January 16-19, 1904; Spring Training is just around the corner! And a brief digression, with cannibalism, a shooting, and a horsewhipping

16 January 1904

Manager Watkins informs the Journal that the Minneapolis team will hold spring training in Champaign, Illinois, at the University of Illinois, from April 1st to April 15th. The April 16-19 exhibition games will be played at Fort Wayne, Indiana, against the Fort Wayne team of the Central Indiana League, with the American Association’s regular season opening April 20th. The central Illinois weather in April is usually favorable, the Journal states, and the team will have practice games against the highly rated University of Illinois team.

Also of note on the 16th, a brief note in the entertainment section: celebrated baseball pitcher Rube Waddell will be appearing in the popular melodrama “The Stain of Guilt,” at the Bijou theater, later in the season! So get your tickets early! (Who knew that Waddell was a thespian? Well, let’s see if he actually shows up. I don’t think he was known for reliability.)

On January 19th the American Association ownership continues to sort itself out.

George Tebeau

George Tebeau

George Tebeau, “Louisville Magnate,” purchases the Denver club from D. C. Packard, thus ending “the war between the Western league and the American association.” This seems to have worked out pretty nicely for Louisville Magnate George Tebeau:

Tebeau is now in control of two leagues, as he dictates the policy of the association, and by assuming possession of the Denver team he and his sympathizers are also in control of the Western.

According to the Journal, the Western league will withdraw from Kansas City, (giving Tebeau free rein there), and probably be made up as a six team circuit, with Denver, Omaha, Sioux City, Lincoln, Colorado Springs, and Des Moines.

The St. Paul Globe of January 17th  provides a bit more detail on this story, which leads me down the rabbit hole of research again. According to the Globe, it’s H. H. Tammen and F. G. Bonfils who are supplying Tebeau with the money necessary to sue the Western league, because Tammen and Bonfils are trying to get part of Packard’s club, and Packard refuses. A gentleman named Otto Floto is taking care of Tammen and Bonfils’ interests in this case, though I’m not sure what his role is, and the reporter doesn’t seem to be very sure either, but wants to get his name in the story, perhaps because it’s a name that’s made to be in a story like this. Anyway, Tebeau is suing the Western League to get the league to get out of Kansas City, where his interests lie, and is buying the club from Packard as a front for Tammen and Bonfils.


“Unless Packard throws overboard a business he refused an offer of $30,000 for these men promise to hound him until it will not be worth 30 cents,” says the article.

A small article later in the Salt Lake Herald (January 19th) says that the final price was “something over $20,000.”

Tammen and Bonfils were partners and publishers of the Denver Post, and Wikipedia (of course) tells us that Tammen and Bonfils were both shot in the Denver Post office (not the Denver Post Office) in 1899 by an attorney named W. W. Anderson, after the Post had accused Anderson of taking Alferd Packers’ life savings while representing him.

Alferd Packer

Alferd Packer

Alferd Packer (not Packard; different guy) was a well-known prospector who was well-known mostly because he was accused of cannibalism during the winter of 1873-74. He was eventually sentenced to 40 years in prison for manslaughter, but was paroled in 1901, and went to work thereafter as a guard at Tammen and Bonfils’ Denver Post.

Meanwhile, back to the shooting, W. W. Anderson was tried three times for this, but never convicted, while Tammen and Bonfils were, however, convicted for jury tampering in the third trial.

On a side note, in 1900, both Tammen and Bonfils were horsewhipped by another lawyer who disliked their yellow journalism. No information on whether he was arrested for this.

The nicely named Otto Floto, meanwhile, who was watching Tammen and Bonfils’ interests, was a 250 lb sports editor for the Post, hired  — according to the book Bat Masterson: The Man and the Legend, by Robert K. DeArment —  by Harry Tammen because his name was so beautiful. Which totally makes sense, given everything else.

But I digress. Back to 1904.


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