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What Krieg Says.
Interview with Bill Krieg in the Washington Critic on 22 June 1887. Washington is 14-24, on their way to another losing season. The cranks have become croakers and the team is losing the press too.
Billy Krieg has returned to the city, having been ordered home by Manager John Gaffney. Considerable surprise was manifested by baseball devotees when this became generally known, and the story that he was sent home for dissipation seemed to receive general credence. The former first baseman of the Nationals was found out at Capitol Park, after a long chase, practicing with Pat Dealy, replying to a Critic’s reporter’s question as to the cause of his return, Mr. Krieg said; “I’m sure I don’t know what made Mr. Gaffney send me back. He came to me, handed me the money for my return ticket and said. You are to go home. He offered no explanation and I asked none. But about the statement that I had been drinking I wish to stamp as a malicious slander. I have too much sense to get under the influence of liquor, and I have too clear an idea of what will make me a successful ball player to drink to excess at any time.”
“Is the story that that there is general dissatisfaction among the members of the team about the way it is managed?”
“I think not. If there is I am not aware of it. There is one thing; as far as Mr. Gaffney is concerned he knows his business thoroughly. He ought to be let entirely alone, however.”
“Have you had any trouble with the management?”
“Well, no; only when they ordered me to go behind the bat. Before doing it I demanded an increase of salary, which they refused. After consideration I concluded to do as they wished, and so told Mr. Gaffney.”
“Why did he lay me off first base? I don’t know. One thing I do know though is that I want my release, and they can’t give it to me too soon, I have a number of good offers, any one of which I would be glad to accept “
“There is some dissatisfaction in the public mind about the bad ball tossing done by Dupee Shaw. Do you think he has done his best?”
“Well, if you could know how badly cut up the poor fellow was about it you would think so. He is the worst broken up ball player I ever saw, and these hard stories about him have hurt him greatly. He feels things keenly, and I believe, in his over anxiety to redeem himself has lost games be would otherwise have won. To my mind the whole trouble is the new ruler, and before the season is half over be will be all right again and will pitch good ball. As to the story of the 26 to 2 defeat in New York being due to general drinking, I know that in the case of four men Connie Mack, George Shoch, Dupee Shaw and myself it was totally untrue. We were together the night before and only two drinks were taken. Shoch and Mack never took a drop.”
The Critic follows up the interview with this;
“Although Bill Krieg was sent home by Gaffney and no explanation given, yet Krieg has nothing hard to say against the manager. When the boys display such loyalty under such trying circumstances it is very creditable to manager and player, by referring to an interview with Krieg, printed in another column, the statement will be seen that Dupee Shaw is much broken up
over the numerous harsh criticisms on his work, it is claimed that the new rules hamper him. What the Critic and the public do not understand is, how Shaw can pitch such an excellent game one day and a wretched one the next, or do such good and bad work in one game. The rules cannot count for that.”
Some good reporting by the Washington Critic. The Critic did not print that many articles about the baseball team, which was too bad because they like the Sunday Herald usually had good coverage. You don’t see a lot of interviews with the players during this time. Reporting is general in nature and sports don’t get much space in the papers anyway.
Krieg was a good player and would have been a plus for Washington. His last game was on 15 June. Billy O’Brien had taken his place at first. O’Brien was hitting home runs and would win the title. He would have done better in the 1950s. He was slow, so slow he was nicknamed “Ice Wagon.” Pitchers would soon figure him out. Krieg was versatile and would have been a plus behind the bat; we think Krieg had just fallen out of favor with Robert Hewitt. It was another in a succession of errors made during by the organization. Robert Hewitt was ill during this period and besides just did not know how to run a team. Hewitt played favorites and often just got in the way, at least he had Ted Sullivan to scout for him. John Gaffney, a good umpire, but a poor choice to run the team since he was expected to be the manager and general manager. Once again too bad they didn’t bring Frank Selee from Oshkosh on board. He would have been the light at the end of the tunnel.
About Mr. Shaw, we think the statement by the Boston Courier on 5 September sums it up the best, “Dupee Shaw has been the enigma of the Washington team. They have laid him off, suspended and fined him. They said he was indifferent and crooked. He is a queer fellow. His day is gone by, and that is about all there is to it.”