Florence Killilea

From BR Bullpen

Florence Killilea

Biographical Information[edit]

Florence Killilea was the daughter of Henry Killilea, a wealthy Milwaukee, WI lawyer who owned the Boston Red Sox for a time and later the minor league Milwaukee Brewers. Her uncle Matthew Killilea had been an executive with the Brewers.

While her father was one the most powerful and respected figures in baseball when she grew up, her own involvement in the game had been modest until he suffered a debilitating heart attack on January 7, 1929, and died a couple of weeks later, leaving her as heir to the Brewers team. Still after completing her university education - a rarity for a woman at the time - she served had served as the team's secretary and was familiar with the business side of the enterprise.

She actually owned only half of the team, as her father had sold half of the team's stock to Phil Ball, owner of the St. Louis Browns, shortly before his death. While there was some pressure that she sell the ballclub, she immediately expressed an interest in running things herself. She was quite a baseball fan, and quickly became the public face of the team, throwing the ceremonial first pitch of the 1929 season, but things did not go so well on the field, as Milwaukee finished in 7th place, well off the pace. Their record was even worse in 1930, and with the Great Depression taking hold, financial losses were heavy. She married a local medical doctor, Michael H. Boley, on November 25th that year and while she originally announced that her new state would not change her career plans, she changed her mind a few months later, naming Louis Nahin as team president on January 6, 1931. While she still held the title of vice-president and sat on the board of directors, her days of running the club were over. Nahin would make all decisions from that point on.

Whether she would have remained involved in major decisions can only be surmised, as she took ill with a blood infection that May and had to be hospitalized. Pneumonia developed and she passed away on June 15th, aged only 29.

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