In what might be the only instance in which a ballplayer killed a dog during a Major League game, this little nugget of baseball yore comes from the Decatur Herald, December 27, 1905. Vaudeville actor Digby Bell purchased a ticket to watch a game at the Polo Grounds. Accompanying the actor was his beloved bulldog pup, which attended games with Bell throughout the 1895 season. The Herald says, “In the eighth inning of the game, with two on bases, Bad Bill Dahlen came to bat and Jouett Meekin, who was pitching, put up a fast high one. Dahlen pickled the ball and it shot on a straight line out over George Van Haltren’s head. Bell, sitting in his trap, saw that ball coming and started to dodge. The pup–which was not interested in baseball, did not see it. The ball hit that bull pup in the head, knocked it off the trap and killed it, and incidentally, Dahlen circled the bases.”
Naturally, we find little amusement in the untimely death of man’s best friend, but this yarn from baseball’s bygone days might prove why Bad Bill Dahlen has yet to accept his rightful place in the Hall of Fame. Perhaps the voters cast aspersions on those ball diamond greats whose batting feats claim the life of a vaudeville star’s companion.