Monday, February 7, 2011

Pete Lohman

George F. "Pete" Lohman's baseball debut came and went with a one-year, altogether unremarkable stint with the Washington Statesmen in 1891 (he batted .193 and playing in just 32 games). He enjoyed greater success with his next gig, managing the minor league Oakland Commuters.  He was a hit with the fans and the press. Prior to the Oaks' 1903 season, the Oakland Tribune asserted, "Pete is a very capable director of a baseball team's course, and it was greatly due to his efforts that Oakland won the flag..."

When he left Oakland on July 6, 1905, fourteen years after his arrival, the paper poured on the praise for the manager. They dubbed him the "Grand Old Man," and effused:

"He's about 40 years of age, but he says he doesn't feel that old, nor does he look it...Lohman has worked faithfully for Oakland, and has scores of friends not only here but all over." The article does allude to a stumble or two along the way - "Last year he had nearly all the back-stopping work for the team, and that, with the worry occasioned by the fact that he had to handle the financial matters while the team was on the road, and that certain of his men misbehaved, causing the baseball veteran to break down" -- but overall the Tribune endorsed him as a solid specimen and a fine manager.  The article details how he planned to manage a team in Fresno, to purchase an interest in the Portland team. Maybe umpire, if the money was right.

"Lohman is good yet," the paper insisted, "and the fans join in wishing him better luck and more prosperity."  A nice big photo ran alongside the story.

But the plaudits and celebration didn't last long.

February, 1906 - a mere 7 months later. They even used the same photo.

Oakland Tribune, February 1906

(He lived another 22 years, but the public account seems to have largely stopped here).

1 comment:

  1. "Paresis" is a nervous system disorder that was very likely caused by syphilis, a particular scourge amongst the baseball-playing population in the early part of the century. There will almost undoubtedly be more here on syphilis in the coming months. Something to look forward to.