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Thread: Crazy Ballplayer Stories

  1. #1
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    Crazy Ballplayer Stories

    I came across this crazy Keven Mitchell story. I had never heard of it. Supposedly, Mitchell, in a fit of anger, cut off the head of a girlfriend's cat!

    http://www.snopes.com/sports/baseball/mitchell.asp
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    While with the Mets, Jimmy Piersall told teammate Duke Snider that he would get more press with his 100th HR than the Duke did with his 400th. And he did - by running the bases backwards.
    http://www.ultimatemets.com/profile....e=0052&tabno=7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
    I came across this crazy Keven Mitchell story. I had never heard of it. Supposedly, Mitchell, in a fit of anger, cut off the head of a girlfriend's cat!

    http://www.snopes.com/sports/baseball/mitchell.asp
    I also heard once that Kevin Mitchel threw his own father out of his house because he was late on the rent.
    "(Shoeless Joe Jackson's fall from grace is one of the real tragedies of baseball. I always thought he was more sinned against than sinning." -- Connie Mack

    "I have the ultimate respect for Whitesox fans. They were as miserable as the Cubs and Redsox fans ever were but always had the good decency to keep it to themselves. And when they finally won the World Series, they celebrated without annoying every other fan in the country."--Jim Caple, ESPN (Jan. 12, 2011)

  4. #4

    Marty Bergen

    By [our own] Brian McKenna
    "...Near the end of the 1898 season, Bergen threatened his teammates after an altercation on the bench. He declared that he would “club them to death” at the end of the season. He slapped teammate Vic Willis in a St. Louis hotel dining room. As the Nebraska State Journal noted via wire reports, “Martin Bergen, the eccentric catcher of the Boston team, is in trouble again…Bergen, always surly, often lets his temper get away from him, and makes breaks from which there is no provocation. He hit pitcher Willis in the face because he sat down at the same table in the dining room...

    ...In September, Bergen disappeared again for a few days, then showed up unannounced a few minutes before a game and put on his catching gear without speaking to anyone. On October 9, Bergen had to be removed from a game when he dodged the pitches rather than catching them, because he was preoccupied with avoiding knife thrusts from an invisible assailant...

    ...Bergen talked with his physician and confidant, Dr. Dionne, who later told reporters that all seemed fine, but the doctor soon heard from family, friends, and neighbors that Bergen was acting “wild.” When the doctor visited, he found Bergen pacing in front of his house. It didn’t take much prodding for the ballplayer to “open his heart” in a tearful rant. He confessed to Dionne that he had “strange ideas” and said he was afraid that he was “not right in the head.” Bergen admitted that he couldn’t remember much about the past baseball season. All he remembered was that a man came up to him after his last game and congratulated him on a fine performance and gave him a cigar. Bergen was afraid to smoke the cigar because he believed it was poisoned. He was also concerned that Dionne and his wife were trying to poison him. He refused to take any medicine they gave him if he didn’t first mix it himself.

    Bergen believed the National League had found out that Dionne was his doctor and had paid Dionne to kill him. He described being frightened of his teammates, feeling that they were out to kill him. Bergen said he always sat sideways on the bench, in the clubhouse, and on trains in case his teammates decided to attack. He wished he had quit baseball so he could find some peace. He also believed that people in general, including the Boston team and other National League players, were plotting against him.

    The doctor gave Bergen a bromide and told him to repeat the dosage in three hours. However, the doctor did give him some advice that seemed to work. Bergen chewed and sucked on tobacco constantly. The doctor suggested that he quit the habit as it was contributing to his nervousness and anxiety. Bergen did so and felt better for a time. Later Dionne had what he described as a nice, pleasant conversation with Bergen, who got up to leave the office and said, “This has been a pleasant talk, and it is strange how it has rattled me.” Bergen also confided in his pastor that he believed himself to be insane and feared his own actions. He asked for help, but none was forthcoming from his doctor, priest, family, or community.

    On the night of January 18, 1900, a Thursday, the Bergen family ate a hearty meal and turned in. When Bergen’s father found the bodies the following morning, the beds had been slept in. Some time in the early morning, Bergen arose and started preparing for the day. He removed the ashes from the stove, the home’s primary heat source, indicating that the stove had cooled overnight. Bergen then placed paper in the stove for lighting though he hadn’t yet retrieved wood from outside, as the inside pile was depleted.

    Then, for some unknown reason, he snapped. Stressed and delusional, Bergen slaughtered his family. First he attacked his wife in the bedroom, hitting her multiple times in the head with the blunt side of an axe. She fell, dying on one of the beds. Bergen then whacked his son once with the sharp side of the axe. The boy died in the other bed. In the kitchen Bergen killed his daughter, smashing her multiple times in the head with the blunt end of the axe. Bergen then retrieved a razor and stood in front of a mirror in the kitchen. He sliced his own throat, nearly severing his head, and fell beside his daughter.

    On January 20 the entire family was laid out in the Bergen home for family and friends to view. They were transported to St. Joseph’s Church for the funeral ceremonies and interred North Brookfield’s St. Joseph’s cemetery.

    After Bergen’s deeds on January 19, 1900, Dr. Dionne repeatedly made comments that Bergen was “insane” and a “maniac.” The doctor believed that the situation was out of his control and out of his purview. Finally acknowledging Bergen’s mental illness, the Boston Globe’s Tim Murnane wrote that Bergen “was entitled to the undivided sympathy of the baseball public, as well as players and directors.” In the wake of the tragedy, North Brookfield made efforts to better educate professionals and the community about mental health issues."
    - SABR

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by bluesky5 View Post
    By [our own] Brian McKenna
    "...Near the end of the 1898 season, Bergen threatened his teammates after an altercation on the bench. He declared that he would “club them to death” at the end of the season. He slapped teammate Vic Willis in a St. Louis hotel dining room. As the Nebraska State Journal noted via wire reports, “Martin Bergen, the eccentric catcher of the Boston team, is in trouble again…Bergen, always surly, often lets his temper get away from him, and makes breaks from which there is no provocation. He hit pitcher Willis in the face because he sat down at the same table in the dining room...

    ...In September, Bergen disappeared again for a few days, then showed up unannounced a few minutes before a game and put on his catching gear without speaking to anyone. On October 9, Bergen had to be removed from a game when he dodged the pitches rather than catching them, because he was preoccupied with avoiding knife thrusts from an invisible assailant...

    ...Bergen talked with his physician and confidant, Dr. Dionne, who later told reporters that all seemed fine, but the doctor soon heard from family, friends, and neighbors that Bergen was acting “wild.” When the doctor visited, he found Bergen pacing in front of his house. It didn’t take much prodding for the ballplayer to “open his heart” in a tearful rant. He confessed to Dionne that he had “strange ideas” and said he was afraid that he was “not right in the head.” Bergen admitted that he couldn’t remember much about the past baseball season. All he remembered was that a man came up to him after his last game and congratulated him on a fine performance and gave him a cigar. Bergen was afraid to smoke the cigar because he believed it was poisoned. He was also concerned that Dionne and his wife were trying to poison him. He refused to take any medicine they gave him if he didn’t first mix it himself.

    Bergen believed the National League had found out that Dionne was his doctor and had paid Dionne to kill him. He described being frightened of his teammates, feeling that they were out to kill him. Bergen said he always sat sideways on the bench, in the clubhouse, and on trains in case his teammates decided to attack. He wished he had quit baseball so he could find some peace. He also believed that people in general, including the Boston team and other National League players, were plotting against him.

    The doctor gave Bergen a bromide and told him to repeat the dosage in three hours. However, the doctor did give him some advice that seemed to work. Bergen chewed and sucked on tobacco constantly. The doctor suggested that he quit the habit as it was contributing to his nervousness and anxiety. Bergen did so and felt better for a time. Later Dionne had what he described as a nice, pleasant conversation with Bergen, who got up to leave the office and said, “This has been a pleasant talk, and it is strange how it has rattled me.” Bergen also confided in his pastor that he believed himself to be insane and feared his own actions. He asked for help, but none was forthcoming from his doctor, priest, family, or community.

    On the night of January 18, 1900, a Thursday, the Bergen family ate a hearty meal and turned in. When Bergen’s father found the bodies the following morning, the beds had been slept in. Some time in the early morning, Bergen arose and started preparing for the day. He removed the ashes from the stove, the home’s primary heat source, indicating that the stove had cooled overnight. Bergen then placed paper in the stove for lighting though he hadn’t yet retrieved wood from outside, as the inside pile was depleted.

    Then, for some unknown reason, he snapped. Stressed and delusional, Bergen slaughtered his family. First he attacked his wife in the bedroom, hitting her multiple times in the head with the blunt side of an axe. She fell, dying on one of the beds. Bergen then whacked his son once with the sharp side of the axe. The boy died in the other bed. In the kitchen Bergen killed his daughter, smashing her multiple times in the head with the blunt end of the axe. Bergen then retrieved a razor and stood in front of a mirror in the kitchen. He sliced his own throat, nearly severing his head, and fell beside his daughter.

    On January 20 the entire family was laid out in the Bergen home for family and friends to view. They were transported to St. Joseph’s Church for the funeral ceremonies and interred North Brookfield’s St. Joseph’s cemetery.

    After Bergen’s deeds on January 19, 1900, Dr. Dionne repeatedly made comments that Bergen was “insane” and a “maniac.” The doctor believed that the situation was out of his control and out of his purview. Finally acknowledging Bergen’s mental illness, the Boston Globe’s Tim Murnane wrote that Bergen “was entitled to the undivided sympathy of the baseball public, as well as players and directors.” In the wake of the tragedy, North Brookfield made efforts to better educate professionals and the community about mental health issues."
    - SABR
    We had a member here who declared Bergen a "hero" for "dealing with his problems".
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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Cold Nose View Post
    We had a member here who declared Bergen a "hero" for "dealing with his problems".
    It doesn't sound like he was commending him for attempting to get help but rather...

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by bluesky5 View Post
    It doesn't sound like he was commending him for attempting to get help but rather...
    Right.

    Unfortunately, there still very much is a stigma about mental illness, it all being "just in your head" and that sort of thing. I'm not sure if Bergen really could have been helped, the theories of Freud, William James, etc. were still pretty new at the turn of the century.
    Bill Tom George Mark Bob Ernie Soupy Dick Alex Sparky
    Joe Gary MCA Emanuel Sonny Dave Earl Stan
    Jonathan Neil Roger Anthony Ray Thomas Art Don
    Gates Philip John Warrior Rik Casey Tony Horace
    Robin JEDI

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Cold Nose View Post
    Right.

    Unfortunately, there still very much is a stigma about mental illness, it all being "just in your head" and that sort of thing. I'm not sure if Bergen really could have been helped, the theories of Freud, William James, etc. were still pretty new at the turn of the century.
    Bergen was definitely insane. And just sane enough [or in his right personality, persona, state of mind?] to attempt to get help. I'm not sure if they had any treatments that would have made him right? I wonder if he showed any signs of violence before the murders? It wasn't too out of the norm for a man to hit his wife or kids at that point. So it would have taken a pretty violent outburst to gain much attention that he was potentially dangerous.
    -----
    I will say that I find the thought of him slapping Vic Willis over breakfast hilarious though.

  9. #9
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    Darren Daulton was crazy. He said some wacky things.

    Ugeth Urbina went psycho on some men who trespassed on his property in Venezeula and did some serious jail time. Didn't he cut them with a machete and light them on fire or something?

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    Well, considering the potential for getting kidnapped in Venezuela in recent years, maybe that had something to do with what Urbina did. Not defending by any stretch, just pondering if his paranoia had some basis in truth. Wasnt it Wilson Ramos who got kidnapped down there a couple years ago.

    On Bergen, it did seem a lot of players or recent players committed suicide in the deadball era. I remembered seeing a whole list, but Chick Stahl springs to mind especially. As I always wondered why he did.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Death to Crawling Things View Post
    Well, considering the potential for getting kidnapped in Venezuela in recent years, maybe that had something to do with what Urbina did. Not defending by any stretch, just pondering if his paranoia had some basis in truth. Wasnt it Wilson Ramos who got kidnapped down there a couple years ago.

    On Bergen, it did seem a lot of players or recent players committed suicide in the deadball era. I remembered seeing a whole list, but Chick Stahl springs to mind especially. As I always wondered why he did.
    I've heard a lot of different things about Stahl, the latest that I read was that he had gotten a young mistress pregnant and he couldn't bear to tell his wife about it.

    Steve Carlton was/is pretty nuts...can't think of the writer right now, but he threatened a rather prominent journalist with a bat because he thought the guy had looked into his open locker. I think he's a big time conspiracy theorist/survivalist and lives in a secured compound somewhere in CO (buried under a mountain like NORAD?). To be fair, he was ahead of his time with a lot of his training routines and was always in incredible shape, and Bill James felt that his strength was in the range of an NFL linebacker.

    Rube Waddell did a lot of crazy things, but in all honesty was probably developmentally disabled rather than being "crazy"...his propensity for leaving the mound to chase fire engines is well known, and he could be very easily distracted from his pitching by things like puppies and rubber toys.
    "If I drink whiskey, I'll never get worms!" - Hack Wilson

  12. #12
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    I didn't even make it through that Bergen story. His kids?!?!?
    "Herman Franks to Sal Yvars to Bobby Thomson. Ralph Branca to Bobby Thomson to Helen Rita... cue Russ Hodges."

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    Dizzy Dean and Pepper Martin did a lot of "crazy" things back in the early-mid 1930s. Though their stunts were probably just a couple jokers having a good time. I should find that picture of them under blankets, sitting by a small fire in front of the dugout in St. Louis, during that horribly hot summer ('34?), acting like they were freezing. I think it was Martin and Ripper Collins that busted into a banquet or meeting in a hotel, dressed like painters with cans and ladders, making a giant ruckus to interrupt the stuffy suits until someone recognized them. Frankie Frisch used to freak out at 2B when he would see Pepper (3B) drop his glove, pull his chew out of his back pocket and bite off a big chunk, during pitches! One time, at least, Martin took a hard bouncer off his chest while pulling this stunt, picked up the ball and threw the guy out at first!

    Julio Lugo attacked some old guy in a grocery store parking lot, with a baseball bat, heard that one on the news a decade or so ago. Can't remember now if he was still with the Astros then or not, either way he was let go by that team at the time not long after the incident.

    During a World Series (vs the A's maybe, '30 or '31?), pitcher Flint Rhem claimed to be kidnapped and held hostage (I think he said they forced him to drink, too) so he couldn't make his start. I read about this one back as a kid a couple decades ago and don't remember a lot of the details, so maybe someone here can fill it in!
    "It ain't braggin' if you can do it!" Dizzy Dean

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    Quote Originally Posted by StanTheMan View Post
    I didn't even make it through that Bergen story. His kids?!?!?
    Probably impossible to understand rationally, but it was mentioned that he thought he wife was trying to poison him...maybe his scrambling mind decided the kids would be better off dead if their parents weren't going to be around. I agree, very difficult to read that story.

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Cold Nose View Post
    Right.

    Unfortunately, there still very much is a stigma about mental illness, it all being "just in your head" and that sort of thing. I'm not sure if Bergen really could have been helped, the theories of Freud, William James, etc. were still pretty new at the turn of the century.
    I also doubt that Bergen could have been helped much at that time, but it would have been good to get him locked up and restrained somewhere before the horrible incident with his family.
    "If I drink whiskey, I'll never get worms!" - Hack Wilson

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    Quote Originally Posted by StanTheMan View Post
    I didn't even make it through that Bergen story. His kids?!?!?
    Yeah. I always thought he had 3 kids. Seeing how he put so much strength into it he half severed his head, seems like an indication something was wrong. (not that anything could be done at that point of course). Reading the previous season all that is like watching a train wreck in slow motion. Anybody ever say what he suffered from in a modern context? Schizophrenia, maybe?

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    Dont know too much about him, but a catcher in the 1890s named Billy Earle. Supposedly he had studied mesmerism and his teammates thought he had an "evil eye".

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    Also, some crazy brawl stories about Oscar Charleston.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Death to Crawling Things View Post
    Also, some crazy brawl stories about Oscar Charleston.
    This isn't crazy or a brawl story, but I remember reading about Charleston driving some of his teammates around and getting into an accident...Oscar was stumbling around in a daze afterwards still clutching the steering wheel in his hands. Apparently he kept a death grip on it during the crash and was so strong that he ripped it right off the steering column.
    Josh Gibson genuinely lost his sanity at the end of his life and had to be committed, supposedly he would have hallucinations that Joe DiMaggio was in the room with him but would refuse to acknowledge Gibson's presence (sounds a lot like Joe, maybe he was actually in there?).
    "If I drink whiskey, I'll never get worms!" - Hack Wilson

  19. #19
    Milton Bradley has some crazy stories..

    gyi0064656379.0_standard_709.0.jpg


    His latest story might earn him a 7 yr. contract behind bars.

    http://www.sbnation.com/mlb/2013/6/4...-jail-sentence

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    Quote Originally Posted by tom3 View Post
    Milton Bradley has some crazy stories..

    His latest story might earn him a 7 yr. contract behind bars.

    http://www.sbnation.com/mlb/2013/6/4...-jail-sentence
    NEVER saw that coming, huh?
    I hope the kids come out of this OK in the end. I'm glad his wife is safer now, but I honestly gotta wonder about somebody who would marry a guy who wore his problems on his sleeve like that.
    "If I drink whiskey, I'll never get worms!" - Hack Wilson

  21. #21
    Dave Brown, P: Dallas Black Giants, Chicago American Giants and New York Lincoln Giants

    By [our own] Brian McKenna
    "Brown was involved in a highway robbery over the winter of 1917-18. He was convicted in 1919. To get Brown out of jail, Rube Foster of the Chicago American Giants put up a $20,000-bond.

    Brown pitched a 6-1 victory over the Bacharach Giants on Monday, May 1, 1925 in New York. He tied one on after the game with teammates Oliver Marcelle and Frank Wickware at a speakeasy in Harlem.

    That evening, the three ballplayers were involved in a bar fight, perhaps an argument over cocaine. At 3:25 am on Tuesday morning a Benjamin Adair, 31 and armed with a pistol, was shot to death on the street in front of 61 West 135th Street, supposedly by Brown. The ballplayers ran and escaped in a taxi driven by a William Holland. Adair was DOA at Harlem Hospital from a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

    The police appeared at the ballpark on Tuesday and interviewed Marcelle and Wickware but Brown had apparently fled town. He was added to the fugitive lists with the FBI.

    Brown’s whereabouts from then on would be open to question...

    ...Place, date and cause of death are unknown, though speculation states that it occurred in Denver under mysterious circumstances."
    - baseballhistoryblog.com

    Newspaper articles regarding Brown's apprehension: http://agatetype.typepad.com/agate_type/dave-brown/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dude Paskert View Post
    This isn't crazy or a brawl story, but I remember reading about Charleston driving some of his teammates around and getting into an accident...Oscar was stumbling around in a daze afterwards still clutching the steering wheel in his hands. Apparently he kept a death grip on it during the crash and was so strong that he ripped it right off the steering column.
    Josh Gibson genuinely lost his sanity at the end of his life and had to be committed, supposedly he would have hallucinations that Joe DiMaggio was in the room with him but would refuse to acknowledge Gibson's presence (sounds a lot like Joe, maybe he was actually in there?).
    I've heard that one too. The pictures I have seen of him, I can believe he had strong hands. Looked like 2 sides of beef attached to his wrist. Huge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Herr28 View Post
    Julio Lugo attacked some old guy in a grocery store parking lot, with a baseball bat, heard that one on the news a decade or so ago. Can't remember now if he was still with the Astros then or not, either way he was let go by that team at the time not long after the incident.
    If I remember correctly, Lugo assaulted his wife in the stadium parking lot, not with a bat, but he did smash her head into the hood of a car a few times. The Astros released him immediately afterward. Is this the incident you mean, or was there another one with him?
    "Tactics were resorted to, unworthy of fair, manly players" - Brooklyn Eagle, June 12,1890

  24. #24
    I've told this here before, from Frank Graham's collection called Baseball Wit and Wisdom. Babe Ruth walked into a bar on a particularly hot day and, after commenting on how hot it was, ordered a specialty drink that had fruit and an umbrella and a few other things. As soon as he was handed the drink, he tipped it back and downed it, liquor, ice, fruit, umbrella, everything. He put the glass back on the table, paid for it, and left.

    Larger than life.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Cold Nose View Post
    I've told this here before, from Frank Graham's collection called Baseball Wit and Wisdom. Babe Ruth walked into a bar on a particularly hot day and, after commenting on how hot it was, ordered a specialty drink that had fruit and an umbrella and a few other things. As soon as he was handed the drink, he tipped it back and downed it, liquor, ice, fruit, umbrella, everything. He put the glass back on the table, paid for it, and left.

    Larger than life.
    Did he leave a $100 tip?

    Jeez, this story makes him sound like Jabba the Hutt.
    "If I drink whiskey, I'll never get worms!" - Hack Wilson

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