Friday, March 28, 2014

Sox Skipper Stahl's Mysterious 1907 Suicide

One hundred and seven years ago today, one of the strangest events in Red Sox history took place. Earlier, in August 1906, Chick Stahl was named player-manager of the Boston Americans (who would become the Boston Red Sox in 1908). Stahl was chosen to replace suspended manager Jimmy Collins—who stayed with the team as a player. Stahl agreed to be the manager for the 1907 season, but for some reason, reneged during Spring Training of that year. He did agree to stay on until a replacement could be found. However, on March 28th, he took his own life while the team was in West Baden, Indiana. To this day, no one really knows why the 34-year old Stahl killed himself by drinking four ounces of carbolic acid. Normally a jovial guy, he started talking suicide shortly before he did the deed. His players heard him say, "Boys, I just couldn't help it. It drove me to it." The "it" may have been the guilt of replacing his old friend Collins as manager—or maybe one of his infamous paramours had gone rogue on him (one rumor had him being blackmailed by a woman for fathering a child out of wedlock). And you thought today's Red Sox were a complicated bunch. Not even close.