“Titanic” Change for the Milwaukee Brewers
by Paul F. Tenpenny
Copyright 2009 Tencentsportz
Reprinted with permission of the Author
White Star Lines – RMS Titanic
On Sunday April 14, 1912 while on it’s maiden voyage, the largest passenger ship ever launched, the Titanic, struck an iceberg and sank resulting in a tragic loss of life for more than 1500 of it’s passengers. It’s sinking resulted in many changes in maritime law and the fascination with this tragedy still interests people today as an exhibit of it’s artifacts makes it’s way across the United States.
While the world was mesmerized by the tragic sinking of the RMS Titanic in April of 1912, a tragedy of sorts was playing out in Milwaukee at the same time.
Charles Havenor, one of the pioneering owners of the newly formed American Association passed away on April 3rd unexpectedly from pneumonia at the age of 50.
Charles Havenor-Owner since 1902
His death meant transferring the ownership of the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team to his widow, Agnes.
Finding herself now in charge of a baseball team, Mrs. Havenor had to contend with the naysayers, deal with the rumors of the team and / or Athletic park being put up for sale and in general, learn the business of baseball very quickly.
Although she stayed on the sidelines at first during her grief she did attend all the home games and got more involved with the team as the season progressed.
Mrs. Havenor, being one of only 2 women owners in the American Association, declared publicly that women could operate a baseball team as well as any man. She felt that professional baseball was a business that women were well adapted to handle. She believed that if a woman studied the game and the players, they could do a good job. She stated that a woman’s intuition was more developed than a man’s, who only seemed to react when something happens. Women tend to look constantly ahead and can see things coming.
She believed that women were more diplomatic than men and armed with both these skills and a knowledge of the game they were equal to the task.
One of her first actions was to get more women fans involved in the sport by bringing back Ladies Day games to Milwaukee.
Agnes Havenor-New Milwaukee Brewer Owner
Before the 1912 season started, Charles Havenor had hired Hugh Duffy as manager, paying him the highest salary of any manager in the American Association.
He gave Duffy simple instructions, go ahead and get a winning team, then he left for Panama.
A future Hall of Famer, Duffy felt he had a team not quite up to the level of American Association baseball. Acknowledging a lack of money as a given with the team, Duffy felt he could build his team up gradually.
1912 Celluloid Schedule Mirror (Author’s Collection)
The season opened April 10th amid ceremony, the team paid their respects for the late Charles Havenor by adding black arm bands to their jerseys to be worn that season.
Duffy and his Brewers unfortunately started the year with a loss that day and in fact lost their first 3 games to the Toledo Mudhens, Duffy blaming it on jinks’s(sic), hexes and stolen signals.
Early season newspaper cartoon depicting a bloodied and beaten Brewer
leaving the Toledo team behind and heading for Columbus
As the season continued on, the team spent most of the year in the 2nd division climbing as high as 4th place in late August.
But the season was fated to end with the team in 5th place with a lackluster 78 – 85 record.
In spite of the poor finish, doing well in 1912 were pitcher’s John Nicholson who won 20 games for the season and Ralph Cutting who pitched in with 13 victories.
On the offensive side, future Hall of Fame catcher Ray Schalk batted .271 in 80 games, 3rd baseman Harry Clark peppered the league with a .292 average over 138 games. Outfielder Newt Randall hit .290 in 161 games.
1st baseman Tom Jones batted .274 in 150 ball games.
Harry Liebold hit .285 playing both in the outfield and at 2nd base in 158 contests.
A salary dispute near the end of the season between Manger Duffy and the Brewers led to his leaving the team and made headlines as both sides blamed each other. Duffy was a popular manager and popular with other American Association Teams, who claimed he was a benefit to the entire association. Amid all the recriminations, Duffy vs. the Brewers, the fans backed their popular manager. Duffy said he was asked to take a pay cut and the Brewers claimed he refused an offer given to him that was an increase in salary. The Brewers found themselves without a manager along with angry fans.
In what turned out to be a surprise to the local sports pundits, they installed popular 3rd baseman, Harry “Pep” Clark as manager for 1913.
The fans loved Harry and he promised them:
“I will give the Milwaukee Fans the best I have in me. I believe we will have a winning team in 1913, judging from the players we have on hand at present.”
Considered a diplomatic move, to quell the outcry from the fans and others, it turned out to be more than just “woman’s intuition”. Harry Clark was considered a fine ballplayer and a gentleman.
His hiring not only took the fire out of those who were fans of Duffy, but it proved that Brewer management was “spot on” with “Pep” as manager, as he showed them in the years to come.
This decision showed clearly that a woman could lead a baseball team as well as any man.
Photo – Harry Clark 3rd Baseman / Manager
The unflappable Mrs. Havenor was pretty much “unsinkable” after she installed 3rd baseman Pep Clark as manager. Call it Women’s intuition or just good business sense, the Milwaukee Brewers team under Clark finally finished at the top of the American Association for two years running, winning the Pennant in 1913 and 1914.
1913 American Association Champions Pennant