Pajot: Charles Dexter, the pretty, the pretty bad and the pretty darn heroic

From SABR member Dennis Pajot at on February 5, 2013:

When I first started work on this article I envisioned its title as “Charles Dexter—The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”, focusing on the events of August 23, 1904 and October 2, 1905. But when further research brought to light the events of December 30, 1903, I decided to change that title. Readers will see why.

Charles Dexter was born in Evansville, Indiana, on June 15, 1876. According to contemporary reports he carried the reputation of being the youngest man to enter the National League when he was signed to the catching staff of the Baltimore Orioles at the age of 16. It was reported he was released because of a sprained knee. Baseball-Reference records his first minor league appearance with the Evansville Black Birds of the Southern Association in 1895. He played with Louisville in the National League from 1896 to 1899. He was then purchased by the Chicago National League club and played in the Windy City until going to the Boston Beaneaters in July 1902. In spring 1904 the 27-year old catcher was purchased by Louisville of the American Association, to become the Colonels player/manager. He started 1905 again as the catcher/manager of the Colonels, but was given his unconditional release in early July—reportedly due to his injured hands–and immediately signed to manage St. Joseph in the Western League. In August Dexter left St. Joseph and signed with the Des Moines Underwriters of the same league, as a utility player. In September Underwriter manager Herman Long resigned, due to a falling out with president Mick Cantillon, and Dexter became the team’s manager. He continued to play in Des Moines until the 1908 season.

With that brief summary of Charlie Dexter’s playing career, I focus here on three days in his life.

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Originally published: February 14, 2013. Last Updated: February 14, 2013.