Hannibal baseball great, Stein, caught (briefly) for Cardinals

Photo of Henry E. Stein, while he was a player for the Belleville, Ill., Clerks, during the 1890s. Photo contributed to Findagrave.com by Gordon Brett Echols.

MARY LOU MONTGOMERY

The crack of a baseball bat and subsequent cheers from fans could send reverberations throughout the Bear Creek bottoms in the heyday of Hannibal baseball, and boys – all dreamers of fame on the field – would follow the echo to its source, and vie for the chance to participate in the game of summer.

Henry Edward Stein was one of those boys. Born circa 1870, he spent his earliest years on the creek’s south side, attending South School with Jake Beckley, who made it to the big leagues. The latter part of his youth he lived just to the north of the creek, a tad more than a football field’s distance from what would later become Clemens field.

As a means of making a living, he followed in his father’s footsteps, first as a boilermaker, and later as a restaurateur. But when it came to matters of the heart, his one true love was baseball.

Mother

When Mrs. Annie Stein died in 1932, it was front-page news. Not only was she the matriarch of one of Hannibal’s longest-operating businesses, but she was also the last surviving member of one of Marion County’s oldest pioneer families: the Wachendorfers.

She was born in Marion County, Mo., in 1844, and because there were no public schools in Hannibal during the pre-Civil War years, she was educated at Mrs. Horr’s private school for girls.

She was married to Henry J. Stein (a widower with a young son, George Stein) on Dec. 2, 1862. About the same time, her father, Peter Wachendorfer, left Hannibal and his family behind to fight for the Union army.

Throughout her life, she was of a quiet and unassuming nature, and had a remarkable memory for details from her childhood. She told many stories of the hardships suffered by her father and mother during the war years.

She was mother to nine children, seven of who survived her. She was preceded in death by daughter Elnora, who died in 1892, and son Henry Edward Stein, of baseball fame, who died in 1927.

Father

A boilermaker by trade, German-born Henry J. Stein worked at St. Joseph, Mo., from 1877-1880, as foreman for the St. Jo and Denver boiler shops. Prior to that, he had worked for the Hannibal and St. Jo shops in Hannibal.

His health began to deteriorate while in St. Joseph, and he was forced to give up his trade. He moved his family – a wife and nine children – back to Hannibal, where his wife’s parents and siblings – the Wachendorfers - still lived.

In February 1883, Henry J. Stein was granted a dram shop license, which allowed him to sell liquor in Hannibal.

By 1885 Henry J.’s oldest son, George (by a previous marriage) was operating a cigar dealership out of a storefront at 304 South Main St., directly opposite the Union Depot.

Henry J., opened a restaurant in that same location prior to 1888.

Sometime before between 1888 and 1897, the Stein family moved from their home on Fourth Street in South Hannibal to the second floor of the same South Main Street building. After the turn of the century, the building was renumbered 305 S. Main, and most of the family members would call the second story of this building their home for the rest of their lives.

On the first floor was the Stein Restaurant, which would become one of Hannibal’s longest-running businesses, (operating into the 1950s) catering to downtown businessmen and the bustling railroad traffic.

Sam Clemens, who last visited Hannibal in 1902, arrived via train and would have walked right past the Stein restaurant en route to his nearby hotel.

Baseball career

In 1891, Henry J. Stein’s son, Henry E. Stein, was 21 years old. Already a shining star on the local baseball front, the young man was the recipient of an offer to play baseball in Oakland, Calif. The announcement was printed on the front page of the Quincy Daily Journal on May 23, 1891, but apparently the young man declined the offer. Instead, he spent the season with the Hannibal baseball club, known as the Hannibals, serving as catcher.

The following year he accepted an offer from the Forth Worth, Texas club, earning a salary of $100 per month. Joining him on the team were Brace, Dodge and Peeples, with whom he had previously played. The Hannibal Post reported in May 1892: He “leaves tonight for that city. He is a fine ball player and we predict that he will come to the front very rapidly.”

The 1893 season found Stein catching for the Hudsons. His childhood pal, Jake Beckley, had recommended Stein for the Pittsburg Club, but Stein decided instead to remain with the Hudsons for the season.

He joined the Belleville, Ill., Clerks, and while playing a game against St. Joseph, he caught the attention of R.M. Kneisley of the St. Joseph Saints.

The St. Joseph Herald reported on June 6, 1894: “Catcher Stein is one of the best men in the business and will be a winner for the Saints. He is young, hustling and lively, a fine batter and baserunner and a splendid left hand thrower. He was here last September with the Belleville Clerks and made a hit with the local enthusiasts by his fine work.”

In March 1895, Henry Stein signed with the Joliet, Ill., team; 1896 found the Hannibal catcher back in Belleville; and in 1898 and 1899, he played for his home team, the Hannibals.

In 1900, Stein finally made it to the “big leagues,” playing one game for the St. Louis Cardinals. He caught one or two innings for Willie Sudhoff, the Cardinal pitcher, on the last regular season game of (Oct. 14) 1900. *

The following year, 1901, Stein rejoined the Alton Base Ball Association, playing for his second season as catcher.

In 1902, Stein organized a post-season grudge match between the Quincy Reserves and the Hannibals, to be played at Hannibal. The Quincy Daily Journal on Oct. 22, 1902, made note of the fact that Dick Padden, second baseman, and Mike Kohoe, catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, were camping on Bay Island, north of Quincy, and had been invited by Stein to participate in the game. “With this addition of stars, Hannibal’s chances for winning from Quincy should be very bright.”

Stein continued to manage local and regional teams through the first decade of the 20th Century.

A noted game against Barry, Ill., was played at Athletic Park in Hannibal at the end of the 1903 baseball season. Hannibal was under Stein’s management, and won 18 games; lost 6; and tied 1.

The Quincy Daily Journal of Oct. 26, 1903, recapped the game:

“J. Monahan covered third base for Hannibal and Jake Beckley, the brilliant first baseman of the Cincinnati National league team, also played with Hannibal. Killian, a young southpaw, twirled for Hannibal and held Barry down to seven hits. The crowd numbered 850. Jack Connell, of Quincy, umpired.

The restaurant

As Henry J. Stein’s health deteriorated, his sons Henry E., and Frank took over management of the family’s restaurant. After Henry E.’s death in 1927, Frank became the proprietor. Frank died in 1952.

Henry E.’s death

The baseball player’s death cumulated a three-weeks stay at Levering Hospital, where he was treated for influenza. Specialists had been called in from St. Louis to consult on his treatment, and he began to rally. A few hours prior to his death, however, he had a relapse.

His sister, Emma Stein, had spent the day with him at the hospital, and returned to their Main Street home for dinner. After taking her meal, she went downstairs to catch the street car back to the hospital. Once on the street, she failed to see an oncoming car driven by J.W. Aldrich of 1420 Union. She was knocked down and badly bruised. She was transported to Levering Hospital for treatment, where she remained a patient for at least a week.

Rev. John W. Golden

The Rev. John W. Golden was a long-time friend of the family. He and Henry E. Stein attended the circus in Quincy together in 1904, according to a mention in a Quincy newspaper. While the family members were of the Presbyterian faith, in 1927 Rev. Golden, then pastor of the New London and Center Christian churches, officiated at Henry E. Stein’s funeral at the family home, 305 A. South Main. And in 1932, Rev. Golden conducted services for Henry’s mother.

Steam Road Locomotive

In April 1860, the Glasgow, Mo., Weekly Times mentioned two men from Hannibal: Messrs. Stein and Robards, who had “invented a Steam Road Locomotive, to which plows can be attached. The machine stood a practical test in the field, and a contract has been taken to break two thousand acres of prairie land, in Macon county. There is a good time coming for the horse and ox, as well as man.”

It is likely that Henry J. Stein – a boilermaker – was behind this “ground breaking” invention.

The Waterloo Courier, Waterloo, Iowa, of April 10, 1860, offered a bit more information:

“It is said to work tolerably well. Its weight is about seven tons and its steam capacity, one hundred pounds.”

Stein family deaths:

Research suggests that the youngest daughter, Anna M., was the only sibling to marry. She is buried at Hannibal with her husband, and no link was found to indicate she had children of her own.

1892: Eleanora Stein

1917: Henry Julius Stein (father)

1927: Henry Edward Stein

1932: Mary Annie Wachendorfer Stein (mother)

1944: Minnie A. Stein

1949: Otto W. Stein

1950: Mary Emma Stein

1951: Carrie Stein

1952: Frank A. Stein

1957: Catherine S. Stein

1968: Anna M. Stein Kosmin

The family plot is located at Mt. Olivet Cemetery.

* Richard Tourangeau, Boston, Mass., Society for American Baseball Research 1981-current, Biographical Committee, explains Stein’s major league status:

“My friend David Nemec wrote about Henry Edward Stein in his 'Rank and File of the 19th Century Ballplayers.' David is the Yoda of the subject. He claims that Henry ('Harry') caught two innings in that last game (in 1900). He also wrote in 'Rank and File' that until the Summer of 2011 everyone thought that 'Stanton' had caught the innings because that's what the newspaper box scores said.

"As 'Moonlight' Graham (‘Field of Dreams’ character, and real person), Stein did not get to bat, just catch the last inning of a 7-0 shutout.

"No other games were scheduled that Sunday so it was the last regular season game of the 19th Century.

"Tom Stanton played with Henry either in 1899 or 1900. It seems that Henry also played against Willie Sudhoff, the Cardinal pitcher he caught that last day of 1900, in 1896."

"The Rank and File of 19th Century Major League Baseball" McFarland Press, 2012.

Page 126, under Catchers. Henry Edward "Harry" Stein

"Until the summer of 2011 Harry Stein's game was attributed to Tom Stanton, also a longtime St. Louis amateur, and semi-pro who played with The Sporting News team among many others and prior to 1900 had some minor league experience in the Western Association and the Texas League. After coincidentally being a teammate of Stanton's with Alton, IL, earlier in the season, Stein was playing in the local Trolley League when the Cardinals dressed him for their final two games of the 1900 campaign at home against Cincinnati and used him to spell Lou Criger in the last two frames (unproven) of Wee Willie Sudhoff's seven-hit (actually five) shutout on closing day. Little else is known about Stein beyond the fact that his fellow Hannibal denizen, Jake Beckley, had championed him for years before he finally drew a sympathetic ear, if only to bring Stein one at bat (no he didn't get one) in St. Louis's final game of the 19th Century. "

Richard Tourangeau adds: Though Dave's writing implies "one at bat" his game stats next to the story say "0" at bats.

Tom Stanton of St. Louis, (Sudhoff was also a St. Louis native), was finally given his chance in the National League on April 19, 1904, playing for Chicago in his hometown of St. Louis against the Cards. He went 0 for 3 in his ONE game and as catcher allowed nine stolen bases in a 9-3 defeat. The only guy he threw out was Jake Beckley according to the Chicago Tribune.

The Stein Restaurant was located at 305 South Main Street, Hannibal, from the mid 1880s until the early 1950s. The building was a few doors north of the only remaining building on the block. It was located directly across the street from the bustling Union Depot.

This early Hannibal photos shows South Main Street, looking north. To the left, near the utility pole, is the old Kettering Hotel. Just past the hotel is a row of buildings, one of which housed the Stein Restaurant for some 60 years. STEVE CHOU COLLECTION

The Stein family graves are primarily located in Section 2, Lot 208, of Mount Olivet Cemetery, Hannibal, Mo.

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