Happy Birthday, George Bausewine!

George Bausewine - LieutenantGeorge Bausewine was a tall and sturdy man who carried with him a sizable air of authority and went from ballplayer to umpire to policeman over the course of his 78 year life.

Born in Philadelphia on 22 March 1869 to George and Catherine (Neilach) Bausewine, George was the first of two children to arrive in this home of German immigrants.  Depending on the US Census you read, one or both of George’s parents came from Germany.  His father was a tailor in the 1880s but had taken work as a beer bottler a decade or so later.

Big and strong, Philadelphia at this time was a baseball city and George took up the game.  Before long, George had converted from a semi-professional ball player to a salaried professional, pitching in cities such as Utica, Altoona, and Canton.  Among his teammates who, like George, would attain fame on the diamond were Walter Brodie and Jake Virtue.   He pitched to a German catcher named Honneman – and for a short time the two were known as the “Pretzel battery.”

Years later, spinning yarn, he claimed that he was the one who discovered Cy Young while pitching for Canton.

“I am the man who coaxed Denton Young out of the bushes,” said Umpire Bausewine the other day in a fanning bee. “I took the Canton team down to Tuscarawas, and we were stacked against Cy. He was a great, big country lad, 18 years old, with a world of speed and nothing else. He was drawing about $10 a month for splitting wood, and I thought I saw qualities in him that could be developed. ‘There’s a boy.’ I said to Cy’s father, ‘who aught to be playing ball. He can make more money than if he stayed here and chopped wood all his life. There’s no reason why he shouldn’t be making $30 a month.’ The elder Young gasped and asked, ‘Will you pay him that much?’ And I said I would. So Cy’s father signed his first contract for him and I took him away. In his first game, against Lima, I believe those old fellows hammered him something like two dozen hits off Cy, and that night I discovered my phenom leaving the hotel with his grip – one of those old-fashioned, shiny affairs. I flagged him. He was discouraged. ‘No use for me to try and pitch against those fellows,’ he said. ‘Why, my boy,’ I told him, ‘that is nothing. All pitchers get their bumps. You stick and you’ll make good all right.’ I called on Jack Doyle to help round him up, and, giving Bausewine the wink, asked: ‘George, how many hits were made off you in your first game?’ ‘About 60,’ he said without a blush, and thus we finally persuaded Cy to take another shy at the game, and the next day he held Lima down to four hits. When Pat Tebeau came along alter and clapped his eyes on Cy he offered me $250 for his release after he had beaten Cleveland, 2 to 1, in a 15-inning game. I wanted $1,000, and finally compromised on $500. That is the true story of Cy Young’s entree into baseball.”

“Bausewine Tells How ‘Cy’ Young Was Discovered to Baseball”, Mansfield News-Journal, 13 May 1905, Page 9.

Except Young didn’t join Canton until 1889 and by then Bausewine was off the team, having been released in August, 1888 for poor pitching.

In 1889, Bausewine was pitching for Memphis, which soon disbanded, and he next pitched for London in Canada.  Four weeks after landing in London, he was released and returned home.  However, he was able to sell himself off as a prospect and the Philadelphia Athletics gave him a tryout at the end of the 1889 season.  In his month, he made six starts and one relief appearance, finishing with a record of 1 – 4.  His days as a major league pitcher were over – but he’d make it back to the majors a few years later.  He signed with St. Paul, but by mid-season he was in the box scores more often as an umpire than a pitcher.  He returned to Philadelphia where he joined a few semi-professional teams and then returned to a nomadic minor league life.

In the third inning, Knowles gave the Albany’s three more runs. Shorty Bausewine, the first man, traveled by the big-four route, Eagan made a single, Whistler struck out and Visner made a ground hit to Collins, who threw Eagan out at second. Rowe fielded the ball to Stearns and, although he fairly put Visner out at first, Knowles declared him safe. While Knowles was explaining the play to the players and the crowd, Bausewine, who was still hugging second, started on a run for home straight across the diamond. Knowles eyesight was so bad that he did not know the pitcher’s box from third base when Bausewine touched it, and he allowed Shorty to score.

“Knowles’s Work.”, Buffalo Morning Express, 27 July 1893, Page 8.

“One of the games I was pitching in was close. We had a shortstop named Nyce and he fielded a ball and threw it over the first baseman’s head. I walked over to him and said, ‘Pull another one like that and I’ll give you a beating.’ (But don’t put that in the paper.)

“Anyway, the next ball went to Nyce and he threw it over the first baseman’s head by fifteen feet. I started over to talk to him and he, remembering the threat, started to run. I chased him.

“It ended up at a brewery only a few blocks from here,” Mr. Bausewine was in the Americus Hotel. “Both of us were in uniform and dead tired. We were fined $100 each,” he chuckled, “but got it back later.”

New Head of State Police Chiefs Pitched Professional Baseball For Allentown Back in Gay ’90s”, Allentown Morning Call, 27 July 1938, Pages 5, 14.

Bausewine pitched with Albany, Syracuse and Wilkes-Barre, but eventually he wore out his welcome as a player and occasional team captain and he needed a regular job.  So, Bausewine became a police officer with the Philadelphia police department.

“It was the intention of the managers to send the team on a tour of the country. Bausewine was signed as captain and manager at a very “fancy” salary. He also received a sum of money in advance. After playing about a week he jumped his contract with the team and with Mike Grady, now of the Phillies, joined the Pennsylvania State League. This year he has signed with Germantown and the [Athletic Association of Camden] has entered the protest against him.

“Case of Pitcher Bausewine.”, Philadelphia Inquirer, 12 May 1895, Page 4.

At some point, George married and later divorced his first wife, Ella, with whom he had a son, George Bausewine, Jr.  (If you are keeping score, that’s three George Bausewines with more on the way…)  All the while, Big George was working his way up the ranks of the police department and taking leaves of absence during the summers to umpire baseball games.  In 1902, Bausewine was umpiring a championship semi-professional series when Rube Waddell decided to take the hill for Camden in the final game to win Camden the title.  He would frequently umpire college games, a few games for Connie Mack’s Athletics, and earned a solid reputation as an impartial arbiter who was able and willing to handle the rowdier elements of the games of that era.  (At 6’2″ and probably 220 pounds, he was bigger than most ballplayers.)

“I wish to congratulate president J. Ed Grillo of the American Association on his selection of George Bausewine, the former pitcher, now a member of the Philadelphia police force, as one of his umpires for next season. Bausewine is an exceptionally well fitted man for this trying position and will prove one of the Silk O’Loughlin sort, a many the argumentative players will find always their equal. He combines native intelligence, fairness, and firmness, and from experience knows how to do with and handle men. When Bausewine was a member of the old Syracuse Stars on several occasions he acted as an umpire in game played in this city and was a success.”

“Capable and Fearless Umpire”, Wilkes-Barre Record, 23 March 1904, Page 11.

George Bausewine - UmpireIn 1904, he was added to the ranks of the American Association umpire lists.  In reading through scores of articles giving descriptions of games, Bausewine didn’t suffer arguments all too easily and was regularly attacked by players, managers, owners, and fans – people hurled insults, mud, cushions, and even pop bottles at him.

“During the second inning of the second game President (George) Tebeau, who was on the bench, kicked against Bausewine’s rulings on balls and strikes. This was followed by an argument. Bausewine gave Tebeau fibve minutes in which to leave the field. The order was complied with, but Tebeau went to the office where Bausewine’s street clothes were kept and threw them out on the field. A fist fight between the umpire and the president after the game was averted by the interferene of outsiders.”

“Bausewine Was Firm and Tebeau Suffered”, Indianapolis Journal, 05 May 1904, Page 8.

“Umpire (George) Bausewine of the American Association Staff, was the centerpiece in a shower of pop bottles at Minneapolis, and the riot was not quelled until W. H. Watkins made a personal appeal for peace. Lovely job – this thing of umpiring!”

“Baseball Notes.”, Pittsburgh Press, 22 July 1904, Page 12.

He survived, though, and was so well thought of that he was hired to umpire National League games, joining the ranks of men like Bill Klem, Bob Emslie and Henry O’Day.  After one season there, however, his job with the police force required more of his attention and so he left the major leagues to umpire in local leagues, or the Pennsylvania State League.

A disgraceful exhibition of rowdyism which almost resulted seriously for George Bausewine, Philadelphia’s policeman umpire, marred the second game of the Tri-State series in [York] with Lancaster. Bausewine was set upon by a mob of 500 men and boys, infuriated at his sending Captain-Manager Weigand to the bench in the first inning for “talking back.” Half a dozen police clubbed right and left in the crowd and fired shots in the air, while members of the York team hustled the umpire to a street car in which he was taken direct to his hotel. There were broken heads in the crowd and Bausewine, who was felled by a chair thrown from the grandstand, suffered painful injuries. It was a circus day in York and there were several thousand spectators at the game.

“Mobbed the Umpire”, Buffalo Times, 28 April 1907, Page 38.

After cutting back on his baseball obligations, Bausewine was rewarded for his work on the police force by being promoted to lieutenant, having risen from patrolman and reserve forces to sergeant prior to gaining the role of lieutenant of the fourth district.  After 30 years with the force, he took a position as the police chief of Hollywood, Florida – a suburb south of Fort Lauderdale.  After three years in Florida, he returned to Pennsylvania taking the role of police chief for Norristown.

George BausewineMost of his fifteen years in Norristown were generally quiet, but 1944 was a year he’d probably rather forget.  In February his son George, who had risen through the ranks managing midwestern coal companies, died of a heart attack in Cincinnati.  His grandson, Lieutenant George Bausewine III was recovering from injuries sustained when the USS Helena was sunk by the Japanese in the Battle of Kula Gulf.  And, that summer, Police Chief George Bausewine was convicted of collecting $50 each month in “protection” money to keep slot machines running in a local club.  He was eventually sentenced to between four and twenty-three months in prison, but that conviction was later overturned on appeal.  He retired for the rest of his days.

After his short marriage to Ella, George Bausewine remarried in April 1900 to Emma Allblaster.  They had two children, Emma and Harry.  George and Emma’s days together in retirement didn’t last long.  On the morning of July 29, 1947, Emma went into their bedroom and found George dead of a heart attack.

George Bausewine, 78, former minor league baseball umpire and police chief of Norristown for 14 years, died today. His death, apparently after a heart attack in bed this morning, brought to an end a colorful career. Bausewine was deposed as chief of Norristown police in 1944 while he was on trial on charges of accepting a bribe to permit the operation of slot machines. He was sentenced to serve four to 23 months following convition but in April, 1946, the Pennsyvania supreme court reversed the conviction and set him free.

Nine years ago this week George Bausewine was elected president of the Pennsylvania Chief of Police Assn. at the state convention held in Allentown.

It was then that Bausewine recalled for newsmen that he was a baseball pitcher in Allentown in 1893. He had pitched two years before for the Philadelphia Athletics club and his arm had gone bad. He played with Allentown in the old Pennsylvania State league and after the club broke up he umpired in the American Assn. and later in the National League.

“Geo. Bausewine, Ex-Norristown Chief, Dies”, Allentown Morning Call, 30 July 1947, Page 3.


1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940 US Censuses
Philadelphia Death Records
Pennsylvania Marriage Records


“Stolen Bases”, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 05 June 1887, Page 2.

“Bausewine Once An Idol of Fans”, Altoona Times, 21 May 1907, Page 10.

“Ten Innings at Canton.”, Altoona Times, 20 April 1888, Page 1.

“Baseball Notes.”, Pittsburgh Daily Post, 18 August 1888, Page 10.

“Sporting Gossip.”, Buffalo Evening News, 18 June 1889, Page 4.

“Pickups”, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 10 July 1889, Page 6.

“The Association Reserves”, Lawrence Daily Journal, 27 October 1889, Page 7.

Saint Paul Globe/Chicago Tribune box scores (1890)

Reading Times box scores (1893)

“Knowles’s Work.”, Buffalo Morning Express, 27 July 1893, Page 8.

“Base Ball.” Camden Morning Post, 12 September 1895, Page 1.

“Notes of the Courts”, Philadelphia Inquirer, 16 November 1897, Page 7.

“‘Rube’ Waddell Won the Championship for Camden”, Camden Courier Post, 29 September 1902, Page 6.

“Grillo’s Umpires”, Pittsburgh Press, 22 February 1904, Page 10.

“Capable and Fearless Umpire”, Wilkes-Barre Record, 23 March 1904, Page 11.

“Bausewine Was Firm and Tebeau Suffered”, Indianapolis Journal, 05 May 1904, Page 8.

“Baseball Notes.”, Pittsburgh Press, 22 July 1904, Page 12.

“Premier Umpire Quits”, Minneapolis Journal, 23 July 1904, Page 21.

“Long Schedule Kept”, New York Tribune, 15 December 1904, Page 9.

“Now It’s Reserve Bausewine”, Philadelphia Inquirer, 03 October 1905, Page 11.

“Mobbed the Umpire”, Buffalo Times, 28 April 1907, Page 38.

“Philadelphian Police Chief of Hollywood”, Fort Lauderdale News, 16 January 1926, Page 9.

“A Real Veteran”, Mount Carmel Daily News, 14 November 1929, Page 1.

“Geo. Bausewine, Ex-Norristown Chief, Dies”, Allentown Morning Call, 30 July 1947, Page 3. (Photo used from here…)

“On Trial”, Chambersburg Public Opinion, 04 April 1944, Page 1.

“Judge Rules Out 4 of 6 Indictments Against Officer”, Chambersburg Public Opinion, 04 April 1944, Page 1.

“Former Chief of Police is Sentenced to Prison”, Chambersburg Public Opinion, 10 June 1944, Page 6.

“Cincinnatians On Helena”, Cincinnati Enquirer, 08 July 1943, Page 7.

“Helena Survivor is Good Swimmer”, Cincinnati Enquirer, 20 July 1943, Page 6.  (This is an excellent first person account of what it took to survive the sinking of the USS Helena told by George Bausewine III.)

“Geo. Bausewine 3D Dies in Ohio at 54”, Philadelphia Inquirer, 05 February 1944, Page 14.



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