Lutzke: The Michigan native who umpired the Tigers’ record-setting debut in 1901

From SABR member Mitch Lutzke at Tigers History on November 22, 2019:

When the Detroit Tigers of the newly christened American League debuted in 1901, only one Michigan native took the field. He wasn’t a player on either team, though he likely would have enjoyed the honor. He was an umpire.

Alfred Steven Mannassau was an outfielder known for his speed and fielding prowess when he began to make the rounds of Michigan’s diamonds. Mannassau was born in Bay City but moved to Detroit as a boy. His baseball talents began to take shape in 1887, when as a teenager, he led his Greenville team in the short-lived Northern Michigan League in at-bats and stolen bases (27) and was second on the club in hits and runs.

Two years later, in 1889, he began the year with Lansing of the Michigan State League. The Sporting News noted in their July 27, 1889 edition that “Lansing has released Center Fielder Mansasau [sic] and he has signed with Burlington, Iowa, at a salary double that Lansing was paying him.” Mannassau quickly became a fan favorite with the Iowa club with his daring base-running exploits. “He is the fastest and one of the most daring base runners ever seen here.” Within a month, The Sporting News said, Burlington had “the surest outfield in the league.”

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Originally published: November 25, 2019. Last Updated: November 25, 2019.