This is a print of a press photo of the Minneapolis Millers, 1896. The team had just won the Western League baseball championship. The Minneapolis Millers existed in some iteration for 76 years, beginning in 1884. They originally played in the Northwestern League, but when that failed they were absorbed into the Western League. The team pictured above was formed in 1894 when Ban Johnson and Charles Comisky (of that famous stadium Comisky Park) revived the Western League.
In the year the Millers won the championship, they played 150 games between April and October, then six additional games giving them the win over Indianapolis. Many of their season games were double headers and they often played every day of the week. They ended their season with 89 wins and 47 losses. Some of the scores of those games have staggering tallies: losses 14-20, 6-24 and 8-41, wins 22-7, 30-3, and 18-3 are just a few that stand out. It is no wonder some of those games had such high scores. The fellow second in from the left in the back row hit 49 home runs that year. That’s Perry “The Moose” Werden. Center front was their manager/outfielder Walter Wilmot.
There is a fantastic page dedicated to the Millers (click here) that has stats from the various seasons.
The photo itself has an interesting story. While this is simply a press photo circulated globally, it was picked up and printed in Argentina. Gillermo (William) Maubach ran a photo studio in Buenos Aires, and also worked for the Deutsche La Plata Zeitung newspaper. By 1940, the newspaper was forced to close by the government because it was considered socialist. All of the holdings of the paper and Maubach were sold among various buyers and are scattered across the world. If you don’t remember your history, by 1943 a military coup had taken over the Argentine government, setting in motion events that would make Juan Peron president. It is very complicated so I won’t go into it further here. Maubach was identified by 1947 as having been a German agent in Argentina and was ordered deported. Strangely, he disappeared before deportation could take place and his where abouts remained unknown. This of course feeds off the Argentine and other South American governments offering asylum to German war criminals after World War II ended. Was Maubach really a German agent? Did he return to Germany or escape to another country friendly to Germans? I suspect we will never know.