This article was written by Dennis Pajot
This article was published in the Spring 2015 Baseball Research Journal
Michael Kelley played only briefly in one major league season. Despite this lack of major league success he was a highly respected minor league player and manager. However, he found himself in extremely hot water with Organized Baseball for three years, starting in 1905, from being a part of a sham sale of the St. Paul franchise to later refusing to report in a trade to a major league team — thus challenging baseball’s reserve clause.
Michael Kelley played only briefly in one major league season. Despite this lack of major league success he was a highly respected minor league player and manager. However, he found himself in extremely hot water with Organized Baseball for three years, starting in 1905, from being a part of a sham sale of the St. Paul franchise to later refusing to report in a trade to a major league team — thus challenging baseball’s reserve clause.Michael Kelley played only briefly in one major league season. Despite this lack of major league success he was a highly respected minor league player and manager. However, he found himself in extremely hot water with Organized Baseball for three years, starting in 1905. From being a part of a sham sale of the St. Paul franchise — a circumstance that actually placed him as chairman of the board of directors of the American Association — to later refusing to report in a trade to a major league team — thus challenging baseball’s reserve clause. During this time Kelley’s name appeared as many times in the newspapers’ legal proceedings pages as in the on-field baseball pages.
Michael Joseph Kelley was born on December 2, 1875, in Templeton, Massachusetts. After high school he was offered scholarships to Dartmouth, Harvard, Brown, and Amherst. But much to the disappointment of his father who hoped that Mike would pursue a career in law, Kelley chose baseball, signing with Augusta of the New England League in 1895. Thereafter, Kelley played with Newport, Ottawa, Rochester, and Hartford before being sold to Louisville of the National League in July 1899, where he had a .241 batting average in 76 games for the Colonels.1 This would constitute his only playing time in the big leagues. In December 1899, Kelley was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in a multi-player deal that included future Hall of Famers Fred Clarke, Rube Waddell, Honus Wagner and Jack Chesbro. Then in March 1900, he was purchased by Indianapolis of the still minor American League. After two seasons in Indianapolis, Kelley became the first baseman and manager of the American Association St. Paul Saints from 1902 through 1905. During this period his clubs won two pennants, and finished third and fifth in the AA (1902: 72-66, third place; 1903: 88-46, first; 1904: 95-52, first; 1905: 73-77, fifth). In those years his batting averages were .272, .310, .298, and .285.2 These accomplishments should project a cozy club/manager/player-type story. But things went sour between Kelley, the Saints, and the American Association.
The seeds of discord were planted on January 25, 1905, with the announcement that St. Paul owner George Lennon had sold the club to a stock company headed by Mike Kelley, who was soon elected president of the Saints. This gave Kelley the distinction of being the only player in the country to serve as a club president. Lennon also resigned his position as chairman of the board of the American Association, and Kelley assumed that position, as well.3 Lennon still retained his half-interest in the AA Toledo Mud Hens, but sold same to J. Edward Grillo in March.4 But it soon turned out that the St. Paul sale and Kelley’s club presidency were only a front. Kelley had been named as president of the Saints solely in order to take over Lennon’s position on the board of directors—a position Kelley could not hold as a player. Kelley later admitted he had never been elected president by the club, but had only acted as president for Lennon, with limited powers.5
Kelley and Lennon were having troubles during the season. It finally came to a head in mid-August, with Lennon offering Kelley for sale. The Minneapolis Journal commented, “Kelley is a splendid player, but it is said that internal dissensions in the direction of the business affairs of the club this year have been at the bottom of the poor showing of the team. Kelley is thought to have been a trifle listless and the club caught the fever.” The day that this story was published the Saints were in sixth place with a 51-58 record.6
Exposure of the sham nature of Kelley’s Saints presidency began with a report that Kelley wanted to manage the Toledo club in 1906. The St. Paul management issued the following statement regarding the situation:
“Mr. Kelly [sic] has no authority to negotiate with Toledo for next year without the consent of the St. Paul club. He was engaged only as a player and still remains under reserve to St. Paul. He does not own any stock in the St. Paul club whatever. He is for sale, however, to other Association clubs, or in fact any club. Clarence Huggins, secretary of the St. Paul club, will be released from further duties at once. George Lennon will again take hold of the affairs of the St. Paul club.”7 Thereafter, Lennon stated that Kelley had been given an opportunity to become a part-owner in the club, but he had been unable to find backers and no stock was issued to him. Lennon said that if Kelley went to Toledo, it would cost the Mud Hens $4,000 for his services.8
Lennon moved quickly by selling Kelley to the St. Louis Browns of the American League on August 23.9 (Lennon also sold shortstop Pete O’Brien, outfielder Charles Hemphill, pitcher Walt Slagle, and catcher Jack Sullivan to the Browns.10) Kelley refused to go to St. Louis, saying that he did not sign a contract with St. Paul, so he could not be held under their reserve clause. In addition, as Kelley was president of the club himself, Lennon had nothing to say about the matter. Kelley admitted that he wanted to manage Toledo in 1906, as this would be a stepping stone to managing a major league club.11 To resolve the situation, Kelley appealed his sale to St. Louis to baseball’s National Commission, and on September 1, the Commission put a temporary stop to the sale while the matter was under review.12
In front of the National Commission Kelley insisted that Lennon had sold him to St. Louis in retaliation for his collecting gate receipts to recoup some $6,000 in back salary due him. Kelley also offered proof that the $1,500 that Lennon had received from the Browns as purchase money was actually Lennon’s own money, a fact concealed from public view to make the deal look sound. In addition to this “fake sale,” Kelley claimed that he had never signed a contract with the Saints. He had only had an oral agreement with the club.13
On November 16, the National Commission ruled that Kelley must go to St. Louis and play ball for only about $1,500, compared to the $4,000 that he had made in St. Paul. The Commission stated that his acceptance of salary and continuous re-engagement without protest was the equivalent of a signed contract and carried with it all of the obligations and rights that inhere in contracts. In the ruling, American League president Ban Johnson and Commission chairman Garry Herrmann voted in favor of the St. Paul club, while National League president Harry Pulliam withheld his vote.14
At the same time, word was spreading that Kelley would become president of the Minneapolis American Association club, with the franchise’s current president and manager William Watkins going to Indianapolis as a magnate. Watkins said that he wanted to dispose of the Minneapolis club due to business obligations in Indy.15 The day after the National Commission’s ruling, Kelley filed a petition in Federal District Court in Cincinnati seeking an injunction restraining the Commission from putting its decision into effect. Kelley claimed that under the present circumstances, if he did not report to St. Louis he would be blacklisted and deprived of his means of livelihood. He further alleged that the members of the Commission had a pecuniary interest in the situation and were therefore prejudiced against him. A temporary restraining order was issued until the case could be taken up for a full hearing.16
In December, Judge A.C. Thompson heard testimony on the case. He later determined that Kelley had signed a contract in 1901, but that this had occurred prior to the adoption of the baseball’s National Agreement. The reserve clause in that agreement could not, therefore, be held to have any bearing on the case. George Lennon contended that he had purchased Kelley in 1901 for $500 from Watkins, who owned the Indianapolis club of the Western Association at the time. Lennon always considered Kelley a player, paying him liberally and considered him a valuable asset of the club. Kelley acknowledged that he had played for Indianapolis, but contended that the team’s dissolution before the end of the season had released all the Indy players from their contract obligations. Kelley had merely promised Watkins that he would play for him in Indianapolis the following year. In the meantime, Kelley had gone to St. Paul to finish the 1901 season. There, Kelley was advised that his promise to Watkins was not binding because Watkins had no baseball rights at the time. But Kelley felt himself bound by his promise and told Lennon to make what terms he could with Watkins. Thus, any payment of $500 to Watkins by Lennon was in no sense a purchase, according to Kelley.17
Kelley’s litigation ace in the hole was his election as chairman of the board of directors of the American Association earlier in the year. At the time, George Lennon had informed the other directors that he did not consider Kelley to be a player, and on this assurance, Kelley was elected to the board chairmanship, a position that he would have been ineligible to hold if he was a player. To substantiate his position, Kelley proffered affidavits to this effect submitted by AA directors to the National Commission and the federal court.18
At the hearing’s end, Judge Thompson kept the temporary order in force, making things clear to organized baseball with the following directive: “The respondents are enjoined individually and as officers and members of the National Commission from making any finding or taking any action whereby any baseball club in the United States would be prevented from or placed under any penalty for playing or engaging said complainant [Kelley] as a player for the baseball season of 1906 or thereafter.”19
While the temporary injunction was still in effect, Kelley announced that he had given up on managing in Toledo and was going to make an effort to purchase the Minneapolis Millers of the American Association.20 His lawyer, Fred Hoffman, released this statement on December 6, 1905: “On account of the favorable decision of Judge Thompson [in keeping the temporary injunction in place until February] I have advised Manager Mike Kelley to go ahead with his business for next year, and he will undoubtedly sign a contract to manage the Minneapolis club in the American Association. The final hearing in the case will not come up until the February term of court, but Kelley cannot wait that long to arrange his affairs for the coming season, and will at once make an agreement with Mr. Watkins of the Minneapolis team, to take charge of the players for 1906. Of course, he runs chances of losing out in his fight against the national commission when the case is heard in February, but I feel certain that with the evidence at hand Kelley will come out on top.”21
On December 17, it was announced that Kelley would be at the head of an organization of local capitalists that would take over the Minneapolis ball club from Watkins about January 1. Kelley made this statement:
“I have an option on the team and franchise. The first of the week I shall start out to raise such cash as I need and I expect to close the deal with Mr. Watkins on his arrival here the latter part of the week. The franchise here is a valuable one and it will be little trouble to swing the deal. There is the nucleus of a good club here and I am certain I can make Minneapolis one of the strongest teams in the circuit. The Minneapolis public will do the rest if we get a good strong team. I want to come to Minneapolis and this is the first favorable opportunity I have had.” It was reported Kelley would put his own money into the deal and wanted to organize a local stock company of owners by having the entire franchise owned in Minneapolis, rather than by outside investors.22
On December 26, 1905, it was reported that Kelley had purchased the Minneapolis Millers from William Watkins. It was said that he had put his own money into the sale, and had the “backing of several prominent men of affairs of the Flour City.”23
Within days, the American Association met in Chicago for its annual meeting. The owners of the Association had been split for some time on various issues. On one side of the divide were George Lennon, Kansas City Blues-Louisville Colonels owner George “White Wings” Tebeau, and Milwaukee Brewers owner Charles Havenor. They formed one voting bloc of the American Association. The other side contained William Watkins, Thomas Bryce of Columbus, J. Edward Grillo of Toledo, and now Mike Kelley of Minneapolis. When the meeting began Tebeau was nominated as temporary chairman for the year. According to George Lennon, a new chairman was needed because former chairman Mike Kelley was no longer a member of the American Association. He was property of the St. Louis Browns. A vote was taken, but only the three pro-Tebeau owners cast ballots. When Tebeau assumed the chair, Kelley rose and left the room with Bryce and Watkins, (for some reason Grillo was not in the hotel) stating that the “real director’s meeting” would be conducted in another room. Tebeau and company paid no attention and demanded that Kelley—now former chairman of the American Association board of directors—turn over all league books, papers, and funds entrusted to him. Kelley refused and the newly installed directors of the board adjourned. In the meantime, Kelley convened with his supporters in the other room. Kelley then resigned as AA board chairman, and Watkins was elected to succeed him.24
While all this was going on, American Association president Joseph O’Brien was waiting in the wings. He tried to call a meeting of the Association together, but he could not get a majority of club owners to attend. Finally, Grillo consented to join the pro-Tebeau group in the meeting, apparently to “protect himself against any frame-up.” With five clubs now represented [keeping in mind George Tebeau owned two clubs], the meeting was called to order, but then immediately adjourned with no business taken up—including the transfer of the Minneapolis Millers to Kelley. Kelley was not overly concerned about all this, saying that it was only an internal matter, and would be resolved—with his side winning, of course.25
The next day things took another unusual turn. During the season it was the duty of the chairman of the board to collect a three-percent duty from all clubs to be used for any emergency that might develop. At season’s end, club owners received a check for their share of any balance in the emergency fund. But when some presented their fund balance check for payment at the bank, they were informed that the check could not be honored. It turned out that during the season Mike Kelley had retained a bookkeeper who had asked for $125, but been refused. The disappointed bookkeeper subsequently garnished a portion of the emergency fund on deposit. The pro-Watkins/Kelley owners were able to get to a St. Paul bank before the others and were able to cash their checks. Upset pro-Tebeau men claimed that the cashed checks were illegally drawn from the account, as they were signed “Kelley, chairman,” and Kelley was no longer a member of the Association, at least in their eyes. Kelley explained that all this was only an attempt to embarrass him. The bookkeeper would get his money when he completed his work, as Kelley was not about to pay him for a task not completed. Kelley then dismissed the tempest, saying that “it amounts to nothing.”26
It appears that the American Association was beginning a war it had little hope of winning in the public mind. The sports writer who used the name O’Loughlin commented in the Minneapolis Journal: “The public has mighty little interest in the internecine fights between club owners of ball teams. … Both sides of this fight are firm, however, in the announcement that it is a fight to the last ditch. … It will take a legal battle to settle it if the magnates cannot agree. Legal battles cost a lot of money, and in this case such a fight would only concern seven or eight men.” Then O’Loughlin got to the real point:
“This is only a battle of bubbles, in reality, but the further the fight goes the more bitter it becomes. For their own protection, the protection of their pocketbooks and the good of the game these fellows should get together, break a bottle of milk and kiss and make up. It is a fight where all of them will lose in the long run, if it keeps up. Local sentiment is strong for Kelley and Watkins, and they will receive the full local support. It is to be presumed that similar conditions obtain in the other cities. The magnates should be spending the time they are using to talk fight in hunting up fast bush leaguers.”27
On January 6, 1906, the transfer of the Minneapolis baseball club was formally completed. The sale price reported to be about $30,000.28 The new ownership syndicate consisted of Kelley (said to be one of the largest stockholders in the franchise) as president, director, and manager of the team. E. J. Westlake (of the Commercial Club) was elected vice-president. Walter D. Boutell (a member of the firm of Boutell Brothers, a big local furniture house) was named treasurer and a director. L.A. Lydiard (the city clerk of Minneapolis) was appointed secretary and a director, and E.G. Potter (a former state Senator), A.T. Williams (manager of the A.D.T. Company), John Van Nest (alderman of the 13th Ward), and Wallace G. Nye (also of the Commercial Club) were named as directors.29 The new ownership also signed a five-year lease on Nicollet Park and Minnehaha Park (where the Millers played Sunday games).30 The team personnel went with the sale, except two players, Win Kellum and Mike Kahoe, who accompanied departing club owner William Watkins to Indianapolis.31 One man who stayed with the club was Ed N. Dickenson, who had been with the Millers since he “carried bats for Perry Werden in the years gone by.” He was now the superintendent of tickets, gates, peanut and pop concession, “and dictator of lineup on the scorecards.” It was written that he “had been with the club so long that he is always listed as one of the immovable fixtures when the club is sold. He is right in the class with the grandstands, save that unlike them he never gets full.”32
Kelley was given complete control of managing franchise affairs, including responsibility for the signing and releasing of players, and for signing all club checks. He was to report to the directors from time to time, but in general had a free hand in the general policy of the club. His first statement as president was one usually made by one in this position: “That I will give my best efforts toward making the club a playing and financial success seems hardly worth saying. I have a financial interest here now, and with an all Minneapolis directorate behind me I feel that the club will do more business than ever before.”33
Kind words were published for former club owner Watkins. The Minneapolis Journal wrote:
“Today marks the end of the Watkins regime, and in leaving the club Watkins takes with him the friendship of almost every fan in Minneapolis. He came here two years ago, and while he did not win a pennant, he had good teams and was a stickler for fast, clean play and an uncompromising enemy of rowdyism in the field. The gentlemanly conduct of the Minneapolis teams on the field has been generally commented upon all over the circuit and it has been in a great measure due to the strictness of Watkins. He is a splendid business man, an astute manager and one of the cleanest men to be found in baseball today.”34
In response to talk from St. Paul and George Lennon that the club sale was fake,35 the Minneapolis Journal wrote of the new owners: “Men of the caliber of those in the new company are not mixing in fake sales, and this transfer will put an end to much of the chatter of the rebellious element in the American Association.”36
With Kelley’s American Association suit still pending disposition in federal court, the new Minneapolis manager brought a lawsuit against George Lennon in February alleging non-payment of his full compensation for services rendered to the St. Paul club in 1905. Kelley was seeking $2,369.69, with $1,000 attributed to unpaid salary and the balance for commissions on the sale of ball players. Kelley had originally brought suit against Lennon for the $1,000 in 1905, but discontinued the litigation when Lennon promised to settle. Not receiving any money, Kelley went to the courts again. In May a jury awarded Kelley a verdict of $889 and costs for his unpaid commissions.37
All along the central problem between Kelley and the American Association was his reserve as a player. As long as he did not play, it really did not matter. But on March 29, 1906, the National Commission promulgated a ruling that no player under reserve could become a bench manager. The Commission further decreed that Kelley would not be recognized as an owner.38 The next day, Kelley supporters proposed that Kelley deposit $1,000 under protest with the National Commission, and then ask for a reopening of his case on the ground of a new development. Apparently this development was the claim that the St. Louis Browns had now offered to set a reasonable price upon Kelley’s release. If true, such action would clear up Kelley’s troubles. Kelley was not at the meeting, held in Chicago, where this strategy was unveiled, but club secretary Lydiard agreed it was an efficacious way to address the problem.39
The $1,000 was sent, but American League president Ban Johnson stated that John Bruce, a stockholder in the St. Louis Browns who had handled the deal, lacked the authority to act for the club. Therefore, Johnson would not accept the money for Kelley’s release. It was now asserted that St. Louis had paid the St. Paul club $1,800 for Kelley, and that the Browns wanted that amount for his release. At this point, National Commission chairman Garry Herrmann said Kelley would be allowed to manage the Millers from the bench, but he not be allowed to play until he secured his release.40
On April 17, the day before Opening Day, American Association president Joseph O’Brien sent a wire stating that Kelley could not manage his team from the bench. This left Kelley little recourse but a return to the courts. He had been willing to meet the Association half way, but it now appeared some were out to get him. O’Loughlin of the Minneapolis Journal saw only bad consequences from what lay ahead:
There is no doubt but that if the matter is thrown into court the whole bondage system of “organized baseball” will be knocked higher than a cocked hat in a Kansas cyclone. The contract, release and reserve system of baseball is farcical for justice and equity to the players, and once it is lined up against the regular law of contracts of almost any state the baseball law will go glimmering. Kelley has hesitated over involving himself and the American Association in a lengthy and expensive litigation, but there appears to be no other course left open to him.
O’Brien’s act, if he has made the order attributed to him, means the beginning of a red-hot fight in the Association, and one that may mean the disruption of the league, the formation of a new one and a general rearrangement of western minor league baseball.41
Even in Milwaukee, where the Havenor faction was anti-Kelley, sentiment was with Kelley. Tom Andrews, sports editor of the Evening Wisconsin, wrote:
“It may be organized ball wants to make a man pay nearly $2,000 because he wants to retire from the playing end of the game and become a business man himself, but it is not in keeping with American principles, and if the case is ever given a hearing in court there is not the slightest doubt that Mr. Kelley will be given his rights. If Kelley was a star player and he wanted to leave the St. Louis club and become a player-manager there would be some cause for asking a fair price for his release, but there is not a manager in the major leagues who would engage Mike Kelley at any kind of a salary to play first base (this is not intended to belittle Kelley’s ability as a minor league player), and in this case Mike does not want to play ball, but simply to manage a team that he is interested in himself.”42
Kelley sat in the grandstand on Opening Day in Louisville. It was reported that Garry Herrmann had issued a notice that Kelley could not participate, meaning as a player. However, O’Brien misconstrued this as meaning as a player or manager. It was said Herrmann called Kelley long distance and told him he could indeed manage from the bench, but as a favor asked Kelley to refrain from doing so. The report claimed that the National Commission chairman said he would notify O’Brien not to interfere with Kelley as a manager in any way, shape, or manner. Back on the field, the Colonels beat the Millers, 11-7, before 6,000 fans.43
The next day, Kelley took his seat on the Millers bench. Umpire Clarence “Brick” Owens told him that, under instructions from league president O’Brien, he was obliged to order Kelley to leave. If Kelley did not vacate the bench, the game was to be forfeited to the Colonels. Kelley replied, “If I go my team goes with me.” The game was then declared a 9-0 forfeit win for Louisville. After the aborted contest, Kelley told the press, “I decided that the only way to fight the opposing faction is in their own style. I have always tried to be square and open in the game and avoid any Indian fighting, but I’ve got my back against the wall now; they can show their hand and I’ll stay with them to the finish. Minneapolis is as good a baseball city as there is in the circuit, and if the other Association teams can afford to stand for this I can.”44
Garry Herrmann informed the press that he had not given Kelley permission to sit on the bench, as Kelley claimed. Herrmann said, “I alone would not have the power to do such a thing. However, since the incident of yesterday Kelley has applied for permission to sit on the bench while his team is playing, and I am now having telegraphic correspondence with other members of the commission on the subject. Nothing definite has been done yet, but I believe the manager of the Minneapolis team will be granted the permission. There could be no harm in it.”45
The next afternoon—April 20—Kelley sat on the Minneapolis bench undisturbed, and managed his team to a 9-3 loss. Herrmann had telegraphed Louisville owner George Tebeau that the Kelley situation came under a ruling made by Harry Pulliam and Ban Johnson some time back on the cases of Ned Hanlon, Connie Mack, and some other bench managers. Based upon that ruling, Herrmann stated that Kelley could manage from the bench, but he could not appear in uniform or be on the coaching lines. AA president O’Brien was compelled to abide to this direction, but ruled that the forfeited April 19 game would still stand.46 Finally on May 8, 1906, the National Commission dismissed the controversy about Kelley’s managing on the bench, stating that it would not interfere. A few days later, Kelley withdrew his lawsuit from federal court, and started negotiations with the St. Louis Browns to secure his release.47
In early June Kelley found himself in a little trouble with the law, but this time it had nothing to do with George Lennon, the St. Louis Browns, the American Association, or the National Commission. On June 6 the Indianapolis sheriff served warrants on Kelley and eight members of his team for playing a Sunday baseball game on the previous April 22. The warrants had been issued April 27, grounded upon a grand jury indictment, but this was the first opportunity that the sheriff had had to arrest the players within the jurisdiction. Kelley and his men posted a bond of $50 each and were released.48
Things appeared to be going smoothly between Kelley and the American Association, but cracks soon began to show. In the closing game of a series in Louisville on June 12, Kelley claimed that he and Colonels manager Suter Sullivan had agreed that the two teams would play until only 5:15 PM, in order to give the Millers time to get to the train station. Umpire Steven Kane understood this, Kelley maintained. But when it came time to call the game, the Millers were ahead on the scoreboard. Kane ordered the teams to continue playing, and the Colonels scored two runs in the ninth inning to win the game, 3-2. Umpiring with Kane was Brick Owens. Obviously, Kelley was not happy.49
Then on June 16, 1906, Toledo newspaperman Howard L. Spohn wrote that Kelley claimed that umpires Owens and Kane had relayed the signals of Minneapolis pitchers and catchers to the Louisville batters during the series in Louisville.50 Here what Kelley was alleged to have said:
When we landed in Louisville and the first day our pitchers were slaughtered, we naturally were greatly surprised. I talked to the boys and they were at a loss to explain the matter. They one and all said that the curves were breaking right, and they couldn’t understand why they were being touched by everybody. That night a lurking suspicion was confirmed when Jesse Stovall came to the hotel and laughingly said: “Well, the buzzer from the house back of center worked pretty well today, didn’t it?” Then he did his best to call our attention to that house and the possibility of signals being tipped from it.
His actions were so suspicious that I decided at once that he was stalling. I was still more firmly convinced of this when several other members of the team insisted on calling our attention to that same house, and I decided to watch closely the second day. I did so, and I found to my entire satisfaction that Kane and Owens were the boys who were doing the dirty work.
When a fast ball was signaled for, whichever umpire was behind the pitcher would draw his feet together and fold his arms. When the ball had passed the plate or been hit he would drop his arms. When a curve was called for he would step to one side with one foot for an out and with the other foot for an in. It was at first hard to believe that they would go so far, but I watched it closely and found out that every solitary ball was being tipped in advance. It wasn’t occasional—it was the rule.
Then the next day we fixed up a deal. We arranged to cross every third or fourth ball, and the result was that they couldn’t hit a little bit. It was downright funny to see the look on the faces of those batsmen when they would lean over and reach for a ball which had been tipped a curve out which came at them fast, straight for the head. Their look of surprise tipped the thing easily.
Well, on this same day, to make the matter strong, Claude Elliott was sent into the second story of this house and he would lean out of the window so far that everybody could tell just who he was. But it was all a stall. They wanted to get our attention to that house, while Kane and Owens got in their dirty work. Nothing could change my mind. I know I am right, and so does every man who was on the field. We had a fine chance against that game.51
The first game in Louisville was on June 9. The Millers lost 14-5, with the Colonels collecting 16 hits. The next game was again won by Louisville, 8-3, the home team knocking out 12 hits. The Millers won game three, 9-4, while the Colonels won the last game—the game that should have ended at 5:15 PM, 3-2.52
American Association president Joseph O’Brien was furious with Kelley and issued this statement from his office in Milwaukee:
“Mr. Kelley has been making trouble for the Association all the year, first by fighting over his sale to St. Louis, and later about managing the team from the bench after the commission had refused him that privilege.
He has also been inciting fans at Minneapolis to roast umpires and the like, and now seeks to pass it off by charging crookedness on the part of the umpires. He has gone too far and must answer to the Association. The matter will be thoroly [sic] investigated, and Mr. Kelley will have a chance to defend himself, but if guilty he may be put out of baseball. The charges are unfounded and ridiculous, and Kelley should be the last one to make such insinuations. He will get the limit of punishment, and he deserves it.”53
O’Brien immediately started an investigation and suspended Kelley and both umpires, pending a hearing.54 The Minneapolis Journal thought “this French style of pronouncing a verdict and then taking evidence will not go.”55 The newspaper was certainly on Kelley’s side, commenting, “Kelley has not been a trouble maker and O’Brien knows it as well as anyone. Kelley only asked to be let alone in managing his club. His Toledo utterances may or may not have been intemperate, but he has been goaded past the point of endurance. He has not inspired the mobbing of umpires. The arbitrators alone are to blame, and Kelley should not be held responsible for the outbreaks of pinheaded thugs.”56
Kelley denied making the inflammatory statements, but in Columbus he was quoted as standing by the story, only saying that as printed, it was far more elaborate than the way he had told it. At first, press accounts supported Kelley.57 W.W. Landman, a director in the Toledo baseball club, told reporters what had happened. Landman said, “I met Mike in Toledo shortly after his arrival from Louisville. He was feeling very sore over the treatment he had received there, and in the course of a conversation told me that he believed the umpires had tipped the signals of the Minneapolis team. He said that he did not propose to make any row over it, or even make his opinion public, as he had no way of proving it, and he gave it to me as a personal belief, not as a fact. In some way the newspapers got hold of it and spread on it, with the result that it has made an ugly tangle.”58
Within days, president O’Brien cleared umpires Owens and Kane to resume work. According to the Milwaukee Journal, “They are needed in the game, and as Manager Mike Kelley of Minneapolis is not a necessary article in the successful conduct of the American Association, he has been fitted with a bright tin can of double thickness pending an investigation.”59 On June 21, the American Association directors met and convened a special meeting in Chicago to hear the charges. The Louisville players had made sworn statements to the effect that neither Kane nor Owens “wigwagged” the signals to them. After a reading of affidavits from the umpires in which they denied unequivocally that they had ever been guilty of tipping signals, their suspensions were officially lifted. Kelley appeared in person, swearing that he never made such charges. Kelley claimed that his players believed that the umpires had it in for them, and the story began with that. The Colonels had even gone so far as to put a player in a window of a house across the street to keep the Minneapolis suspicions of signaling going. Kelley said that the Louisville scheme worked well, as it certainly distracted his players. Kelley further asserted that he told the reporter there was nothing to the talk of the umpires being involved, but the reporter “simply misconstrued the things which were said by the players and myself.” The reporter who had broke the story refused to appear at the hearing, and after a discussion of more than two hours, Kelley was exonerated by the board.60
All remained calm for almost a month. Then in the eighth inning of a July 18 game with the Columbus Senators in Minneapolis, umpire Owens called a Miller runner out at the plate. The Millers vocally and physically disagreed, with Millers’ first baseman Frank Freeman being ejected from the game. The Senators went on to win the game, 2-1, in 12 innings. Immediately after the game ended, fans from the bleachers swarmed onto the field and began throwing stones and clubs. Owens had to be escorted from the field and placed in a carriage by the police. The unruly crowd continued pursuit of the umpire until a police captain “mounted the seat and threatening to draw his revolver, lashed the horses out of the mob and to safety.”61 American Association president O’Brien immediately suspended Freeman and shortstop Andy Oyler for seven days and fined each $50 for an alleged assault upon Owens. In addition, Millers players Bill Fox, Lefty Davis, and Gene Ford were each fined $50 on a charge of rowdyism and inciting the fans. Manager Michael Kelley was reprimanded but not fined.62
Kelley was outraged at the suspension and fines, maintaining that his players were not responsible for the actions of the fans. He also felt that O’Brien should have come to Minneapolis and personally investigated the incident before imposing discipline.63 Kelley immediately got a court injunction allowing Oyler and Freeman to play.64 The next day, O’Brien gave umpire Owens orders that if either Oyler or Freeman played, the game was to be declared forfeited. Five thousand fans—an unusually large crowd for a Thursday afternoon game at Nicollet Park—were on hand, many armed with a large stock of eggs and the “avowed intention of ‘getting’ Owens’.” Against the advice of police, Owens took his post, as eggs started flying across the field. None found their mark. Meanwhile, Oyler and Freeman took their positions in the field. With the Senators’ Ollie Pickering in the batter’s box, Hank Gehring threw the first pitch of the game and Owens yelled out “strike one.” O’Loughlin of the Minneapolis Journal later quipped, “No one knew whether he called a strike on Pickering or was referring to the egg that found such a splattering point upon his anatomy.” At that, Owens immediately turned and ran toward the grandstand, bombarded by a broadside of eggs. Police escorted the umpire out of the park and to a waiting bus. Acting under instructions from president O’Brien, Columbus manager Billy Clymer refused to play without Owens as umpire and withdrew his team from the field. But the game was not called a forfeit at the time, as Owens had not called the game off while on the field. The crowd was given rain checks and left the grounds happy.65
President O’Brien declared the game a 9-0 forfeit win for the Senators and fined Kelley $100, suspending him until the fine was paid. The AA president also declared that Minneapolis was in danger of losing its franchise if it refused to abide by league rules. O’Brien then pulled Owens out of Minneapolis, sending him to Kansas City and replacing him with umpire Egan. The next day, Kelley paid his fine and the Columbus-Minneapolis series continued, without Freeman or Oyler on the playing field.66
Soon Millers secretary L.A. Lydiard got into the act, accusing umpire Owens of having bet $200 on the game of July 18. To support the charge, Minneapolis management secured affidavits from three “well known gamblers” which averred that they had an understanding with the umpire regarding when to bet on Columbus. According to one gambler’s affidavit, he was approached by Owens who proposed to advance money to him to be bet on Columbus. In return, Owens would pay him a 25 percent commission on his winnings. The gambler stated that he refused to take the money, but acted on Owens suggestion that Columbus was a cinch to win the game. The gambler placed his own bet on Columbus, later paying Owens 25 percent of his winnings. The other two affiants stated that Owens had approached them in the Brunswick Hotel and given each $100, directing them to bet at odds of 10 to 7 on Columbus. Each received a 25 percent commission on the money won by Owens from the bets placed by them.67
Owens emphatically denied the charge, saying that he did not have any money to waste betting on ball games. Owens asserted that he did not know any gamblers in Minneapolis, but he did know one man who had lost money on the July 18 game. The proprietor of the hotel where Owens lodged had lost $6 and was all over the umpire. Owens and others were certain that Michael Kelley was behind the allegations. Kelley said that he had nothing to do with them.68
Newspapermen in other cities were beginning to view Kelley in a different light. Manning Vaughan in Milwaukee wrote:
Kelley, by his methods both on and off the ball field, has gained the title of trouble maker of the American Association, and his present step against Owens is but another step in the persecution he has heaped on the umpire all year. … Kelley has been going over the circuit hinting broadly that he would land his arch enemy sooner or later, and from then until now he has pursued the arbiter with a persistence which is sure to drive either one or the other out of baseball.
But if anybody goes it will in all probability be Kelley. Not only has he defied all the laws of baseball, but by his actions two or three times this season he has cast a cloud of suspicion on the American Association, not only among the fans of the league, but all over the country. He has done more to hurt the game in the league than all the other rowdies taken collectively, and unless he is driven out of baseball the game as a clean sport in the Twin Cities will soon become a matter of history. … Lovers of clean sport can never and do not favor Kelley, and as long as he keeps up his fight against all that is right in baseball so long will he have thousands of fans wishing him out of the game.69
A scheduled July 31 AA meeting in Chicago to investigate the allegation was postponed when Milwaukee owner Charles Havenor and Louisville-Kansas City owner George Tebeau were unable to attend. St. Paul owner George Lennon held their proxies, but given the gravity of the charges, it was decided that the two owners should be present at the meeting.70
O’Brien had had enough of charges aimed at his umpires. He was quoted as saying:
“I called the meeting to clean all the dirty linen that has been accumulating in the Association for the past six months. The principal question to be considered will be the charges that Umpire Owens has been placing money on games in which he officiated. While we are at it, however, I intend to dig deep and to stop this constant charging and alleging that this or that other umpire, manager or player is playing dirty ball or acting against the rules. It has got to a point that can no longer be borne.”71
Others agreed, deeming the charges no more than a vehicle for smearing the reputation of Owens, and could not be proven. Fuel was added to this suspicion when Lydiard lawyer Boutell said that he was very much in doubt if he could produce his witnesses.72 Owens’ attorney Henry J. Killilea of Milwaukee denounced the allegations made against his client, declaring, “The charges are preposterous, and the evidence that we will bring up against the Minneapolis charges in the morning will astound the directors who have doubted the character of Owens. If the Minneapolis directors are unable to produce their witnesses named in the affidavits I may help them, so you can judge for yourself how certain I am of the result of the meeting. If the umpire is found to be innocent nothing too severe can be meted out to the men who instigated the attack, and it is up to President O’Brien to sift the affair to the bottom.”73
The meeting started at 9:00 a.m. on August 1, 1906. L.A. Lydiard was present with his attorney, as was Clarence Owens with his. Mike Kelley did not attend. The three gambler affidavits were read. They bore the signatures of “R. Smith,” “Fred English,” and “George Kusch.” Norman W. King, a Minneapolis detective employed by president O’Brien, “threw a bomb into the camp of Owens’ opponents” when he offered proof that “Smith” was in a sanitarium about twenty miles from Waukesha, Wisconsin, suffering from delirium tremens. And Smith was not his real name. Rather, he was identified as Emil Dulquist,74 and he admitted that he got $20 for signing what was represented to him as merely a statement. Dulquist said that he was under the influence of liquor at the time.75 King also furnished evidence that “Fred English” was another fictitious name. The true name of the man who signed the second affidavit was Byron, a gambler out of work and willing to do almost anything to make $20. It was further discovered that affiant “Kusch” was someone well known to the AA directors, but his real name was not disclosed at this time.76 One of the affiants (probably the man known as George Kusch) sent a letter to Joseph O’Brien (that arrived on the day after the hearing) that stated that he was drunk and given $20 to sign the paper. This man (who did not give his real name) said he did not know Owens and had not seen a professional baseball game in ten years.77
Another hearing witness was an unnamed conductor on the Northern Pacific Roadway. He testified that a man named Fred Briggs had approached him in a saloon in Minneapolis and offered him $20 to sign a statement to the effect the Owens had wagered $200 on the game of July 18. The conductor testified that he turned Briggs down, but Briggs told him he already had two affidavits and wanted a third. According to Manning Vaughan of the Milwaukee Sentinel, Fred Briggs was a political constituent of Lydiard’s and a gambler.78 Thereafter, American Association umpire W.J. Sullivan testified that he was in Minneapolis on the day of the game in question, and that Owens was broke and had borrowed $10 from him until he got paid. To the directors, this seemed to prove conclusively that Owens had not placed a $200 bet on the July 18 game.79
At the conclusion of the proceedings, the American Association board of directors found the charges against Owens “wholly and entirely false.” The following resolution was then passed:
Whereas, false and malicious charges involving the honesty and integrity of our national game as conducted in this Association were filed and published by a person or persons interested in the Minneapolis baseball club, and,
Whereas, said false and malicious charges have been a great injury and injustice to this, the American Association of professional baseball club, and to organized baseball in the United States, and realizing the duty we owe as officers of this Association to organized baseball to see that the guilty parties are properly and promptly punished for the wrong and injury done to this Association and to organized baseball; therefore, be it
Resolved, That the president of this Association be authorized and directed to immediately proceed to investigate and determine who is the guilty party or parties and report the same to this board, with the proper charge or charges to be preferred for a prompt and adequate punishment.80
Lydiard attorney Boutelle gave a detailed statement to the press when he arrived home from Chicago. He stated that after the July 18 Columbus-Minneapolis game, ugly rumors were flying about which needed to be looked into. According to Boutelle, if the rumors had any foundation, it was self-evident that they “must be run down amongst the class in the community that would be most likely to be engaged in gambling jobbery on the smaller scale. The management placed the investigation in the hands of a man whom they believed could trace the matter if it was susceptible of being traced at all.” A few days later the man engaged reported that he had tangible evidence, and that three men were prepared to make affidavits or oral statements as to the facts of the matter. Lydiard had the witnesses give sworn statements at the attorney’s office, and the Minneapolis management had no reason to assume that these parties were giving anything except the actual facts. Management then followed what seemed the only appropriate course to take, namely, to place the information in the hands of the National Commission as well of the president of the American Association. No charges were preferred by the Minneapolis people, and their sole intention was to present the information to the appropriate authorities for such action as they might deem warranted.
President O’Brien then called for a meeting to be held in Chicago on very short notice, and directed the Minneapolis management to procure the attendance of the men who swore to the affidavits. The time proved too short to comply with this directive. In the alternative, Minneapolis management proffered its version of the circumstances surrounding the assignment of umpire Owens to the Columbus series; what happened in the game (i.e. the fining of five players); the suspension of two players, and the refusal of O’Brien to come to Minneapolis to personally investigate the case. Management also claimed that it possessed a large number of affidavits from prominent businessmen and others “tending to disclose personal animus and hostility upon the part of Umpire Owens toward the Minneapolis team.” The request of the Minneapolis management to have the case held in St. Paul was denied and they were forced to go to Chicago.
At the August 1 meeting, the Minneapolis management declined to act in the capacity of prosecutor of any charges made against Owens. They simply wanted to present the information that they had obtained. The AA board of directors refused to look at all the information, only being interested in the matter of Owens’ purported betting on the game. When the Minneapolis team requested that the other matters be followed up on at a later time, the board refused that, as well. Boutelle concluded by saying: “They [Minneapolis management] do feel that it would have been a wise and better course to have taken less precipitate action in this matter and to have given it the benefit of a further and more complete investigation. The board, however, appeared to be satisfied to act on the evidence then before it and the charges were resolved then and there in favor of Umpire Owens, exonerating him fully.”81
To add a strange twist to the case, the man who signed the affidavit as “R. Smith” died at the sanitarium within hours of Owens’ exoneration by the board. Emil Dulquist had been drinking heavily, and a few days prior to the board meeting, he had been sent to the sanitarium for treatment. The Milwaukee Sentinel reported that Dulquist/Smith was a well known gambler in Minneapolis, who had formerly worked and lived in Milwaukee.82 Then the day after the hearing, the Minneapolis Journal located the anonymous railway conductor who had testified at the proceedings. He gave the name F.W. Robinson, with a home address of 1322 Dupont Avenue. The superintendent of the Northern Pacific Roadway later said that no such man worked for the railroad out of Minneapolis. Nor was such a name listed in the city directories. The address was also bogus. 1322 Dupont Avenue North turned out to be a vacant lot, while there was no such address as 1322 Dupont Avenue South. To add to all this, no man by the name of Robinson was known at the saloon where the $20 offer was said to have been made.83
In a lengthy editorial on the “mistreatment” of Kelley by president Joseph O’Brien and the American Association, the Minneapolis Journal’s “The Dutch Uncle” wrote these lines in his Sunday “Boots and Boosts” column regarding the affidavits and Robinson:
O’Brien admitted to the writer, within two weeks, that this man [Robinson] was protecting his job by using an alias. Protecting the fact that he was an honest man so that his employer could not find it out and fire him for telling the truth!
O’Brien, Tebeau and the rest, if they knew this man was telling a lie about his name, residence and occupation, did not so inform the Chicago reporters, but apparently let it go forth as true with the possible intention of further besmirching the Minneapolis club. I do not know anything about the truth or falsity of the three affidavits accusing Owens. To knock him out, tho [sic] cleaner evidence should have been brought than that of a man, an anonymous man, skulking behind the alias. He was produced by a private detective, a relative of whom was offering for $50 an “exclusive story” to the effect that the three affidavits accusing Owens were false, to a St. Paul newspaper three or four days before the meeting in Chicago. A fair, impartial tribunal would not go on such evidence. The innocence or guilt of Owens should have been established beyond all question, as the charge was a serious one and neither the Association nor the umpire can afford to have any cloud over the clean-up.84
Kelley protested that he was in no way responsible for the charges against Owens. “I have had absolutely nothing to do with this affair, although some people have tried to bring me into it. Mr. Lydiard acted entirely on his own responsibility in preferring charges against Umpire Owens. In fact, I did not know of the matter till the affidavits had been presented. This is a case for others to fight and not myself.”85 Kelley soon found out that he was wrong on this count.
Joseph O’Brien issued this statement: “It is now my duty to make a thorough investigation. I have no idea where it will lead to, but I will start immediately. We cannot submit to this sort of talk, as it does injury to everyone. An attempt was made to take Owens’ bread and butter from him and ruin his otherwise good reputation as an umpire.” Ban Johnson said that the National Commission might assume control of the proceedings from the American Association if justice were not done.86 Owens let it be known that the matter was not forgotten by him either. He proposed to sue Lydiard, Mike Kelley, and the Minneapolis baseball club for criminal libel and seek damages of $100,000 for defamation of character.87 Kelley did not seem fazed by all this commotion. Three days after the hearing, he was in Burlington, Iowa looking over a local squad for prospective players for his Millers. A few days later, he reported that he had signed four new players for his team.88
On August 12, 1906, O’Brien announced that he would hold a trial on August 22 in Milwaukee to air the evidence against Lydiard and Kelley in the Owens case. In the meantime, the two were suspended from all privileges in the American Association. O’Brien made it clear what the object of the “trial” would be by writing that Kelley and Lydiard were “to show cause why [they] should not be expelled by said American Association as an officer of the Minneapolis club.”89 With his team in Indianapolis, Kelley wrote back to O’Brien: “You have no grounds for suspending me as manager of the Minneapolis club, except personal prejudice. Your action in this matter is in line with your decisions in other cases in which the Minneapolis club was interested. In suspending me before trial you are simply taking advantage of your position as president of the American Association, and you are hereby notified that I shall take action immediately to protect my interests.”90
Baseball people in Minneapolis were not taking all this very well. O’Loughlin of the Minneapolis Journal wrote the day after O’Brien’s announcement:
The idea is held locally that Kelley is being made the butt of the Association for his every act, not because of any of his actions, but because he, in his fight for this rights, took baseball “law” into court and showed that it was worthless. He “showed up” some of the baseball leaders in a bad light. He has never been forgiven.
Minneapolis fans are tired of the whole business. They are angry at seeing one of the best cities on the circuit ruined and crippled to satisfy spites and grudges. They will not stand for more of it. If Mike Kelley is “Sloughed” by the board of directors without a full review of the whole affair, without an open, fair and impartial hearing, on that day professional baseball becomes a dead cock in the pit of Minneapolis. Kelley could organize an independent team and do more business in Minneapolis than could a Tebeau-Havenor dominated team playing in the circuit parks.91
It even appeared Kelley’s action were causing friction among the parties usually on his side—including his own stockholders. The Indianapolis Sun wrote:
“Kelley has not only been an expensive proposition for the owners of the Minneapolis team—and it is now said that Kelley does not own much of the stock—but he has gotten the team into all sorts of trouble. If Kelley is retained as manager and president by the Minneapolis stockholders it is said, it will completely rearrange the political alignment of the A.A. and the Watkins faction will be in the minority. The policy that Kelley has pursued has not been that of the real owners of the team, and it is said that he has gone against the instructions of those that have paid him his salary. Bryce of Columbus is now hot after Kelley’s scalp, and it is understood that he has told the members of the so-called Watkins faction that unless Kelley is deposed he will desert the faction.”92
Though suspended, Kelley was still running the team. On Sunday August 19, 1906, shortstop Andy “Pepper” Oyler did not show for the game, saying merely that he “did not care to play.” The Minneapolis Journal observed that “as a result manager Kelley sent Graham, the utility man, in as shortstop and Oyler sought a cool spot at the clubhouse.” The paper also reported that before the next day’s game against Columbus, Kelley chose pitcher Gene Ford as his starting pitcher. “Michael J made up his mind to this at 3:30, yelled his decision thru a knothole in the left-field fence and then hiked out for a riverbank and a shade tree. He did—like Kelley did.”93
The hearing was held on August 22. The evidence against Kelley and Lydiard was weak. The only person appearing in the flesh was a bartender named James McCarthy of Minneapolis, who told the directors that Lydiard asked him if he knew anything of gambling on the games in Minneapolis. McCarthy said that he did not. Fred Briggs testified about how he secured the gambler affidavits and swore that he did not pay a cent to anyone for making them. President O’Brien was asked about the persons whom he conversed with in Minneapolis about the affair, but George Lennon, chairing the meeting, sustained an objection to the question. Presented was a letter from “George Kusch” stating that the affidavit that he had made against Owens was false. It also came out at the hearing that the infamous F.W. Robinson’s real name was Daly, and that he lived at 1333 [not 1322] Dupont Avenue North.94
In all, the testimony showed that Kelley knew that the club directors were getting affidavits together on Owens’ suspected betting on games, but that Kelley did not take any part in securing the affidavits and that he did not know that they were sent to O’Brien until after the mailing. Kelley swore that he had nothing to do with these actions and that Lydiard had pushed the matter through. Kelley went so far as to say that president O’Brien had “been after” him all season and that he [Kelley] had refused to have anything to do with the Owens affair because he feared that league directors were “laying for just such an opening” in order to oust him from Organized Baseball. The proofs also suggested that the whole kerfuffle was sparked by a Minneapolis newspaper editorial about gambling on ball games, and the intimation that umpire Owens was mixed up in it. On a point of procedure, Kelley lawyer M.H. Boutelle thought it peculiar that the directors of the American Association had never recognized Kelley as president of the Minneapolis club, but still had summoned him to Milwaukee to show cause why he should not be expelled from that office.95
Nothing was done immediately to Kelley or Lydiard. On the same day as the proceedings, Milwaukee businessman August “Gus” Koch purchased the Minneapolis Millers from Kelley and his backers. According to an initial report, Koch had actually purchased all 300 shares of the club stock from William Watkins and Charles Ruschaupt, who had purchased the stock from Kelley and Lydiard when these two were suspended and could have nothing more to do with the club. At present, Watkins was
the owner of the Indianapolis Indians franchise and Ruschaupt was a local businessman associated with the Indy team. The purchase price of the Minneapolis franchise was said to be around $20,000, or about $10,000 under what the club was thought to be worth.96 (However, the Milwaukee Journal of August 23 stated the price was understood to be between $30,000 and $40,000.) Koch stated that he would like to have kept Mike Kelley as his manager, but was not sure if this would be allowed, as Kelley had apparently been “quietly” blacklisted by the American Association. For the time being, Millers captain Bill Fox would be in charge of the team until the Kelley issue was resolved.97
Gus Koch was a Milwaukee businessman who had been on the fringes of baseball for a number of years. For a long time he owned a saloon on East Water Street (now North Water Street) but had retired when Milwaukee became a “tight town.” His obituary said that “for years he was proprietor of a gaming house on East Water Street, and that business is said to have netted him a large fortune.” In the 1890s he also conducted vaudeville shows in the Exposition Building with future American Association president Joseph O’Brien, but the venture had sustained heavy losses that resulted in a lawsuit against O’Brien. At the time of his death in 1907, Koch was a wealthy man with considerable property interests on the west side of Milwaukee, in addition to property in other cities.98
Koch loved horses, but his hobby was baseball. In 1900, he was involved in the formation of a proposed major league to be called the National Association. Koch would be the holder of the nascent circuit’s Philadelphia franchise. But when the American League took over Philadelphia and other cities that the association had intended to set up in, the National Association died stillborn. In early 1901, and supposedly with National League backing, a revived major league American Association was proposed, primarily to smother another newly-declared major, the American League. Koch and Joseph O’Brien were to head its Detroit franchise. But the anticipated financial backing of the National League never materialized, and by February this American Association was also dead. Reportedly, Koch lost $6,000 in the venture. An obviously bitter Koch later told the Detroit Journal:
“Faro, poker, roulette and the horses are gentlemen’s games compared to the game of the magnates. In the former a player has a chance; in the latter, you have no chance on earth. Now, a good, decent-looking porch-climber has my admiration. He will take a chance to get the coin, but when you deal with National League baseball magnates you are given the dope in a glass of sparkling champagne, and when you wake up you find the magnates have changed from Dr. Jekylls to Mr. Hydes. Oh, yes, I woke up all right.”99
In the late summer of 1902 there had been talk of Detroit and Baltimore being jettisoned from the American League, with Pittsburgh and New York taking their place in 1903. Included in this report was the assertion that Boston American owner Henry J. Killilea (later the Milwaukee attorney for umpire Brick Owens) would take over the budding New York franchise, and that Koch would purchase the Boston club from Killilea. There was even a report that Killilea wanted to purchase the Detroit club and move it to Milwaukee.100 These stories were empathically denied by Killilea who kept the Boston Americans, which won the 1903 AL pennant and then the World Series.
When Gus Koch purchased the team, the Millers were in fourth-place with a 62-61 record. The first game played under the new ownership on August 22 was a success, the Millers beating Bill Watkins’ Indianapolis Indians, 1-0, before 500 fans at Nicollet Park.101 Unhappily for Koch, the sale of the Millers was not met with favor by the Minneapolis fans. Mike Kelley was very popular in Minneapolis, and it was felt that he got the short end of the affairs with the American Association owners. Koch was also seen as allied with the anti-Kelley owners, and now that group had a majority in American Association councils.102
In his first statement to the press, Koch said all the right things:
The club is mine in its entirety. No one else has a dollar invested and if there is more stock issued or sold it will be to Minneapolis people. I am not a believer in the syndicate baseball idea and will not sell stock to anyone not a resident of the city.
It is my purpose before the beginning of another season to become a citizen of Minneapolis. I own several pieces of property and a residence in Milwaukee and as it is the slow season I do not want to sacrifice my holdings down there. It is my intention, however, to close out in Milwaukee and become an out-and-out citizen of this city. I regard this as my last move financially and will naturally want to be on the ground.103
To the accusation of being in the anti-Kelley camp, Koch had this to say: “The report that Havenor, Tebeau and Lennon are backing me or friendly to me is true to a certain extent so far as friendship is concerned. Had these men not been friendly to me I could not have taken hold of the club, as they control the board of directors and the board of directors say who shall and who shall not hold a franchise in the league. They are not interested financially with me. I will say that emphatically. I own every share of the stock.”104 Koch wanted Kelley to run the team, and expected him to be exonerated. Having attended the hearing in Milwaukee, Koch thought that he had heard nothing that could result in unfavorable consequences for Kelley. And Koch would use all of his influence to get Kelley back in good standing. In the meantime Captain Fox would continue to run the team.105 Koch summed up his position by extending an olive branch. “Under the conditions prevailing in the league I believe I am the logical man to take hold here and am willing to give it a trial,” he said. “I am going to treat everybody fairly and cannot ask the same treatment unless I do so. There will be no changes in the policy of the local club, as I can see no need for changes. I think things have been handled all right here so far as I can see.”106
Within a week of Koch purchasing the team, there was a story published that he wanted to sign Bobby Quinn, presently the business manager of the Columbus Senators, to run his team. There were also suggestions that American Association president O’Brien wanted Quinn in Minneapolis. Koch was quick to deny all this, saying “I intend to retain personal charge of the club for the time being. It is possible that I shall select a manager later on, but not now. There is no truth in the story that Quinn has been offered the position.”107
As we shall see, it appeared that Kelley did manage the team at times — from the grandstand. As would be expected, Koch stated that Kelley had not acted in the capacity of club manager since his suspension.108 But immediately after the season was over, an article in the Milwaukee Journal divulged how Kelley had continued to manage the Millers:
The carpenter cut out a nice panel just back of the players’ bench on the Minneapolis side of the grandstand. It was a panel 18 inches deep and 7 feet long. Then Kelley had wire screening tacked up. The carpenter built a house around about the atmosphere and the hole, and put on a door and lock. Then he constructed a bench for Michael, and the king of Nicollet Park mounted his throne.
It worked nicely. It gave a splendid view of the ball park in whole, and the manager could whisper to his players as they sat on the bench, and they could hear him. His head was not 10 inches from their caps. He could signal them when the team was on the field, or to the base runner, by changing the position of his hand on the screen.
He was complying with Joe’s ultimatum that he could not sit on the bench and must keep out off the field. Joe was circumvented completely, and ‘the coop’ came to be a laughing post all around the circuit.109
But Koch maintained that he had only had Kelley scouting other teams for him.110
The Millers would end the 1906 season in third place, with an 80-71 record [according to the Minneapolis Journal and Milwaukee Journal. The 1907 Reach Guide gave the Millers an 81-68 record, while the Minor League Encyclopedia gives the Millers record as 79-66]. The team went 18-10 while Koch owned it.111 About a week after the season ended, Gus Koch ran into trouble with city government. It was discovered that the fence on the east side of the team’s Sunday playing grounds at the Minnehaha ballpark was located about 60 feet onto land that was to be used for a city street. That meant that the ballpark dimensions would have to be shortened and rearranged. This expense, moreover, came on the heels of an increase of $25,000 in the tax assessment imposed by the city board of equalization.112
In October, Koch told the press that he was undecided who would manage the Millers in 1907. He wanted Mike Kelley, but with Kelley’s suspension still in effect, Koch needed to act soon or go into the spring without a manager. Koch said that he had another man who could manage the club in 1907, and who would be just as good as Kelley, but Koch was not then at liberty to give out his name.113 In the end, Koch never had to make any managerial decisions. On October 22, 1906, he sold the team to Michael and Joseph Cantillon. The Cantillon brothers were well-known in baseball circles. Joe had managed the AA Milwaukee Brewers for the past four years, while Mike was the president of the Des Moines team of the Western League. The reported sale price was $15,000, which meant at least a $5,000 loss in two months for Gus Koch.
Minneapolis Journal sportswriter O’Loughlin summed up Koch’s role in Minneapolis thusly: “Like almost every peacemaker, August received a heavy wallop for his pains. He found Minneapolis in a state of seething indignation at the league leaders for their conduct. He was tickled to death, evidently, to find someone to unload his club upon.” Koch asserted that he had told American Association leaders that he wanted Kelley or he wanted out of Minneapolis. He was told that he could not use Kelley, the Cantillons were brought forward as purchasers, and the deal for the Millers was closed.114 The next day, Koch said that he was looking to purchase another baseball team, thought to be the Indianapolis Indians.115 This did not occur, as Gus Koch would only live another six months. He died in Milwaukee on May 3, 1907, age 47.116
Within days of the transfer of the Minneapolis Millers, Joe Cantillon was signed to manage the Washington Nationals of the American League, notwithstanding the fact that he still was co-owner of the Millers. Mike Cantillon would manage the Millers in 1907. In another twist, Jack Doyle, who had managed Mike Cantillon’s Des Moines team in 1906, took over in Milwaukee as Joe Cantillon’s replacement for the 1907 season.117
As neither Mike Kelley nor L.A. Lydiard was connected with the Minneapolis franchise any longer, the American Association board of directors was powerless to take further action against them. Accordingly, the AA owners decided to send all the hearing testimony to National Commission chairman Garry Herrmann for action “at the earliest possible opportunity.” As for that maneuver, Kelley’s lawyer said that “the meeting was acrimonious in the extreme and was marked by many clashes. The result was a fiasco for the prosecution, and sending the case to the National Commission was a clever way to end it without an open defeat.”118 Kelley was also outspoken, telling the press, “There is a big difference between civil law and baseball law. In civil law a man is innocent until proven guilty. In baseball, a man is guilty until proven innocent. At least, that is the way my case stands. The best I can get is the worst of it.”119
The day after the hearing, gambler George Kusch had made a statement to Milwaukee newspaper reporters, AA president O’Brien, and a stenographer. Kusch said that he had expected to testify at the August hearing, but friends of Lydiard and others prevented him from leaving Minneapolis. Kusch further stated that he was paid $10 to say that he had received $100 from umpire Owens to bet on the ball game. He declared that Fred Briggs had paid him the money and took him to the office of an attorney where his affidavit was drafted.120
With Mike Kelley severed from Minneapolis ownership, it was now being said by some that the sale of the club to him and his investors by Bill Watkins earlier in the year had been a sham. Investor E.G. Westlake contradicted the assertion, saying that Watkins had been desirous of leaving Minneapolis due to bad health and his business interests in Indianapolis. Kelley, in turn, was interested in acquiring the Millers and had purchased over $5,000 in stock. Kelley wished to have a local directorate with him, and investors had put down their money, seeing the club as a good investment. The investors fully intended to complete the Watkins buyout, using anticipated club earnings for that purpose. In the meantime, Watkins held the unpaid-for stock, promising to sell none of it to any outsiders and vesting control of the club affairs entirely in the new board of directors of the Minneapolis Baseball Club. Watkins in no way interfered with the management or policies of the club. The stock that he retained served only as security for final payment of the full sale price for the club. Thereafter, the uncertainty of the Kelley-Lydiard situation prompted Watkins to advise some of the club investors to sell their holdings, as Watkins believed that was the best move that they could make. Ultimately, the investors turned over their stock to Kelley and Lydiard to make such disposition of it as they saw fit. Every stockholder recouped his money, so there was no “buncoing the public.”121
People in and around Minneapolis were growing concerned that the American Association board of directors had little intention of lifting Kelley’s suspension. There were rumors that unless the case was settled there would be reprisals, one being the prohibition of Sunday ball in Minneapolis and St. Paul, a move which would be very costly to the teams. Because Gus Koch was said to be a close friend of American Association president O’Brien and Milwaukee owner Charles Havenor, it was thought that he had joined the Havenor-Tebeau-Lennon brotherhood. Koch, however, said he wanted Kelley and that he wished to see the Kelley situation cleared up as soon as possible. But many fans viewed this statement as a “salve” or “bluff,” and they were waiting for Koch to do something more than announce determination to see the Kelley controversy resolved. Attendance was falling off to a marked degree in Minneapolis, as fans were rapidly growing tired of the political machinations of the American Association’s controlling body.122
The National Commission docketed the Kelley case for its September 1, 1906, session, but then decided that it had no standing in the case – for now. But that assessment would be reconsidered at the October Commission meeting, leaving Kelley in limbo during the interim.123 Kelley officially spent his time scouting amateur players in the area, but unofficially he was no doubt managing Millers games. The September 8, 1906, Minneapolis Journal stated, “Banished Manager Kelley had a new man in the box for the Kochs.” Reporting on the September 12 game in Kansas City, the same paper described a Millers pitching change as follows: “Kelley, who was in the grandstand, yelled out a name that sounded like Ford, and a moment later Eugene [Ford] took his place in the box.” If this in fact was true, it might seem odd, as both AA president Joe O’Brien and umpire Brick Owens were also in the grandstand watching the game.124
When the National Commission met in October, chairman Garry Herrmann was displeased that the Kelley case had come before the body again, and had the matter referred to the National Association of Minor Leagues. In reassigning the matter, the three members of the National Commission added, “We strongly recommend, however, on account of the serious nature of the charges that that board thoroughly and carefully examine into the entire matter and that the men charged be either convicted or acquitted.”125 But the minor league office was also ill-disposed to deal with the Kelley case. It concluded that the matter was an internal league problem and dispatched it back to the American Association.
As this was all playing out, Gus Koch reiterated that he still wanted Kelley to manage his team in 1907. But as long as the suspension was in force he could not engage him. Koch told Kelley to talk to George Tebeau and Charles Havenor and try to settle the matter. “There is no reason why it cannot be settled if Kelley will go to the men in question and make his peace with them,” said Koch. Yet Koch had to act soon on a manager or he would not have one come spring.126 This, of course, became an irrelevant point for Koch on October 22, 1906, when he sold the Millers to Mike and Joe Cantillon.127
Finally on December 2, 1906, the American Association met in Chicago and declared that Kelley (and Lydiard) were ineligible to be an owner, manager, and player for any club in the American Association. In effect, Kelley was now blacklisted from Organized Baseball, as most likely no other club would hire him.128 Days later, American League president Ban Johnson complicated Kelley’s predicament by stating that no other club could hire Kelley, as he was still on the reserve of the St. Louis Browns. This was so, even though the Browns did not place Kelley on their reserve list, an oversight that ordinarily would have made him a free agent. Johnson, however, said “the fact that Kelley was not tendered a contract does not make any difference. The National Commission has decided that a tender of a contract is not necessary at a certain date. He is reserved just the same.”129 Kelley, who was not at the AA meeting, said he would contest the Johnson edict, which he called a farce. Minneapolis city clerk L.A. Lydiard was indifferent about the ruling against him, but thought that the entire controversy had been a blow at Kelley.130 In some quarters it was believed that Kelley was declared ineligible because he had a two-year contract to manage the Millers and that AA owners were loath to see him make his $4,000 a year [which former Minneapolis owner and present Indianapolis owner William Watkins would likely be responsible for].131
Few in Minneapolis believed that Kelley had gotten a fair shake. In the Minneapolis Tribune, sportswriter Frank E. Force observed, “At the meeting it was stated that $1,200 of Association money had been used in prosecuting the case, and fans here are wondering what was done with all this money. Perhaps it might have been wise to use a little of it in the search for Mr. ‘Robinson’, the gentleman on whose evidence Mr. Kelley was ‘convicted’, and yes who has never yet appeared to anybody’s eyes.”132 “The Dutch Uncle” wrote in his Sunday column for the Minneapolis Journal, “The ‘hearing’ of Kelley was marked by more of vindictiveness than justice or impartiality. It will take years for the sting of it to wear away. In fact, it is doubtful if it ever wears away so long as the present governing clique of the American Association holds full sway.”133 It was even reported there was a movement on among fans in Minneapolis to raise a fund to help Kelley fight the AA in court, as well as was talk of organizing a boycott of Association games during the coming season.134
Even in Milwaukee, where Charles Havenor was a leader in the anti-Kelley camp, the AA “trial” was seen as a farce. The Milwaukee Journal wrote, “There was no hope for Kelley. The controlling faction demanded his removal and that settled it. He was a gone goose months ago and all that stood between him and final expulsion from the Association was some form of procedure that could be pointed to by the bouncers as indicative of a square deal.”135
However, this sentiment was not felt in all cities. The Cincinnati Post believed that “ousting of the scandal makers is needed to ensure its [baseball’s] safety.”136 To add a little more peculiarity to an already bizarre situation, Richard Meade, sports editor the Toledo News-Bee, printed an unflattering story about umpire Brick Owens. Before a game in Kansas City between the Blues and Mud Hens, Meade talked to Owens at the ballpark. Owens got a lot off his chest about his troubles with Kelley before the editor remarked that Owens was not looking well. Owens responded, “I’ll tell you, I haven’t been able to do myself justice for a week. I’ve hit it up harder than I should, and admit it has hurt my work. But I’ve cut out the booze, and I think you’ll find my work better than ever.” As Meade advised his readers:
And this was only four days after Owens had caused the trouble in Minneapolis. Through this statement Owens admits he was not himself during his session in the Miller City, and puts a rather shadowy complexion on the situation at that time. Now if Owens was drinking, as he says he was, he was not capable of handling a ball game where two clubs were fighting for the lead, as were Columbus and the Millers that fateful afternoon. As to the charges of “crookedness,” the writer knows nothing, as the matter had not been brought up at that time, and subsequently, when it was put to Owens, he merely laughed and said nothing.137
Some newspapers thought the Owens interview was invented, but Meade stood by it. Meade noted that he had not written that Owens was intoxicated, only that Owens had not been himself for a week. Meade wrote “in justice to Owens, however, the writer will say that every time he saw him on the field, the umpire was in full command of his faculties. Thursday evening’s story was not a tirade to discredit the umpire, he always has troubles enough, but it was simply done in justice to Mike Kelley.”138
The Milwaukee Sentinel had this to say on things like the Meade report: “The attempts of Mike Kelley’s friends to throw mud on the baseball reputation of Owens are becoming absurd. …Why the information, if it can be backed up with any substantial proof, has been kept under cover for such a long time is a mystery. William Sullivan accompanied Owens through the Minneapolis series and when the question was put to him he said there was not one iota of proof in the yarn.”139 The editor of the Milwaukee Daily News was particularly hard on Meade. He said that Meade was a personal friend of both Mike Kelley and Toledo owner J. Edward Grillo, and had it in for umpires who were disliked by either. The editor doubted that Owens would have said such things to Meade, and found it odd that Meade should unveil his putative interview at this time, questioning why Meade had not reported what Owens said to AA president O’Brien or some other Association official earlier. “From this part of the country the alleged interview Meade had with Owens sounds ‘fishy’ as do most of the baseball stories that came from Toledo.”140 Owens, meanwhile, wrote a letter to O’Brien denying the story. O’Brien replied that he would take no notice of the Meade allegations.141
For his part, Mike Kelley wrote Meade a letter, revealing bits about the hearing and his current situation. He called the methods used “so one-sided they were ridiculous.” Kelley added,
“Lennon was judge, and the jury was composed of Lennon, Havenor, Tebeau, Watkins and Bryce. Both Watkins and Bryce are so frightened for fear their heads will be cut off by Havenor, Tebeau and Lennon that they haven’t nerve enough left to vote against any proposition offered by the people in control. Mike Cantillon’s actions at last Sunday’s meeting prove that he doesn’t control the Minneapolis vote. I have decided not to consider any offer from clubs outside of the league unless the suspension is raised by the members of the league, either by force or otherwise. If I’m not good enough to do business in a league controlled by men of the Havenor-Lennon-Tebeau type, then I certainly would not expect any other association to consider me in any capacity.”142
On December 11, 1906, Kelley instituted a civil suit against the Minneapolis baseball club for $1,000 claimed to be due him as manager of the Millers in 1906. Kelley’s contract called for $4,000 per annum, of which he was only paid $3,000. Gus Koch stated that when he took over the club in August, he was assured that former owner William Watkins would take care of Kelley’s contract until the end of the season. Upon the sale of the club to the Cantillons, Kelley was not paid the remainder of his salary. In an amusing wrinkle to the suit, papers were served on Lydiard, who was still on the books as the secretary of the Minneapolis club. This little dispute would soon be straightened out. After the Minneapolis Baseball Company engaged an attorney to look into the suit, it was agreed by all that Kelley was due $1,000. The only remaining issue was whether he should be paid by Watkins, Koch, or the Cantillons.143
With Kelley’s plight drawing national attention, the American Association decided to take up the case again. A number of AA club owners said they had not intended Kelley to be blacklisted from all of Organized Baseball, but only from their association. But there was doubtless even a bigger reason for the league resurrecting the matter. Fans in Minneapolis had become extremely hostile to the American Association, and there were a number of men “in position to make baseball in Minneapolis an extremely unprofitable venture.” Within the previous few months a street had been opened through the first base bleachers at Minnehaha Park, the Millers Sunday playing grounds. The assessment upon the franchise and plant had been raised from a matter of a few thousand dollars to more than $20,000. Professional baseball had previously been taxed $600 per year for each ballpark, or only $1,200 in all. There was also talk of banning all Sunday baseball in the Twin Cities, and rumors of impending condemnation of grandstands and bleachers swirled about. In addition, letters written by fans to local newspapers urged a boycott of professional baseball games.144 O’Loughlin of the Minneapolis Journal summed it up bluntly:
Fandom is in a ferment of deep-seated anger against the whole league, and unless something is done to remove this feeling the Cantillon boys have an unpleasant reception awaiting them. The anger is not against Joe and Mike Cantillon, but against the men who have given the Minneapolis club, its president and stockholders so much the worst of it.
Minneapolis is probably the most clannish city in the United States, barring none. This fact is evidently not understood by the magnates of the American Association, whose teams come here to carry off large sums of money. Without Minneapolis, St. Paul could not have professional baseball for ten days, yet Minneapolis is enough of a ball town to join in any league in the country without St. Paul, and show a profit.145
At the December 30, 1906, meeting of the American Association, Mike Kelley was declared a free agent, able to sign wherever he pleased. However, there was also likely an unspoken “gentleman’s agreement” among the magnates that Kelley would remain an “undesirable,” either as a player or manager in the American Association.”146 Still, this made Kelley free to accept a contract to run the Des Moines club of the Western League—even though that club was owned by Mike and Joe Cantillon, the owners of the Minneapolis Millers. The offer from Des Moines was for $4,000 a season, the same salary that Kelley’s contract called for with the Millers in 1906.147 Kelley’s unpaid back salary of $1,000 “for his services in the Gus Koch coop beneath the grand stand at the close of last year” was also satisfied.148 Back at the AA meeting, it was further announced that umpires Brick Owens and Steven Kane would not be working in the American Association. Owens umpired 1907 in the Eastern League, but Kane remained in the AA.149
Shortly after the first of the year, Joe Cantillon met with Ban Johnson to clear a path for Kelley to manage in Des Moines. Johnson said he saw no problem, as long as Kelley could secure his release from the St. Louis Browns. As far as Johnson was concerned, Kelley was still on the Browns’ reserve list. A little later, it was reported the Cantillons would purchase Kelley’s release from the St. Louis Browns in order to speed his way to Des Moines.150 But even with this, the Kelley ordeal was far from over.
A week later, Ban Johnson declared that Kelley was still not eligible to play in Organized Baseball. This was predicated on the fact that Kelley was still barred from playing in the American Association. According to Johnson, a player who was ineligible for one league was ineligible for all leagues in organized ball. Consequently, the American Association would have to declare Kelley eligible to play in their league before he could be employed elsewhere in the game.151 Milwaukee Brewers owner Charles Havenor disagreed, declaring that he believed the American League president and National Commission member was wrong in his thinking. Said Havenor:
The National Commission in reporting the matter back, took the ground it was an internal affair of the American Association and refused to render a decision. By their action they placed the Kelley-Lydiard incident wholly in the hands of the American Association and out of their own jurisdiction. By the action of the Commission, unless it sees fit to reverse itself, it has no further interest in the matter. It is not and never has been the sense of the various owners in the American Association to place Mr. Kelley outside the ban of organized baseball. As far as the American Association is concerned, Mr. Kelley is at liberty to have the same privileges he enjoyed with the Minneapolis baseball club. There is nothing in the records of the National Association or before the National Commission which will stop Mr. Kelley from enjoying the baseball rights to which he is entitled. This is the sentiment of practically all the club owners of the American Association.152
In February 1907, Mike Cantillon was saying that Kelley would have absolute control of the Des Moines team. Kelley would be able to sign whomever he pleased and make whatever trades he thought would help the team.153 Frank Hughes, secretary of the Des Moines club, announced a tentative line-up for the upcoming season that featured Kelley at first base. When the Western League season started, Kelley was indeed at the helm.154 On March 5, 1907, the American Association met, but did nothing in regard to Kelley’s blacklisting from their organization, president O’Brien saying the Kelley case was not on the agenda of the meeting.155 The National Commission, however, held firm, prohibiting Kelley from acting as bench-manager of the Des Moines club. Kelley was still property of the St. Louis Browns, and thus ineligible to play with any other club in Organized Baseball but St. Louis. Kelley remained defiant, refusing to accept the decree, and on April 29, he had the Des Moines club in first place in the Western League, with a 7-3 record.156
On May 6, National Commission chairman Herrmann notified Kelley that he must vacate the bench of his team until notified that he had been reinstated by the Commission. Again, Charles Havenor voiced his opinion that the commission had no right to suspend Kelley, noting that if the Commission had ruled that Kelley could manage the Minneapolis team the previous year, why not Des Moines this year? Mike Cantillon was not pleased either, thinking that Kelley had been persecuted long enough. In a statement, the Des Moines club president said that a year prior, the National Commission had adopted a rule [Ruling 43] stating that no player under reserve by one club could act as a manager of another club. However the rule plainly stated it would not be retroactive. Thus under the retroactivity clause, Kelley was in the clear to manage Des Moines even though on the St. Louis reserve list. Cantillon claimed that he had no notice of Kelley’s suspension, only a letter from Herrmann stating that St. Louis wanted Kelley. Cantillon thought that St. Louis did not really want Kelley, but was only doing the bidding of a mean-spirited Ban Johnson, who wanted to continue the torment of Kelley. Cantillon concluded by saying, “We will never for a minute consent to any such work. He [Kelley] will play for Des Moines or the Commission will have a fight on their hands in the courts.”157
A few days later, Garry Herrmann changed his stance, stating that the prior directive had been premised on an erroneous impression. Herrmann stated, “I felt, therefore, that it was my duty not only as a member of the Commission, but as a man, to immediately rescind that order, which I did, stating to Mr. Cantillon and Mr. O’Neill (president of the Western League) that there would be no interference pending action of the National Commission.”158 Sporting Life then weighed in with its opinion on the long-running Kelley controversy:
It is time he were brought to book, and with him the National Agreement magnates who have given, and are still giving, him encouragement in his contumacious attitude, for purely selfish and personal reasons, regardless of the general effect upon “organized ball.” Personally Mike Kelley is one of the most lovable men in base ball, and why he has pursued his foolish course, and why he persists in, single-handed, pursuing it to the bitter end, is a mystery past finding out. He knows as well as any man the far-reaching power of “organized ball.” He knows how much his obstinacy has already cost him; and he must know that, soon or late, he will meet with irretrievable defeat. Then, why not make his peace with the National Commission, which has never yet treated any man or case unfairly? As it stands Kelley’s game is not worth the candle.
Apropos to the Kelley case, criticism of the National Commission and sympathy with Kelley from American Association magnates comes with poor grace considering that that organization has formally forbidden Kelley’s employment by any club member in any capacity whatever. If Kelley is not fit for American Association company how can he be eligible in any other National Association league? If there is real sympathy or friendship for Kelley in the American Association he should be forthwith restored to good standing in the organization; so long as he is not reinstated discreet silence regarding all that relates to Kelley’s controversy with the National Commission would best befit the American Association magnates, singly and collectively. Why look a gift-horse in the mouth?159
Within the week, it was reported that Joe Cantillon had purchased Kelley from the St. Louis Browns. It was therefore assumed by some that Kelley would play first base for Cantillon’s Washington Nationals, but others believed that the Cantillons intended to keep Kelley in charge of the Des Moines team. Kelley actually suited up with the Nationals, but sat on the bench in a game during May 16 game in Chicago, Ban Johnson cautioning Cantillon not to play him. Umpire Silk O’Loughlin banished Kelley from the bench.160 Kelley remained in uniform with the Nationals for some time, but saw no action on the diamond, as Johnson refused to let him play.161
On May 18, 1907, Joe Cantillon received a telegram from chairman Garry Herrmann, which stated that Kelley would probably soon be declared a free agent by the National Commission. Herrmann and National League president Harry Pulliam, a controlling 2/3 majority of the Commission, were of the opinion that as St. Louis failed to put Kelley on their reserve list the previous season, he was a free agent. A pleased Washington Nationals manager said that Kelley had been practicing daily and was hoping to get into excellent condition to play first base.162
Herrmann’s inclination to reinstate Kelley came under heavy criticism from the editors of The Sporting News.163 In a long statement, Herrmann had explained his reasons for Kelley’s looming reinstatement. Herrmann had been told by an American Association club owner that at the December 2, 1906, meeting, the AA did not mean to banish Kelley from any league except its own. A copy of a letter from league president O’Brien to American League president Ban Johnson confirmed this. O’Brien wrote, “At the said meeting it was the consensus of the opinion of the various club owners, that it was to the best interest of the American Association that Kelley’s connection with the American Association be terminated, but that he be not debarred from earning a livelihood with any other league in organized baseball.” Herrmann revealed that the National Commission had then told the AA that its action “would be a stigma against [Kelley] to any other association,” and urged the AA to discuss the matter further and either find Kelley guilty or acquit him of the charges.164
As for Kelley being purchased by the Cantillons in order to be sent to Des Moines, Herrmann maintained that this could only be done if Kelley cleared waivers in both the American and National League. The Commission chairman also explained the basis of the St. Louis Browns’ failure to place Kelley on their reserve list. Club president Robert Hedges thought that because Kelley was on the blacklist, it was not necessary to reserve him. Hedges also told Herrmann that if the Commission would keep quiet about the matter, he would the fix the problem in a couple of days. Herrmann responded by saying that when club reservation lists were made (September 25, 1906), Kelley had not been blacklisted or suspended. That action had been taken on December 2. Herrmann further noted that if Hedges thought Kelley had been blacklisted, how could he sell such a player to Washington in May?165
Herrmann added that he and Harry Pulliam at first had serious reservations about voting against Kelley’s reinstatement before doing so. Since that time, matters which Herrmann did not care to discuss had forced him to reconsider Kelley’s ineligibility. Ultimately, it was decided that as long as Kelley pursued his suit in federal court and had not obtained his release from St. Louis, his case would not be heard by the National Commission. To resolve the impasse, Kelley’s lawyer withdrew the federal court complaint and sent St. Louis a check for $1,000, the amount agreed upon between Herrmann and counsel for Kelley’s release. But within a few days, the Kelley check was returned to Herrmann with a declaration that the St. Louis club would not accept it. Herrmann had no idea why the check was refused, and had written to Hedges to find out why.166
As for Johnson instructing his umpires not to allow Kelley on the field, Herrmann did not know what Johnson had based his decision on, unless Johnson had construed the action of the American Association in December 1906 to be a “permanent disability.” Whatever the case, Johnson’s position toward Kelley would not be addressed in any National Commission directive.167
On May 27, 1907, Kelley wrote a letter to Garry Herrmann that was published in Sporting Life under the title: “Michael J. Kelley’s Manly Appeal.” Kelley basically rehashed what Herrmann had expressed in his statement, but added some personal touches. Kelley wrote,
“I realize that I have made some mistakes in baseball and that perhaps I have acted too hastily and unadvisedly in some matters, but I have a family depending upon me for support and realize fully that my only chance of earning a competent livelihood is through baseball, and, after settling my differences with the Commission in the early part of the season I have endeavored in every way to conduct myself in a manner strictly within the rules of baseball, and I feel that an injustice is being done me by not permitting me to play with the Washington club, and therefore, appeal to the National Commission so that I may be permitted to again earn my living through my efforts as a baseball player.”
Kelley ended his appeal with these words:
“I believe that I have suffered enough for mistakes which I may have committed during the year 1905, and that these matters should not be held continually against me, and should I be permitted to play with the Washington Club in the capacity in which Mr. Cantillon may desire, I assure the Commission that they will never have any cause to feel that I will in any way intentionally transgress or do any act which will be considered as inconsistent with the rules laid down by the National Commission for the government of baseball. Should the National Commission desire my presence or any further statement from me I will be glad to appear before them or send any such statement at any time.”168
A rather unmoved Ban Johnson responded:
Without desire to discuss or dispute Mr. Herrmann’s views of the Kelley case, I herewith give you my view of the case. Before processed further, however, I want to inform you that Mr. Pulliam unwittingly sided with Herrmann on the question of permitting Kelley to play, pending a decision in his case. Last week Mr. Pulliam wrote Chairman Herrmann that he felt that their position in the matter was entirely wrong, so Herrmann stands alone on the proposition. If we can’t keep baseball clean, we might as well ring down the curtain. Kelley was found guilty of one of the worst crimes committed in the history of the game, and was expelled from the American Association. He was represented by counsel, there was a thorough trial, and the finding of the American Association in expelling him was clear and emphatic. Kelley had no appeal to the National Commission. The American Association through its constitution, reserves the right to govern its own affairs. The investigation and disciplining of club officials, is strictly an internal affair of an organization. The player is in no manner involved. It is my contention after carefully weighing the subject, that the National Association nor the National Commission can in no manner call to account, review or set aside this action of the American Association in regard to M.J. Kelley and L.A. Lydiard. His only appeal is to the American Association, as the acts for which he was punished were almost entirely detrimental to its welfare, integrity and good government.169
Most agreed the case had gone on long enough. Cincinnati sportswriter Ren Mulford, Jr. wrote that Kelley had “gotten so much publicity out of it that he’d be warranted in running for Vice-president. Bryan and Kelley would be a euphonious combination.”170 On June 10-11, 1907, the National Commission held a meeting in Cincinnati, and took up the Kelley case. The Commission determined that the St. Louis Browns had lost their claim to Kelley by failing to reserve him in the fall. It further ruled that Kelley could play in any league he desired, even though he was under a ban in the American Association. But inserted within the ruling was a clause that any league president could bar Kelley if he did not consider Kelley a desirable addition to any one of the league’s teams. Thus, Kelley would effectively be barred from the American League, as Ban Johnson objected to him playing with Washington. The American League president also stated he would not withdraw his objection to Kelley. Indeed, Johnson disagreed with the other Commission members so strenuously that he refused to sign the papers issued by the body on the matter.171
Joe Cantillon was not happy, complaining that Ban Johnson was imposing his will on the other two members of the Commission. In fact, the Washington club was so upset with the ruling that it had decided to refuse to pass upon to any waived American League player and block all AL deals with the minor leagues.172 As can be imagined, Mike Kelley was also displeased with the ruling. He made this statement:
All the ball players and western people will see that the entire object of the qualifying clause of the decision was not to keep me out of the American League, but to bar me from the American Association, where they think I might go to Minneapolis for the Cantillon brothers. If I were to sign with St. Paul today I could be playing in that city as soon as a train could get me there, and there would not be a single yelp. As it is they have that Minneapolis idea in their heads and I am barred. Johnson fought the case for the Milwaukee, St. Paul and other clubs that don’t want me in the American Association, and had this power of the president’s injected into the decision for their special benefit, hence, to make a pretense of saving his face, I am not permitted to play in Washington.173
Even the very pro-Havenor Milwaukee Sentinel thought that Johnson’s disqualification of Kelley from play in the American League to be unfair. “From this point of view it appears that the powers that be, are rubbing it into Kelley. There is no doubt but that Kelley made serious and bad mistakes during this career in the American Association and that he fully deserved his expulsion from that organization. But there was little need for Johnson ‘butting in’ on the case. Baseball is the one means of livelihood that Kelley has and his expulsion from the Association was sufficient punishment to make him repent of this many baseball crimes.”174
There was speculation that Kelley would make further appeals. A Sporting Life editorial commented, “The case will probably stretch out to Doomsday. It has become the ‘Jarndyce vs. Jarndyce’ case of baseball.”175 But the case was nearing an end, at least for 1907. Kelley had little choice but to report to Des Moines. The Washington club was out several hundred dollars because of the long delay in settling the case, as it presumably had paid Kelley’s salary while he sat on the bench for the Nationals.176 As of June 18, 1907, Des Moines was in second place in the Western League (29-20), behind Omaha (32-22). Enthusiastic Des Moines supporters thought that with Kelley back at the helm, the team might retake first place.177 It was not to be. Kelley would manage the team to a (76-63) third place finish. He also played in 28 games at first base, hitting .245.178
In late July 1907, it had been reported that Kelley was offered the manager’s job at Montreal of the Eastern League, but Mike preferred to stay in Des Moines, perhaps in hopes of going back to the American Association some day. This story surfaced again in October. Reportedly, Eastern League president Pat Powers was opposed to Kelley’s presence in the Eastern League. Around December 1, however, Powers squelched the report, penning a letter saying that this was not true and that both Montreal and Toronto wanted Kelley.179
On December 14, 1907, club president James McCaffery of Toronto signed Mike Kelley to succeed Joe Kelley as his manager for the 1908 season. Joe Kelley had recently been hired to manage the Boston club of the National League, leaving behind the Eastern League champions of 1907. McCaffery originally wanted Jimmy “Doc” Casey to succeed Kelley, but Brooklyn demanded $1,000 and pitcher Jim McGinley (who had been 22-10 with the Maple Leafs in 1907180) for Casey’s release. This was too dear a cost and Mike Kelley was hired instead. It was said that Mike would get $500 more a season than Joe had made in 1907 to manage the team. It was also reported that Mike Kelley would play first base for the Maple Leafs.181
In late June 1908, Clark Griffith resigned as manager of the New York Highlanders of the American League. Early rumors named Mike Kelley as a candidate for his replacement, but the job went to Kid Elberfeld. It was very doubtful Ban Johnson would have permitted Kelley to manage in New York, in any event.182 On July 20, 1908, Kelley was released as manager of the Maple Leafs, captain Larry Schlafly taking over the job. However, two days later it was reported that Kelley had resigned. The team was in fifth place with a 35-39 record, owing much to injuries. Kelley had played in 32 games, with a .239 batting average. All but one of those games had been played at first base, where he made only three errors. Kelley had been roundly roasted by Toronto fans and he eventually found the job there “almost untenable.”183 Whether Kelley resigned or was released is not clear, but there was a report that before he left Toronto on July 30, a writ was issued on Kelley’s behalf against the Maple Leaf organization for the sum of $1,700 in damages for alleged wrongful dismissal and breach of contract.184
On August 5, 1908, word came out that Thomas J. Hickey, former president of the American Association and now in the insurance business in Minneapolis, had made an offer to purchase the St. Paul Saints from George Lennon. If the deal went through, it was said that Hickey’s first move would be to hire Mike Kelley as his manager. There were also reports that the American Association was going to expand into Chicago for 1909, and that Kelley would manage the new Chicago AA club. But the sale of the Minneapolis franchise to Hickey never went through, and Lennon kept the Saints.185
A grass roots appeal by numerous St. Paul and Minneapolis fans was started to bring Kelley back. St. Paul mayor Daniel Lawler, all the city’s common council members, and even Minnesota Governor John A. Johnson “respectfully requested” the American Association to put Kelley back in good standing. The Commercial Club also asked for his reinstatement, and petitions said to contain over 5,000 names were sent to AA president O’Brien with the same appeal.186 These petitions held as many as 13,000 signatures, according to some sources.187 A meeting of the American Association owners was scheduled for August 5, 1908, but only five owners attended. Incredibly, George Lennon, the driving force behind putting Kelley out of the American Association two years prior, was now the head of the movement to re-instate him. Lennon even presented the Kelley clemency petitions to the board. Four AA directors voted in favor of reinstating Kelley, with William Watkins of Indianapolis reportedly casting the dissenting vote. Consequently league president O’Brien had to wait for either George Tebeau or Mike Cantillon to mail in their vote. The next day, Cantillon mailed in his yes vote, and Kelley was reinstated by the AA. (Tebeau also voted for Kelley). Lennon welcomed Kelley as his new manager-in-waiting.188 The talk of the American Association entering Chicago died down, assuming that it ever was serious, and Kelley took over as manager of the Saints on August 9.189
Kelley took over a dismal last place team, with a record of 31-81 record. It was said that ousted skipper Tim Flood had been willing, “even anxious,” to relinquish the managerial reins.190 The Saints won the initial game played with Kelley sitting on the bench, their first win in 20 contests. Kelley’s team won three of its first four games played under his direction, and attendance picked up. Still, the Saints finished the season in last place, with a 48-104 record.191
Kelley would continue to manage the St. Paul Saints through the 1912 season, taking the manager’s job of the Indianapolis Indians in 1913. After serving as the business manager of the Saints in 1914, he again directed the Saints from the field from 1915 to 1923, winning American Association pennants in 1919, 1920, and 1922. At the close of the 1923 season, Kelley purchased a controlling interest in the Minneapolis Millers and managed the Millers until 1931. After his on-field duties ended, Mike remained the president of the Minneapolis club until he sold the franchise to the New York Giants in 1946. After the sale, Kelley was “honorary president” of the club for one year.192 His minor league career managing record was 2,390-2,102.193
Mike Kelley passed away in a Minneapolis hospital on June 6, 1955, at the age of 79.194
DENNIS PAJOT is retired and lives in Milwaukee. He was honored to be awarded the 2009 Sporting News-SABR Baseball Research Award for his book “The Rise of Milwaukee Baseball.” His recent research interests have been the Deadball Era seasons of the Milwaukee Brewers of the American Association. To read other SABR articles from Dennis, click here.
1 Sporting Life, July 22, 1899, 7; The Sporting News, June 15, 1955; Baseball-Reference.
2 1903–1906 Spalding Baseball Guides; 1902 Reach Baseball Guide, 236, 241; Baseball-Reference.
3 St. Paul Globe, January 26, 1905; Minneapolis Journal, January 26, 1905; Sporting Life, January 2, 1905, 9, February 4, 1905 p9, February 18, 1905, 10.
4 Sporting Life, March 18, 1905, 6.
5 Sporting Life, December 9, 1905, 5, November 25, 1905, 10, December 16, 1905, 4.
6 Minneapolis Journal, August 15, 1905.
7 Minneapolis Journal, August 14, 1905; Sporting Life, September 2, 1905, 10.
8 Sporting Life, September 2, 1905, 10, 15.
9 Minneapolis Journal, August 24, 1905.
10 Minneapolis Journal, August 24, September 2, 1905; Sporting Life, September 9, September 16, 1905, 16.
11 Minneapolis Journal, August 25, September 2, 1905; Sporting Life, September 16, 1905, 16.
12 Minneapolis Journal, September 2, 1905.
13 Minneapolis Journal, January 3, 1906.
14 Minneapolis Journal, November 7, 1905, January 3, 1906; Sporting Life November 25, 1905, 2, 10.
15 Minneapolis Journal, November 17, 1905, January 7, 1906.
16 Minneapolis Journal, November 18, 1905; Sporting Life, November 25, 1905, 10.
17 Sporting Life, December 2, 1905, 10, December 9, 1905, 5, December 16, 1905, 5; Minneapolis Journal, December 17, 1905.
18 Minneapolis Journal, December 17, 1905.
19 Minneapolis Journal, December 17, 1905.
20 Minneapolis Journal, December 3, 1905; Sporting Life, December 2, 1905, 7.
21 Minneapolis Journal, December 6, 1905.
22 Minneapolis Journal, December 17, 1905.
23 Minneapolis Journal, December 26, 1905.
24 Minneapolis Journal, December 28, 29, 31, 1905; Sporting Life, January 13, 1906, 6.
25 Minneapolis Journal, December 29, 31, 1905.
26 Minneapolis Journal, December 30, 31, 1905; Sporting Life, January 13, 1906, 6.
27 Minneapolis Journal, January 4, 1906.
28 Minneapolis Journal, January 7, 1906.
29 Minneapolis Journal, January 6, 7, 1906.
30 Minneapolis Journal, January 7, 1906.
31 Milwaukee Journal, January 7, 1906.
32 Minneapolis Journal, January 7, 1906.
33 Minneapolis Journal, January 7, 1906.
34 Minneapolis Journal, January 6, 1906.
35 Minneapolis Journal, December 28, 1905, January 7, 1906; Sporting Life, January 13, 1906, 6.
36 Minneapolis Journal, January 7, 1906.
37 Minneapolis Journal, February 21, May 24, 1906.
38 Milwaukee Journal, March 29, 1906.
39 Minneapolis Journal, March 30, April 18, 1906
40 Minneapolis Journal, April 13, 18, 1906.
41 Minneapolis Journal, April 18, 1906.
42 Minneapolis Journal, April 20, 1906.
43 Minneapolis Journal, April 19, 1906.
44 Minneapolis Journal, April 20, 1906.
45 Minneapolis Journal, April 20, 1906.
46 Minneapolis Journal, April 21, 22, May 11, 1906.
47 Minneapolis Journal, May 11, 1906.
48 Minneapolis Journal, June 7, 1906.
49 Minneapolis Journal, June 13, 14, 1906.
50 Minneapolis Journal, June 22, 1906.
51 Minneapolis Journal, June 16, 1906.
52 Minneapolis Journal, June 10, 11, 12, 13, 1906.
53 Minneapolis Journal, June 16, 1906.
54 Minneapolis Journal, June 16, 18, 1906.
55 Minneapolis Journal, June 19, 1906.
56 Minneapolis Journal, June 19, 1906.
57 Minneapolis Journal, June 18, 19, 1906, Milwaukee Sentinel, June 19, 1906.
58 Minneapolis Journal, June 20, 1906.
59 Milwaukee Journal, June 20, 1906.
60 Minneapolis Journal, June 20, 22, 23, 1906; Milwaukee Journal, June 22, 1906.
61 Minneapolis Journal, July 19, 1906.
62 Minneapolis Journal, July 19, 1906.
63 Minneapolis Journal, July 19, 1906.
64 Minneapolis Journal, July 20, 1906; Milwaukee Journal, July 20, 1906.
65 Minneapolis Journal, July 20, 1906.
66 Minneapolis Journal, July 20, 21, 1906.
67 Milwaukee Sentinel, July 28, 1906; Milwaukee Journal, July 28, 1906.
68 Minneapolis Journal, July 28, 30, 31, August 2, 1906; Milwaukee Sentinel, July 28, 1906; Milwaukee Journal, July 28, 1906; Toledo News-Bee, July 28, 1906.
69 Milwaukee Sentinel, July 29, 1906.
70 Milwaukee Sentinel, August 1, 1906; Milwaukee Journal, August 1, 1906.
71 Minneapolis Journal, August 1, 1906.
72 Minneapolis Journal, August 1, 1906; Milwaukee Sentinel, August 1, 1906.
73 Minneapolis Journal, August 1, 1906.
74 Sporting Life, August 11, 1906, 13; Milwaukee Sentinel, August 3, 1906.
75 Minneapolis Journal, August 2, 1906; Milwaukee Sentinel, August 2, 1906.
76 Minneapolis Journal, August 2, 1906; Milwaukee Sentinel, August 2, 1906.
77 Milwaukee Sentinel, August 3, 1906.
78 Minneapolis Journal, August 2, 1906; Milwaukee Sentinel, August 2, 5, 1906.
79 Minneapolis Journal, August 2, 1906; Milwaukee Sentinel, August 2, 1906.
80 Minneapolis Journal, August 2, 1906; Milwaukee Sentinel, August 2, 1906.
81 Minneapolis Journal, August 2, 1906.
82 Minneapolis Journal, August 2, 1906, Sporting Life, August 11, 1906, 13.
83 Minneapolis Journal, August 3, 4, 1906.
84 Minneapolis Journal, August 19, 1906.
85 Toledo News-Bee, August 1, 1906; Sporting Life, August 11, 1906, 13.
86 Sporting Life, August 11, 1906, 13.
87 Minneapolis Journal, August 2, 1906; Milwaukee Sentinel, August 2, 1906; Sporting Life, August 11, 1906, 13.
88 Minneapolis Journal, August 5, 8, 1906.
89 Minneapolis Journal, August 13, 1906; Milwaukee Journal, August 13, 1906.
90 Minneapolis Journal, August 14, 1906; Milwaukee Journal, August, 14, 1906.
91 Minneapolis Journal, August 13, 1906.
92 Milwaukee Journal, August 20, 1906.
93 Minneapolis Journal, August 21, 1906.
94 Minneapolis Journal, August 23, 1906; Milwaukee Journal, August 23, 1906, Sporting Life, September 1, 1906, 10.
95 Minneapolis Journal, August 23, 1906; Milwaukee Journal, August 23, 1906.
96 Minneapolis Journal, August 23, 25, 1906; Milwaukee Journal, August 23, 1906.
97 Minneapolis Journal, August 23, 24, 25, 1906.
98 Minneapolis Journal, August 22, 25, 1906; Milwaukee Daily News, May 4, 1907.
99 Milwaukee Journal, April 12, 1901.
100 St. Paul Globe, December 16, 1903.
101 Minneapolis Journal, August 23, 1906.
102 Minneapolis Journal, August 23, 28, 30, 1906.
103 Minneapolis Journal, August 25, 1906.
104 Minneapolis Journal, August 25, 1906.
105 Minneapolis Journal, August 25, 1906.
106 Minneapolis Journal, August 25, 1906.
107 Minneapolis Journal, August 31, 1906.
108 Minneapolis Journal, October 16, 1906.
109 Milwaukee Journal, September 26, 1906.
110 Minneapolis Journal, December 11, 1906.
111 Minneapolis Journal, September 18, 1906; Milwaukee Journal, September 17, 1906; 1907 Reach Guide, 140.
112 Minneapolis Journal, September 23, 1906.
113 Minneapolis Journal, October 16, 1906.
114 Minneapolis Journal, October 23, 24, 1906.
115 Minneapolis Journal, October 24, 1906.
116 Milwaukee Daily News, May 4, 1907.
117 Milwaukee Journal, October 24, 1906; Sporting Life, November 3, 1906, 2.
118 Minneapolis Journal, August 23, 1906; Milwaukee Journal, August 23, 1906.
119 Milwaukee Journal, August 27, 1906.
120 Minneapolis Journal, August 24, 1906.
121 Minneapolis Journal, August 26, 1906.
122 Minneapolis Journal, August 28, 30, 1906.
123 Minneapolis Journal, September 1, 2, 1906.
124 Minneapolis Journal, September 7, 8, 13, 1906.
125 Minneapolis Journal, October 10, 16, November 2, 7, 9, 11, 1906; Milwaukee Journal, November 7, 1906.
126 Minneapolis Journal, October 16, 1906.
127 Minneapolis Journal, October 23, 1906.
128 Minneapolis Journal, December 3, 1906; Milwaukee Journal, December 3, 1906.
129 Minneapolis Journal, December 4, 1906; Toledo News-Bee, December 4, 1906.
130 Minneapolis Journal, December 3, 4, 1906; Milwaukee Journal, December 4, 1906.
131 Minneapolis Journal, December 3, 5, 1906; Milwaukee Journal, December 3 1906.
132 Minneapolis Journal, December 7, 1906.
133 Minneapolis Journal, December 9, 1906.
134 Toledo News-Bee, December 7, 1906.
135 Milwaukee Journal, December 3, 1906.
136 Milwaukee Daily News, December 7, 1906.
137 Toledo News-Bee, December 6, 1906.
138 Toledo News-Bee, December 8, 1906.
139 Milwaukee Sentinel, December 7, 1906.
140 Milwaukee Daily News, December 8, 10, 1906.
141 Toledo News-Bee, December 11, 1906; Minneapolis Journal, December 16, 1906; Milwaukee Daily News, December 10, 1906.
142 Toledo News-Bee, December 10, 1906.
143 Minneapolis Journal, December 11, 13, 26, 1906; Milwaukee Daily News, December 1, 1906; Sporting Life, January 5, 1907, 5.
144 Evening Wisconsin, December 8, 1906; Minneapolis Journal, December 27, 1906.
145 Minneapolis Journal, December 27, 1906.
146 Milwaukee Journal, December 31, 1906; Sporting Life, January 12, 1907, 6.
147 Minneapolis Journal, December 31, 1906; Milwaukee Journal, December 31, 1906, January 5, 1907; Sporting Life, January 12, 1907, 6, 10.
148 Minneapolis Journal, December 31, 1906; Sporting Life, January 12, 1907, 6, March 2, 1907, 7.
149 Toledo News-Bee, January 1, 1907; Milwaukee Journal, January 5, 1907.
150 Milwaukee Journal, January 3, 1907; Sporting Life, January 12, 1907, 6, March 9, 1907, 5.
151 Milwaukee Journal, January 10, 1907; Sporting Life, January 19, 1907, 8.
152 Sporting Life, January 26, 1907, 3.
153 Sporting Life, March 2, 1907, 7.
154 Milwaukee Journal, January 23, 1907; Sporting Life, March 2, 1907, 7 March 30, 1907, 12, May 4, 1907, 18.
155 Sporting Life, March 9, 1907, 5.
156 Sporting Life, May 11, 1907, 7, 23.
157 Sporting Life, May 11, 1907, 23.
158 Sporting Life, June 1, 1907, 6.
159 Sporting Life, May 11, 1907, 7.
160 Sporting Life, May 18, 1907, 6, May 25, 1907, 2, 4.
161 Sporting Life, June 1, 1907, 11, June 8, 1907, 2, 15.
162 Sporting Life, May 25, 1907, 2.
163 The Sporting News, May 25, 1907, 4.
164 Sporting Life, June 1, 1907, 5.
165 Sporting Life, June 1, 1907, 5.
166 Sporting Life, June 1, 1907, 5.
167 Sporting Life, June 1, 1907, 5, 6.
168 Sporting Life, June 8, 1907, 15.
169 Sporting Life, June 15, 1907, 6.
170 Sporting Life, June 15, 1907, 5.
171 Milwaukee Sentinel, June 16, 1907; Milwaukee Journal, June 12, 1907; Sporting Life, June 22, 1907, 2, July 6, 1907, 2; Washington Times, July 16, 1907.
172 Milwaukee Journal, June 13, 14, 1907; Sporting Life, June22, 1907, 2.
173 Sporting Life, June 22, 1907, 2.
174 Milwaukee Sentinel, June 16, 1907.
175 Milwaukee Sentinel, June 16, 1907; Sporting Life, July 20, 1907, 5.
176 Milwaukee Sentinel, June 16, 1907; Sporting Life, June 22, 1907, 13.
177 Sporting Life, June 29, 1907, 23.
178 1908 Reach Guide, 275, 277, 281.
179 Sporting Life, August 3, 1907, 24, November 2, 1907, 3, December 7, 1907, 2.
180 1908 Reach Guide, 209.
181 Washington Herald, December 12, 15, 23, 1908; Washington Times, December 26, 1907; Sporting Life, December 21, 1907, 3, January 11, 1908, 10.
182 Washington Herald, June 29, 1908; Sporting Life, July 4, 1908, 3, July 25, 1908, 4.
183 Washington Herald, July 20, 1908; Washington Times, July 22, 1908; 1909 Reach Guide, 198, 199; Sporting Life, August 1, 1908, 15.
184 Sporting Life, August 8, 1908, 7.
185 Milwaukee Sentinel, August 6, 7, 1908; Milwaukee Journal, August 6, 1908; Toledo News-News, August 6, 1908; Sporting Life, August 15, 1908, 19.
186 Toledo News-Bee, August 7, 1908; Milwaukee Journal, August 7, 1908.
187 Sporting Life, August 22, 1904 (13,000); Milwaukee Sentinel, August 7, 1908 (11,000).
188 Milwaukee Sentinel, August 7, 1908; Milwaukee Journal, August 7, 1908; Toledo News-Bee, August 7, 11, 1908; Sporting Life, August 22, 1908, 14.
189 Washington Herald, August 16, 1908; Sporting Life, August 22, 1908, 1.
190 Milwaukee Journal, August 9, 1908; Milwaukee Sentinel, August 8, 1908.
191 Sporting Life, August 22, 1908, 1, 14; 1909 Reach Guide, 183.
192 The Sporting News, June 15, 1955, 26.
193 Lloyd Johnson, ed., The Minor League Register. Durham, N.C.: Baseball America, 1994.
194 The Sporting News, June 15, 1955, 26.