Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Milwaukee Mollys

Editor's Note: We have a special treat for you today: BorchertField.com contributor Dennis Pajot has compiled the entire history of Milwaukee's entry in the Wisconsin-Illinois league, which in 1913 played in Athletic Park when the Brewers were on the road. This is a little longer than our usual fare, but is a fascinating story that deserves to be told in its entirety.

by Dennis Pajot

The Wisconsin-Illinois League had been in existence since at least 1908, playing in cities in southern, central Wisconsin and northern Illinois. The 1912 version of the league consisted of Appleton, Green Bay, Madison, Oshkosh, Racine and Wausau in Wisconsin; with the Illinois cities of Rockford and Aurora completing the circuit.**

As early as March 1908 there were plans to place a team in Milwaukee in the league. The W-I envisioned playing at the Milwaukee Brewers' Athletic Park at 8th and Chambers when the American Association team was on the road. The thought was that during big conventions and holidays the Wisconsin-Illinois team would make big profits in the Brewers' ballpark. At this time Milwaukeean Charles F. Moll was president of the W-I League, and hoped to work arrangements out with Brewer president, and owner of Athletic Park, Charles Havenor. Nothing came of Milwaukee being in the league at that time.

Charles Moll remained president of the Wisconsin-Illinois League until his resignation for personal reasons—speculated in the media that he was dissatisfied with his salary—on March 2, 1912. His successor, Frank S. Edmison, a newspaper man from Rockford with limited baseball experience, was chosen by a coin flip when owners tied 4 to 4 on eighteen ballots in a vote between Edmison and Frank Weeks of Green Bay.

Moll did not drop out of baseball circles. It was reported he began a project to organize a Minnesota-Wisconsin League, which would include clubs in Milwaukee, St. Paul and Minneapolis. This report was immediately labeled as being without any foundation, as the American Association at its previous winter meeting had passed a rule against sharing its territory with lower class minor leagues. Moll, if he indeed had had plans to start this league, abandoned the project.

Charles Havenor, president of the Milwaukee Brewers of the American Association, died on April 3, 1912. His widow, Agnes Havenor, became the new president of the American Association baseball club. She appointed Charles Moll, who had been a close associate of her husband in enterprises outside of baseball, as her financial representative. Moll left the Brewer management team during the season and in November 1912 he was elected vice-president of the Wisconsin-Illinois League. He was also elected to the executive board of the National Association of Minor Leagues to fill a vacancy in November.

Rumors had been around since December of 1912 that Aurora and Rockford would be dropped from the Wisconsin-Illinois League. At first reports circulated that the Wisconsin cities of Sheboygan and Fond du Lac would replace these Illinois cities. The owners of the Wisconsin-Illinois League met at Milwaukee's Pfister Hotel on January 7, 1913, to discuss the situation. Rockford and Aurora were said to be willing to leave the W-I League if they could "make a profitable disposal of their players." Recently elected Wisconsin-Illinois League president Frank A. Weeks said no decision on changes would be made at this time. The W-I did decide on a $50 guarantee per game for the coming season, with $40 going to the visiting club and $10 to the league. A salary limit of $150 a month for a player and $1,400 for the entire team was also adopted.

Milwaukee Sentinel November 18, 1912

In the following week a report surfaced that Aurora was making an effort to stay in the Wisconsin-Illinois League, and even was fielding players. The Rockford club owner was attempting to gather financial support to keep the team in Rockford, but support appeared to be weak. Beloit (in Wisconsin) was anxious to secure the team if Rockford could not come up with the money. It was said a new ball park would be built in South Beloit (in Illinois), only 15 miles from Rockford and easily accessible from Beloit.

Things were beginning to heat up on the Milwaukee baseball landscape. Fred Koester was making arrangements with Agnes Havenor to lease Athletic Park on 8th and Chambers for a team he wanted to enter into the Lake Shore League, a semi-professional league with teams in southeastern Wisconsin.

Some felt the time was right again to attempt to put another minor league team in Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Brewers had a disappointing season in 1912, finishing with a 78-85 record, landing the team in 5th place in the American Association. Manager Hugh Duffy left the team before the end of the season, as the Brewer management would not give him the salary he thought due him. As the Milwaukee Sentinel reported: "There is probably more dissatisfaction with the Milwaukee Baseball club right now than ever before."

Milwaukee Sentinel January 26, 1913
Then an opening appeared for the Wisconsin-Illinois League. The idea of allowing smaller minor leagues to play in American Association parks while the home team was on the road had been discussed a few times in the past three years. After the 1911 season Brewer owner Charles Havenor urged the A.A. to allow these leagues to play in A.A. parks, but the measure was voted down, 5 to 3. Now the idea was coming up again, and it was said a few more owners might be looking at it favorably. Ironically one of the owners against it was Agnes Havenor. She said: "There is no reason why we should permit the minor leagues to use our parks. The cities of the American Association are not large enough to support everyday ball, and I doubt whether the smaller leaguers would draw from the clientele that supports A.A. baseball. I do not think the association will let the bars down as they voted the scheme down before".

At its January 20 meeting the American Association voted to allow lower minor leagues to place teams within its territory in St. Paul, Minneapolis, Columbus, Milwaukee and Louisville. The Central International League was interested in the Twin Cities, the Blue Grass League eyed Louisville and the Ohio State League wanted to enter Columbus. Of course, the Class C Wisconsin-Illinois League was very interested in Milwaukee.

On January 23 the Wisconsin-Illinois League met at Milwaukee's Pfister Hotel and passed the following resolution:
RESOLVED, that the Aurora franchise be transferred to Milwaukee for business reasons; that Aurora be paid One Thousand Dollars for the franchise. Five Hundred of which is to be paid by Milwaukee and Five Hundred by the League. Aurora to retain their players to be protected in their sale and transfer by the League.
One business reason cited was "the poor support accorded the national sport" in the Illinois city. Six clubs voted in favor of the transfer, with neither Aurora nor Wausau voting. The Aurora players were put up for sale to any and all takers. The Milwaukee club was also obliged to pay $250 into the W-I treasury as the price of admission. No action was taken on the Rockford franchise at this time, but it appeared it was to be dropped and Sheboygan would take its place.

The Aurora transfer would not go smoothly. The directors of the Aurora club threatened to take legal action to retain the team or to get a fair price for the players. Within a week the Aurora club was looking to join a new league formed in northern Illinois. The attempt to enter into this league ended in failure. On April 29 the Aurora club directors obtained an injunction against the Wisconsin-Illinois League from opening its season the next day. President W. C. Flannagan of the Aurora club charged he was paid only half of the $1,000 owed him for the franchise. He also alleged negotiations were pending for the sale of five Aurora players, but before he could close the deal he was notified by Secretary Farrell of the National Commission that all five men were free agents. Farrell based his decision on the principle that a club without membership in a league cannot hold players who do not report to the [non-existent] team. Farrell further claimed the Aurora club did not furnish him with a list of players it desired to dispose of, so he could not help the club.

Flannagan claimed that until paid in full the Aurora club was technically part of the W-I League, and from this action of Farrell his club suffered a loss of $750. This case was taken to the National Baseball Commission. In late June the commission ordered the Aurora directors to be paid $500 by the Wisconsin-Illinois League. However, the Aurora club was held guilty of contributing negligence, and could not claim any reimbursement for the players lost. Within days, president Weeks of the W-I said the $500 was never in dispute, and the league was always willing to pay it. The hang-up was the W-I would not pay Aurora the money until the directors of that club released the league from all financial responsibility in connection with its affairs. The Aurora men would not sign such a release.

Milwaukee Sentinel April 9, 1912

Charles Moll was named as the head of the new Milwaukee club. Moll, who lived at 1308 1st Street(later address 3136 North 1st Street), was president of the American Grinder Company located on the fifth floor at 165 Michigan (later address 525 East Michigan, now the Johnson Service Building). He immediately stated he had several players signed, and was ready to give the other seven clubs in the league "a hot fight." At this point the Wisconsin-Illinois League consisted of Milwaukee, Wausau, Green Bay, Oshkosh, Appleton, Madison and Racine—all Wisconsin cities. As we have seen, the Rockford situation was still pending.

Not all were enthused about this expansion of minor leagues in the American Association towns. The Milwaukee Journal was certain a Class C team would not make it in Milwaukee with fans used to seeing top-notch Class A American Association baseball. The local semi-professional leagues were also up in arms. Milwaukee's two clubs in the Lake Shore League—the Kosciuskos and Weinbrenners—only played on the weekends. One well-known figure in semi-professional ball was quoted as saying: "If Milwaukee tries continuous baseball she will strike a snag. Even the Brewers have a hard time drawing crowds during the week, and what will a Class C team do? Milwaukee doesn't care to see Amateur Baseball on a Monday."

To counterbalance this claim the Milwaukee Sentinel opined that the W-I League played "the fastest kind of ball" and no doubt fans would welcome the games on days the Brewers were out of town. The newspaper believed the more games, the more fans, the more fans the more money flowing into baseball.

It was the Milwaukee Journal that exposed this "invasion" of American Association territory for what it really was. The day after the transfer of the Aurora franchise to Milwaukee the paper told its readers:
The American Association magnates who admit they are going into the baseball agriculturist business, are doing so, they claim, as a protective measure against the big leaguers. During the past few years a minor league team has been handicapped in getting good talent because of the ability of the big fellows to go into the bushes and round up all of the rising stars, while they kept their discards at such prices that it was impossible for minor league teams to meet their terms. Now, of course, in this age of trust, and distrusts, something has to be done. The result is this "peaceful invasion."

Charlie Moll has been credited with being the prime mover in the deal, and is looked upon as the head of the peaceful invasion. As a matter of fact, it's Havenor Co. that is putting up for the splash. The Aurora franchise has been taken over, but not the players. This will probably mean that the new team is to be supplied with its talent by Brewer castoffs. If a man can't make good in the association he will be shifted down to the state league team, while if the state league team develops a star, he will be moved up to the association team.
Toward the end of the month the American Association's willingness to allow the Class C leagues to enter their territory was weakening. There was talk of the moves into Milwaukee, St. Paul and Minneapolis being blocked. Officials in the Milwaukee Wisconsin-Illinois club said they were going ahead, and would appeal to baseball's National Board any actions to block them out.

In early February the Wisconsin-Illinois League's muddled situation began to clear a little. Rockford wanted to stay in the W-I, but was having trouble finding financial backing, in addition to finding land to build a new ballpark. However, the club's owner, George Bubser, went about signing players for the upcoming season. By mid-month the club had secured $1,000 in subscriptions, but needed more. It was decided the club would attempt to sell 600 shares of stock at $10 a share. The largest amount of this money raised would go to building a new park on Fifteenth Avenue. In early March plans were drawn up for the new park, which was reported to be one of the largest parks in circuit. By late March the Rockford club had sold about $2,000 worth of stock, enough to guarantee a spot in the W-I. The new ballpark, estimated to cost about $4,000, was started around April 1. By the end of the month the Rockford owners had secured $1000 worth of advertising on the fence of the park, and all told had secured $8,000 in stock and other assets.

On February 10, 1913, the American Association announced the lower minor leagues could enter its territory in Milwaukee, Columbus, Minneapolis and St. Paul. However, tight strings were attached. These lower leagues would not actually be granted franchises in the A.A. cities, but only transfer games into the A.A. cities from other cities. By doing this, the lower leagues would have no claim to the American Association territory. These lower leagues then had to set up a schedule that did not conflict at all with the Association club in that city. Further, these lower league scheduled games would have to be cancelled at the last minute if the A.A. team had to play a postponed game in its home city. A final kicker was that the lower minor league would have to charge American Association admission: a quarter in the bleachers and 50 cents for grandstand seating.

Milwaukee Sentinel April 30, 1913
The Wisconsin-Illinois League was willing to take on these conditions in Milwaukee. Technically the franchise was assigned to Fond du Lac, and then the games transferred to Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Journal did not forecast great success for the Wisconsin-Illinois League in Beer City: "Maybe Milwaukee fans will be willing to pay practically big league prices for bush league baseball, but it would take a big drag at the pipe to make us believe it."

The day after the franchise was awarded Charles Moll said he was very excited about putting a team on the field. He claimed he had enough players to field a team already. Moll gave the fans a hint of what the Mollys would be: "This team to going to be made up of youngsters, comers and not of a lot of old castoffs. It is our object to develop young players for the Brewers, and in order to do that we are going to try out a large number of youngsters. If a man is too old or too slow for the Brewers he is not going to be given a place on the second team… We want players who will develop. In the carrying out of this plan the Milwaukee fans will be in a position to watch the development of future stars for the Brewers. Instead of the promising youngster being forced to sit around on the bench waiting their chance to break in, they will be used on the second team." It was clear the Mollys were a farm club for the American Association Brewers. Agnes Havenor, and her new business manager, William H. Armour, knew it was almost impossible to get good players from the major leagues and would have to develop these players themselves. To add to this, Agnes Havenor said the W-I League team would play at Athletic Park.

In March the Wisconsin-Illinois draw up its 126 game schedule with the Mollys opening at home on April 24. A number of other W-I clubs were against this early opening, instead wishing to open about May 7. Milwaukee was against this later date due to the team's scheduling with the Brewers. If the later date was chosen the Mollys would only be able to play about six games at home until well into June. President Weeks went to work drafting another schedule, but with four trips around the circuit the added expense was not a hit with most clubs. In April a schedule finally was released that had the league opening on April 30, and each club making three trips around the circuit.

There might be peace between the Wisconsin-Illinois League and the American Association, but a baseball war was brewing in Milwaukee. The Lake Shore League was extremely unhappy about being shut off from Athletic Park at 8th and Chambers. President Clarence Klocksin of the Lake Shore League said his league would build a new park in the city. At the time the new park's location was not known, but Klocksin was thinking of a location on the city's northwest side, thus in close proximity to Athletic Park. In addition, Klocksin said the Lake Shore League would schedule conflicting dates with both the W-I League and the A.A. Brewers. But hedging his bet a little, Klocksin said the conflicting dates with the Brewers would not be until August. In addition to the two Milwaukee teams and teams in Manitowoc, Sheboygan, Port Washington and Kenosha, the Lake Shore League was planning on adding two Chicago clubs to its roster. Perhaps the loudest statement from the Lake Shore president was that the clubs would make efforts to secure as many players as possible from organized baseball. He said "the opposition will soon know that a battle is on."

Milwaukee Journal March 4, 1913

How serious Klocksin's talk was really taken is hard to tell. A report in the newspaper stated some of the Brewers were willing to join forces with the Lake Shore League if the Brewers did not raise their salaries. One finds this only reasonable as a contract ploy.

However, it appeared the Lake Shore League was setting up to fight the Wisconsin-Illinois League, and the Brewers. On February 21 the league granted a franchise to Fred Koester, and stated it would remodel Greater Milwaukee ballpark at the intersection at 27th Street and Keefe Avenue to use as its northwestern field. This remodeling would include a new grandstand and bleachers to seat 4,000. Koester would give his team the name White Stockings.

In March the Lake Shore League formally organized for the 1913 season with teams in Manitowoc, Sheboygan, Port Washington, plus the two teams in Milwaukee. Added to these Wisconsin based teams were the Gunthers, Logan Squares and Riverview Parks of Chicago. The Lake Shore League would go on to have a successful season, but the anticipated battle between it and the Wisconsin-Illinois League never amounted to anything. The Kosciuskos would challenge Charles Moll's Wisconsin-Illinois team to a game on Sunday, April 27, a day the Brewers were out of town and Athletic Park would be available. The Lake Shore champs were ready to post anywhere from $100 to $500 as a side bet on the game, but the Mollys never responded.

Who would manage the Wisconsin-Illinois League Milwaukee team became the talk of the press. The first name tossed about was Tom Dougherty. The 31-year old pitcher had been with the Brewers since 1904, with 20 win seasons in 1905 and 1909. In 1911 he had been 19 and 15, but in 1912 fell to 6 and 14. However, new Brewer manager Harry Clark believed Dougherty could still pitch and wanted to give him a look. Tom would go 14 and 9 in 1913, and pitch with the Brewers again in 1914 and 1915. Before his Milwaukee career was over Dougherty would win 164 for the Brewers, losing only 130. Charles Moll also killed the idea of hiring Dougherty, reiterating he was looking for young talent, even in his manager.

On March 1 the Milwaukee W-I club officially announced Albert S. "Duke" Landgraff would be the manager of the Mollycoddies. Landgraff, a resident of Norfork, Virginia—but formerly of Milwaukee—was a second baseman by trade and signed to be a player/manager. He began his career in Allentown, Pennsylvania in the Atlantic League in 1907, where he hit .276 and stole 55 bases. After playing 1908 again with Allentown Landgraff went to Greenville, South Carolina to play in 1909,where he hit .253 and Albert Landgraff stole 46 bases. 1910 found him in Richmond of the Virginia League, managing to hit only .204. From Richmond Landgraff went to play and captain the 1911 Johnson City club in the Appalachian League, where he raised his average to .289. Landgraff played the 1912 season in Springfield of the Connecticut League where he hit .272. Although not a heavy hitter, Landgraff was known for developing talent as a manager. A number of his former players were in the big leagues or high minors.

Milwaukee Journal March 2, 1913

At the same time Charles Moll announced his manager he gave out the names of the players he had under contract. It turned out Moll had been signing players for three months in anticipation of his getting a franchise in the Wisconsin-Illinois League. Certainly this would point to his having some type of inside information on the issue. Moll's initial list of players is as follows:

Pitchers: Paul Wachtel, Fred Bantz , Leonard Aubey, F.D. Bartels, William Weber
Outfielders: Harry Williams, Earl Smith
Catchers: J.W. Crowley, George Bartusky
Infielders: Jerry Murphy, Cy Olson, Oscar Felsch, Earl Clark, A.S. Landgraff, Mandus L. Reeb

Paul Wachtel
Milwaukee Journal August 29, 1912

Paul Wachtel had been purchased by the Milwaukee Brewers the previous fall, after winning and losing 14 games with Green Bay. He had also been scouted by Cleveland of the American League. The 6 foot right hander, who would be 25 on opening day, was being counted on as the star of Landgraff's staff. Fred Bantz, a lefty, had pitched the previous season in the Lake Shore League. Leonard Aubey had pitched for Watertown (Wisconsin) in 1912. F.D. Bartels, was probably Floyd Bartels, a pitcher from La Crosse Normal School.[See later in article for more on Bartels.] William Weber, a southpaw, was a Milwaukee boy who had thrown in the City League. Harry Williams was from Mauston, Wisconsin, having played on semi-professional clubs in the northern part of the state. "Silent" Earl Smith had played with Green Bay of the W-I League before joining the American Association Brewers for the last month of 1912. It was reported the Brooklyn National League club was also after the outfielder.

Earl Smith
Milwaukee Journal August 29, 1912

The first of the two catchers, J.W. Crowley, had played for the strong semi-professional Gunther team of Chicago. The other catcher, George Bartusky played 1912 in the Northern Indiana League. Infielder Jerry Murphy was from Norfolk, Virginia, having hit .291 in 55 games the previous year. Murphy had been sold to the Mollys by the Norfolk Tars, as he did not like the Virginia League. Cy Olson had played shortstop for the Racine and Weinbrenner (of Milwaukee) teams in the Lake Shore League in 1912. Of course, Oscar Felsch was a local boy, known by many from the Milwaukee sandlots. "Happy" had played with semi-professional clubs in Manitowoc, Wisconsin Rapids and Stevens Point the previous year. Earl Clark had been playing third base at Colgate College the previous two years. Mandus Reeb had played second base in 1912 with the Antwerp (Ohio) independent team. Reeb would train with the Class A Brewers in Owensboro, Kentucky, but be sent down to the Mollys in early April.

Mandus Reeb
Milwaukee Sentinel
March 14, 1913

Over the course of March Landgraff and Moll would sign a few more players, having 24 under contract by March 15. Before spring training started for the Mollys, more players were signed. Fred Bost, a 6 foot 2 inch southpaw pitcher from Upper Michigan was secured from the Duluth club.Also from "up north" (Ashland, Wisconsin) was a 6 foot 3 inch outfielder named John Grant. Both Bost and Grant played in the Copper League and had been scouted by Brewer outfielder Newt Randall, who had been worked as a lumberjack in northern Wisconsin. On Randall's recommendation they had been signed by the Brewers in November. Pitcher M.G. "Lefty" Davis,who had played semi-pro ball in Milwaukee the previous season, was also signed in March.

A nice find was Ralph Stuart, a catcher who had played with Greensboro of the Carolina League in 1912. In 96 games he had hit .326, and was considered the best fielding catcher in the league. Like a few others, Stuart trained with the Brewers in Owensboro, but sent to the Molly after spring camp was over. Another catching prospect, Herman Bahr, was a City League product. Further signings included infielder Clarence Lippold, who had last played with an outlaw league in Escanaba (Michigan), and Orland Haag, a pitcher from Lawrenceburg, Indiana. From Indianapolis came Ray Hey. From Odanah, Wisconsin, Moll signed a "full-blooded Indian" named John Basana, Jr. The 6 foot 1 inch outfielder was said to be fast and a heavy hitter. Yet another pitcher, Ed Schmitz, had posted a 12 and 3 record with Racine two season previous, was inked to a contract. Another college man was signed, Frank "Fleet" Mayberry, from North Carolina. The Milwaukee Sentinel reported Mayberry was a professor of law at Oak Ridge College in North Carolina, and played ball more for the sport than for the money. [However, the Milwaukee Journal reported the right hander was a student at North Carolina University, and his studies would not allow him to report to the club on time.]

Hugh E. Whitted, a 6 foot 1 inch outfielder was also signed. Hugh was the brother of George "Possum" Whitted, the infielder/outfielder playing with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1913. To add to the catching department, John Wickenhofer, a big Williamsburg, West Virginia boy, who had played in the Cotton States League the previous two years, was signed.

Hugh Whitted, John Wickenhofer, Fred Bost, Harry Mueller, John Basana
Milwaukee Journal March 30, 1913

In April Moll signed another Native American, pitcher Boney Dixon, a full blooded Winnebago, who had been playing in the Copper Country League. The big right-hander was reported to be an all around ball player, being able to pitch and play the outfield, as well as being a heavy hitter. Dixon had a world of speed, but was reported to have a lack of control.

Fred Bost, Paul Wachtel, Ed Schmitz, Alfred Landgraff, John Basner, Jim Jach, Boney Dixon
Milwaukee Journal April 20, 1913

Jim Jach Milwaukee Sentinel
March 17, 1914

A third Native American, an outfielder named John Basner***, was signed but cut days before the W-I season began.

A local south side boy, Jim Jach, was also signed in April.**** The right hander had pitched for the Kosciuskos of the old City League, but had spent the last four seasons in the western part of the country,pitching in the Washington State League and Union Association.

One further April signing was Ted Waller, a former University of Wisconsin star.

Milwaukee Sentinel
April 13, 1913

The most interesting of these spring signings was that of Harry Mueller. A 21-year old native of Chicago, he was a catcher and newspaper cartoonist, on active duty in the United State Navy, assigned as a bugler on the battleship Louisiana. He was built on the same lines as former Brewer Ray Schalk, only a little heaver. Reports also credited Mueller with having a good throwing arm, hitting the ball hard and possessing a good baseball head. He was good enough that Connie Mack had tried to sign him in January. However, Al Landgraff was coaching the navy team at Norfolk, Virginia, and signed Mueller for his Mollys. The problem was that Mueller had been refused his discharge from the navy. At Charles Moll's request local democratic political leader Joseph E. Davies interested himself to look into Muller's situation. Two Wisconsin congressmen also worked to cut through the red tape, and Mueller secured his honorable discharge from the navy in time to join Landgraff in Norfolk for some training.85 In May it was reported Mueller's battery mate on the Louisiana, Chick Shaw, had been signed by the Mollys, but the "crack pitcher" never made it to Milwaukee.

One further player joined the Mollys before the team's spring training began. Anton "Mutt" Ens, who had come to the American Association Brewers in January from the Chicago White Stockings as part of a trade for catcher Ray Schalk, was sent to the Class C league shortly after the A.A. season began, the Brewers believing he needed "a trifle more seasoning".

Anton "Mutt" Ens
Milwaukee Sentinel
January 21, 1913

A few other players had brief try-outs with the Mollys, but, of course, not all these players would survive spring training.

As spring training began, the clubs and managers of the 1913 Wisconsin-Illinois League took this shape:
Madison—Harry Rey
Wausau—Mike Malloy
Green Bay – Bobby Lynch
Rockford—George Bubser
Racine—Billy Fox
Milwaukee—A.S. Landgraff
Appleton—William Cristall
Oshkosh--William Killian
The W-I office announced all games in the league would start at 3:00 in the afternoon, except for Sunday games, which would begin a half hour earlier.

Evening Wisconsin May 1, 1913

The Mollys were to report to town on April 8, and then begin training in Oconomowoc. Ralph Stuart was in charge of the team's training—in a local gymnasium because of poor weather conditions—until manager Landgraff, and a few other players, arrived a week later from Norfolk. Mutt Ens was recalled to the Brewers on April 18 to play first base for the ill Tom Jones. When Jones returned, Ens cleared waivers and was in Milwaukee for the W-I Leagues' opening day. Around this time the Mollys also signed a young Toledo left-handed pitcher named Stick (or Stieck or Steick).

After a few weeks of training the Mollys played their first exhibition game, losing in 10 innings to Billy Fox's Racine team, 7 to 6. Later in the month of April the Mollys moved their training to Athletic Park, as the Brewers went on the road. The next weekend the Racine team tied Landgraff's team 5 to 5 in 13 innings at Athletic Park.

Top right: Jach, Aubey, Landgraff,Dixon, Stuart,
Middle row: Wachtel, Wickenhofer, Brown, Lippold, Stick
Bottom row: Waller, Felsch, Mueller, Smith, Whitted
Milwaukee Sentinel April 30, 1913

The Mollys opening day roster appears to have been+:Ralph Stuart, Harry Mueller and John Wickenhofer—catchers Paul Wachtel, James Jach, Boney Dixon, Fred Bost,Leonard Aubey, Stick--pitchers Mutt Ens, A.S. Landgraff, Oscar Felsch, Clarence Lippold, Mandus Reeb--infielders Hugh Whitted, Earl Smith and Ted Waller—outfielders

The Mollys opened their Wisconsin-Illinois League season on Wednesday, April 30 at Athletic Park, with Milwaukee Mayor Gerhard Bading throwing out the first pitch. About 400 fans saw the home nine beat the Appleton Papermakers 12 to 5. Local southsider Jim Jach pitched a nice game for the Mollys. Happy Felsch was the hitting star, having a 5 for 5 day, with three singles, a triple and a grand slam home run.

Milwaukee Sentinel May 1, 1913

Alva Holt Milwaukee Journal
August 29, 1912

On a down note to this opening day victory, Mutt Ens was spiked rather badly and would be forced to miss a few games. Alva Holt was signed to fill in. Holt, a tall power hitter, had ended the 1912 season with the Brewers after playing with Green Bay of the W-I League, but was traded to Lowell of the New England league in November. (Another report said he had been released to the Utica club.)

The next day Paul Wachtel pitched the Mollys to a 6 to 1 victory, striking out six and not walking a batter. The big righthander also had a single and a home run. In the Mollys' third game, before a Friday Ladies' Day crowd, Boney Dixon won a 2 to 0 shut-out, to give the team a 3 and 0 record.

Boney Dixon
Milwaukee Sentinel
April 30,1913

On May 3 Green Bay came into town. The big Polish boy Jim Jach shut out the Bays 2 to 0, on a four hitter in the first game of the series. The next day produced a 17 to 15 slugfest, with Landgraff's boys again on the winning end. "Our Mr. Happy Felch++, the mayor of Thirty-fifth and Center streets", collected three singles and a home run. The final game of the home stand was rained out. The Mollys left town in first place with a 5 and 0 record. Boney Dixon failed to report at the train depot when the team left town and was indefinitely suspended. Within days it was reported he had signed to pitch in the Lake Shore League. Reports later in the month stated Dixon was pitching great ball in Sheboygan.

After this first week of play W-I League president Weeks decided to get the games moving faster. He ordered Wisconsin-Illinois League home clubs to supply two new baseballs and six old balls for each game, to avoid delays in recovering balls.

In Wausau Landgraff's team met the Lumberjacks, and experienced their first loss of the season by a score of 4 to 2. Paul Wachtel came back with a 5-hit, one to nothing shut out the next day. Jach finished off the series with a 7 to 4 victory. In this last game, the southpaw Stick started for the Mollys. He only lasted one inning before being pulled for a pitch hitter. This was his first, and last, appearance with the Mollys.

Bruce Noel
Milwaukee Sentinel
March 14, 1913

On to Green Bay, the Mollys continued their winning ways, beating the Bays 6 to 2 behind Landgraff's new left handed pitcher, Bruce Noel. Noel began the 1913 season with the American Association Brewers, but "couldn't get going right this spring." Noel had played three years with Oshkosh of the W-I League, before being signed by Pittsburgh. Hugh Duffy secured Noel for his A.A. team for $1,000 in 1912 after the Pirates waived him, and Bruce won three games and lost six for the Brewers. In August Noel left the Brewers and went to the Marinette Club of the Upper Peninsula League. It was first reported he had jumped the Brewers, but soon reported Hugh Duffy had released Noel to Marinette. He pitched a game for Marinette before it was reported the Brewers had sold him, along with another player and cash to Oshkosh for pitcher Charles "Doc" Watson. To add to this confusion in December it turned out Noel was still on the Brewers reserve, and the transaction with Oshkosh was only a loan.

The Mollys went on to sweep this series in Green Bay with 4 to 3 and 7 to 5 victories. Tempers flared up a bit for the Milwaukee lads, as Landgraff pushed the umpire and Noel used "strenuous language to the umpire" when Holt was called out sliding into third base. Landgraff and Noel were both fined $15 by the league president, "pretty steep for this company."

The ten and one first-place Mollys now traveled to Oshkosh to play the defending Wisconsin-Illinois champions, who also had a 10 and 1 record.

Rain in the Sawdust City kept the two teams off the ball field for two days. On May 15 the Mollys and Indians finally met on the ball field—if one could call it a ball field. The Milwaukee Journal had this to say: "Honestly, outside of the grandstand and the bleachers, you never would have taken the so-called diamond for a ball field. It looked more like a miniature reproduction of the thousand islands. All over the outfield glistened little lakes of water, while the right field—well, you never saw anything like it…". The Indians hit Noel for thirteen safeties and ten runs in, the 10 to 7 loss.

Landgraff's team, which was leading the W-I in hitting at this early part of the season, traveled to Appleton, where they continued hitting. The Milwaukee lads collected 18 hits, but could only bring 6 runs across home plate in an 8 to 6 defeat. The next day the losing streak hit three games, as Jach and Noel were knocked around and Holt came in to pitch "and made a farce of the balance of the game", allowing six runs in the fifth inning. The college boy Fleet Mayberry joined the team for this game. The Papermakers then swept the series behind a 4 to 0 shutout behind pitcher/manager William Cristall. In this series Mollys catcher Harry Mueller was lost for a few weeks with a split finger that healed very slowly.

The Mollys returned to Oshkosh to make up one of the rain postponements. Fleet Mayberry took the mound for the first time and pitched well. However in the 8th inning he gave up 4 runs to be tagged with a 4 to 2 loss. In the second inning of this game Ted Waller broke his right leg while sliding home. President Moll bought outfielder E. Milo Chastant from the Oshkosh club to take his place. Landgraff's team had now lost five games in a row and the Evening Wisconsin came down on the team: "The loud metallic noise you hear that sounds like a roller coaster just starting down the highest incline on the scenic railway, is the Creams slipping down the ladder of success. It's such hard, hard work going up, up, up, but like the kid with a new bob sled, it seems to be such fun coming down, down, down."

The Mollys went to Madison to face the Senators for the first time. Paul Wachtel pitched well, and the offense scored three runs in the 9th inning to win 3 to 1. After a rain postponement Noel pitched a winning 7 to 4 game, with Felsch continuing his heavy hitting with a double and a home run.

There was some grumbling around this time within the league about the Milwaukee franchise. It was thought the Mollys would be able to take players from the American Association Brewers whenever they needed them. The case of Noel coming from the Brewers just after Boney Dixon had been suspended by the Mollys was brought up as an example. One Wisconsin-Illinois club owner was quoted as saying: "We have no one to blame but ourselves if the Milwaukee team is helped along at intervals by the A.A. club. The League was so eager to get Milwaukee in that it considered nothing but the size of that city. If a runaway race results the W-I magnates must take their medicine." However, league president Frank Weeks said both Milwaukee clubs would have to abide by the rules, just as all other clubs had to.

On May 24 Wisconsin-Illinois League president Weeks announced that the teams in the league had to cut down to 14 players by June 1. As some compensation to the players, the salary limit was raised from $1,400 to $1,500 per month for the entire squad. Weather had been playing havoc with the entire league—nineteen games having been postponed by rain since the season began.

On to Rockford, the Milwaukee club continued to win. In the first game, a 3 to 1 victory, Oscar Felsch collecting three more hits. In the second game Felsch blasted a 2-run homer in the seventh, and Fleet Mayberry pitched a 2-hitter, to give the Mollys a 2 to 1 victory. The Mollys' four game winning streak then ended, as Rockford beat Wachtel to 2 to 1 on May 25.

The Mollys were scheduled to return to Athletic Park on May 26, but the game with Rockford was rained out. The front office was busy though. It was thought Mutt Ens, who had been spiked badly, and Harry Mueller, with an injured hand, were due to return to the line-up. The club thus sold Chastant—who had no hits in 12 at bats—to the Newport News Virginia club. Ralph Stuart's contract was also sold to Manistee of the Southern Michigan League. It was also learned that Ted Waller had been sold to Green Bay, and the game in which he broke his leg was to be his last with Milwaukee.

The Milwaukee management announced it was changing its policy on Ladies Day at Athletic Park. It had been set up that women could sit in the grandstand for a quarter Monday through Thursday. On Friday all ladies were admitted free, and on Saturday and Sunday they paid full price. Now on all days the fairer sex would only have to pay a quarter to get into the park and be admitted to the grandstand at no extra charge.

President Weeks released the team and individual batting statistics of the first 19 games of the Wisconsin-Illinois League season. Milwaukee was leading the leading in average, hitting .272. The Mollys also led the league in home runs with 9, Felsch accounting for 3 of these. As with most slugging clubs, the Mollys also led the W-I in striking out, racking up 130 Ks. The only other team with over 100 strikeouts was Wausau, at 103. Of the 19 players hitting over .300, four were on the Milwaukee club. Alva Holt was leading the league with a .434 batting average, Hugh Whitted was at .356, Paul Wachtel at .321 and Happy Felsch at .307.

The Mollys took the field against the Rockford Prohibitionist on May 27 at Athletic Park, winning 10 to 0 behind the 4-hit pitching of Bruce Noel. Mandus Reeb came off the bench as a late-inning sub at second base, to make only his second appearance with the Mollys in this game—having injured his knee earlier. Jim Jach followed this win with another shut-out, as the Milwaukee team scored five runs in his support.

The Racine Belles were due in Beer City next, but wet grounds prevented a game from being played. On Decoration Day the Mollys and Racine opened the holiday with a morning game at Racine's High Street lot, Noel losing 5 to 1 in front of one of the banner crowds of the year in Racine. The teams then traveled up to Milwaukee where they played the second game of the day. The Belles pounded out ten hits, beating Mayberry 4 to 2 before a crowd of 1,500. Both Ens and Mueller returned to the line-up, as pinch hitters. The Mollys released third baseman Clarence Lippold, and added Del Bemis, released by the Milwaukee Brewers.

Bemis had been "holding down the bench for the Brewers and occasionally breaking into the box score as a pinch hitter". The outfielder had played 1912 in the Minny (Minnesota-Wisconsin League) League, then with the Toledo Mud Hens when the former league folded. Bemis was then traded to Travers City of the Michigan State League, where in September he tore ligaments in his leg, forcing him out for the end of the season. In the winter he accepted terms with the Brewers, but did not report when spring training began. Brewers' officials found Bemis training with the Spokane club of the Northwestern League in Boise City, Idaho. It turned out that because of a mixup in addresses, the youngster did not get the contract in the mail and he thus signed a contract with the Indians. The Brewers appealed the case to the National Board of organized baseball and Bemis was awarded to the Milwaukee American Association club.

With Del Bemis now on the Molly roster, he went to left field, Alva Holt over to third base, and Mutt Ens covered first.

The Mollys traveled south to Racine, losing the first game in the Belle City 2 to 1. After beating Racine the next day, 4 to 3, the frustration of the Mollys showed in the final game in Racine. Pitcher Bruce Noel was tossed from the game in the fifth inning when he throw a new ball the umpire had given him into left field. Instead of leaving the field he attempted to assault the umpire, but was prevented by fellow players. Noel was fined $25 and suspended for 10 days by the league. The Belles went on to win the game 2 to 0, the Mollys only making four hits.

On to Oshkosh for a make-up game, Moll's team continued not to hit, losing to the Indians 6 to 0in the opener.

After this June 3 game the W-I League standings looked like this:

The Mollys traveled to Green Bay, losing the first game 4-3, Jach taking the loss. Just prior to the second game in Green Bay president Weeks lifted Noel's suspension, as Landgraff was in need of pitching. Weeks, from Green Bay, did not want it to appear he was favoring his hometown team in this series. Noel went to the mound and lost 2 to 1. Happy Felsch had a bad day at shortstop, committing four errors. The Milwaukee club now dropped to third place. The Mollys then went to Appleton, only to have the first game rained out. Landgraff's men won the June 7 game in exciting fashion. Both Paul Wachtel and Appleton's James Van Patter pitched eight innings of shut out ball. In the 9th inning Whitted came around third and slid into home. He was initially called out by the umpire, but the Papermakers' catcher dropped the ball, and Whitted was then called safe with the winning run.

The Mollys next traveled to Wausau, where they lost the first game to the Lumberjacks 6 to 4. However, the Mollys came back to win the next day 10 to 7, behind Noel. On June 10 in Oshkosh,Wachtel pitched a 4-hit shutout, and Happy Felsch hit three home runs over the left field fence as the Mollys beat the first-place Indians 7 to 0. Landgraff injured his hand and Lippold was returned to Milwaukee by Oshkosh, and played infield for the Mollys. In the second game of the series Oshkosh pitcher Timeler struck out 15 batters, but gave up ten hits and four walks, so the Mollys were able to scratch out an 8 to 5 win.

The Milwaukee management was having difficulties with W-I president Weeks. Columbia of the Cotton States League put in a claim on catcher John Wickenhofer. The previous year "Wick" had played for Columbia of the Cotton States League, but at the end of the season he said he was a free agent and signed with Milwaukee. Columbia now put in a claim on the catcher and the case was to go before the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, the body that governed the minor leagues. Landgraff claimed Weeks had been trying to prevent him from playing Wickenhofer. Milwaukee management said Weeks had not right to interfere and that Wick could play while the National Association decided the case.

The Mollys returned to Athletic Park on June 12 to begin a scheduled three week home stand. Noel beat Green Bay 2 to 1 to begin the home stand, taking over second place in the W-I. The next day the Mollys scored 14 runs on as many hits—including a grand slam homer by Lippold, and Mayberry shut out the Bays, allowing only 5 hits. Saturday saw the Mollys split a doubleheader with Green Bay.

Appleton came to the Cream City on June 15, and lost the first game of the season 4 to 3. The largest crowd, by far, of the season attended this game. In addition to the 1,000 regular attendance, about 2,000 of the city's newsboys were given free admission to the bleachers. This large showing led the Milwaukee Sentinel to believe the team was at last "beginning to create some interest in town."

Floyd Bartels
Milwaukee Journal
March 29, 1914

At this point Charles Moll decided a makeover of his club was in order. First, he signed Floyd Bartels+++ from La Crosse Normal School. The big right hander had won thirteen out of fourteen games the past season, averaging 12 strike outs per game.

Then it was announced outfielder Hugh Whitted was released to Durham, North Carolina. It was claimed he was not hitting—although his average stood at .296—and his fielding had not been all that good. In addition, Moll sent catcher Harry Mueller to the Manistee, Michigan club. Ralph Stuart was recalled from Manistee to take the former sailor's place. The Mollys were also facing two key injuries. Felsch had hurt his arm a week earlier, but continued to play. However, after 41 games at shortstop the big local boy was moved to the outfield. Alva Holt took over at shortstop. With Landgraff ready to come back, Happy went to see "Bonesetter" Reese in Youngstown, Ohio, about his arm. He returned without missing a game and continued to play at both shortstop and the outfield. In addition to this, Wickenhofer had his fingernail torn and was forced from the first Appleton game, and would miss a number of games.

The Mollys beat Appleton on June 16, 4 to 1, "Prof." Mayberry tossing a 4 hitter. Milwaukee swept the series the next day with a 5 to 4 victory.

As early as the first week in June there was talk the Mollys would be transferred to Fond du Lac. Club officials denied the report at this time. While admitting gate receipts were less than expected they believed some changes being implemented would make the team more desirable to see, and attendance would rise. One of these changes was the lowering of admission for grandstand seating from 50 cents to 35 cents. Bleacher seating remained a quarter. Fridays were to be a free day for women.

Even with these attempts to increase attendance, fans failed to come to the park in bigger numbers. Despite the Mollys' four game winning streak (and having won nine of their last ten games) the attendance was disappointing. Attendance figures were rarely printed in the newspapers, but as early as the second game of the season—with only 400 spectators at Athletic Park—the Milwaukee Sentinel commented "the bugs [fans] evidently think that W-I league ball is beneath their notice."

Milwaukee Sentinel June 22, 1913

Even when attendance figures were brought up in the newspapers the information is questionable. For example, writing on the afternoon game of Decoration Day, May 30, the Sentinel reported only 100 fans showed up at Athletic Park. However, the Racine Journal News reported the crowd as 1,500.159 There is little doubt this later figure is much more accurate. The Milwaukee Journal reported the league put all the receipts in a pool on this Decoration Day, and divided the money equally among all eight clubs. The afternoon game at Athletic Park brought $404.50 to the pool. At a quarter and half dollar admission, this amount is more in the proximity of the Racine-Journal News attendance report. For comparison, the morning game that day in Racine brought in$204.10. The highest revenue amount of the day was at Oshkosh, with $771.45 for its afternoon game. On the other end, Appleton brought only $74.90 to the pool for the afternoon game there. Every team in the W-I received $273.25 from the pool. Whatever the attendance at the Mollys' game was that holiday afternoon the Sentinel gave us a glimpse of how Milwaukee fans reacted: "A delegation of [Racine] Horlick followers, numbering about fifty, did more rooting than the rest of the spectators put together and helped take the funeral aspect off the engagement."

Because of this poor attendance at Molly games rumors were again around town that league officials were seriously considering transferring the franchise to either Aurora or Elgin, Illinois, or to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. On June 18 Charles Moll confirmed these considerations: "I do not understand why the club does not draw better. We have an excellent ball club, but we can not live on snowballs, and unless the club is supported better we will transfer it to some other city. Because of the strength of the team and its excellent chance of winning the pennant several cities have already made offers for the team." This "Short Shot" in the Milwaukee Sentinel told the story in a humorous fashion:
He paused and picked up a shining piece of metal. Lo and Behold. It was a dime. "Charles Moll must have lost his W-I league receipts," muttered the lucky one to himself as he wended his weary steps to a drinking academy.
Part of the reason for the Mollys' weak attendance figures could be the success of other local baseball teams. The American Association Brewers were at present in second place, playing good, exciting ball. The Lake Shore League was having a close race, with the Kosciuskos only one game behind the first place Gunthers of Chicago. The May 11 game between the Kosciuskos and Milwaukee White Sox at South Side Park drew 4,000, the largest crowd that ever witnessed a semi-professional game in Milwaukee. For a game on Sunday, June 14, such a large crowd was expected for the game between the Kosciuskos and White Sox at Greater Milwaukee Park that extra cars were put on the Twelfth Street line. Also the City League was offering an interesting race with four teams bunched closely together. Add to this a Merchants and Manufacturers' League, plus a local Industrial League. It was certainly possible the early predictions of continuous baseball—and a lot of weekend baseball—in Milwaukee would be a failure were correct.

On June 18 the Fond du Lac Daily Commonwealth reported Charles Moll had contacted Alex G. Dana, former manager of the old Fond du Lac baseball club, who had been the prominent figure in the campaign to bring baseball back to Fond du Lac, to see if there would be any interest by the businessmen of Fond du Lac to transfer the Milwaukee W-I team there. Then on June 20 it was reported in the Milwaukee Sentinel the Mollys would probably be transferred to Aurora, Illinois. It was reported the league would pay the Aurora directors the $500 due from the transfer of the team to Milwaukee after the 1912 season. Moll would still run the club, according to the report. However, Moll told the Milwaukee Journal nothing had been decided about a transfer to Aurora, and that Fond du Lac was also after the club. The directors of the Aurora club were scheduled to meet on June 23 to decide if they wanted the franchise.

While this was going on, the Wausau Jacks arrived in town, but all three games of the series were lost to rain. Manager Landgraff announced he had signed J. Rockstraw, a right handed pitcher from Colgate University, who resided in Gary, Indiana. Two days later he was released, never having played with the Mollys.

On Saturday, June 21 the Oshkosh Indians played the Mollys at Athletic Park and the Indians held on to first place with a 3 to 2 win. Despite being a chilly day, a fair sized crowd was on hand. The Sawdust men won again the next day, 3 to 2. This Sunday attendance of between 1,000 and 1,500 was the largest paying crowd of the season. One of the highlights of this game was the sight of Brewers pitcher Ralph Cutting's goat grazing in the outfield. Players on both teams had a hard time trying to chase the goat off the lot, until the animal left the field to spend time in the bleachers in the eighth inning. Jim Jach finished the series by pitching a four hit, 4 to 1 victory. The Milwaukee Sentinel reported this game was played "in honor of fifty-three fans…The event was an al fresco affair. The bleachers and grandstands were sparingly decorated."

To strengthen the team Landgraff signed well-known local semi-profession outfielder George Disch, who had been playing with the Milwaukee White Sox of the Lake Shore League. In his debut with the Mollys Disch was allowed a runner when he reached base, "probably on account of the oversize uniform he wore," reported the Sentinel. George only played three games with the Mollys and returned to the White Sox.

What would be the final series in Milwaukee opened on June 25, with the Madison Senators beating Bruce Noel 4 to 3. The visitors won the next day 5 to 3 before 100 spectators. The Mollys ended their Milwaukee stay in spectacular style on a day to remember in Milwaukee. The temperature reached 120 degrees at 5:30 in the afternoon. Six deaths resulted directly from heat and 200 people fell victim to the heat in some form and had to be treated. The game was a seesaw affair throughout. Mutt Ens hit a ball deep to the bullpen in right field. The first sacker ran the bases and barely beat the throw to the plate for an inside the park home-run, giving the Mollys an exciting 8 to 7 win over the Senators.

Floyd Bartels, whom the Mollys had signed earlier, joined the team and pitched in this final Milwaukee home game. Also on this final day in Milwaukee the Mollys signed a shortstop named Lyle from the Michigan State League, to allow Oscar Felsch to play regular in the outfield, the position he would play during his major league career.

That the Mollys would leave Milwaukee was now more of when than if. Both Aurora and Fond du Lac were anxious for the team. The Milwaukee Journal felt Fond du Lac had a better chance, as it was much closer to the majority of Wisconsin-Illinois League cities, especially Oshkosh and Appleton. The Milwaukee Sentinel pointed out that even though Aurora might be a better city to draw more spectators, the savings in railway fare would favor Fond du Lac. Wisconsin-Illinois League president Weeks said a mail vote would be taken the week of June 23 to decide the Mollys' fate. It was reported the majority of the club owners favored Fond du Lac, but if the city did not want the team a move to Aurora would meet with their approval. The Aurora baseball directors had made an offer for the club with $1,000, in addition to having a ballpark and good streetcar transportation. [Another report gave the offer as being $500 and the rent of the ballpark free.

It was reported by the Fond du Lac Daily Commonwealth that Milwaukee Brewers' owner Agnes Havenor wanted $1,500 to make the transfer to Fond du Lac, but after talking to Charles Moll she finally consented to take the team there for $1,250. Alex G. Dana said that public sentiment in Fond du Lac was strong against paying more than $1,000 for the franchise. As of June 24 subscriptions totaled $1,017 to bring the club to the Fountain City.

Fond du Lac Commonwealth Daily June 30, 1913

On Monday, June 23 Charles Moll made a trip to Fond du Lac. He looked over the ballpark and saw it needed minor repairs. But he was sure the infield could be "skinned' and rolled, and the outfield grass cut within the short time needed to open the series on the weekend. Moll gave the Fond du Lac promoters a one day extension to gather up the necessary funds to transfer the "Baby Brewers" to that city.

On Tuesday, June 24 Moll made this statement to a Milwaukee Sentinel reporter: "If the people of Fond du Lac notify me in time Wednesday morning, Mr. Kinney of the Milwaukee American Association club and I will go to Fond du Lac on Wednesday and complete arrangements for the transfer of the local franchise to that point." Moll told the press the majority of W-I league directors were in favor of Fond du Lac because of its central location in the state. He added "The league wishes to secure a city where the club can have a permanent home for years to come." Moll also expressed the opinion Mrs. Havenor would not accept the $1,000 to transfer the club.

Milwaukee Sentinel
June 29, 1913

On Wednesday, June 25 Charles Moll, along with A. F. Timme, vice-president of the Brewers, both representing Agnes Havenor, hammered out deals of the transfer to Fond du Lac with Dana and his committee. The Fond du Lac subscription committee paid Moll$1,000 to transfer the club. The fan committee made a promise its members would personally agree to try to raise enough money to pay for improvement at the ballpark. On Thursday, June 26 Charles Moll and A. G. Dana announced that the franchise would be transferred to Fond du Lac. The first game in that city was scheduled for Saturday, June 28 against Rockford. Moll said the team would be called the Fond du Lac Mollys. A letter "F" would be added above the present "M" on the sleeve.

The last Milwaukee Mollys game was that of June 27. The standings at the end of that day were:

The Fond du Lac Mollys opened at home on Friday, June 28, losing to Rockford 6 to 5, before "a healthy gathering of exactly eight hundred paid admission fans, and some hundred or two of kids and over the fence entries". Another fifteen hundred attended the second game of the series in Fond du Lac.

That the Wisconsin-Illinois franchise in Milwaukee was a failure was no surprise to most. In its July 5, 1913, issue Sporting Life commented
This [failure] is of a piece with reports from the American Association cities—Columbus, Minneapolis and St. Paul—in which the location of second clubs was permitted last Spring. In every case the second clubs are suffering from lack of patronage and general neglect, thus proving a new that was demonstrated a generation ago, namely, that "continuous ball" in any city, great or small, is not desired by the public unless the competing clubs are of equal caliber or members of leagues of the same classification. In base ball there is "much in a name," our old friend, William Shakespeare, to the contrary notwithstanding.
*     *     *     *

Some follow up notes on the Mollys:

With the Mollys gone the Lake Shore League made peace with the Brewer management and began playing games at Athletic Park when the Brewers were on the road.

On July 18 Albert S. Landgraff resigned as manager of the Fond du Lac Mollys. The team was not doing well, and he thought a new manager was needed. Marty Hogan took his place as manager. Landgraff signed the following week to manage the Wausau club. His first act there was to release Del Bemis, making this the second time in a month he released the outfielder, having let him go in Fond du Lac.

Charles "Doc" Watson
Milwaukee Journal
August 29, 1912

On August 7 Oscar "Happy" Felsch was sold to the American Association Milwaukee Brewers for cash and left handed pitcher Charles "Doc" Watson.198 The next day Wisconsin-Illinois president Frank Weeks stopped the portion of the deal involving Watson, as there was a league rule a W-I team could not obtain a player from a higher league after July 5. The ruling was appealed, but upheld by the National Board. Felsch would play with the Brewers, hitting .183 in 26 games. Almost exactly one year later the Brewers would sell Felsch to the Chicago White Stockings for $12,000 and three players.

One piece of information I could not find was the end result of the Aurora directors refusal to sign a release relieving the W-I from any financial responsibility in transferring of the franchise to Milwaukee. If the W-I paid the Aurora officials the $500 or refused to because of the officials' refusal to sign the release I could not uncover.

The Wisconsin-Illinois League 1913 season ended on September 7. Here are the official final standings.

The Milwaukee Brewers ending up 1913 by winning the American Association pennant with a 100 and 67 record.

This photo was published Fond du Lac Daily Commonwealth June 27, 1913. It is titled the Fond du Lac club, but the club was actually not transferred until the next day. There is no identification of the players. This is an early photo of the Mollys—perhaps in the spring.
Of the 22 players who appeared in games for the Milwaukee Wisconsin-Illinois League team, four appeared in the major leagues.

Anton "Mutt" Ens had played three games at first base with Chicago White Sox in 1912, going hitless in six at bats.

Oscar Felsch played 749 games with the Chicago White Sox from 1915 to 1920 as an outfielder. Happy would hit .293 with 64 triples and 38 home runs, driving in 446 runs. Of course, he was subsequently banned from organized baseball in connection with the Black Sox scandal.

Earl Smith played seven years in the major leagues: 1916 with the Chicago Cubs, 1917-1921 with the St. Louis Brown and 1921-1922 with the Washington Nationals. Smith hit .272 in 495 games, alternating between the outfield and third base.

Paul Wachtel pitched two games (six innings total) with Brooklyn in the National League in 1917.He posted neither a win nor a loss.


April 30   Milwaukee12     Appleton5     (1-0)
May 1Milwaukee6Appleton1     (2-0)
May 2Milwaukee2Appleton0     (3-0)
May 3Milwaukee2Green Bay     0     (4-0)
May 4Milwaukee13Green Bay7     (5-0)
May 7Wausau4Milwaukee2     (5-1)
May 8Milwaukee1Wausau0     (6-1)
May 9Milwaukee7Wausau4     (7-1)
May 10Milwaukee6Green Bay2     (8-1)
May 11Milwaukee4Green Bay3     (9-1)
May 12Milwaukee7Green Bay5     (10-1)
May 15Oshkosh10Milwaukee7     (10-2)
May 16Appleton8Milwaukee6     (10-3)
May 17Appleton13Milwaukee2     (10-4)
May 18Appleton4Milwaukee0     (10-5)
May 19Oshkosh4Milwaukee2     (10-6)
May 20Milwaukee3Madison1     (11-6)
May 22Milwaukee7Madison4     (12-6)
May 23Milwaukee3Rockford1     (13-6)
May 24Milwaukee2Rockford1     (14-6)
May 25Rockford2Milwaukee1     (14-7)
May 27Milwaukee10Rockford0     (15-7)
May 28Milwaukee5Rockford0     (16-7)
May 30Racine5Milwaukee1     (16-8)
May 30Racine4Milwaukee2     (16-9)
May 31Racine2Milwaukee1     (16-10)
June 1Milwaukee4Racine3     (17-10)
June 2Racine2Milwaukee0     (17-11)
June 3Oshkosh6Milwaukee0     (17-12)
June 4Green Bay     4Milwaukee3     (17-13)
June 5Green Bay2Milwaukee1     (17-14)
June 7Milwaukee1Appleton0     (18-14)
June 8Wausau6Milwaukee4     (18-15)
June 9Milwaukee10Wausau7     (19-15)
June 10Milwaukee7Oshkosh0     (20-15)
June 11Milwaukee8Oshkosh5     (21-15)
June 12Milwaukee2Green Bay1     (22-15)
June 13Milwaukee14Green Bay0     (23-15)
June 14Green Bay7Milwaukee2     (23-16)
June 14Milwaukee4Green Bay1     (24-16)
June 15Milwaukee4Appleton3     (25-16)
June 16Milwaukee4Appleton1     (26-16)
June 17Milwaukee5Appleton4     (27-16)
June 21Oshkosh3Milwaukee2     (27-17)
June 22Oshkosh3Milwaukee2     (27-18)
June 23Milwaukee4Oshkosh1     (28-18)
June 25Madison4Milwaukee3     (28-19)
June 26Madison5Milwaukee3     (28-20)
June 27Milwaukee8Madison7     (29-20)

Underlined city was the home city.


The above statistics are as accurate as possible. On occasion box scores from the reporting newspapers differed from one another and even from the game summary. Numbers did not always total up properly in the box score. In the pitching total where an asterisk is noted I was unable to determine precisely which pitcher gave up the exact number of hits and runs in a few games. An educated guess from box scores and summaries was used in these cases. Thus pitching totals could be slightly off. In the case of Alva Holt it was close to impossible to make even an accurate guess.

** See main text for possibility this is John Bartel.

*On January 24, 1913, the Milwaukee Journal first used the nickname it would refer to the Milwaukee Wisconsin-Illinois team most of the season—The Schnitts. The Milwaukee Sentinel referred to the team as the Mollys almost all of the time, as did other state newspapers on the occasions a nickname was used. However, the Evening Wisconsin of Milwaukee referred to the team as the Creams most of the time, on occasion as the Mollys or Mollies. To avoid confusion, I have decided to call the team the Mollys, as this was the name used by the Sentinel and on more than one occasion the Evening Wisconsin.

**In 1906 and 1907 the league was called the Wisconsin League, changing its name to the Wisconsin-Illinois League in 1908, taking in two Illinois cities.

***There is a chance John Basner and John Basana, mentioned above, are the same person. The Milwaukee Journal of April 13, 1913 reported the Mollys would be giving a tryout to John Basner. The paper reported Basner was a full-blooded Indian from the reservation at Odanah, Wisconsin. He was 22 years old and reported to be fairly wealthy. The wording "Basner is fast on his feet and is reported as a hard hitter, by [Newt] Randall, who saw him play a number of games" sounds familiar to what was written about Basana. Both also came from Odanah, were outfielders, shared the same first name, and had familiar sounding last names. I could not find both men mentioned in the same newspaper article. Further investigation might be required on these men (one man?). The Journal of April 13, 1913, had this photo of Basner, so a comparison to the other photos identified as Basner and Basana is possible.

John Basana Milwaukee Journal March 30, 1913
John Basner Milwaukee Journal April 13, 1913

****According to the Fond du Lac Daily Commonwealth of July 13, 1913 The "Polish Hercules"'s real name was James Jachowski, but he was always listed as Jach or Jachs in box scores and game accounts. A check of City of Milwaukee directories for a number of years found no Jachowski name; however there were numerous Jach and Jachs, but no James, and no Jach or Jachs listed an occupation of ball player.

+There was also a catcher named Billy Brown apparently on the squad (he had played in at least one preseason game), but he was released to Racine after the first game of the season. The Milwaukee Journal of May 6 told its readers which players would make the trip to Wausau. Bost was on this list. The paper reported Aubey would be left behind. Neither of these two players ever appeared in a game for the Mollys, and there was no press coverage of their release.

++Oscar Felsch's name was continually spelled Felch in the Milwaukee Sentinel, Milwaukee Journaland Evening Wisconsin, as well as other state papers throughout the 1913 season. This is odd as he, and his entire family are listed as Felsch in the City of Milwaukee directories of this time. He lived with his father and family at 1086 26 Street—later renumbered 2758 North 26 Street. He is listed in the 1913 City Directory as Ball Player. Felsch was born in 1891 in Milwaukee, but I could find no birth record for him in the Milwaukee County birth records.

+++The Milwaukee Journal gave his name as John Bartel. The Milwaukee Sentinel gave his name as John Bartels. However, searching La Crosse newspapers the star of the La Crosse Normal team in 1912 and 1913—in addition to being team captain—was Floyd Bartels. A good deduction is Floyd Bartels played with the Mollys, and is the same as F.D. Bartels referred to above in relation to players signed before the season. In the box score and article for the only game he appeared in for Milwaukee, his name was spelled Bartel in the Milwaukee Journal, Milwaukee Sentinel and Evening Wisconsin, as well as the Fond du Lac Daily Commonwealth. Looking through the Fond du Lac Daily Commonwealth for the remainder of the 1913 season I found the pitcher's name spelled both Bartel and Bartels, as well as Bartell once.