The Obit For Lou Criger

The Sporting News, May, 1934

LOUIS CRIGER, considered one of the greatest catchers of his day, died at Tucson, Ariz., May 14 (1934). He had been living in Tucson the past ten years on account of failing health. His widow, four sons, a daughter, five brothers and a sister survive him.

Born at Elkhart, Ind., February 6, 1872, CRIGER began his professional career with Kalamazoo in 1895. The following year he went to Fort Wayne, from which club the Cleveland Nationals obtained him. When the pick of the Cleveland club was transferred to St. Louis in 1899, he went along, being a battery mate of Cy Young. He jumped to the Boston Americans in 1901, where he continued to catch Young, remaining with that club until 1909, when he became a member of the St. Louis Browns. Early in 1910, CRIGER was sold to the New York Americans, but released to Milwaukee in 1911. He remained with the Brewers only a short time and finished the season as manager of an independent club. The Browns brought him back as coach in 1912, his last year in Organized Ball.

CRIGER was one of the few players ever pensioned by Organized Ball. For years, during the incumbency of Ban Johnson as president of the junior major, the former American League star was cared for out of league funds after illness had overtaken him. This was in reward for his revelations of an attempt to "fix" the World Series of 1903, in which he was a dominant figure, his great throwing and tactics enabling Boston to win from Pittsburgh. Just before the Series opened, a letter reached Criger from a man representing a group of gamblers who wanted him and Young to do business with them and help throw the Series. Criger took the letter to President Johnson, who was able to thwart the plotters, thanks to Lou. Johnson remembered that service when the ex-star was stricken with tuberculosis and forced to go to Arizona more than ten years ago.


May 15, 1934

The Associated Press

Tucson, Arizona - LOUIS CRIGER, 62, former major-league baseball player, died here last night. Criger, who caught Cy Young when that great pitcher was at his best, was born in Elkhart, Ind., Feb. 6, 1872. He had made his home here the past 10 years.

Survivors include his widow, Mrs. Belle Criger, and two sons, Robert and Walter, twins, who live here, two other sons, Rollo of New York City, and Harold of Fairbanks, Alaska; a daughter, Mrs. A. L. Currier of Indianapolis, and five brothers and a sister. Criger played with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1899 and with the Browns in 1909.


Refused $12,000 Bribe to Throw World Series in 1903

May 15, 1934

The Associated Press

Tucson, Arizona - May 15. LOUIS CRIGER, famous catcher with the Boston Red Sox, who caught Cy Young in the latter's heyday, died here last night. He was sixty-two years old.


.In 1903, Criger was approached by a professional gambler, who offered him $12,000 to throw the first World Series ever played - between Boston and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The fact of this attempted bribe was revealed by the great catcher in an affidavit sworn in 1923 when Criger, failing in health, departed for the West, believing he had only a few weeks to live. In his affidavit, Criger said he had been introduced to a man named Anderson by Wibert Robinson, former manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, in 1901. He said he had spent the afternoon with Robinson and Anderson at a country bowling club near Baltimore. Criger did not see Anderson again until 1903, when he met him at Pittsburgh, where the rival clubs were playing the first World Series held after the war between the American and National Leagues.

In his affidavit, Criger related that Anderson called him aside in the lobby of the Monongahela Hotel and offered him $12,000 in cash to throw the series to Pittsburgh, disclosing that he had induced a millionaire oil man to wager $50,000 on Boston. "Why did you single me out for this crooked proposition?" Criger asked Anderson, according to his affidavit. "Because you are the only one capable of turning the trick." Anderson replied. The gambler then added that he "could feather your nest for life," but the catcher refused to have anything to do with the proposal. Criger never mentioned the affidavit to anyone except Cy Young, Cleveland's great pitcher, and later to Ban Johnson, then president of the American League, during a discussion of the 1919 scandal about the Cincinnati-White Sox series.

CRIGER was born in Elkhart, Indiana on February 6, 1872 and had made his home in Tucson during the last ten years. Surviving are his wife, Mrs. Belle Criger, four sons - Robert and Walter, twins, of Tucson, Rollo of New York and Harold of Fairbanks, Alaska; a daughter, Mrs. A. L. Currier of Indianapolis; five brothers and a sister.