Harry Diddlebock

Henry Harrison Diddlebock (June 27, 1854 – February 5, 1900) was a sportswriter and Major League Baseball manager. Formerly a head sportswriter for two Philadelphia newspapers, Diddlebock managed 17 games with the St. Louis Browns in the 1896 season. He had a 7–10 record (a .412 winning percentage).

Harry Diddlebock
Born: June 27, 1854
Died: February 5, 1900 (aged 45)
Batted: Unknown Threw: Unknown
MLB statistics
Managerial WL7–10
Winning percentage.412

Early career

Prior to assuming the managerial job with the Browns, Diddlebock had never played or managed in the major leagues. He was the head sportswriter for The Philadelphia Times for eleven years and held the same position at The Philadelphia Inquirer for six years.[1] He was the longtime president of an organization known as the Scorer's Association, and he was a horse racing official. He also covered the famed 1892 fight between boxers John L. Sullivan and James J. Corbett.[2]

Within baseball, Diddlebock variously served as president, secretary and treasurer for the Eastern League, a minor league that served as one of the precursors to the International League.[3] He later held financial interest in a team in the Pennsylvania State League, which became a rival of the Eastern League.[4]

Managerial stint

In December 1895, he was hired as the manager of the St. Louis Browns for the 1896 season by the team's owner, Chris von der Ahe.[1] The Browns and their owner were held in low regard at the time. Sportswriter Alfred Henry Spink wrote that "Mr. Diddlebock's mission will be to repair the damage Von der Ahe has done the game and the St. Louis club."[5] Newspapers in St. Louis were initially supportive of Diddlebock, but before he took the field, the team was embroiled in controversy when it was announced that they would spend $30,000 to bring in five star players from Philadelphia. The Browns did not have the money to finance such a deal, and von der Ahe blamed Diddlebock for the story that had gotten out.[1]

Sources differ as to the exact sequence of events that led to Diddlebock's firing as manager. At least one source notes that Diddlebock came to the ballpark with bruising and swelling about his face, claiming to have been attacked by a band of six men. The source says he was sent home by von der Ahe and that a private detective found he had fallen asleep at a drinking establishment and sustained a fall off of a barstool.[6] Another version holds that Diddlebock had been found by police officers on the streets very early one morning and that it was discovered that he took a drunken fall off of a streetcar. In either case, von der Ahe fired Diddlebock three weeks into his only season as manager.[1] Diddlebock finished the stint with a 7–10 win-loss record.[7]

Later life

After his time as manager, Diddlebock returned to the staff of the Inquirer to write about horse racing. In early 1900, he developed what was thought to be a bad cold. He was later diagnosed with erysipelas. The infection affected Diddlebock's heart and he died on February 5, 1900.[nb 1] Diddlebock was survived by his two sons; his wife had died two years earlier.[3] He is buried in West Laurel Hill Cemetery in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.[9]

See also


  1. ^ Some sources list the underlying cause of death as "muscular rheumatism".[8][9]


  1. ^ a b c d Hetrick, J. Thomas (1999). Chris Von Der Ahe and the St. Louis Browns. Scarecrow Press. pp. 188–191. ISBN 9780810834736. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  2. ^ Browne, Paul (2013). The Coal Barons Played Cuban Giants: A History of Early Professional Baseball in Pennsylvania, 1886–1896. McFarland. p. 145. ISBN 9780786461257. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Diddlebock dead". Sporting Life. February 10, 1900. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  4. ^ "State League troubles result in a meeting at New York". Altoona Tribune. August 21, 1894. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  5. ^ Morris, Peter (2013). Cracking Baseball's Cold Cases: Filling in the Facts About 17 Mystery Major Leaguers. McFarland. p. 48. ISBN 9780786475452. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  6. ^ Eisenbath, Mike; Musial, Stan (1999). The Cardinals Encyclopedia. Temple University Press. p. 364. ISBN 9781566397032. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  7. ^ "Harry Diddlebock Managerial Record | Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  8. ^ Browne, Paul (2013). The Coal Barons Played Cuban Giants: A History of Early Professional Baseball in Pennsylvania, 1886–1896. McFarland. p. 146. ISBN 9780786492930. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  9. ^ a b Lee, Bill (2003). The Baseball Necrology: The Post-Baseball Lives and Deaths of More Than 7,600 Major League Players and Others. McFarland. p. 103. ISBN 9781476609300.
1896 St. Louis Browns season

The 1896 St. Louis Browns season was the team's 15th season in St. Louis, Missouri and the 5th season in the National League. The Browns went 40–90 during the season and finished 11th in the National League.


Diddlebock may refer to:

The Sin of Harold Diddlebock, 1947 comedy film directed by Preston Sturges

Harry Diddlebock, (1854–1900), sportswriter and Major League Baseball manager

Lew Phelan

Louis A. Phelan (March, 1864 – November 2, 1933) was a manager in Major League Baseball in the 1895 season, with the St. Louis Browns. During his lone season as manager, he led the Browns to 11 wins, with 30 loses in 45 games. After managing in those 45 games in 1895, he was replaced by Harry Diddlebock.

He was born in St. Louis, Missouri and died in Los Angeles. Phelan is buried at Calvary Cemetery in Los Angeles.

List of St. Louis Cardinals managers

The St. Louis Cardinals, a professional baseball franchise based in St. Louis, Missouri, compete in the National League (NL) of Major League Baseball (MLB). Prior to entering the NL in 1892, they were also a member of the American Association (AA) from 1882 to 1891. They have won 11 World Series titles as an NL team, one pre-World Series championship and tied another against the NL. Since 1900, the team has been known as the Cardinals. They were originally named the Perfectos. Baseball teams like St. Louis employ a manager to make on-field decisions for the team during the game, similar to the head coach position of other sports. A number of coaches report to the manager, including the bench coach, first and third base coaches, and pitching and hitting coaches, among other coaches and instructors. Mike Matheny, a former catcher for the Cardinals from 2000 to 2004, was the manager from 2012-2018, when he was relieved following a series of disputes, including allegations that he would not speak with Dexter Fowler. He was signed through 2017 and extended to the 2018 season when he was fired. The Cardinals hired bench coach Mike Shildt as interim manager.Matheny is one of 63 total individuals who have managed the Cardinals, more than any other Major League franchise. Between 1882 and 1918 – 37 total seasons – 37 different managers stayed the helm. Ned Cuthbert became the first manager of the then-Brown Stockings in 1882, serving for one season. Also an outfielder for a former St. Louis Brown Stockings club, he was directly responsible for bringing professional baseball back to St. Louis after a game-fixing scandal expelled the earlier team from the NL in 1877. He rallied a barnstorming team that attracted the attention of eventual owner Chris von der Ahe, who directly negotiated for the team to be a charter member of a new league, the AA, in 1882. Charles Comiskey was the first manager in franchise history to hold the position for multiple seasons. He also owns the highest career winning percentage in franchise history at .673, four American Association pennants (1885–1888) and one interleague championship (before the official World Series existed). He also held the record for most career wins in team history with from 1884 to 1945 (563 total) and games managed (852) until 1924. However, von der Ahe changed managers more than any other owner in team history – a total of 27 in 19 season oversaw the team on the field. After the Robison era began, stability marginally improved: nine managers in 20 years from 1899 to 1918. Jack McCloskey, Roger Bresnahan, and Miller Huggins each managed three or more seasons from 1906 to 1917, becoming the first group to manage multiple seasons in succession.

Branch Rickey, known mainly as a general manager, surpassed Comiskey's record for games managed in 1924, totaling 947 in seven seasons. His replacement, Rogers Hornsby – also the second baseman who won two Triple Crowns and six consecutive batting titles – finally guided the Cardinals to their first modern World Series championship against the formidable New York Yankees, their first interleague championship in exactly 40 years. Sam Breadon, the Cardinals' owner, also frequently changed managers (although Frankie Frisch and Gabby Street both managed at least five seasons and won one World Series title apiece in the 1930s out of nine total managers in 30 seasons) until settling on Hall of Famer Billy Southworth from 1940 to 1945.

Southworth set new team records for games managed (981), wins (620) and World Series championships (two). His Cardinals teams won 105 or more games each year from 1942 to 1944, winning the NL pennants in each of those three seasons. His .642 winning percentage is second-highest in team history, and the highest since the Cardinals joined the National League. Southworth was also awarded the Sporting News Manager of the Year Award in 1941 and 1942. Starting in 1953 with the Gussie Busch/Anheuser-Busch era, thirteen managers captained the club in 43 seasons. After Southworth, Eddie Dyer, Eddie Stanky, Fred Hutchinson and Johnny Keane also each took home a Sporting News Manager of the Year award. Keane's 1964 team that year's World Series. Hall of Famer Red Schoendienst took over from 1965 to 1977 and won one World Series and two NL pennants. Schoendienst then broke Southworth's team records for games (1,999 total) and wins (1,041). He also held records of 14 seasons managed and 955 losses.

In the 1980s, Hall of Famer Whitey Herzog's style of play known as Whiteyball pushed the Cardinals to three NL pennants and a World Series championship in 1982. He was named the Sporting News Sportsman of the Year and Manager of the Year in 1982. In 1990, Joe Torre took over and Tony La Russa succeeded him when the William DeWitt, Jr. ownership – still the current ownership – commenced in 1996. La Russa finished with the longest tenure in franchise history (16 seasons), and leads Cardinals managers in wins (1,408), losses (1,182), playoff appearances (nine) and is tied for most World Series championships (two). He also won three NL pennants. Matheny took over from La Russa. With DeWitt ‘s era, the Cardinals have seen their greatest period of managerial stability with just two managers.

Besides La Russa, eight Cardinals managers have won a modern World Series: Hornsby, Frisch, Street, Dyer, Southworth, Keane, Schoendienst and Herzog; Southworth and La Russa are the only ones to win two each. Comiskey won one pre-World Series title and tied for another. Cardinals managers inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame include Comiskey, Tommy McCarthy, Roger Connor, Kid Nichols, Bresnahan, Huggins, Rickey, Hornsby, Bill McKechnie, Southworth, Frisch, Schoendienst, Herzog, Torre and La Russa.

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