Solzman: The Hall of Fame case for Chris Von der Ahe

From Daniel Solzman at Redbird Rants on January 8, 2015, with SABR members John Thorn, Ed Achorn, Peter Mancuso, and Adam Darowski:

One pioneering owner that should be under consideration when the Baseball Hall of Fame Pre-Integration Era Committee meets later this fall is Chris Von der Ahe. 

In 1882, the German-American entrepreneur purchased the St. Louis Brown Stockings. The team is now known as the St. Louis Cardinals.

The pioneering owner took an active role with the team and was seen as being a predeccessor both Bill Veeck and Charley Finley. While the National League at the time had a set pricing for tickets, the American Association did not. What Von der Ahe did would go on to change the game. As an owner, he instituted a two-tiered ticket pricing system that made games affordable. Sound familiar? It’s something that caught on around the league and now there are all kinds of pricing tiers in all sports.

The National League didn’t allow for games to be played on Sunday nor did they allow for the sale of alcoholic beverages at the ballpark. The American Association did and Von der Ahe was a big reason as to why.

A few years ago, The Summer of Beer and Whiskey: How Brewers, Barkeeps, Rowdies, Immigrants, and a Wild Pennant Fight Made Baseball America’s Game was written by journalist Edward Achorn of the Providence Journal. A review of the book can be found here. It’s certainly a must read and one can only hope that the book will get into the hands of the voting electorate.

“Chris Von der Ahe is the 19th-century George Steinbrenner,” official MLB historian John Thorn tells Redbird Rants, “so maybe if and when the latter gets in, a strong case might be made for the former.”

Read the full article here:

Originally published: January 7, 2015. Last Updated: January 7, 2015.