Altmann: Dirty trick or dirty lie: 1880s Phillies players caught around town

From Cole Altmann at The Good Phight on June 1, 2018:

On June 30, 1889, the then Pittsburg Dispatch ran a story entitled “A Very Dirty Trick: Three Philadelphia Players Accused of Most Ungentlemanly Conduct.” It is a long title to describe a simple grift. During their road trips around the country, three Philadelphia Quaker players supposedly had been getting spectacularly drunk in each city before proceeding to cause trouble around the towns. They would travel from bar to bar loudly making scenes while referring to one another by aliases.

The aliases weren’t just random fake names though— they were names from players on the opposing teams. The Quakers would each choose a name belonging to a player from the home city in which they were visiting for a series. The article claims that the players ran into Cleveland Spiders fans who just accepted that these drunken players were their own and believed anything they were told about their hometown club.


While in Cleveland, the trio of Quakers [supposedly] imitated Spiders players Chief Zimmer, Cinders O’Brien, and Jimmy McAleer. Of these three players, two of them didn’t drink and the other was said to be “temperate.” The city’s media was furious about the “wild stories of debauch” caused by the Philadelphia players and The Plain Dealer went as far as to name the suspected culprits: James Fogarty (the captain of the team at the time), George Wood, and Joe Mulvey. The manager of the Cleveland Spiders, Tom Loftus, said that “a more harmful or cowardly trick was never played.”

Read the full article here:

Originally published: June 1, 2018. Last Updated: June 1, 2018.