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Wives' Influence on ML History

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  • Wives' Influence on ML History

    I was reading an article about the relationship between the wives of Monte Ward and Al Spalding. It got me to thinking about the effect wives had on major league history.

    Bill Lange left the game for his wife.

    Mike Donlin was in and out of the game in part for his.

    Leo Durocher was suspended in part because of his wife.

    The wives and girlfriends of Chris von der Ahe certainly hastened his bankruptcy and exit from the game.

    Babe Ruth's wife (and Gehrig's mother) caused a rift between the Ruth's and the Gehrigs. Also isn't there a story about Gehrig's wife getting drunk with the Ruths.

    Effa Manley took control of day-to-day operations from her husband.

    There was an affair and a suicide attempt in the 1920s involving two players - did it involve Red Faber or another White Sox?

    Two Yankees swapped wives, kids, house, dogs, etc.

    Any other instances?
    Last edited by Brian McKenna; 04-09-2008, 08:21 AM.

  • #2
    I heard a few weeks ago on WFAN that Mattingly's retirement from baseball may have had something to do with his wife's addiction rather than his back. It also may have factored into the Yankees going with Joe Girardi over Mattingly as the new skipper this year.

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    • #3
      It wound up not happening but I remember after the 1998 season Bernie Williams was supposed to be considered a goner from the Yankees because his wife hated the city and wanted to move.
      Lets Go Yankees, Valley Cats, Dutchmen, UT Spartans and ECU Pirates.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Brian McKenna View Post
        I was reading an article about the relationship between the wives of Monte Ward and Al Spalding. It got me to thinking about the effect wives had on major league history.

        Bill Lange left the game for his wife.

        Mike Donlin was in and out of the game in part for his.

        Leo Durocher was suspended in part because of his wife.

        The wives and girlfriends of Chris von der Ahe certainly hastened his bankruptcy and exit from the game.

        Babe Ruth's wife (and Gehrig's mother) caused a rift between the Ruth's and the Gehrigs. Also isn't there a story about Gehrig's wife getting drunk with the Ruths.

        Effa Manley took control of day-to-day operations from her husband.

        There was an affair and a suicide attempt in the 1920s involving two players - did it involve Red Faber or another White Sox?

        Two Yankees swapped wives, kids, house, dogs, etc.

        Any other instances?
        And Jackie Robinson succeeded in no small way because of Rachel's encouragement and support.

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        • #5
          Lou Novikoff, who tore up the minors more than the big leagues, would have his wife really heckle him during games. He attributed winning a batting title to her. (Again, minor leagues.)

          True, that's not mlb, but it does show the influence of one's life partner in regards to baseball.
          Dave 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 Bill Ernie JEDI

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          • #6
            Didnt Ryne Sandberg retire in an attempt to save his failing marriage ?
            I think when he retired, he emphasized that he really needed to spend more time with his family (lots of people say that), but then 6 months later, he was divorced. I remember there being speculation that he would come out of retirement the following year.
            http://soundbounder.blogspot.com/

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            • #7
              I don't think it's a stretch to say that Joe DiMaggio had the most famous wife in baseball history - although they didn't get married until after Joe retired.

              I guess it's cruel to point it out, but Ryne Sandberg's temporary retirement in 1994 was due to a nasty divorce settlement.

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              • #8
                Kris Benson was traded once, maybe twice, partially because of team ownership being uncomfortable with his wifes behavior.
                http://soundbounder.blogspot.com/

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Gee Walker View Post
                  I don't think it's a stretch to say that Joe DiMaggio had the most famous wife in baseball history - although they didn't get married until after Joe retired.
                  .
                  Dave Justice had a pretty (very) famous wife too - for awhile - Halle Berry.

                  As did Ray Knight - golf champion, Nancy Lopez (Nancy is considerably more famous than Ray).

                  One of Juan Gonzalez' four wives was Olga Tanon, a very famous singer in the Hispanic world, a three time Grammy winner.

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                  • #10
                    Well, I can think of a wife who played a role in the story of baseball, but not a player's wife: Blossom Seeley. Well, Rube Marquard did marry her later. But Rube and Mrs. Seeley created quite the scandal in 1914, when the actress's husband had them arrested. It was a sordid affair.

                    Speaking of sordid affairs, how about the Mike Kekich/Fritz Peterson wife-swapping scandal? How ironic for the stodgy Yankees, who won't even let players wear beards!!!


                    And since I've taken this thread into the gutter, let me now end on a high note:

                    Has there ever been a more beautiful and graceful player's wife than Rachel Robinson?
                    "Hey Mr. McGraw! Can I pitch to-day?"

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                    • #11
                      Hal Chase's wife, Nellie Heffernan, was quite significant in her effect on his career. Not only was she integrally involved in the widely publicized botched abortion and burning of a baby (possibly hers, but more likely belonging to Hal & her's friend/housemate) - she also put him through a horrendous divorce, which ultimately led to him being implicated in the Black Sox scandal.

                      She alleged in divorce proceedings that he played a part in the 1919 World Series scandal - putting another nail in the coffin of his stellar career.
                      Last edited by Proctor, CF; 04-09-2008, 11:22 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Babe Ruth's wife, Helen, was unable to have children, but kindly adopted the daughter Babe fathered with the exotically beautiful and, by all accounts, wonderfully fun Juanita Jennings - granddaughter of Mexico's heroic assassinated president, Francisco Madero.

                        The photo below shows, I think, how very fond The Babe truly was of Juanita. This was taken years after the birth of Dorothy, their [biological] daughter - a parentage not revealed for many decades.
                        Attached Files
                        Last edited by Proctor, CF; 04-09-2008, 11:22 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Give Claire Ruth an assist on prolonging Babe's career, that 714 home runs may not have been. No one can say with certainty how much effect she had on The Babe but from the day they were married in 1929 Claire did change some of Babe's wild ways.

                          Curbed his eating and drinking habits to some degree. She often traveled with the team so he had to behave even on the road when she did. I don't think it's a stretch to believe she may have helped him to get the best he could out of himself his last couple of years. Big influence.

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                          • #14
                            Bo Belinsky certainly had a woman "problem," though he didn't marry the many famous women early in his career - he was engaged to Mamie Van Doren but never married her.

                            Late in his career, when he was struggling in the Houston minor league system, he married Playboy playmate, Jo Collins. Jo tried to talk Bo into retiring, which he finally did, spending most of his last few seasons in the minors. He divorced Jo later.

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                            • #15
                              William "Big Bill" Outen, a Pacific Coast League catcher best known for his atrocious defense (he made Mike Piazza look like a Gold Glove candidate) and frozen rope singles, likely got the derogatory nickname "Chink" because he was one of the first players to marry a Chinese woman (or so I've read...I can't find Outen's wife's name anywhere).
                              "They put me in the Hall of Fame? They must really be scraping the bottom of the barrel!"
                              -Eppa Rixey, upon learning of his induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

                              Motafy (MO-ta-fy) vt. -fied, -fying 1. For a pitcher to melt down in a big game situation; to become like Guillermo Mota. 2. The transformation of a good pitcher into one of Guillermo Mota's caliber.

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