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Win: 1896

Win: 1896

Circa 1896. "Mercer, Washington baseball." George Barclay "Win" Mercer (1874-1903). Glass negative from the C.M. Bell portrait studio. View full size.


Ball Player, 28, Takes Own Life in San Francisco.

        SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 13 -- Winnie D. Mercer, a pitcher for the American baseball team, registered at the Occidental Hotel last evening and was found asphyxiated in his room to-day. Mercer was registered under the name of George Murray and gave his residence as Philadelphia. The watchman of the hotel in making his rounds detected the odor of gas coming from Mercer's room, and, failing to receive a response to his knocking, broke down the door. Clad in his night clothes and lying in the bed with his coat and vest covering his head, Mercer was found. From the gas jet in the center of the room was suspended a rubber tube, and the end of this Mercer had placed in his mouth, after turning the gas full on.

        Mercer's identity was established by papers found among his effects, one of which read: "Tell Mr. Van Horn, of the Langham Hotel, that Winnie Mercer has taken his life." He also left letters, one to his mother and another to a young lady of East Liverpool, Ohio, expressing regret over his deed and bidding them fond farewells. He left a statement of his financial accounts addressed to Tip O'Neill, and advised his friends to avoid games of chance and women.

-- Washington Post, January 14, 1903.


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... threw him a curve he couldn't hit.

Positions: Pitcher, Third Baseman and Outfielder
Bats: Left • Throws: Right
5-9, 154lb (175cm, 69kg)
Born: June 20, 1874 in Chester, WV USA
Died: January 12, 1903 (Aged 28-206d) in San Francisco, CA
Debut: April 21, 1894 (Age 19-305d, 1,762nd in MLB history)

He played 9 years with a record of 132W-164L with an ERA of 3.98 and a BA .285 and OPS .689

In 1901 at the age of 27 he made $3,600.00 which is $105,282.66 in today's dollars. That would be a bargain for a three position player today since the average MLB salary is over $4 million and players still get $100 a day in meal money.

Washington NL 1894-1899
New York Giants 1900
Washington AL 1901
Detroit Tigers 1902

Career Stats Baseball Reference

Expanded Bio from Society for American Baseball Research
It throws a little more light on his sad ending.

Alternative Fact

An odd mistake for the WaPo to have made here, especially for one as well known at the time as Win Mercer was. It should have read "former" pitcher with the Washington Americans, as many called them--because in fact he had been gone from there more than a year, playing for the Detroit Tigers in 1902 and expected to serve as their player-manager in "03. After his sudden demise, Ed Barrow was hired and later saw great fame as Yankees exec in the Ruth/Gehrig era.

[The newspaper article is correct. At the time of his death, Win played for the American League. - Dave]

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