Monday, September 26, 2011

The Chicago Cubs Come to Milwaukee, 1913

by Dennis Pajot

Major league clubs playing post season exhibition games in minor league towns was not new in 1913, and it would continue for many years. On occasion the major league club would play the minor league club of that town, but many times an "All-Star" local team was put together for the barnstorming big league club to play. One such game took place at Athletic Park in October 1912, against the Chicago Cubs in Milwaukee. This game is of some historical interest, as the Milwaukee Sentinel reported it was Johnny Evers first appearance as the manger of the Bruins. (MS 10-28-12)

Another barnstorming exhibition game, again with the Cubs, took place on October 19, 1913 at Athletic Park. The local team of All-Stars (or "All-Professionals" as called in some circles) in this 1913 match was billed as coming from, or now making their homes, in Milwaukee. That Milwaukee could field a team of home talent strong enough to take on a National League team was a tribute to the ball playing abilities of Milwaukee ball players of that time.

The All-Star team had played the previous Sunday at Athletic Park, beating the All-Black Leland Giants of Chicago at 9 to 8, with essentially the same team that would meet the Cubs. (MJ 10-13-13; MS 10-13-13)

The Milwaukee All-Star team was selected by Fred Luderus, star first baseman of the Philadelphia Phillies. (MS 10-19-13) Luderus was born in Milwaukee on September 12, 1885. He broke into the National League with Chicago in 1909, being purchased by the Cubs from Freeport of the Wisconsin-Illinois League for $2,200 on August 10, 1909. He played with the Cubs in 1910 and was traded to Philadelphia for Bill Foxen, where he would play until 1920. In 1913 he had hit .262 with 18 home runs and 86 RBI. In 12 big league seasons Luderus would play in 1346 games, hitting .277 with 84 home runs.

At second base the Milwaukee All-Pros had long time north side Milwaukee resident Walter Bauman. Bauman had played 1910 and 1911 with Green Bay of the Wisconsin-Illinois League. The 1912 season saw him with Keokuk of the Central Association, and he then returned to Green Bay for 1913, where he hit 255 in 88 games (TSL 12-13-13- p15) He would play 1914 in Green Bay, his last season in organized ball. In the Milwaukee Sentinel of February 22, 1914, A.J. Schinner wrote he thought Bauman was the finest all-around athlete in the Milwaukee area. Bauman, 24 at the time, was "Dutch from his heels to the top of his head." Bauman had been a welterweight boxer of some renown in the area but had been out of the boxing ring for two years. By 1914 he was getting back into shape to recover his old form. Bauman's athletic career started back in 1900, when he played ball with some unknown team in the Third Ward. Being Dutch in this cosmopolitan area gave him "a very fine opportunity of working up his fighting instincts" and he soon took up fighting in amateur tournaments at the Milwaukee Athletic Club. As his career advanced, he beat such boys as Jack Sanders, Tommy Gavigan, Billy Morehead, Frank Kuchler and the immortal Sailor Kelly. Bauman was also credited with a six round draw with Jimmy Ciabby. In February 1914 he would be back in shape stopping Jack Lepper in three rounds "of fast milling." But before this boxing comeback Bauman had become very proficient in the wrestling game. He took on all the best boys at his weight, 142 pounds, and defeated most. He wrestled the Greek Demetral at Larkin's gym one night for one hour and forty minutes before winning. Walter was given $7 for this feat and the Greek received $3 for his share of the receipts. As a result of the match, Demetral had two tin ears and was in the hospital for one month. Bauman had also been a swimmer, football player and indoor baseball shark. He used handball as a good conditioner, and he was good enough in the sport to compete in several tournaments at Larkin's gym, winning a few. (MS 2-22-14; MJ 2-27-14) The local star was also a good enough baseball player that in the winter of 1914 the newly formed Federal League approached him. (MS 1-28-14) Bauman did not think his athletic accomplishments any great wonder. He explained that Nature gave him a fine physique and he let himself drift toward sports. (MS 2-22-14;MJ 2-17-14 for all this.

The shortstop of this team was to be Fred Thomas. After graduation from high school in Milwaukee Thomas played with Fond du Lac in Wisconsin-Illinois League. He signed with the Green Bay club in the same league in 1912 and 1913 as a shortstop (MJ 10-20-19) During the 1913 season he hit .290 with 10 home runs for Green Bay. After the 1913 season he would be drafted by Omaha of the Western League. He played 1914 in Omaha and was drafted by Cleveland of the American League after the 1914 season and assigned to New Orleans. In April 1916 Thomas was traded to the Boston Red Sox (with Sam Jones and $55,000) for Tris Speaker. However, he continued playing with New Orleans. In 1918 Boston third baseman Larry Gardner was traded to Philadelphia and Thomas made the Boston roster as a utility player. He cracked the regular line up, but in July joined the navy and played ball at the Great Lakes Navy base in Illinois. He received a furlough to play with Boston in the World Series against the Cubs. 1919 would find him Thomas in Philadelphia with the A's, and he finished his big league career in 1920, before being demoted to Reading of the International League. Returning to Reading in 1921 he drew a salary of $3,500—one thousand dollars more than he made with Connie Mack. Fred Thomas would play in Reading until 1923 and finished his professional career in Buffalo in 1924. (Much of this from "When Boston Still Had the Babe; The 1918 World Champion Red Sox" –Craig Lammers article on Fred Thomas. Also BB-ref)

Art Bues was the third baseman of the All-Professional team. Bues, born in Milwaukee in 1888, was reported as being 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighing 158 pounds. He had played with La Crosse and Racine of the Wisconsin-Illinois League from 1908 to 1910. He was drafted by the Boston Red Sox, but never played there, being traded to Seattle of Northwestern League. In the great northwest the right handed hitter belting 27 home runs, and had 219 hits for an average of .352. (MS 3-5-12, 12-13-12) After the 1911 season Bues was drafted by the New York Giants, on the recommendation of Amos Rusie. (MS 1-19-12, 3-5-12) In April 1912 the Giants released Art to Buffalo of the International League. (MJ 4-13-12) Bues started 1913 with the Boston Braves, where it was believed he would be the Braves' regular shortstop, even though he lacked major league batting skills. (TSL 4-5-13) However, he fell ill for two weeks in the spring with an ulcerated throat and became very weak. (TSL 4-12-13) After playing two games for the Braves, Bues was traded to Buffalo for Les Mann on April 16, 1913. On July 15 Bues was traded to Jersey City in the International League for shortstop Bobby Vaughn, where he stayed until 1915. (TSL 7-19-13 pg 22, 7-26-13 pg17) Arthur would remain in various minor leagues until 1920, this last season playing with the Brewers. In 13 minor league seasons he would hit .273. Art also played in 14 games with the Chicago Cubs in 1914. Two months after the 1913 exhibition game in Milwaukee, Bues was married out west with a story worth telling. Bues secured a marriage license for himself and Miss Vivian Barber in Seattle on December and then eloped with her to Tacoma to be married. In the company of another ball player and a female companion the happy couple drove to Tacoma, where they were arrested for speeding. When the situation was explained, the judge he remitted the fine for the violation of the speed laws and married the happy young couple. (TSL 12-20-13p2)

Slated for left field was Paul Wachtel. Wachtel had been purchased by the Milwaukee Brewers the previous fall, after winning and losing 14 games with Green Bay as a pitcher. He had also been scouted by Cleveland of the American League, but signed with Milwaukee for 1913. The 6-foot right hander, who was 25 on opening day 1913, had been sent to the Milwaukee Mollys of the Wisconsin-Illinois League for seasoning. He would be 8 and 6 with the Mollys in Milwaukee and transfer to Fond du Lac with the team at the end of June. He finished the season with a 15 and 15 record with the Milwaukee/Fond du Lac Mollys. After his Wisconsin-Illinois seasons Wachtel would go on to pitch four seasons in the Central League with Dayton and Muskegon. Paul Wachtel pitched two games (six innings total) with Brooklyn in the National League in 1917. He posted neither a win nor a loss. Wachtel then stayed in the minor leagues for some time, pitching for Fort Worth in the Texas League from 1918 to 1928. He finished his career in 1930 in the Texas League, splitting time between Waco and Dallas. In nineteen minor league seasons the right hander won 312 games and lost 224. As far as I can tell Wachtel had no other connection with Milwaukee than playing for the Brewers and Mollys.

Charles "Toddy" Kroy was the All-Professional center fielder. Toddy was a Milwaukee north side boy. (MJ 10-20-13), who had but one thumb and little more than a half-finger on his right hand. He lost his fingers in an accident a number of years prior to his playing baseball professionally. (MJ 3-6-14) In 1906 and 1907 he played with Wausau of the Wisconsin State League, and then in 1908 at Fond du Lac of the same league. The 1909 and 1910 seasons found him in South Bend of the Central League; while in 1911 he played with South Bend/Grand Rapids and Grand Rapids/Newark franchises of the same Central League. Kroy started the 1913 season in Grand Rapids, but was turned over to Terre Haute in May. (TSL 5-24-13 p29) In July Kroy and third baseman Charles Pick were purchased by the New York American League club for $2,000 each. The two players were sent to Toronto of the International League, for future delivery to the New York club. (TSL 9-6-13 pg29 TSL 7-5-13 pg9, TSL 8-9-13) Kroy hit .299 in 59 games with Toronto. He would play 1914 in Toronto, then 1915 and 1916 with Utica of New York State League. The left hander was said to be a fine defensive outfielder. It appears he either did not wear a fielding glove, or perhaps had a modified one, as his lack of an error by dropping a ball caused the Journal to report "so the mitt is not missed when it comes to grabbing them out of the air." (MJ 3-6-14)

The right fielder, Fred Mollwitz, was born in Koburg, Germany, on June 16, 1890. His family immigrated to Milwaukee when Fred was 4 years old. (MS 3-28-14) At age 14 he was playing baseball with a steam laundry team in Milwaukee. Then he entered the City League as a first baseman. After leading the City League in batting he went to Green Bay in 1910. He did not hit very well in his first two years there, but broke out in 1913, hitting .311 and stealing 52 bases. (MS 3-28-14) Mollwitz was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in September, getting into two games, going 3 for 7 at the plate. (BB-ref and MJ 10-20-13) At 6-2 and 170 pounds Mollwitz was "long and narrow". (MS 3-28-14) Joe Tinker said "Mollwitz is one of the best first baseman I ever have seen and he is bound to become one of the greatest in the game." (MS 1-9-14) In the 1913/14 off season Tinker would offer him double the money he signed for with the Cubs to play with the Chicago Whales of the Federal League, but Mollwitz stayed with the Cubs. He would play in the National League with Chicago, Cincinnati, Pittsburg and St. Louis, finishing in 1919 with a lifetime .241 average. Mollwitz would later play five years in Sacramento of the Pacific Coast League and end his career in 1927 in Moline.

Luderus used two catchers in the game. Joe Custer was the catcher for the Milwaukee White Sox of the City League. (MS 10-4-13) In the 1914 season he would play for Manitowoc of Lake Shore League. (MJ 7-12-14). Charles Gehrike played with the Wollen Mills team in 1911 and then had been a catcher for the Kosciuskos of the City League in 1912 and 1913, before going to the Milwaukee White Sox of the Lake Shore League in the summer of this 1913 season. (MJ 4-17-12, MJ 4-2-13; MJ 10-7-12; MS 8-3-13) Gehrike would continue with the local White Sox in 1914. (MJ 7-16-14)

The All-Stars' pitcher was Erwin Lange, originally from Forest Park, Illinois. Lange pitched for the Kosciuskos during the later part of the 1913 season and was considered the star of the Lake Shore League. (MJ 10-19-13) It was reported he was thought to be one of the best spitball pitchers around, behind Ed Walsh. He was on the reserve list of the Chicago White Sox, but refused to re reported owing to "a cheap contract." (MJ 2-14-14) He would pitch in the Federal League for the Chicago Whales in 1914, posting 12 and 11 record. Lange was back with the Kozys in 1915.

Even the umpire for this contest was a Milwaukee professional. Bill Kuhn had been an umpire in the Ohio State League since 1912, the same year the Wisconsin-Illinois let him go because he was too young. (MS 7-24-12 TSL 5-10-13 p24) It was reported he had umpired such fine ball in that league that big league scouts were looking at him. He would umpire again in the Ohio League in 1914. (MS 9-12-12; MJ 3-25-13; MS 9-30-14)

The game was played before a crowd of 2,000 at Athletic Park on Sunday, October 19, 1913. The Cubs downed the local All Stars 5 to 3, before a crowd of 2,000. The Milwaukee Sentinel reported "it was a fine exhibition from beginning to end and the result was in doubt until the last man was retired." Erwin Lange pitched superb ball, only losing due to costly errors by his fielders, resulting in four of the Cubs five runs. Larry Cheney went the distance for the Cubs, giving up 6 hits. Two of these hits off the Chicago spitballer were home runs over the left field wall by Walter Bauman. (MS 10-20-13; MJ 10-20-13)
All-Stars     R  H  P  A  E   Cubs          R  H  P  A  E
Kroy, cf 0 0 0 0 1 Leach, cf 1 0 0 0 0
Baumann, 2b 2 2 2 6 2 Ever, 2b 2 1 1 3 0
Bues, 3b 1 2 0 2 1 Schulte, lf 0 3 1 1 0
Mollwitz, rf 0 1 1 0 0 Phelan, 3b 1 0 0 3 0
Luderus, 1b 0 1 19 0 0 Saler, 1b 1 0 14 0 0
Thomas, ss 0 0 1 6 1 Miller, rf 0 0 2 0 0
Wachtel., lf 0 0 1 0 0 Corridon, ss 0 1 0 2 0
Gehrke, c 0 0 2 0 0 Archer, c 0 0 8 1 0
Custer, c 0 0 1 0 0 Cheney, p 0 0 1 4 0
Lange, p 0 0 0 4 0
Totals 3 6 27 18 5 Totals 5 5 27 14 0
All Stars .... 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 – 3
Cubs.......... 0 0 0 2 0 1 1 1 0 – 5
Two base hits—Bues, Evers, Corridon
Three base hit—Luderus
Home runs-Bauman 2
First base on balls—Off Lange 2; off Cheney 1
Struck Out—By Lange 3; by Cheney 7
Double play—Schulte to Evers to Saler
Umpires-Kuhn and Arndel
Time 1:29

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