Saturday, January 01, 2005

Evidence of Historic (1907) Baseball Suicide Copycat

Resourceful baseball researcher Frank Russo has passed along a baseball-related copycat suicide news item.

The New York Times, March 31, 1907

Friend of Dead Baseball Player Takes Carbolic Acid

Fort Wayne, Ind., March 30. - David P. Murphy, an engineer
on the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad, committed suicide
to-day by swallowing carbolic acid. It is believed the suicide
of "Chick" Stahl, the Boston American baseball player, who
was an intimate friend of Murphy, had some effect in giv-
ing a suicidal impulse to Murphy's mind. Murphy left a note
saying: "Bury me beside 'Chick.'"

The headline makes me wonder if there were a series of suicides in the wake of Chick Stahl's death.

In 1906, Chick Stahl was named the full-time manager of the Boston
Americans (later known as the Red Sox). A former popular Boston Pilgrims outfielder, manager Stahl died by suicide with carbolic acid on March 28, 1906. This occurred while he was traveling with the team in West Baden Springs, Indiana. A note left behind stated: "Boys, I just couldn't help it. You drove me to it."

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