Thursday, December 22, 2016

Just for fun: It stood for over 50 years as host to the American Association's Milwaukee Brewers. Built in 1888, Borchert Field, originally Milwaukee Athletic Park, had a storied past. This photographic image served as the basis for one of the most attractive ballpark postcards of the pre-War era. Here is the photo, followed by the postcard.

This little item can cost you big time if it's a seller's market. Just ask me. It appears on the back of my book, The American Association Milwaukee Brewers, published by Arcadia in 2004.

And always remember: The past did not take place in black and white....

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Colorful Firsts (...names, that is)

Just for Fun

After finishing up the task of compiling the complete player roster for each Season Opener for American Association teams from 1902 to 1911, the notion of doing something "light" crossed my mind. It occurred to me that the first names of this era were often colorful ones. Here is a sampling of some of a handful of them. All told, 438 players (pitcher included) comprised the Opening Day rosters for the eight teams comprising the American Association during the league's first decade. (Please note: each name appears as it is listed on

Chick, Jap, Shad, Quait, Heinie, Rivington, Bruno, Sylvester, Rip, Chappie, Pep, Boileryard, Bunk, Gavvy, Dode, Jiggs, She, Hobe (HO-bee), Peaches and Steamer.

The corresponding surnames: Chick Autry (see photo below), Jap Barbeau, Quait Bateman, Heinie Peitz, Rivington Bisland, Bruno Block, Sylvester Loucks, Rip Cannell, Chappie Charles, Pep (Harry) Clark, Boileryard Clarke, Bunk Congalton, Gavvy Cravath, Dode Criss, Jiggs Donahue, She Donahue, Hobe Ferris, Peaches Graham, Steamer Flannigan.   

What's YOUR favorite? 

Chick Autry, appearing for the first time in the uniform of the Minneapolis Millers in 1915. Prior to that he was long associated as a first baseman for the St. Paul Saints. A goodly handful of player from either St. Paul or Minneapolis later joined the Millers or Saints, respectively, choosing to play for the crosstown rival team and earning what has been dubbed the dubious moniker of "Twin Cities Turncoat." (photo courtesy of the Hennepin County Library Special Collections)

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Season Openers: 1902 to 1931

Work began in September for the Spring 2017 issue of the American Association Almanac (paper; $24/yr or $42/2 yrs by subscription). It will present a detailed analysis of both the player records and team records for 120 American Association Season Openers during the period 1902 to 1931. The following 30 years will be published the following year. Here is a listing of the results of those contests, followed by a sample section from the main database.

American Association Results of Season Openers:
1902 to 1931*

April 23, 1902
Columbus 5 vs. Minneapolis 0
Indianapolis 5 vs. Milwaukee 4
Kansas City 16 @ Louisville 6
Toledo 8 vs. St. Paul 7 (10.5.2)

April 22, 1903
Columbus 2 @ Toledo 0
Indianapolis 4 @ Louisville 2 (10)
Kansas City 8 vs. Minneapolis 4
Milwaukee 10 vs. St. Paul 7

April 20, 1904
Indianapolis 6 vs. Kansas City 3
Louisville 9 vs. Milwaukee 1
Minneapolis 5 @ Toledo 4
St. Paul 7 @ Columbus 1

April 19, 1905
Columbus 6 vs. Minneapolis 1
Kansas City 8 @ Toledo 3
Louisville 10 vs. St. Paul 3
Milwaukee 5 @ Indianapolis 4

April 18, 1906
Kansas City 6 @ Columbus 2
Louisville 11 vs. Minneapolis 7
St. Paul 15 @ Indianapolis 5
Toledo 7 vs. Milwaukee 2

April 17, 1907
Columbus 6 vs. Milwaukee 4
Indianapolis 4 vs. Minneapolis 0
Louisville 6 vs. Kansas City 4
Toledo 8 vs. St. Paul 0

April 15, 1908
Columbus 5 vs. St. Paul 4
Indianapolis 4 vs. Kansas City 2
Milwaukee 2 @ Louisville 1
April 16, 1908
Toledo 5 vs. Minneapolis 4

April 14, 1909
Indianapolis 4 vs. Toledo 2
Louisville 6 vs. Columbus 1
Milwaukee 9 vs. St. Paul 5
Minneapolis 2 @ Kansas City 0

April 13, 1910
Kansas City 10 @ Minneapolis 5
Louisville 6 @ Columbus 0
Milwaukee 2 @ St. Paul 1
Toledo 5 @ Indianapolis 0

April 12, 1911
Indianapolis 1 vs. Milwaukee 0
Kansas City 4 @ Louisville 3
Minneapolis 7 @ Toledo 4 (10)
April 15, 1911
Columbus 2 vs. Minneapolis 1 (9.5.1)

April 10, 1912
Columbus 10 vs. Kansas City 8
Minneapolis 6 @ Louisville 4
St. Paul 7 @ Indianapolis 6
Toledo 6 vs. Milwaukee 5

April 10, 1913
Indianapolis 21 @ St. Paul 13 

Louisville 7 @ Kansas City 1
Minneapolis 8 vs. Columbus 1
April 12, 1913
Milwaukee 2 vs. Toledo 0 (8.5.1)

April 14, 1914
Indianapolis 4 vs. Cleveland 0**
Kansas City 6 vs. Minneapolis 3 

Milwaukee 4 vs. St. Paul 0
April 15, 1914
Louisville 7 vs. Columbus 2

April 15, 1915
Indianapolis 10 @ Cleveland 1**
Louisville 3 @ Columbus 0
Milwaukee 6 vs. Minneapolis 4
St. Paul 11 @ Kansas City 5

April 18, 1916
Columbus 4 vs. Kansas City 0
Minneapolis 2 @ Louisville 1
St. Paul 4 @ Indianapolis 1
Toledo 4 vs. Milwaukee 2

April 11, 1917
Indianapolis 6 vs. Toledo 5 (10.5.0)
Kansas City 3 vs. Minneapolis 0
Louisville 4 vs. Columbus 2
Milwaukee 4 vs. St. Paul 0

May 1, 1918
Indianapolis 9 @ Columbus 0
Minneapolis 3 @ Kansas City 2
St. Paul 10 @ Milwaukee 1
Toledo 3 vs. Louisville 2

April 23, 1919
Columbus 1 vs. Kansas City 0 

Indianapolis 2 vs. St. Paul 1
Louisville 14 vs. Milwaukee 2
April 26, 1919
Minneapolis 10 @ Toledo 2

April 14, 1920
Columbus 6 @ Louisville 1
Minneapolis 8 @ Kansas City 2
St. Paul 3 @ Milwaukee 2 (10)
Toledo 1 @ Indianapolis 0

April 13, 1921
Indianapolis 3 vs. Columbus 2 (8.5.2) 

Louisville 5 vs. Toledo 4
Milwaukee 6 vs. St. Paul 1
April 14, 1921
Minneapolis 2 @ Kansas City 1

April 12, 1922
Columbus 5 vs. Milwaukee 4 (13.5.2)
Kansas City 5 @ Toledo 4 (10) 

Minneapolis 9 @ Louisville 8 (12)
St. Paul 3 @ Indianapolis 0

April 19, 1923
Columbus 3 @ Toledo 2 (10)
Louisville 4 @ Indianapolis 0
Minneapolis 10 @ Milwaukee 3
St. Paul 8 @ Kansas City 5

April 15, 1924
Columbus 6 vs. Kansas City 2 

Indianapolis 10 vs. Minneapolis 8
Louisville 6 vs. St. Paul 4
Toledo 5 vs. Milwaukee 3

April 14, 1925
Columbus 7, St. Paul 0
Kansas City 6 @ Indianapolis 1
Louisville 3 vs. Milwaukee 2
Toledo 3, Minneapolis 1

April 13, 1926
Indianapolis 5 @ Kansas City 4
Minneapolis 6 vs. Columbus 5
Toledo 12 @ St. Paul 4
April 14, 1926
Louisville 10 @ Milwaukee 5

April 12, 1927
Kansas City 8 @ Columbus 5
Milwaukee 9 @ Toledo 2
Minneapolis 1 @ Louisville 0 (12)
St. Paul 1 @ Indianapolis 0

April 10, 1928
Indianapolis 5 vs. Minneapolis 4 (12.5.2)
Milwaukee 11 @ Columbus 10 (10)
St. Paul 3 @ Louisville 2 (12)
Toledo 2 vs. Kansas City 2 (12)

April 16, 1929
Indianapolis 10 vs. Milwaukee 6 

Kansas City 8 @ Louisville 2
Minneapolis 21 @ Columbus 4
Toledo 5 vs. St. Paul 3 (11.5.2)

April 15, 1930
Columbus 8 vs. St. Paul 2
Indianapolis 3 vs. Kansas City 2
Louisville 11 vs. Milwaukee 2
Toledo 9 vs. Minneapolis 1

April 14, 1931
Milwaukee 15 @ Columbus 10
Minneapolis 10 @ Louisville 4
St. Paul 8 @ Indianapolis 3
Toledo 4 vs. Kansas City 0


*Please note the following:

Winner Listed First

“@” - at

Extra-innings stated in parentheses and expressed in decimal form, e.g., 10.5.2 = game ended with two out in bottom of 11th inning


**The Toledo Mud Hens moved to Cleveland for the 1914 and 1915 seasons. 


JUST FOR FUN: Here are a few suggestions for developing these data to become more familiar with the early history of the American Association:

1. Develop a won-loss record for each team, and separate it by decade.

2. Compare Eastern teams vs. Western teams. Eastern teams included Columbus, Indianapolis, Louisville and Toledo. Western teams included Kansas City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and St. Paul.

3. Compare scoring within each of the three decades.

4. Find the five team’s greatest run totals.

5. Find the top five game’s run differentials.

6. List each extra-inning game by year and by team.

7. List each shutout game.

8. Identify various intra-season and inter-scoring patterns, such as when each home team won its season opener, or when one team scored the same number of runs in subsequent seasons.



Team Names:
Columbus Senators
Indianapolis Indians
Kansas City Blues
Louisville Colonels
Milwaukee Brewers
Minneapolis Millers
St. Paul Saints
Toledo Mud Hens (1902-1913; 1916-1931); 

known as the Cleveland Spiders (1914) and Cleveland Bear Cats (1915)


This record was created in preparation for the Spring 2017 issue of the American Association Almanac which will present a complete analysis, including team records and player records, of each of the American Association’s first 30 season openers.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Ballparks of Indianapolis, Part 3

Hot off the presses! (actually, just my faithful -- usually -- little laser-jet printer) This issue of the American Association Almanac breaks new ground, offering a statistical record of the American Association games played at West Washington Street Park, home of the Indianapolis Indians from 1905 to 1931. Three back pages are dedicated to the all-time records achieved at Washington Park. Finally, a "Gone With the Great Majority" section provides a brief necrology of former American Association players.

Here's a pair of sample pages which accurately represent the entire contents:


And here's a look at the front cover:


The back cover is informative as well, with a focus on the role played by the Indianapolis Indians in the very first American Association night game:


The introduction to this issue provides a framework for
how this issue fits into the realm of baseball history:


For information on how to order your copy of this comprehensive volume,
available only through the author,
contact Rex Hamann at



Monday, June 20, 2016

Ballparks of Indianapolis, Part 2

In January, 2016 the American Association Almanac published Vol. 12, No. 1 covering West Washington Street Park, the home of the Indianapolis Indians from 1905 to 1931. It focused on the 1905 season and provided considerable details on how the park evolved during the course of its lifetime. Here are a few peeks at its contents.

Front Cover

Back Cover

Sample Pages

Promotional Flyer

 Copies Available, Order Yours Today!
Combine with a two-year subscription ($42.00) and receive one issue free!
Rex Hamann

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Ballparks of Indianapolis: Part I of a Series

This week I am publishing (on paper) the third in a series on the American Association Ballparks of Indianapolis. Volume 12, No. 2 of the American Association Almanac for Summer 2016 will be mailed to subscribers in a few days. But because I've been so delinquent posting on this website, I wanted to provide some background on the series

The first of the set (Vol. 11, No. 2) discusses East Washington Street Park (which would have been known at the time as simply Washington Park or Gray Street Grounds). The inside front cover lists the topics and provides a diagram of the playing field and stands.

Here is an excerpt:


    One of the shortest-lived ball parks in American Association history, East Washington Street Park, or simply Washington Park, had a colorful history. It was located on the far east side of Indianapolis and hosted the to the Association’s Indians from 1902 to 1904. The home venue of the league’s first champion, it became the stage for advancing the baseball interests of a major midwestern city. Perhaps more importantly was how it survived as the home of the Indians for the length of time that it did.
    Various challenges arose in assembling the story of such an obscure place as Washington Park. There are very few photographs which might permit comparisons with other parks. Details concerning the physical plant are buried deep within newspaper articles and are often sketchy, if accessible at all. Even the data found in box scores varied.
    And yet the story of this forgotten little place captures the imagination. While there are very few comparisons to be drawn with regard to modern baseball venues, the story of Washington Park contains various subjective angles which tie it in to the modern age. You won’t find out how much a hot dog costs, which Indianapolis brewery supplied the beer, who the architect was, or what variety of sod was used for the playing surface. Whether the home team hit like heroes there or whether there was a home field advantage...or whether this was one place the Indians were glad to put behind them
weren’t known until now.
    The prevailing sentiment is that because Washington Park was never a major league venue, it doesn’t warrant our attention. The fault of such logic is plain to students of the old American Association. In 1902, the league was an independent, diverse organization on par with many major league teams, drawing and developing talent from a broad range of ages and levels of experience. Canada-born William H. “Bill” Watkins, former manager of the National League’s Pittsburg Pirates, found “major league” challenges as perhaps the earliest kingpin of Indianapolis baseball when he led the Western League Indianapolis Hoosiers. As the Indians’ first owner and manager, he piloted the team to the league’s first championship, but it was ultimately a political defeat which forced him to relinquish his control of the club and move to Minneapolis after the 1903 season.
    In addition to presenting the origins of Washington Park, this issue features the analysis of the home statistics for the Indianapolis Indians from 1902 to 1903. Identifying home/road splits in multiple categories required an organized plan starting with a paper-and-pencil approach. Box scores from Sporting Life served as the basis for most of the data, but having online access to the Indianapolis Journal was key to confirming or disputing those records, as well as providing in-depth game reports. On the surface, this would seem simple enough, but the mere task of determining the correct number of games played at Indianapolis posed a challenge. The fact that the club played certain Sunday games at alternate venues required the separation of those stats within the season’s core database. In the end, these data were compiled, organized, and developed on a per season basis, before being analyzed and then brought to life in these pages. Ultimately, the tale of short-lived Washington Park may seem inconsequential, but faithful readers will soon recognize its value — if anything else, it fills a void.

An information flyer was mailed to nearly 100 potential customers from a mailing list developed from the SABR website.

Please contact me if you are interested in ordering the above work. I can be reached by email at

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Two Triple Plays on a Tuesday in Toledo

On Tuesday, June 14, 1904, one outwardly typical game in the annals of American Association history became exceptional. Two fielding plays were executed by the Kansas City Blues in their confrontation with the host Toledo Mud Hens which accounted for three outs each. These rare examples are known as triple plays, and baseball has seen its share of them.

But what organized baseball has seen on only two occasions in the history of the game is two triple plays in one game. The first took place in the 1904 contest at Toledo's Armory Park. The second took place July 17, 1990 at Boston and featured the fast play of the Minnesota Twins against the Red Sox at Fenway. The first one came in the fourth inning, the second in the eighth. Despite those two gems, the Twins lost the game, 1-0.

Consider the very first game in which TWO triple plays took place in the same game. Of course the odds are astronomical for such an occurrence in the first place, but considering it was the same team that did it, the cellar-dwelling Kansas City Blues, and you're getting into the remote regions of statistical absurdity.

The Setting.

With a mere 450 fans in attendance for Ladies' Day at Armory Park in Toledo, the sixth-place Mud Hens took a 2-0 lead in the first against the last-place Kansas City and their starter Tom Barry, recently acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies. A five-run fifth in which he sustained a seven-hit attack was his undoing. Barry was replaced by  local pitcher Zeke (Charles) Robinson, recently signed by Kansas City, in the fourth (Robinson is listed on baseball-reference as having played in only one game, that for his home town Toledo Mud Hens in 1902; he is not credited with any appearances for 1904 Kansas City).

Triple Play #1.

With inherited runners Bill O'Hara (lf) on third and Jack Burns (2b) at second, Robinson came on to face Pep (Otto) Deininger, the Toledo pitcher, in dire straits in the fourth. Deininger initiated the American Association's first triple play of the season when he lined to Ed "Kid" Lewee at short for the first out. Lewee then caught Burns off second before firing to third-baseman Suter Sullivan who tagged O'Hara before he could return safely to third base. The rapid-fire succession of three outs likely saved the Blues from further humiliation in the frame, but the damage was done as the Kansas City nine were down 7-0.

Triple Play #2.

With Robinson still on the mound, the Mud Hens were ahead 8-2 in the seventh inning. Bill Sweeney (ss) was on second base for Toledo, and Art Brouthers (3b) was perched at first with Bill Cristall (rf) at the plate. Cristall hit to shortstop Lewee who retired Brouthers at second and threw to first-baseman Jack Ryan to get Cristall. Brouthers then relayed to catcher John Butler for the final putout on Bill Sweeney to complete the triple play.

Was #2 a triple play or a triple out?

As pointed out in the Toledo News-Bee (June 15, 1904), the second triple play was technically a triple out, not a triple play. According to the News-Bee, the fact that Sweeney was not required to advance upon the bases, this was not an official triple play but rather a double play with Sweeney's out independent of the pair of putouts. Stated the News-Bee: "Had Sweeney been caught at third base it would then have been a triple play, but inasmuch [as he had] to score on his own responsibility after being safe on third it destroyed a triple play." This argument has its merits, but without greater familiarity with the rules defining a triple play, I'm in no position to judge whether this was actually a triple play or not. Most modern readers would probably agree that it was.

Were there other triple plays in the American Association in 1904?

More on this topic in a future blog. There is no log of triple plays performed in the American Association as yet, as there is for the major leagues (see but it's a topic that's worthy of exploring.

Box Score: June 14, 1904



In parentheses after each batter's or runner's name is their defensive position.

Neither of the three Mud Hens involved in the first triple play were American-born.

Left-hander Pep Deininger was born at Wasseralfingen, Germany, October 10, 1877. He appeared in 66 games for the Mud Hens, pitching in two, winning one game and losing none. He played outfield in 42 games, 21 at first base.

Bill O'Hara was a native Canadian, born in Toronto, Ontario, August 14, 1881. He eventually played 124 games at the major league level. He died at the age of 49.

Jack Burns was born May 13, 1878 at Salford, Manchester, England.

Ed "Kid" Lewee, who executed the front end of both the above plays, was in his eleventh season in organized ball. Born in somewhere in Ohio, January 24, 1873, Lewee never played in the major leagues, spending 17 seasons in the minors and appearing in over 1,600 games.

In the second triple play, John Butler made the final putout, retiring Sweeney; Butler was with Toledo for 24 games in 1903 before joining Kansas City that year.

Bill Sweeney, at 18 years of age, was the youngest of the group of players involved with this series of plays. Sweeney was born March 6, 1886 at Covington, Kentucky. In addition to his work with Toledo, he spent part of the 1904 season with the St. Paul Saints.

Jack Bernard Ryan, at first base to receive the throw from Lewee for second out of the second "triple play," was the eldest, and most experienced, of those involved in either of the two plays. Ryan was a veteran player with 11 seasons in three major leagues, primarily as a National Leaguer. He was born November 12, 1868 at Haverhill, Massachusetts. In his career, he played in 937 games at the minor league level, and 614 at the major league level (1889-1903); he later managed. He also appeared in one game in each of two seasons with the Washington Senators at the age of 43 and 44, in 1912 and 1913.

The Mud Hens won the contest, 8-2. It was their 19th win of the 1904 season; for Kansas City, it was their 32nd loss.

At the time of this game, my maternal grandmother, Nelle Flegel, was not yet three months of age, growing up in Houghton, Michigan.

The Blues, while finishing in seventh-place in the standings, were tied with Minneapolis for second-place in league fielding with a .950 percentage.

Toledo, while winding up spending virtually the entire second half of the season in the cellar in 1904, led the league in doubles (273) and double plays (111).


2. The St. Paul Globe, June 15, 1904.
3. The Toledo News-Bee, June 15, 1904.
4. Lin Weber, Ralph. The Toledo Baseball Guide of the Mud Hens (1944).
5. Lee, Bill. The Baseball Necrology (2004).
6. The Record Makers of the American Association (1955).