Monday, February 19, 2007

100 Greatest Red Sox >> #72 Chick Stahl

Chick Stahl, OF (1901-1906)

Career .305/.369/.416 hitter with 36 HR, 189 SB, 1,546 H, with a fielding percentage of .961 (league .946).

Chick Stahl was a regular outfielder for the Boston Red Sox's first six years in existence after four years playing for the Boston Beaneaters, meaning that he played baseball in Boston for 10 years. Stahl batted and threw left, and stood five feet 10 inches tall, weighing 160 pounds. Stahl was an accomplished outfielder who played on some very good teams:

The 1897 Beaneaters won the NL Pennant with a record of 93-39.
The 1898 Beaneaters won the NL Pennant with a record of 102-47.
The 1899 Beaneaters finished 2nd in the NL with a record of 95-57.
The 1900 Beaneaters finished 4th in the NL with a record of 66-72.
The 1901 Americans finished 2nd in the AL with a record of 79-57.
The 1902 Americans finished 3rd in the AL with a record of 77-60.
The 1903 Americans won the World Series with a record of 91-47.
The 1904 Americans won the AL Pennant with a record of 95-59. (No World Series was played.)
The 1905 Americans finished 4th in the AL with a record of 78-74.
And in his only black mark, the 1906 Americans finished 8th in the AL with a record of 49-105.

As the Red Sox's centerfielder many of the years, he directly contributed to the first World Series of the Red Sox by hitting three triples during the series.

Stahl avoided death the year after he joined the Americans, as an ex-girlfriend attempted to murder Stahl January 26, 1902. Two years later, on September 27, 1904, Chick Stahl avoided the Americans from being the victims of a perfect game by Cleveland's Bob Rhoads, singling in the ninth inning with two out.

His final hurrah as a player came in his final at-bat, when he bashed a two-run home run off New York's Tom Hughes (Hughes had been traded from the Americans to New York for Jesse Tannehill before the 1904 season).

Stahl's best season was probably his rookie year with the Beaneaters, when he hit .354/.406/.499. His two best years with the Americans came in his first two years with them. He hit .303/.377/.439 in 1901 with 105 runs scored. In 1902, he scored 92 runs while hitting .323/.375/.421. He tailed off in 1903, only hitting .274 but rebounded in 1904, hitting .290/.366/.416. Stahl experienced another tail off in 1905, hitting .258, and rebounded yet again in his final season, hitting .286/.346/.366.

A modern day comparison to Stahl, who regularly stole around 20 bases would be Juan Pierre, except he had more power than Pierre and could not run as well.

When close friend and player-manager Jimmy Collins resigned from managing the Red Sox after being their inaugural manager on August 29, 1906 (Collins was technically suspended), Stahl posted a 5-13 record as manager. Stahl entered the following spring slated to be the manager of the recently renamed Boston Red Sox, but committed suicide after confiding to Collins that he could not handle the strain of being a manager, which caused the 1907 team to use four managers (Cy Young, George Huff, Bob Unglaub and Deacon McGuire).

Stahl, widely "considered handsome, charming, with a magnetic personality," was one of many players to commit suicide in the Deadball era (spanning from 1900 to 1920).

Stahl committed suicide by drinking three ounces of carbolic acid while traveling with the team in West Baden Springs, IN. His suicide note read: "Boys, I just couldn't help it. You drove me to it."

Evan Brunell, a diehard Red Sox fan, writes about the Red Sox at Fire Brand of the American League, his analytical and sometimes not so analytical look at the Boston Red Sox. He is joined by Mike Edelman and Zach Hayes, and is also the owner and president of MVN.com.

8 comments:

SoxFan said...

Wow - interesting story and link on the suicide issue among players of the deadball era

Shelly said...

Is this the same Stahl as in the Tessie song?

"After serenading Stahl, Denneene, and Yod"

I don't know how to spell the names I guessed.

Evan said...

Shelly - indeed it is.

Mattias Fisher said...

I read somewhere that he committed suicide because he was married to one woman and got another pregnant. He couldn't handle it (the shame I guess) so he killed himself.

Anonymous said...

Chick Stahl was my great great uncle. His Brother Perry my great grandfather hired an investigator and found that the carbolic acid was actually poured into a container of milk. Chick pouired himself a glass of the tainted milk and put the milk container back in the icebox. The supposed note was also not in his brothers handwriting. sounds fishy ?

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