From Dayn Perry at Eye on Baseball on January 21, 2014:
To the baseball enthusiast, Hall-of-Fame executive Larry MacPhail is best known as the innovative architect of some great Reds, Dodgers and Yankees teams in 1930s and 1940s and as a zealous and abiding consumer of wholesome, nutritious alcohol. MacPhail was also, however, an Army man with a not-insubstantial sense of daring …
There’s Capt. Leland MacPhail sitting on the far left, first row. As for the rest of his confreres pictured above, they and MacPhail … well, they tried to kidnap Kaiser Wilhelm II.
A bit of back-story … Not long after the Great War (World War I) drew to a close, the Kaiser, the last German emperor, abdicated this throne, and after hostilities entered the treaty-making stage he scurried off to neutral Holland and tucked himself away in Amerongen, a 17th-century castle, to await whatever came next. “Whatever came next” was likely to be a trial for war crimes. Of course, for said trial to take place, the Kaiser and his “Bat Signal” mustache would need to be apprehended and hauled before an International court — possibly hog-tied, possibly not.
And that brings us back to MacPhail and his buccaneering fellow travelers. Perhaps fearing the at-marathon-length bureaucratic run-up to bringing the Kaiser in to face justice, this crew decided to, as it were, “take back the streets” on their own time and without going up the chain of command. (I’ve read other accounts that cited unchecked group drunkenness as the scheme’s author and executor, which certainly sounds plausible enough.)
Originally published: January 22, 2014. Last Updated: January 22, 2014.