Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: Ted Sullivan, Baseballís Fullest Resume

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    NE Baltimore County
    Posts
    6,850

    Ted Sullivan, Baseballís Fullest Resume

    Ted Sullivan, Baseball’s Fullest Resume

    Timothy Paul Sullivan

    It is an extensive project to even begin to chronicle Ted Sullivan’s movements. We all can “pin down” the biggest names in the game. Take a contemporary like Clark Griffith for example. We can basically divide his career into various eras, roughly denoted by year and organization, such as:

    1869, birth in Missouri, childhood in Missouri and Illinois
    1888, Bloomington Reds
    1888-90, Milwaukee Brewers
    1891, American Association
    1892, Western United States
    1893-1900, Chicago Cubs
    1901-02, Chicago White Sox
    1903-08, New York Highlanders
    1909-11, Cincinnati Reds
    1912-55, Washington Senators

    The chronological logic of Griffith’s career makes it easier to study and easier to grasp his surrounding and his relative place in history. This is not the case with Sullivan.

    Sullivan’s movements cannot be pinpointed. In any given period he was all over the map. In one single calendar or fiscal year Sullivan can be located (well he really can’t be located for long at least) in Texas founding the Texas State League. He might also have a hand a founding a similar league on the other side of the country, say in Virginia. And, he might still be doing the same elsewhere. He also might be promoting exhibition games for the upcoming Texas State Fair.

    He never stayed in any one place for long. He would continue on by railcar or wagon to still other locales. He was constantly on the lookout for ballplayers, like everyone else. But Sullivan was doing a two-fold job. For one, he was always organizing a team or entire league, so he needed men for himself and his business associates. Other the other hand, he was the game’s foremost and widest-traveled talent scout. Major and minor league executives would telegraph (and later call) with a need and then Sullivan would be off to some remote region of the country to help them fill it.

    It is no stretch to say that Sullivan had more contacts within the industry than any man would prior to the days of mass communication. It’s not even close. Every corner of the country was touched on a regular basis. And, that’s just his promotional, administrative and talent-seeking work in the minor leagues. He was also a valued confidant of John Brush, Garry Herrmann, John McGraw, Ned Hanlon and his life-long friend Charles Comiskey, to name just a few.

    For each, he performed numerous tasks – and that’s beside the slew of players he signed for each. For Herrmann, he became the National League’s scout, not just the Reds. Sullivan was hired during the American League war to scout AL players and minor league talent during the era when the National Agreement was suspended.

    For Hanlon, Sullivan acted as an advance man and scoped out potential sites for international exhibitions in Europe and Latin America. He also took jaunts across the Atlantic Ocean to recruit rugby and soccer players for U.S. exhibitions and possible league formations. He also examined the economic possibilities of American tours at home and abroad.

    Sullivan merged McGraw and Comiskey with the result being the World Tour of 1913-14. He also performed numerous tasks for each in promoting not only the Giants and White Sox individually but the game as a whole on a national and international level.

    RESUME

    Player
    Captain
    Coach
    Manager
    League founder
    League president
    Journalist
    Writer
    Promoter
    Agent
    Team owner
    Scout
    Cross-checker
    Team executive
    Business manager
    International promoter

    PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION

    Sullivan is also hard to track on a personal basis in existing databases. Born Timothy Paul, Sullivan was universally referred to as Ted, even by his family; thus, does one locate him by Timothy, Ted, Theodore or T.P.? Secondly, Sullivan is a very common name and generates numerous hits during the search process. Thirdly, in the databases he can easily be found in, he lists his birthplace variously as Ireland, Missouri, New York or Wisconsin. So how do you track him in the databases he’s not readily found in? Fourth, he lived an itinerant lifestyle, never in one place for very long, rarely setting down any kind of roots. His only marriage (that I could locate) lasted only a short time because – well who could keep up with his wanderlust?

    (As a side note many of these difficulties can be overcome for baseball researchers at Ancestry.com for Sullivan and many of the other names in the game if the Censuses could be searched by occupation. Currently, the only one available through occupation search is 1880. Through this process, Sullivan is easily found. The next steps of course would be an exhaustive search of the database followed by calls and perhaps visits to communities far and wide that might catalog original data. These latter efforts might prove fruitful, but what exactly is their cost in time and money?)

    EARLY LIFE

    Timothy Paul Sullivan was born in County Clare, Ireland on March 17, 1856 (This is the date listed by Retrosheet which I’m assuming was selected for a purpose. Two different records list his birth year as 1854 (Sullivan’s passport application in his oen hand) or 1855 (Sullivan’s immigration record from his return to the United States after the 1913-14 World Tour), same month and day.) The only immediate family that could be located is a brother named Daniel (Ted was residing at the home of Daniel and Janet Sullivan in Milwaukee in the 1900 U.S. Census. In the 1880 Census he can be found at the home of his uncle and aunt, Patrick and Ellen Leahy, in St. Louis.)

    The 1900 Census states that Daniel Sullivan immigrated to the United States in 1860 and that “Teddy” followed in 1865. Therefore, it’s somewhat safe to assume that Ted arrived in the United States shortly before, during or shortly after the Civil War.

    Sullivan spent much of his childhood in Milwaukee. After high school, he enrolled at Catholic St. Mary’s Academy and College in St. Mary’s, Kansas in Potawatomi County. Perhaps he had family in Kansas (As noted, he did have family in St. Louis which is 330 miles from St. Mary’s). A natural go-getter, Sullivan was captain and pitcher of the baseball team. During the summers, Sullivan ran and played for a semi-pro club in Milwaukee called the Alerts.

    In 1874 the 15-year-old son of a Chicago political boss was sent to join his older brother at St. Mary’s. His name was Charles Comiskey. By sending him far from home, the senior Comiskey was trying to defeat Charles’ overwhelming thirst for baseball and make him into something useful, a plumber. Instead, Comiskey met an older student, Sullivan, who would help lead him from his father’s path (Comiskey also played ball at St. Mary’s).

    From Sullivan’s passport application on November 10, 1888, we know:

    Height: 5’ 6.5”
    Eyes: Hazel
    Hair: Dark
    Facial Features: sound forehead, straight nose, mustache, round chin, fair complexion and oval face.

    BASEBALL

    1876-1882

    In 1876 Comiskey joined Sullivan’s Alerts as a third baseman. In 1878 Sullivan formed the Dubuque (Iowa) Rabbits, an independent club. Comiskey had played for a club in Elgin, Illinois in 1877 before finally breaking from his father and leaving home in 1878 to rejoin Sullivan.

    Dubuque was financed by Iowa’s U.S. Senator William B. Allison and future congressman and Speaker of the House David B. Henderson. During the winters in Dubuque, Comiskey worked as a traveling representative at a profitable news agency which Sullivan owned.

    By 1879, Dubuque was one of the top clubs in the country not associated with the National League. The team displayed future notables, such as, Sullivan, Comiskey, Tom Loftus, the Gleason brothers, Bill and Jack, Hoss Radbourn, Bill Taylor and Laurie Reis. Sullivan now needed a league to showcase his powerful club. (Sullivan declared that his proudest find as a scout was Radbourn. He also boasted other stars such as Johnny Kling and Ray Schalk.)

    On April 1, 1879 he formed and ran the Northwest League which consisted of clubs from Davenport, Omaha, Rockford (Illinois) and, of course, Dubuque. It was the first so called minor league formed outside the east coast. Sullivan took steps to set a salary structure for the Northwest League and clearly subordinated the league to the National League, which to some establishes it as the first legitimate minor league.

    Dubuque won the pennant in 1879 and even scored a victory over Cap Anson’s Chicago White Stockings in early August. Due in part to Dubuque running away with the pennant, the Northwest League folded. Comiskey stayed with the club through the 1881 season. Many stories abound which suggest that Sullivan taught Comiskey the ins and outs at first base.

    In 1880 Sullivan umpired eleven games in the National League. It has also been said that Sullivan (1880-84) and Comiskey (1880-82) played for the Saint Louis University baseball team in the early 1880s. Around this time, Sullivan and Comiskey married sisters, Nellie and Nan Kelly (from Dubuque), respectively. Sullivan’s marriage didn’t last long but the Comiskeys were married until Nan’s death in 1922. As best as I could tell, Sullivan did not remarry and had no children.

    1883

    In 1882 Comiskey signed on with Chris von der Ahe’s St. Louis Browns of the major American Association. The 1882 Browns included Sullivan graduates Comiskey and the Gleason brothers. As noted, Sullivan was living in St. Louis by 1880, thus he probably supplied the Browns with the Dubuque players. When von der Ahe replaced manager Ned Cuthbert at the end of the season, Sullivan was chosen as his replacement.

    Sullivan managed the Browns through their first 79 games in 1883 to an impressive 53-26 record. Comiskey took over the club on August 30 tied for first with Philadelphia. Sullivan quit the Browns, fed up with continual interference by von der Ahe.
    Eighteen Eighty-Three is also the year that Sullivan is said to have coined the term “fan” to refer to the ballpark’s faithful.

    1884

    In October Sullivan agreed to manage Virginia of the Eastern League in 1884; however, he was approached by a 26-year-old St. Louis millionaire named Henry Lucas. Lucas had designs on starting a third major league to be called the Union Association. Lucas topped Virginia’s offer by $1,000 and Sullivan went to work recruiting talent for the new Maroons and helping form the league. (The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball shows Sullivan as manager of Virginia in 1884; however he reneged on that agreement prior to the season)

    Sullivan’s recruiting went so well that the Maroons won their first twenty games. The streak took the starch out of the rest of the league and eventually aiding its demise. Not one to stay put, Sullivan left St. Louis with a 35-4 record on June 25. He then went from first to worst, joining the Kansas City club in the UA. He posted a 13-46 record to finish the season in last place.

    The Altoona club disbanded on May 31, so Lucas replaced it with Kansas City backers, headed by Americus V. McKim. It was hastily put together and would have no chance in the standings (Actually, part of the agreement Lucas made with McKim was that the KC games would not count in the standings; thus, they could not win the pennant.). Sullivan was coaxed to take over the KC squad by being given part ownership.

    Sullivan took the field for Kansas City in 1884 in his only active games in the big leagues. He appeared in four games, two in right field, one on the mound and one at short. At the plate he went 4 for 11.

    Kansas City though did well financially, more so than the other squads. Over the winter, Sullivan went east to try to land some talent for 1885; however, the Union Association soon collapsed.

    1885

    Sullivan stayed in Kansas City in 1885 and set about to establish and run the Western League. The league kicked off but Cleveland and Toledo disbanded in early June. When the Indianapolis club fell on June 15, so did the league. At the time KC was in third place with a 17-13 record.

    Sullivan then took over Memphis in the newly-formed Southern League. Near the end of the season, he got into a row with Macon’s manager. After Macon’s manager slapped Sullivan with his scorecard, Sullivan “threw out his right fist and a knock-down that would have done credit to his cousin from Boston, John L., was the sequel. Brass buttons (the police) interfered and Price was gently lifted from the ground." (This account of the fight suggests that Sullivan was righthanded, a fact unknown to the encyclopedias. To note, the Sullivans were not cousins.)

    At the end of the season Memphis was kicked out of the league in the aftermath of the incident (Memphis soon bought back into the league after Sullivan departed). Memphis finished with a 38-54 record and a fifth place finish.

    1886

    In 1886 Sullivan set about reviving and running his old Northwest League. This time he returned to his hometown of Milwaukee to do so. Unlike in other seasons, Sullivan didn’t horde the talent; his Brewers finished in last place with a 35-43 record.

    By the end of the season, he had worn out his welcome. Always fiery, he purposefully turned the hose on his home field on September 20 flooding it in an effort to delay a game. The moved backfired as the umpire declared it a forfeit after Sullivan locked his opponents out of the park. Other league officials demanded his heavy-handed removal.

    1887

    Sullivan umpired fourteen games in the American Association during August 1887.

    As previously noted, the fact that Sullivan was not tied to a specific league or team as manager or organizer in any given time period (whether as manager or organizer) does not mean he was idle. His business interests in and around baseball were extensive. He took hundreds of jaunts throughout the country in search of talent, signing men for club executives in every corner of the country.

    1888

    Towards the end of 1887, Sullivan, acting as scout and business agent, was scouring the country signing up talent for Walter Hewett, president of the Washington Senators of the National League. Hewett had just replaced field manager John Gaffney with himself. On a trip in October Sullivan signed Dummy Hoy and Walt Wilmot.

    Sullivan was set to manage Troy of the International Association in 1888. Hewett and Sullivan became very interested in using the Troy club as “a training school or feeder for the Washingtons.” This marks one of the earliest efforts at developing a farm team for a major league club.

    In February 1888 Hewett became ill and hired Sullivan to oversee spring training. Sullivan had already scouted the locations (mainly New Orleans). For the first time in history a major league club would train in Florida, Jacksonville to be specific.

    Per Sullivan, in Florida the club had a tough time finding a hotel. No one wanted a bunch of uncouth ballplayers hanging around their establishment and disturbing the decent guests. When Washington found a hotel that would accept them, the players were given specific instructions. They were not allowed to eat in the dining room with the other guests, they were not permitted to mingle with the other guests and they were requested not to disclose their profession to the other guests.

    The first preseason exhibition held in Florida between major league clubs took place on March 22 – Washington versus the New York Giants. Sullivan however wasn’t present; he left to oversee his Troy club.

    The Senators started off with a 10-29 record. Club investors and supporters were busting a gasket for Hewett to hire a professional manager. Finally on June 13, he did so. Sullivan was brought in from the equally inept Troy franchise. He guided the club over its last 96 games to a 48-86 record and a last place finish. It would be his last games in the majors.

    1889

    Sullivan maintained his duties as Washington’s manager until March 31, 1889. He had recently applied for a passport and was looking to promote an overseas tour at the end of 1889, specifically London and Paris. Al Spalding had just completed his world tour; Sullivan was hoping to parlay this enthusiasm into a permanent European baseball league. He was back by “a well known Washingtonian.”

    After finalizing his plans, Sullivan embarked for Europe on May 1. By the time of his departure though, he was downplaying the possibilities, stating that his trip was purely recreational but that he would follow business interests if they seemed fruitful.

    Hindsight shows that the venture had little chance of success as baseball has barely made a dent in Europe 120 years later. The effort shows considerable drive and is commendable for its enthusiasm alone.

    Sullivan arrived back in New York on July 3. He did succeed in obtaining a commitment of placing two baseball squads that would put on exhibitions and travel with Buffalo Bill’s show.

    As soon as Sullivan got of the ship, Washington papers were chanting for him to take over the Senators to replace John Morrill; however, on July 5 Hewett hired player-manager Arthur Irwin to replace Morrill. Sullivan picked up where he left off, scouting and signing ballplayers for the Senators. Within days of his arrival he had signed Ed Beecher and John Irwin from Wilkes Barre.

    Typical of the aforementioned wanderings of Sullivan, the Washington Post noted on August 7 that Sullivan “was in the city yesterday, but left during the afternoon on a mission for president von der Ahe.” Two weeks later, they mentioned that “Ted Sullivan is with the Browns. He will be in Washington for the latter part of next week.” On September 4 Sullivan is tracked “watching for young blood among the Northwestern League clubs (for the Washington club).” At the end of October Sullivan signed three men out of the Interstate League for the Pittsburgh Pirates. On the same trip he signed Lew Whistler for Washinton.

    1890

    Word came at the end of 1889 that the National League was taking steps to remove Washington from its ranks. In the end Brooklyn left the American Association and joined the National League. The NL also added Cincinnati and forced out the Washington and Indianapolis franchises in late March 1890 during the Brotherhood war.

    Previously, Sullivan had been named manager of the Senators for 1890. When it became clear that the National League might oust the club, Hewett and Sullivan applied for membership in the Atlantic Association. It was a fortuitous move as the National League waited until just a few weeks before opening day to make their decision.

    Sullivan oversaw the club to a 38-47 record before it disbanded on August 2. Hewett owed back dues of $500 and decided not to remit. Per contract, the club then reverted back to the league. Initial plans were to merely give a new Washington franchise to Sullivan, but financing didn’t come though and the idea was shelved.

    On August 10 Sullivan was named manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League; however, Guy Heckler maintained his job for the rest of the season. On September 3 Sullivan attracted and promoted two Players League clubs, Chicago and Brooklyn, to play a game in D.C. He then set to organize some exhibitions in D.C. for after the major league seasons were over.

    In September Sullivan began plans to take an American football (rugby) squad to England.

    1891

    Sullivan was out of the country for much the first half of 1891. He was visiting family, vacationing and doing a little business in Europe.

    Sullivan wasn’t able to lure any American rugby teams to Europe but he did just as well. Exhibitions were set for an English club to tour North America. Games were set to begin in October pitting Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Johns Hopkins and the University of Pennsylvania against the Englishmen. The team will then precede to St. Louis, Chicago, Michigan and into Canada.

    Sullivan took numerous scouting tours after returning from Europe. As he had been doing for years, he signed new players at the end of the season for Chris von der Ahe and the new Washington National League franchise.

    1892

    Sullivan poured much of his efforts in 1892 to founding and administering the new Southern League. In March he decided to manage the Chattanooga squad. His club won the first half of the season but finished fifth overall with a 63-57 record in a tight league. Sullivan would remain in the Southern League for three seasons.

    1893

    In 1893 he took over the Nashville team. The club finished in last place with Sullivan managing for part of the year.

    1894

    Sullivan managed Atlanta in 1894 to a 21-37 record. The club was one of four to disband on June 27. He found most of his men jobs with other minor league clubs.

    Arthur Irvin noted in 1894 that Sullivan and others were masters at “adjusting” the statistics of their players so that they could work out more equitable terms for their men when they decided to dispose of them. This was indeed possible in the days prior to instant communication.

    In September Sullivan was working with Sam Crane and Charlie Genslinger on the east coast organizing the Atlantic League. He continued well into 1895 recruiting players, finding financial backers and handling other administrative duties for the Atlantic League.

    In November Sullivan took another trip to Europe. This time he went at the behest of Baltimore Orioles’ manager and owner Ned Hanlon. The mission was to recruit some top association football (soccer) players so that Hanlon could build a squad to compete with other major league owners who had already formed teams and were playing within a league.

    1895

    In 1895 Sullivan had a hand in forming the new Connecticut State League with Orator Jim O’Rourke. Sullivan was granted a franchise in New Haven.

    By the end of 1894, Sullivan planted himself in Texas organizing another new league with John McCloskey. He would take over the Dallas team (though initially he was to oversee Houston) of the Texas-Southern League as manager and principal owner.

    The Dallas Steers won the first half of the season and finished with the league-best overall record of 82-33. At one point the team won 23 straight contests.

    AUTHOR AND STORY TELLER

    Sullivan declared that 1895 would be his last year in baseball. He had already written two comedies (and would add more) and was strongly considering moving to a career in theatrical management.

    He also wrote extensively about baseball for the newspapers and magazine and for his own pamphlets and books. His most famous work, Humorous Stories of the Ball Field, was a full-length book in 1903 which he promoted as a history of the game. He wrote another short piece on the world tour of 1913-14.

    Sullivan was a master story teller and often quoted by sportswriters on any and all topics related to the game. The catch is that his stories and literature are so diluted with hyperbole that it is an impossible task for historians today to pull the few kernels of truth from his pontifications. Sullivan is one of many sources that told countless oafish stories about Chris von der Ahe.

    SULLIVAN SLEEPERS

    Major leaguers traveled in special Pullman cars. The club would rent semi-private space for the entire team to travel in comfort. These cars included adequate sleeping room with upper and lower berths.

    To save money, Sullivan and other executives would have their men travel in the coach section. These were cars with small day couches inside the berths. They were typically hot, cramped and uncomfortable; however, they became the standard travel method in the minor leagues. Through his extensive use of coach, the facilities became known throughout baseball as "Sullivan Sleepers." To graduate to the majors was also a jump in class from coach to Pullman cars as well.

    1896

    Sullivan moved his New Haven club into the Atlantic League for 1896. The club finished in last place and was forced to move to Lancaster on July 3. Sullivan even pitched a little for New Haven.

    Never without an idea, Sullivan promoted games in D.C. in early 1896 as “Ted Sullivan’s Texas Steers” against the Washington National League club. The “Steers” were really Sullivan’s New Haven team with a western-sounding name.

    Sullivan was a big fan of boxing and could be found at many of the top fights during his time. In 1896 for example he saw Joe Choynski fight Jim Hall. In July 1895 Sullivan became business manager for welterweight Scott "Bright Eyes" Collins. Collins later though broke his contract with Sullivan.

    In 1896 the Baltimore Orioles were contemplating traveling to Europe for a postseason exhibition tour. Sullivan went to England for Ned Hanlon as an advance man to scout out opportunities. Arriving back in the U.S. on August 22, he found little interest across the Atlantic for baseball games and the tour was cancelled.

    Several Orioles were already psyched for the trip so John McGraw, Arlie Pond, Wilbert Robinson, Joe Kelley and Willie Keeler went anyway for a vacation to Liverpool, London, Brussels, Paris, Dublin and the Irish countryside.

    1897

    In 1897 Sullivan founded the independent New Jersey League. He started the season taking the Atlantic City (a favorite vacation destination of his) club; however, dissention arose among the owners which forced a delay in the start of the season. The league essentially collapsed at the end of May, basically before it even began. Sullivan sold out and moved on.

    Jack Doyle and Sullivan attended the James J. Corbett/Bob Fitzsimmons fight on March 17 in Nevada for the crowning of a new heavyweight champion.

    By July, Sullivan set his sights on organizing a barnstorming tour for the Orioles after the season. He set plans to play exhibitions in the south, out west and into Mexico.

    Sullivan settled in Dallas again at the end of the summer. He organized baseball exhibition contests for the Texas State Fair.

    1898

    There are references to Sullivan planting himself in Dubuque again in 1898 and trying to form a club, but can’t confirm.

    On September 17, 1898 Sullivan announced his intention of forming two teams and traveling to Cuba to put on an exhibition tour at the end of the season. He was eying potential profits due to the fact that 50,000 Americans soldiers were now stationed on the island. I found no indication that the tour actually took place.

    1899

    Sullivan tried to revive the Southern League in 1899, taking over the Montgomery franchise in the independent league.

    In September Sullivan was among a contingent that formed a second major league, a revival of the American Association. The league existed only on paper but rumors continued to surface of its formation up until the time the American league was established as a major.

    1900-09

    Sullivan began fading from field management after the turn of the century. He concentrated on organizing, promoting and his scouting functions. During this time he scouted for the National League, the Cincinnati Reds, the Chicago Cubs and White Sox, the Washington Senators and other organizations, both major and minor.

    He did however manage:

    -In 1902 for Fort Worth in the Class-D Texas League, third place finish to Corsicana which won the pennant by 28.5 games.

    -In 1903 for Paris in the Texas League, third place finish. Paris won the first half of the season and then moved to Waco. During one game, Waco hit an unheard of nine home runs against Corsicana. They lost in the end of the season playoff.

    -In 1910 for Clinton in the Class-D Northern Association to a 10-39 record. The team disbanded on June 28, but Sullivan was gone before then.

    In 1902 Sullivan helped reorganize the Texas League. At the end of 1903 into ‘04 Sullivan helped organize the new South Atlantic League (SALLY League).

    In 1904 Sullivan was scouting predominantly for the Reds, signing Orval Overall among others. He also performed administrative duties for the Texas League.

    Scouting primarily for (but never limited to):
    1901, National League (hired in August 1901 to scout AL and minor league clubs)
    1904-06, Reds (also scouting for the Phillies in 1904)
    1907, Cubs and White Sox
    1909-20 White Sox

    During this time Sullivan also assisted major and minor league clubs in organizing and promoting spring training.

    In 1905 Sullivan organized the Virginia-North Carolina League. It folded after the season and Sullivan assisted into revamping it into the Virginia League. He had a part-ownership in the Norfolk franchise.

    In August 1905 Sullivan went to California and other locales to review young players that were recommended to the Reds by another scout Cliff Blankenship. This may be the first instance of cross-checking in major league history. As historian Peter Morris has noted, Sullivan may not only be the first significant scout in baseball history, he may also be the first cross-checker.

    In October 1906 Sullivan talked his good friend Joe Cantillon into taking over the Washington Senators.

    In 1909 Sullivan helped organize and promote spring training for his old friend Charles Comiskey. The White Sox took a western tour as far as California. Sullivan soon relocated to Chicago and became Comiskey’s “right-hand man,” overseeing spring training and other business functions for the next decade. Sullivan also owned a plantation in North Carolina.

    In December 1909 Sullivan came up with a novel idea. In Chicago at Suite 1001 of the Corn Exchange Bank building he set to open a “bureau for the supply and demand of players,” a job placement agency. His intended clients were young ballplayers, minor leaguers. They would come to him looking for a job and he would help place them with clubs. He would also field requests by clubs and major leaguers as well. This is basically the services he had always provided but in a more formalized nature. Does this make him the first baseball agent?

    1910-19

    Sullivan continued working for the White Sox during the 1910s and maintaining other relationships along his scouting and placement sideline.

    Sullivan was up for the presidency of the United States League in February 1912, but didn’t get the nod. The USL would later become the Federal League.

    In 1916 and 1917 Sullivan traveled to Central and South America in an effort to promote a tour for the White Sox and Giants. The effort didn’t prove as fruitful as 1913.

    WORLD TOUR

    In January 1913 John McGraw was on a vaudeville tour passing through Chicago. He ran into Sullivan and expressed an interest in hiring Sullivan as an advance man for a possible international tour after the season. Sullivan countered that Comiskey had a similar idea and, thus, the world baseball tour of 1913-14 was conceived.

    After numerous tries at sparking international interest in the sport, Sullivan was finally aboard a winner. He acted in numerous capacities for the White Sox and Giants in organizing and promoting the tour.

    After barnstorming domestically, the Giants and White Sox (with Sullivan) set sail from Seattle on November 19, 1913. This tour would be well-funded as the take from domestic contests was nearly $100,000. Games were played in Australia, Ceylon, China, Egypt, England, France, Japan and the Philippines (in a near mirror of Spalding’s World Tour of 1888-89). Sullivan and others arrived in New York on March 6, 1914.

    1920-29

    Sullivan continued to work for Comiskey in the 1920s. He also scouted for other teams as well, including the Senators. By 1922, Sullivan had moved back to Washington D.C. and gone into semi-retirement.

    In May 1922 he set sail for Europe, planning to organize some baseball contests for after the season for a tour by the Giants and Senators. He was interested in playing in Dublin, London and Paris (didn't pan out).

    He gave lectures at various colleges and universities throughout the country on baseball, its history and the World Tour of 1913.

    Sullivan was still sending players for tryouts as late as 1925.

    In October 1925 Sullivan went to Ireland on vacation. He returned stating that he had secured the famous Kerry and Tipperary football (rugby) clubs for an American exhibition tour in November 1926.

    Sullivan was in relatively good health until he suffered a stroke on June 22, 1929. He died at age 73 on July 5 at Gallinger Hospital in D.C. He was buried at Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Milwaukee.
    Last edited by Brian McKenna; 06-02-2008 at 01:37 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Mt. View, CA, above San Jose
    Posts
    18,181
    Blog Entries
    1
    T.P. Sullivan
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 03-19-2010 at 05:28 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Mt. View, CA, above San Jose
    Posts
    18,181
    Blog Entries
    1
    In browsing Proquest, doing research, I stumbled across this article by Ted, from 1912. I thought it was interesting enough to post. Enjoy!

    TED SULLIVAN SPEAKS OUT FOR OLD-TIMERS---(Anaconda Standard, Anaconda, Montana, Sunday, January 14, 1912, pp. 24.)

    Chicago, Jan. 13.—Winter always brings on gossip of both magnates and players. There must be something left over from the menu of the summer baseball table to appease the baseball appetite of the ravenous fans. The latest fad is picking out the greatest ball players of the game-both past and present. Comparisons are always odious, but they are 10 times more so in the national game. Among the million of fans—every one of them has his idea what player of the entire list of the great army of baseball experts should be numbered among the immortal 20. Before I would pay attention to any of those selectors of the immortal 20, writes Ted Sullivan, he would have to be a man who has been a follower of the game—more than 25 years—and he would have to be a man also who handled players and developed them. The player of the great 20 should be, in my estimation, a man who always took the initiative in crises of a game to win for his side, without a guide being sent around with him to show him the route.

    In a neck game this brand of player—no matter what team he is on—will rise to the situation and do something to win for his team. Men that were of such caliber of the past were George Wright, Mike Kelly, Curt Welch, Comiskey, Latham and John Ward and the men of modern years. Hugh Jennings, Keeler, McGraw and Jack Doyle of the old Baltimores and the men of today like Cobb, Evers, Callahan, Tinker and Chance and others of like genius.

    Remember, I am not picking out any 20 great ball players, I am only pointing out the class of men who had the perception of the past and who have the perception of today—and possess the dash and impetuosity that enables them to go through the gate of victory at any time the opposition lets it ajar in their defense.

    Ty Best—Only Now
    In the past year I have seen where some magnates and laymen of the game assert that Ty Cobb was the greatest ball player in the entire history of the game. I make an allowance for the magnates to say so, but I do know that one or two of them who said so know better; but I think their opinions were slightly governed by the declaration that the ball player living draws better at their parks than any one that is dead. I want the public to understand that I do not want to take one gem from Cobb's baseball crown, nor do I want to take an ounce off the scale of his great baseball skill to lesson his ability in the eyes of the baseball public.

    As Cobb stands today he is the best run getter of the entire baseball fraternity, and he is the stimulant and flavor of any ball team he plays on. What I mean by run-getter, is a man who can execute on the bases what he conceives, and that player that can get around those bases in making the run after he once gets to first, no matter how he got there, is the player that will always be a winner for a ball club. Cobb stands alone in that respect. Base running has ever been the spectacular part of a man's ball playing, and the player who excels in that, with all other things equal, will be always popular. I stand second to none in saying that Cobb today is the best batter and base runner in the game. He has also the get away dash and magnetism of the winner, but I will stop right here and say no more. For me to say that this player was the general and versatile ball player of the type, or any way near the counterpart in general baseball ability, of Ned Williamson, Buck Ewing and Mike Kelley, would indicate that I had an eclipse of my sight when I saw those three men in action in the zenith of their fame.

    The Stalwart Three
    I did not get my impression of those men by reading a story in the Ledger, but I got my impression of those stalwarts of the game when I was manager
    of them; in both the American Association and the National league. I saw Williamson on the threshold of his greatness, when he came from the Indianapolis club to Chicago in 1879 and I also saw the great Kelly when he came from Cincinnati to Chicago in the same year. Just think of a player like Williamson, a man symmetrically built, about 6 feet tall, with ability of good kind, that could play third base, catch and pitch, and one of the greatest base runners of his time. William (Buck) Ewing was one of the best, if not the best, general ball players and catchers of all times—who possessed all the attributes of a ball player. Ewing could play infield, and play it well, and excelled in every essential of the game. He began as third baseman of the Troy club of the National league.

    Now we come to the immortal Mike Kelly, the acknowledged Napoleon of all baseball strategists, a player who could catch (and a brainy one at that) and could play also the in and out field—a man whose head was a casket of baseball gems and whose magnetism in his style of playing made many a man make an error that he otherwise would not. Kelly, cold, mechanical player—and to think, with all his dash and vim in sliding into bases, he never spiked or injured a fellow player. No! There was but one Mike Kelly in baseball, one Napoleon in military science, one John L. Sullivan in pugilism, one Shakespeare in dramatic literature, one Angelo in sculpture and one Rembrandt in painting.

    To compare Outfielder Cobb to any of these three men, especially Kelly, would be making a sculptor the equal of a stone cutter; then, again, it is hard lo compare an outfielder with an infielder in the line of fielding duties they are called upon. The positions are entirely different. An outfielder may not average two or three chances to a game and the chances may only come in intervals of 10 or 25 minutes, while an infielder is in perpetual action when he once takes the field, and the plays are always coming up in a complicated form, and unless he is a quick-witted fellow he will be lost in a baseball fog. To try to bring any ball player of today up to the standard of Ned Williamson, Buck Ewing and Mike Kelly in general versatility and mechanical skill would be like making the press-made dress-suit actors of today the equals of Booth, Barrett and John McCullough. This last comparison may be a bad simile, but I'll stand for it just tho same. (Anaconda Standard, Anaconda, Montana, Sunday, January 14, 1912, pp. 24.)
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 09-26-2008 at 06:42 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Northern NE
    Posts
    3,412
    Bill, am I correct to assume that you hate Sullivan's guts now??


    BTW, we all know that Ross Barnes had it all over that bum Kelly, at least before the ague...
    "I throw him four wide ones, then try to pick him off first base." - Preacher Roe on pitching to Musial

  5. #5
    Brian, Are you a member of the Biographical Research or the Scouts Committee, SABR?

    Quoting the original article by Brian McKenna:
    >>
    In 1909 Sullivan helped organize and promote spring training for his old friend Charles Comiskey. The White Sox took a western tour as far as California. Sullivan soon relocated to Chicago and became Comiskeyís ďright-hand man,Ē overseeing spring training and other business functions for the next decade. Sullivan also owned a plantation in North Carolina.
    <<

    Was he wealthy? Always busting his butt for a living or on some other motivation?

    >>
    In August 1905 Sullivan went to California and other locales to review young players that were recommended to the Reds by another scout Cliff Blankenship. This may be the first instance of cross-checking in major league history. As historian Peter Morris has noted, Sullivan may not only be the first significant scout in baseball history, he may also be the first cross-checker.
    <<

    Did Frank Bancroft in the front office arrange this arrangement?
    As scout or cross-checker, do you know any details of Sullivan's operation? Did he travel with pre-printed blank contracts for various clubs? For that matter, did Connie Mack and John McGraw travel with pre-printed blank contracts for their clubs?
    Alternatively, did he give travel money to a young player in exchange for a mutually signed note written on the back of a napkin? Did he earn a standard fee for every "signing" who actually showed up at the other end of the line?

    >>
    In December 1909 Sullivan came up with a novel idea. In Chicago at Suite 1001 of the Corn Exchange Bank building he set to open a ďbureau for the supply and demand of players,Ē a job placement agency. His intended clients were young ballplayers, minor leaguers. They would come to him looking for a job and he would help place them with clubs. He would also field requests by clubs and major leaguers as well. This is basically the services he had always provided but in a more formalized nature. Does this make him the first baseball agent?
    <<

    It depends.
    Did his bureau operate even briefly?
    What was the scope of Louis Heilbroner's operation? Why was he building a database of all the professional ballplayers?

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Wendt View Post
    Brian, Are you a member of the Biographical Research or the Scouts Committee, SABR?
    Seriously!!

    Brian, with the amount of time and effort you put into research, you'd better be getting recognized for your efforts....

    You should be publishing this mini-bios of yours, as they are indeed- as I understand it- seminal.

    SABR Biography Project

    Is this him?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Mt. View, CA, above San Jose
    Posts
    18,181
    Blog Entries
    1
    Quote Originally Posted by hellborn View Post
    Bill, am I correct to assume that you hate Sullivan's guts now??


    BTW, we all know that Ross Barnes had it all over that bum Kelly, at least before the ague...
    Ha ha. No, no. Ted was a good guy who was just calling them as he saw them.

    If one ever browses my Cobb Consensus thread,---The Cobb Consensus---they will quickly discover that old Tyrus had supporters enough that he needn't sweat it if a few smart guys got away and supported other candidates.

    And if you'll notice, Ted gets in some nice plugs for my guy, Buck Ewing! He he! The real reason I posted this!!!

    As a matter of fact, my list of Ty supporters had recently grown from around 255 to its present 280.

    My recent access to Proquest is amazing. It gives me access to over 400 local newspapers, and that has swelled my Ty supporters list. Recently found out that Larry Lajoie was a Ty man. He said so at the 1939 Hall of Fame Dedication. Lots of new TC men and the lists grows by the day. I expect it to render me around 100 new supporters that I had no way of finding before my new Proquest tools. I'm in joy.
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 09-22-2008 at 09:48 PM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by csh19792001 View Post
    Seriously!!

    Brian, with the amount of time and effort you put into research, you'd better be getting recognized for your efforts....

    You should be publishing this mini-bios of yours, as they are indeed- as I understand it- seminal.

    SABR Biography Project

    Is this him?
    Yes, that is "Ted" Sullivan and Peter Morris hasn't claimed him yet.

    I was thinking of the biographical data-gathering (Ted Sullivan punches with his right hand ), not the biography writing (this link) but yes, both!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    NE Baltimore County
    Posts
    6,850
    There is much more to Ted Sullivan than I've dug up for this piece. To get a much better hold on him and to answer Paul's questions, I'd have to do quite a bit more research to feel comfortable to speak about the man. The above was a big effort just to place his movements on a yearly basis.

    Part of Sullivan's allure is that he is almost synonomous with minor league baseball in the 19th century. That's also part of the problem, as it is a very challenging subject - and one frankly that few are interested in persuing. He really needs a full-length bio.

    Thanks guys. I'm working on a project now but in a couple of months I hope to tweak some of my mini-bios for the Biography Project. I'm also looking to delve into some other research projects.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian McKenna View Post
    There is much more to Ted Sullivan than I've dug up for this piece. To get a much better hold on him and to answer Paul's questions, I'd have to do quite a bit more research to feel comfortable to speak about the man. The above was a big effort just to place his movements on a yearly basis.
    You have answered my covert set of parallel questions.
    > Did Frank Bancroft in the front office arrange this arrangement?
    > Do you know whether Frank Bancroft in the front office arranged this arrangement?

    > For that matter, did Connie Mack and John McGraw travel with pre-printed blank contracts for their clubs?
    > For that matter, do you know whether Connie Mack and John McGraw traveled with pre-printed blank contracts for their clubs?

    I'm working on a project now but in a couple of months I hope to tweak some of my mini-bios for the Biography Project. I'm also looking to delve into some other research projects.
    Good news.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    NE Baltimore County
    Posts
    6,850
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Wendt View Post
    In December 1909 Sullivan came up with a novel idea. In Chicago at Suite 1001 of the Corn Exchange Bank building he set to open a ďbureau for the supply and demand of players,Ē a job placement agency. His intended clients were young ballplayers, minor leaguers. They would come to him looking for a job and he would help place them with clubs. He would also field requests by clubs and major leaguers as well. This is basically the services he had always provided but in a more formalized nature. Does this make him the first baseball agent?
    <<

    It depends.
    Did his bureau operate even briefly?
    What was the scope of Louis Heilbroner's operation? Why was he building a database of all the professional ballplayers?
    This is an interesting subject Paul. I would love to know more myself. Off the top of my head, I seem to remember that I couldn't in fact find any specifics about Sullivan's bureau in actual operation. Only that it was planned.

    But I do believe that players would come to him and he would help find them jobs - but that was a by-product of management in the game. Wasn't this happening from the beginning? Sullivan's idea of creating a specific company for this is interesting though.

    I'm guessing your interest in Bancroft and Heilbroner comes partially from their Cuban connection. You're probably aware of Heilbroner sending back scouting reports on Cuban players in November and December 1910. That's where Herrmann and Griffith would have gotten their first reports on Rafael Almeida.

    Nick Wilson's Early Latino Players in the U.S. has good info on this:
    Heilbroner recommended signing Almeida, stating he is ďworth some moneyÖgood fielder with good armÖĒ He cautioned though that, ďHe is a mulatto, speaks fair English.Ē ďIf he were a white man, he might be good for the big show.Ē

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •