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Walt Goldsby

Image Walton Hugh Goldsby, also known as Walter Goldsby,born December 31st, 1861 in Marion, LA was a professional baseball player from 1884-1892, professional baseball manager, and a professional baseball umpire. He resided in multiple Arkansas cities during his life, including Missouri (Nevada County), Pine Bluff and Harrisburg.

Early Life

At a time when most baseball players were from urban cities, Walt Goldsby was a rare product of the rural south. In fact, he was the first Louisiana native not from New Orleans to play in the major leagues, and was perhaps the first professional baseball player with Arkansas ties. He was born in the Confederate succession state of Louisiana during the Civil War in the small town of Marion near the Arkansas-Louisiana border. His parents, Dr. Miles Walton Goldsby Jr. and Irish immigrant Dettie Dudgeon1, were a young couple, and Walt was their first child. The family, however, was soon broken up by the war when Miles enlisted in the Confederate Army, leaving Dettie and an infant Walt2. An educated man with a medical degree from University of Louisiana3, Miles served as an assistant surgeon4 until he was killed in 18655. The loss left Walt without having ever really known his father, and only Dettie to care for him and a second son, Thomas Boykin6. A bright, capable woman, however, Walt’s mother managed to support the family by working as a postmaster at a nearby rural office7. A teacher by trade8, Dettie soon took a job at a school across the border in Lapile, AR9. By 1880, she moved the family to Nevada County, AR6, and a year later, married the prominent southern Baptist minister Marshall Daniel Early10 11. By this time, however, Walt was a young adult, and he soon left home and went to St. Louis to work in the offices of the Missouri Pacific Railroad12.

Baseball Career

While St. Louis in 1882, Walt began playing baseball with the Missouri Pacific Railroad team13.

He played with Evansville in 1883 and part of 1884 before catching on with the St. Louis Browns of the American Association. The team was managed by Hall of Fame great Charles Comiskey, and Goldsby soon became manager of the reserve squad.

By December, 1883, Goldsby had signed with St. Louis of the American Association 14.

In 1886, Goldsby played with Nashville of the Southern Association. He also umpired at least a couple of games15. He was also manager and spent the winter in Evansville, IN16. Shortly after the season ended, Goldsby was signed to be the manager of the Topeka Western Association club17

In the 1900 census, Walton was living with his brother in Pine Bluff, AR 18.

At the time of Goldsby's death, his residence was reported to be Harrisburg, AR 19.

Excerpts

"Walter H. Goldsby, the efficient young player of the St. Louis Reserves, who has made such a brilliant success at left field since his debut with this team, was last night appointed manager of the Reserves at the meeting of the Directors of the St. Louis Club. Goldsby will take charge of the team while on the road, and will, no doubt, be signally successful in his managerial capacity, as he has excellent business qualifications."20

"Walter H. Goldsby, manager of the St. Louis Reserves, although hailing from Evansville, is in the reality a St. Louis player, having first made his mark in the Missouri Pacific Club, of this city, two years ago, while working in the offices of the Missouri Pacific Railway."12

"W.H. Goldsby, left fielder, played last season with the St. Louis Reserves and Evansville. He is a hard left-handed hitter, and weighs 197 pounds."21

"Walter H. Goldsby, left fielder, was born in Louisiana in 1862. He is 5 feet 10 1/2 inches high and weighs 160 pounds. In 1883 and part of 1884 he played ball with the Evansvilles. Last season, he was with the St. Louis and Washington teams. Mr. Goldsby is a great favorite in Atlanta. His father is a distinguished Episcopal clergyman in Arkansas."22

"WALTER HUGH GOLDSBY was the captain of the Atlanta team in '85 and to his fine work was due much of the success of that nine. Ion '86 Goldsby came here and captained the Nashville Club. He commenced play with the Evansvilles. In '84 he was elected manager of the St. Louis Reserves and from that team he drifted into the Southern League"23

"Evansville, Ind., June 13. -Manager Walton H. Goldsby, of the Evansville club, appeared on the field yesterday, but was so ill that he could not stand. He was taken to St. Mary's Hospital last night, and along toward midnight was attacked with partial paralysis of the right side. Dr. A M. Owen was called in and this morning found that Goldsby had acute rheumatism, which had also affected his brain, and he is today in serious condition. He had been sick for several weeks, but persisted in playing, and this, together with unlucky team work, which brought down the wrath of the cranks on his head, so worried him that it brought on this illness. Goldsby belongs to the Knights of the Pythias and Elks, and will be taken well care of. Goldsby's first bal playing was with the East St. Louis club in 1883. His first professional appearance was with Evansville in that year. The following year he was with the St. Louis Browns, and then with Evansville's famous 84' team. He then managed the Nashville, Atlanta and Topeka clubs, and won the pennant each year. He played also with Washington and Baltimore, and his release was secured by Evansville from the latter club to manage the In-state League team here. [While with Baltimore Goldsby was struck on the head by a ball in a game against the Athletics in this city last fall and was knocked senseless. When he recovered he suffered total loss of memory for a day. Perhaps the present attack is a sequel to that blow.-Ed.]"24

"Walter Goldsby, an old base ball player, has signed as substitute umpire and will probably make his headquarters in Memhpis as that city is the most central point from which to leave in case an emergency arises in any of the cities of the Southern League."25


"Walter H. Goldsby, an old time ball player and manager of some of the best teams in the county and well known in Jonesboro, committed suicide at Dallas, Texas, according to a report reaching this city today. He shot himself in his room at Colonial Hotel. Goldsby in a native of Harrisburg in Poinsett County and visited this city during the life of the old Northeast Arkansas League. He was at one time a manager with Nashville and St. Louis, according to a story in the Sporting News and after retiring from the game was connected with a movie house at Memphis. From the bluff city he went to the lone star state where he became despondent and ended his life. His brothers from England, Ark., went to Dallas to look after the body. In 1903 Goldsby was a Southern League Umpire under President president [K]avanaugh."26


"MAN IS FOUND DEAD IN ROOM IN HOTEL"

"A single pistol shot resounding through the corridors of one of the upper floors of the Campbell House short before 3 o'clock yesterday morning aroused the occupants of the building and a search revealed in one of the rooms the body of a man stretched across a bed with a bullet hole in his temple and life already extinct. A 45 caliber revolver was found on the bed. From the hotel register and letters on the dresser he was identified as W. H. Goldsby a former resident of Memphis, Tenn., and also of Harrisburg, Ark. The police department was notified and after an investigation on the body was removed to the rooms of Weiland Undertaking Company where it is now pending a Coroner's inquest and the arrival of relatives who have been notified. The man according to the accounts of the hotel employees, came to the Campbell House ago, registering as a resident of Dallas. A long letter addressed "To whom it may concern" was found on his dresser together with other letters addressed to members of his family. The letter was written on Friday. Goldsby was apparently a man of 50 years of age. From the letter left it was learned that he is survived by a widow, one son and a brother, all of whom, it is believed, live at Harrisburg, Ark. These relatives were notified yesterday and are on their way to Dallas to take chard of the body."27


"Will Arrange Funeral Today"

"Relatives of W. H. Goldsby, who was found dead in a room at the Campbell House Sunday morning, are expected in this city this morning. A telegram received yesterday by Undertaker Charles F. Weiland said that L. B. Goldsby, a brother, bringing Miles Goldsby, the son of the dead man, had left England, Ark. for Dallas. Arrangements will be announced after the arrival of the brother. It is expected that the body will be taken to Arkansas. Justive Leslie A. Stewart, as Coroner, held an inquest yesterday and signed the death certificate, giving as the cause of death "a gunshot wound, self-inflicted."28


"Funeral of W. H. Goldsby"

Funeral services for W. H. Goldsby, who was found dead in a room at the Campbell House Sunday morning, were conducted by Rev. G. M. Gibson at 3: o'clock yesterday afternoon at the chapel of Charles F. Weiland Undertaking company. Mr. Goldsby was a member of Walnut Lodge No. 288, Knights of the Pythias of St. Louis, and the funeral was under the auspices of the local lodge of the Pythias. Burial was in Oakland Cemetery. The pallbearers were Fred W. Grant, L. E. Cale, J. Phelps, THomas, Simpson, W. A. Radford and J. R. Coffman. Mr. Goldsby's brother T. B. Goldsby, and his son, Miles Goldsy, arrived yesterday from England, Ark., to attend the funeral."''29

"GOLDSBY A SUICIDE"

"A Once Noted Major League Player and Minor League Manager of Ability Ends Life By His Own Hand."

"MEMPHIS, Tenn., January 14. The news has reached Memphis that Walter H. Goldsby, one time base ball star, a former resident of Memphis and Harrisburg, Ark., shot and killed himself in a hotel at Dallas, Texas. The noise of the pistol ringing through the corridors of the hotel attracted attention to his room, and a search revealed his body stretched across the bed, life already extinct and a gaping wound in his temple from a large calibre revolver that lay near his hand. A long letter, left on the dresser, was addressed "To whom it may concern," and stated that general despondency was the cause for the act. Personal property and a small account in a St. Louis bank were left to members of his family. T. B. Goldsby, a brother, and Miles Goldsby, a son, of England, Ark., went to Dallas and arranged for the burial of the body in a Dallas cemetery. Goldsby was well acquainted in Memphis and had worked in local rail road offices for some time until going to Dallas to accept a position with a film concern there. Goldsby at one time MANAGED THE NASHVILLE CLUB in the Southern League. He was also manager of the old Baltimore Orioles, and managed Topeka, Evansville and various other clubs. At one time he was a member of the famous St. Louis Browns under the leadership of Charley Comiskey when they were the World©s Champions. Goldsby was a player of exceptional ability and was usually fast on his feet when actively in the game. Goldsby was a clever shot at trap and in the field. Goldsby’s last experience in base ball was as a member of Judge Kavanaugh’s umpire staff in 1903."30


"GOLDBY COMMITS SUICIDE"

"Walter H. Goldsby, one time base ball star and a former resident of Harrisburg, Ark., recently shot and killed himself in a hotel at Dallas, Texas. The noise of the pistol ringing through the corridors of the hotel attracted attention to his room, and a search revealed his body stretched across the bed, life already extinct and a gaping wound in his temple from a large caliber revolver that lay near his hand. A long letter, left on the dresser, was addressed "To Whom It May Concern" and stated that general despondency was the cause for the act. Personal Property and a small account in a St. Louis bank were left to members of his family. T. B. Goldsby, a brother, and Miles Goldsby, a son, of England, Ark., went to Dallas and arranged for the burial of the body in a Dallas cemetery. Goldsby recently had worked in a Memphis, Tenn., railroad office for some time until going to Dallas to accept a position with a film concern there. Goldsby at one time managed to Nashville Club in the Southern league. He was also manager of the old Baltimore Orioles and managed managed Topeka, Evansville and various other clubs. At one time he was a memeber of the famous St. Louis Browns under the leadership of Charlie Commiskey when they were the world's champions. Goildsby was a player of exceptional ability and was unusually fast on his feet when actively in the game. Goldsby was a clever shot at trap and in the field. Goldsby's last experience in base ball was as a member of Judge Kavanaugh's umpire staff in 1903."31


Stats

Statistics at Baseball-Reference.com.


1. Texas Death Certificate
2. M.W. Goldsby, Confederate Soldiers Records
4. Miles Walton Goldsby, Confederate Soldiers Records
6. 1880 U.S. Census
8. 1860 U.S. Census
12. St. Louis Globe-Democrat, 4/10/1884
13. St. Louis Globe-Democrat, 9/24/1884
14. Canton Repository, 12/20/1883
15. The Sporting News, 9/13/1886
16. The Sporting News, 11/13/1886
17. The Sporting News, 9/13/1886, p.3
18. 1890 U.S. Census
19. 1914 Newspaper
20. St. Louis Globe-Democrat, 4/9/1884
21. Atlanta Constitution, 2/1/1885
22. Atlanta Constitution, 6/16/1885
23. The Sporting News, 12/31/1886
24. Sporting Life, 6/19/1889
25. The Sporting News, 5/20/1903 p.6
26. Jonesboro Sun, 1/23/1914
27. Dallas Morning News, 1/12/1914
28. Dallas Morning News, 1/13/1914
29. Dallas Morning News, 1/14/1914
30. Sporting Life, 1/24/1914
31. The Sporting News, 1/22/1914