Heinie Heitmuller

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Heinie Heitmuller newspaper.png

William Frederick Heitmuller

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Biographical Information[edit]

Heinie Heitmuller, in spite of his name, was born not in Germany but in San Francisco. He was one of the first major leaguers out of the University of California, where his time overlapped with that of Orval Overall. He and Overall also played football for Cal. He was, however, stripped of his eligibility to play at the university in 1905 due to supposed professional experience, although Heitmuller denied it. (Source: "Baseball and the American Dream: Race, Class, Gender, and the National Pastime")

Heitmuller came up with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1909, at a time they were a good team. He battled Topsy Hartsel for the left field job. In 1910, the Athletics won the American League pennant, but Heitmuller didn't hit as well as in 1909 and Hartsel retained the left field job.

Heitmuller played in the Pacific Coast League in 1912 and was leading the league in batting average when stricken with typhoid fever. He died from it in October of that year.

He supposedly got his nickname Heinie from a day when he wore something owned by his brother Henry which had Henry's initials on the clothing. Somebody thought Bill was Henry, and so the trend started to call Bill "Heinie". Bill's brother Henry was manager of the Olympic Club. When Bill came to the attention of Sporting Life, the paper called him Bill or Henry rather than "Heinie" in the early days.

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