1904 – Mr. Watkins Comes to Town

The National Hotel, Minneapolis - photo courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society

The National Hotel, Minneapolis – photo courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society

“Watch Millers” says Mr. Watkins

The article on page 5 of the January 7th evening Journal says that W. H. Watkins has come to town, staying at the National Hotel. So far, I’m not impressed. Typical baseball team owner.

I have been dickering for a number of players, and can promise you that I will give Minneapolis as good a ball team as the city ever had.

Hard to say if that is a bold claim or not; minor league records from back then seem to be pretty scarce, and it looks like it would take some time to dig through old newspaper records to find official (or published, at any rate) standings over the years. I did find what seems to be the final standings of the American Association’s 1902 season, and Minneapolis’s record is nothing to boast about, 54-86.

American Association Standings - 23 Sept 1902

In 1903 their record was even worse, 50-89, and – insult to injury – the American Association Champion was the St. Paul Saints. (I couldn’t find this information in the Journal. Fortunately the St. Paul Globe is also part of the Library of Congress database!)

American Association Standings - 22 Sept 1903

St. Paul Globe - Sept 27 1903 - Saints Championship photo

Well, Watkins is here, so don’t worry folks. Nothing but Quality from here on.

All the players from last year are back, he says, though he’s not sure how many of the “old men” he’ll keep. Certainly, with the record of last year, there doesn’t seem to be much argument for keeping anyone. Ed Johnson, though, assures him that pitcher “Frosty” Thomas is a “good man and conscientious worker.”

Frosty Thomas - Minneapolis Journal - 3 April 1906

Frosty went 8-20 in 1903. Still, there’s a lot to be said for being a conscientious worker.


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