The Fleecing of Kokomo

[Between 2009 and 2011, I maintained a TypePad blog, “More Fiends,” intended to update my book Baseball Fiends and Flying Machines. Those posts can still be found in the Wayback Machine, but I stopped updating that site in 2011. Because this WordPress site promotes and updates all my books, I’d like to republish some of those earlier posts.]

Posted 11/28/2009:

On page 88 of Baseball Fiends… there is a description of George Lawson’s short, ignoble stay in Kokomo, IN. To understand the animus that Lawson generated so quickly, consider this additional information reprinted from the Cleveland Plain Dealer of June 19th, 1899:

    “In the week that he was here he had two fist fights, was arrested three times, and left owing everybody he could, including visiting teams, his own men, hotels, boarding houses, restaurants, livery stables, clothing stores, printing offices, and brass bands. He bought with a lavish hand, stood everybody off for the price, and paid for nothing. Visiting teams were swindled out of their guarantee. The supreme gall of the man seemed to have a hypnotizing effect, and up to the last minute he had no trouble in victimizing the public…Lawson did not even pay the fines and costs assessed against him for assault and battery and playing on Sunday, but left the local fans who went on his bond to settle with the court. A woman whom Lawson claimed as his wife remained here until last night, when she also left town to join him at some unknown point. He left town to escape the wrath of his players, who got tired at eating at soup houses, while he lived at the best hotel in town.”

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