Harry Hempstead

From BR Bullpen

Harry Hempstead LOC.jpg

Harry Newton Hempstead

Biographical Information[edit]

Harry Hempstead was the son-in-law of John Brush, having married his eldest daughter, Eleanor Brush, in 1894. Hempstead worked for Brush in Indianapolis, IN for several years, as manager of the clothing store which had started Brush's fortune. Upon Brush's death in 1912, Hempstead was named executor of his estate and thus became President of the New York Giants while his wife and Brush's widow Elsie Lombard and second daughter, Natalie, inherited the team.

Even though he had held nominal positions on the Giants' board of directors before assuming the President's duties, Hempstead knew almost nothing about professional baseball, although he had played the game in high school and college. He gave a free hand to manager John McGraw to take care of on-field matters, while he made it his main task to protect the value of the family investments. However, his years in power were troublesome ones, in spite of two World Series appearances in 1913 and 1917, with the war with the Federal League, threatening to upend the two established major leagues, and then World War I curtailing the 1918 season by a full month. He did not like the uncertainty and convinced Lombard and her daughter to sell their shares to Charles Stoneham in 1919. Ironically, his wife Eleanor wanted to keep her father's legacy going, and did not sell her shares until 1924, although she only played a passive role in team affairs after Stoneham came on the scene. It is also ironic that Hempstead, who was mainly concerned about the bottom line, decided to bail out precisely at the point when baseball was about to start a decade of tremendous growth and prosperity, and great on-field success for the Giants. He did turn a healthy profit from the sale of the family shares, though.

He graduated from Lafayette College in 1891.

External Sites[edit]