Shout the glad tidings. Bring out the "fatted calf," and let the news of Chris.' return be heralded throughout the length and breadth of the land. The wonderful German does not show any signs of wear and tear in consequence of his rough handling. From accounts received from Pittsburg we expected to see an emaciated biped, tattered and torn and shattered mentally, but shades of Pompey! the exile turned up as natty and swell betogged as any Waldere Kirk, and the smiles that wreathed his rubicund visage bespoke the serenity of the gray matter under his hat. He was so glad to be home. He was like a lost child returning to his mother, and felt at peace with all the world. Messrs. Muckenfuss, Peckington and other friends met him at the station, and escorted him out to Sportsman's Park in triumph, where there was feasting and merry making ad libitum. When asked to give a detailed account of his
he became very much excited, and his blood was at fever heat while he narrated the cruel success of the law's minions. He stated that he was forced into a carriage, and notwithstanding his cries for help no one, not even two policemen standing by, would come to his rescue. The abductors beat him almost into insensibility, and tore every button off his coat in their rough handling of him. "If anybody had told me," said Mr. Von der Ahe, "that any half a dozen men could have taken me away as they did I would have laughed at them, but they did , and I cannot now realize how such a thing could happen in a big city like St. Louis, and in one of the principal localities. The police force needs overhauling."
The Grand Jury
will take the matter up at an early date, and indictments will be sworn out against all the participators, and every effort will be made to get satisfaction for the wrongs inflicted upon a very worthy man, who has advertised St. Louis more than any citizen of that great city. The Governor of the State had pledged the whole machinery at his command towards chastisement of the violators of our statues, and the finale of this celebrated case will prove whether the vested rights of an American citizen is a mere "pipe dream" or not. No man is safe on our streets if this outrage is allowed to go unpunished, and every individual is especially interested in seeing that Von der Ahe is as fully indemnified as the law and the pocketbooks of his traducers will permit.
-Sporting Life, March 5, 1898
Von der Ahe may very well be the most famous St. Louisan, of the 19th century. Grant and Sherman both lived in St. Louis for a time but they weren't really St. Louisans. Who else has a claim to that? Dread Scott, I guess. Susan Blow? Lewis and/or Clark?
I don't think anyone from that era did more than Von der Ahe to help create the St. Louis that we live in today. Imagine St. Louis without the Cardinals. Imagine St. Louis without baseball. We as a people and a culture define ourselves through our love of the game and Von der Ahe was instrumental in creating the infrastructure through which we were able to begin to do that. The Cardinals, major league baseball, the ballpark experience, championships, fandom that cut across all boundaries of class, ethnicity, or sex - that's Von der Ahe's legacy and I don't see another St. Louisan who can match that.