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Charles “Chick” Stahl



By Tim Kindler - Originally published in the NEIBA Line Drives March 2001 Newsletter


One of Fort Wayne baseball history’s most interesting and puzzling characters was Charles “Chick” Stahl of the Boston National and American League clubs. According to Bob Parker, Stahl has been referred to by “oldtimers” as the greatest player to come from Fort Wayne. His career statistics certainly did rival some of the greatest players of his time such as Jimmy Collins, Hugh Jennings, and Frank Chance; all of whom are enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. 


According to MacMillian Baseball Encyclopedia, Stahl was born in 1873 in Avilla, Indiana. He first played Minor League ball in Battle Creek, Michigan and then moved on to play in Buffalo, New York. From there, he was picked up by the Boston Beaneaters of the National League in 1897. During his rookie year, Stahl hit a career high .354 with 30 doubles and 13 triples. 


Stahl anchored the centerfield position for Boston that year, as well as every other year after that during his 10 year big league career. On May 21, 1899, he had 6 singles in 6 at-bats for the Beaneaters. In 1901, Stahl jumped to the renegade American League, like many of the other stars at the time. He would spend the rest of his career playing with the Boston Pilgrims, or Red Sox as they would be known later. Stahl was the centerfielder on the 1903 Boston Pilgrims who were winners of the first World Series. In that 8 game series, he had an amazing 3 triples. This still ranks third on the all-time career World Series totals list in triples. In 1906, his last year in the majors, Stahl hit a respectable .286. At the end of that season, he also found himself as a player-manager on a last place team. Unfortunately, he ended his managerial career with a record of just 14 wins and 26 losses.


Based upon his statistics, especially since he played in 155 games in his last season, Stahl appeared to have at least a few productive seasons left in his career. But this was not to be. On March 28, 1907, in West Baden, Indiana, Stahl committed suicide by drinking carbolic acid. To my knowledge, there has never been any information found to explain why Stahl might have chosen to take his life. Unfortunately for baseball fans, Stahl ended what could have been a Hall of Fame career. He ended his 10 year big league career with 1,304 games played, a lifetime batting average of .306, 1,522 hits, 219 doubles, 117 triples, 37 home runs, 858 runs scored and 623 RBI’s. He played every game of his career in the outfield with a lifetime fielding percentage of .961.


Sadly, Chick Stahl is overlooked by baseball historians because of his short career and because he is often mixed up with Jake Stahl, another player from his time.   


 

With roots back to the 1940's, the Northeast Indiana Baseball Association (NEIBA) works to celebrate baseball in Fort Wayne. The organization hosts an annual Hall of Fame and Awards Banquet and publishes a quarterly publication, Line Drives. Learn more about the Northeast Indiana Baseball Association on their website.






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