John T. Brush, owner of the Cincinnati Base Ball Club, was closeted with President Young yesterday at League headquarters for several hours, and it is understood that the League contemplates taking some action in the Von der Ahe case. Mr. Brush is here to meet Colonel Rogers, of the Philadelphia Club, and with him appear before the National Railroad Ticket Agents' Association, now in session in [Washington.]
Mr. Brush stated that the League will be required to take immediate action to relieve Von der Ahe from his present predicament, and at the same time protect the League from any embarrassment that might arise out of the existing complication. He reviewed in a cautious manner the numerous business and personal complications surrounding Mr. Von der Ahe, and showed how difficult it is for outsiders to interfere in domestic troubles. It is because of these existing troubles that financial assistance is timid in going to the rescue of the St. Louis magnate.
Should Purchase The Club.
Mr. Brush says it is time for the League to rescue the St. Louis Club from its present condition, and the ways and means for reaching a satisfactory settlement of the question are now being seriously considered. It is possible that an effort will be made to form a syndicate for the purpose of purchasing the St. Louis franchise, and thus quietly allowing the Von der Ahe incident to close, so far as the League is concerned.
League Will Help.
Late to-night [February 15] President Young wired President Watkins, of the Pittsburgh Club, to advance the money necessary to secure Chris' release and that the League would see that the money was refunded. All along eleven of the twelve clubs which comprise the League have been in favor of doing this, but President Soden, of Boston, had refused to give his assent, his reason being that it would be establishing a precedent. While in Washington yesterday Colonel Rogers met President J.T. Brush, of the Cincinnati Club, and they, with Mr. Young, talked the matter over. It was finally decided to go to the rescue of Von der Ahe even without the consent of the Boston Club, and President Young was instructed to notify Watkins to that effect.
-Sporting Life, February 19, 1898
The end, for Von der Ahe, was ugly and, honestly, it does detract from his record of achievements. I, personally, believe that that record is such that Von der Ahe was one of the most significant figures in the history of baseball but it's tough, sometimes, to make that point when you have to explain why the League took his club away from him. Von der Ahe had flaws. He had faults. He made mistakes. But, without excusing those and while being honest about them, I have to insist upon the fact that Von der Ahe was a figure of great historical significance whose achievements should not be denied.