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This Week in History: Typhoid ended life of pro-baseball player

125 years ago, in 1897

Taken directly from the Youngstown Vindicator:

“Sweet sleep fell upon John Scheible and ended life’s travail. His life was that of an exemplary, upright and worthy citizen.

“John Scheible passed away at the Mahoning Valley Hospital at 3:15 this afternoon. News of the death of John G. Scheible will be received with deep regret, not only here in Youngstown, where he has always resided, but all over the country in the many cities he has played ball.

“As a citizen, his actions were never criticized. His doings were manly, he always aided the distressed and a cry for help never reached his ears unheeded. As a ball player, his work was criticized and praised. One day he would get laurels and the next, perhaps, jeers. This is the life of a ball player.

“Mr. Scheible was nearly 30 years of age and the second son of Mr. and Mrs. John Scheible, Mill Street. The mother died years ago. Besides a father, there is left three sisters, namely Miss Lizzie and Miss Kate Scheible and Mrs. Mary Miller, and brothers Charles, who is assistant chief of the construction gang of Youngstown Bridge Company employees, and William Scheible. These surrounded him at death which occurred in the Mahoning Valley Hospital, at which place he requested to be taken.

“‘Death loves a shining mark.’ Particularly true is the foregoing in this instance. On July 24, John Scheible had a chill. All day he complained but thought nothing serious would result. He was big, strong, active and had few sick spells.

“His habits were of the best: He neither used tobacco in any form nor drank alcoholic beverages. Saturday afternoon he called on Dr. Ilgenfritz, his friend, and medicine was given.

“The day before this, he was to have gone to Erie to play ball. He even went to the depot before giving up this trip. He remarked to Henry Kaercher on his return home that he had bad luck, saying just as he had a chance to make some money, sickness came.

“The following Friday evening, he called on Dr. Ilgenfritz, and Monday was taken to the hospital. A number of consultations among doctors were held. On Thursday of last week, the doctors flattered themselves on Mr. Scheible’s condition. He seemed to be rapidly improving, but later traces of malignant typhoid appeared and the disease’s progress could not be checked.

“The deceased was employed for a number of years at the flour mills of Homer Baldwin. He afterward began ball playing and was a success at pitching. He was a member of teams in the Tri-State League, Iron & Oil League, Pennsylvania State League, New England League, and finally the National League, playing in Philadelphia and Cleveland. His connection with Youngstown is well-known to all lovers of the national game and readers of The Vindicator.

“The death of John G. Scheible is a severe blow to his aged father and family. During his illness and towards the last few days, he would imagine himself playing ball but was kind in his attention to nurses and would always do as told.

“As a ball player, he was a determined person and as a citizen always sociable, quiet and unassuming.”

• Compiled from the archives of The Vindicator by Traci Manning, Mahoning Valley Historical Society curator of education.

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