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Al Froehlich

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Albert George Froehlich

  • Bats Right, Throws Right

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[edit] Biographical Information

Al Froehlich caught one game with the Philadelphia Phillies on July 2, 1909, replacing starting catcher Red Dooin in the second game of a doubleheader against the Boston Doves after he was ejected by umpire Cy Rigler. The Phillies' usual back-up, Fred Jacklitsch, was out with a broken finger and the young Froehlich, who had just been signed from the amateur ranks, was pressed into action for the final two innings. He quickly was victimized by Johnny Bates, who stole second and third base. He made an out in his only plate appearance and never got into another major league game.

The problem was that, for some reason, he was listed in early encyclopedias as "William Palmer 'Ben' Froelich", a Pittsburgh, PA native, and was assigned this man's vital statistics. No one was the wiser until Peter Morris looked into his file in 2014 and found some inconsistencies that quickly proved he had been misidentified.

Contemporary accounts of the game list him as an amateur from Brooklyn, NY, not Pittsburgh, and indeed the Brooklyn Eagle had a photo of him in its July 10th edition, identifying him as "Al Froelich", formerly with the semi-pro local Rebus team. Other items indicate that he had been given a tryout by the Brooklyn Superbas the previous off-season, and after his stint with Philadelphia was signed by the Brooklyn team in 1910 and assigned to the Fort Wayne Billikens of the Central League, although he was released by the start of May. He went back to Brooklyn where he continued to play semi-pro ball and in 1912 was signed by the Chicago Cubs who carried him on their roster for the last couple of weeks of the season, but he did not get into a game. He then became the catcher of the New York Police Department team and his name turned up in newspapers from time to time in that capacity.

He first appeared in the 1892 census as the seven-year-old son of Otto Froehlich, a produce dealer in Brooklyn. In the 1910 census, his profession (and that of his father) is listed as "news dealer". He married Amanda Antoinette Theresia Elmquist in 1913 and by 1915 is listed as a police officer. Interestingly, Brooklyn city directories from the period list Fred Jacklitsch, the injured man he replaced on the Phillies' roster in 1909, as a neighbor, which may explain how he had ended up signing with that team a few years earlier. He died in 1941, the victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound; still a member of the police force, he apparently feared he was going blind and ended his life.

[edit] Further Reading

  • "Al Froelich", in Bill Carle, ed.: Biographical Research Committee Report, SABR, May/June 2014, p. 4-8.

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