Bernhard "Benny" Meyer, born in Hematite, Missouri died in Festus, Missouri at the age of 89 on February 6, 1974.
Benny was an outfielder-infielder in the majors briefly. He played for the Brooklyn Dodgers (1913), Baltimore Terrapins (1914-15), Buffalo Blues (1915), and Philadelphia Phillies (1925). In four seasons, he played in 310 major league games and had 1,041 at bats, 146 runs, 276 hits, 29 doubles, 17 triples, 7 home runs, 84 RBIs, 46 stolen bases, 158 walks, .265 batting average, .365 on-base percentage, .346 slugging percentage, 360 total bases and 31 sacrifice hits. He was a colorful baseball figure who was on the scene as a payer, manager, coach, and scout for about 60 years. After retiring as a player, he worked as a coach for the Philadelphia Phillies under manager Art Fletcher from 1924-1926 and for the Detroit Tigers under manager Bucky Harris from 1928-1930. He developed a reputations for his loudness as a coach for Detroit, which earned him the nickname “Earache,” and was the subject of an article in The Sporting Life in 1929. He also managed the Grand Rapids Chicks of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in 1945.
What Meyer lacked in talent, he made up for in brass when it came to negotiating his contracts. In 1905, he made $100 a month playing for Boone, IA, and he was offered the same amount the next season when he was promoted to Dallas. He fired back a letter, saying, "I can make more money catching runaway horses." Dallas promptly gave him his release, telling him, "Catch the runaway horses."
After kicking around in the minors for a few more years, Brooklyn acquired him from Toronto and sent a contract calling for $2,400 a year. Meyer, who was a small Missouri farmer, had some stationery printed with a letterhead that said, "Meyer and Son Stock Farm." He wrote to brooklyn Co-Owner Steve McKeever, informing him that the livestock business was so good he couldn't afford to play for $2,400 a year.
Eventually, McKeever visited Meyer at his farm and noticed all the livestock on the premises. The thing was, Meyer had borrowed most of it from neighbors so he could display his "prosperity."
He signed with the club for the $2,400, but he was given an immediate cash bonus of $1,000.
Author: Wikipedia, Find-A-Grave, and St. Louis Sporting News, Feb. 23, 1974, p. 39
Contributed By: Helen Nordquist
Copyright: Wikipedia, Find-A-Grave, and St. Louis Sporting News, Feb. 23, 1974, p. 39