There was great cheering for the ballplayers along the line of March in Sunday's parade before the game. Just as the procession neared...Third Street Chris Von der Ahe, who had been standing in the doorway of an opened but unoccupied building, caught the strains of the brass band. He looked about and saw the eyes of the crowd about centered on him. His face flushed a deep crimson. For a moment he hesitated, thinking to brave it out but the struggle was too much for him and he retreated to the rear of the building. The sympathy of the crowd went out to him. It is said that the first complementary season book sent out by Messrs. Robinson and Becker was sent to Mr. Von der Ahe, but that he refused to accept it.
-Sporting Life, April 22, 1899
The reason it stays with me is that it created, in my mind, a vivid image of the fallen Chris Von der Ahe, standing in a doorway, alone, watching the thing that he had loved and lost, parading by.
We've all loved and lost. We've all had something precious taken from us. And we can all understand what Von der Ahe was feeling at that moment.
For me, the fall of Von der Ahe is all about that emotion. It's all about that moment when Chris retreated back into the building, trying to escape from the eyes of the crowd.
It's a powerful moment and, without a doubt, the most poignant moment in the history of St. Louis baseball.