Nov 12

Mercer Unbound

9 October 1899, Washington splits a doubleheader with the visiting Orioles, but Win Mercer is the story today.

The second game lasted only six innings, and the sensational episode between Win Mercer and umpire Al Mannassau took all the life out of the local players, an easy victory going to the visitors. Dan McFarlan began pitching, but lasted only three innings, Gus Weyhing finishing the game. Frank Kitson was on the rubber for the Baltimore, and was effective throughout, his support being very good and in marked contrast to the work of the Senators. The splendid weather and the attraction of a double-header drew quite a large gathering to the dark for this time of the year, nearly 1,500 spectators passing the turnstiles. Time 1:57. Umpires, Pop Snyder and Al Mannassau.

Some other perspectives on the game.

From AP, The second game went to the visitors, who hit Dan McFarlan hard. Errors by the locals also assisted them materially. In the second game Win Mercer disputed Umpire Al Mannassau’s decision that Jimmy Sheckard was safe on a steal from second to third, and ended by catching the umpire by his shirt and shaking him. Mercer was fined and ordered out of the game. He resumed his position at third, and when again ordered off the field ran after Mannassau, who had gone to second base. There he grabbed the umpire by the shirt, and after a struggle tore it in several places. The umpire came off the field, followed by Mercer, who was intercepted by a policeman. The crowd began to surround the men, but was dispersed. Mercer finally left the grounds, apparently by direction of the police, and Pop Snyder umpired the game thereafter unassisted.

The Washington Times take on the disturbance. The first game was doubtless one of the most interesting of the season, as it was nip and tuck all the way-through. With the exception of
one mistake by Umpire Pop Snyder in the first inning in calling Jimmy Slagle out at first, when he was clearly safe, the umpiring was fairly satisfactory. Mannassau’s decisions behind the bat were uniformly bad, neither side getting much the worst of it. The second game was a revelation to Washington fans. They are not accustomed to seeing rowdy scenes on the diamond. Nothing approaching a “scrap” has been witnessed on the home grounds for many seasons. That Mercer lost his temper is regretted by all his friends. Al Mannassau has been particularly severe on Mercer all season and has inflicted severe fines upon him unjustly, as Mercer claims, and it was
these grievances that threw Mercer off his equilibrium. The trouble grew out of a decision at third base on a ball thrown by Dan McGann to Mercer, to catch a man running from second. The base-runner went over the bag on a slide, and Mercer made a quick attempt to catch him, but it looked too many of the spectators as though he failed to touch the man in time, as his hand was on the sack. The ball players were divided in their opinion as to the play, yet the consensus of opinion was that the man was safe. After an argument with the umpire Mercer was fined and ordered out of the game. The latter did not seem to understand that he had been ordered out of the game, and when play was resumed he took his place. Then Mannassau ordered him put out of the grounds. At this Mercer ran up to Mannassau and collared him, and shook him as if he was
trying to shake his clothes off. When the vibrations ceased the umpire had been relieved of his shirt front and his general make-up was in a state of disorder. He was compelled to go to the nearest haberdashery for repairs. Mercer attempted to follow him out of the grounds, but was prevented by the police. Everybody connected with the Washington club regrets the occurrence. It is the first offence of Mercer in this line, and it is hoped for his reputation that it will be the last.

From Sporting Life, The first contest was won by the Senators, 8 to 6-while the second was an easy proposition for the Birds, the score being 9 to 2 in their favor when the playing was stopped at the conclusion of the sixth inning. Owing to the disabilities of Dick Padden, Winnie Mercer was placed in charge of the team for the day’s play, and in the first game the third baseman handled his men nicely. In the second game Mercer figured in the losing end of a double steal, and on the close play that followed he took it upon himself as captain of the team to enter into a vigorous protest with Umpire Al Mannassau for the latter’s decision in declaring the runner safe. Mercer’s protests, while vigorous, were not a shade stronger than those usually brought into use by John McGraw and Patsy Tebeau, but the umpire thought otherwise and ordered the Senatorial captain out of the game. When Mercer found he had been fined and retired his indignation got the better of him and he rushed at Mannassau in true pugilistic style and in the scuffle that followed the blue blouse worn by the umpire was torn almost to threads. The scene was a most disgraceful one, from any point of view, especially as Washington has never had a player with pugnacious proclivities, but with the smothering of the John T Brush rule last winter such scenes have become altogether too frequent the past season. A couple hundred Baltimoreans occupied seats in the grand stand and seemed to enjoy the mix-up very much, as one said. “It reminded him so much of home.” The recent games with Baltimore doubtless had a great deal to do with Mercer’s actions. Just such tactics as he resorted to have been frequently employed in Baltimore to help defeat the Senators, and, strange to say, orders to leave the game have been few and far between. But Washington spectators want none of it, win or lose, and Messrs. Earl Wagner and Arthur Irwin will do well to impress this fact upon the minds of Mr. Mercer and the numerous young bloods who at present make up the team.