 P.M. ceremony and a post-wedding dinner at the Hotel Cadillac.8

After the wedding, Casey sat out the next game – missing out on the fun of an eight-inning, 21-0 thrashing of the Blues in the final home game of the season for the Tigers. The Caseys traveled east with the team to Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, and Baltimore to close the season. After the season concluded, the couple stayed in the Baltimore area while Casey continued working on his final two years of study in dentistry at the Baltimore Medical College.9

Retiring from baseball after the 1909 season, Casey spent one season as a scout for Detroit in 1910 and the next year as the 41-year-old player-manager of the Central League’s Fort Wayne Brakies. He later opened a dental practice in Detroit, owned a drugstore there, and later served as the permit inspector for city hall and a building guard at municipal court.10 He and his wife remained married until Doc died on December 31, 1936, at age 66. May died on February 15, 1960.11



This article was fact-checked by Mike Huber and copy-edited by Len Levin.



In addition to the sources cited in the Notes, I used the,, and websites for statistics and team information.



1 The game was played three years to the day after Casey’s major-league debut, which came for the Washington Senators in a doubleheader against the Cleveland Spiders, who won both games.

2 The Tigers circumvented city laws prohibiting sporting events inside the city limits on Sundays by playing Sunday games at Burns Park in Springwells Township, which is where the series finale was staged the next day.

3 With Kid Gleason penciled into the lineup before Elberfeld and Nance, the Tigers had a unique sequence of three straight “Kids” in their lineup.

4 Overall, Harvey recorded a hit in 24 of 29 games in September. He started the year with the Chicago White Stockings and closed the season with a .332 average. In just his 45 games with Cleveland, he hit .353. In a sad twist, Harvey was forced to leave the Blues after hitting .348 in the first 12 games of the 1902 season due to medical issues and never played again.

5 Dillon’s double was the only extra-base hit for the Tigers.

6 The showing marked Moore’s 10th straight complete game, a streak that dated back to July 30. He lost his final start, on September 21 in the second game of a doubleheader against the Washington Senators, to finish at 16-14 with 28 complete games and a 2.90 ERA in 30 starts. Among the 11 American League pitchers with at least 28 complete games, Moore had the fourth-highest percentage of completed starts. He trailed Detroit’s Roscoe Miller (completed 35 of 36 starts), Philadelphia’s Chick Fraser (35 of 37), and Baltimore’s Harry Howell (32 of 34).

7 “Cleveland Won a Close Game,” Detroit Free Press, September 15, 1901: 8.

8 “Captain Casey Married,” Detroit Free Press, September 15, 1901: 8.

9 “Captain Casey Married.”

10 “Necrology,” The Sporting News, January 7, 1937: 5.

11 “Casey,” Detroit Free Press, February 17, 1960: 25.

Additional Stats

Cleveland Blues 5
Detroit Tigers 3

Bennett Park
Detroit, MI


Box Score + PBP:

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1900s ·