The Four Old Obituaries of Young Al Thake

The author has reason to believe (which is to say, he probably read it in the New Yorker once) that it’s a not uncommon practice among certain Buddhist monks for them (i.e. these same monks) to spend hours meditating upon the reality of their own future deaths — with a view, one supposes, towards demystifying same.

A much less common, but entirely similar, practice is to meditate on the death of young Brooklyn outfielder Al Thake, who drowned less than a month before his 23rd birthday while fishing in New York Harbor in 1872.

His obituaries, presented below, appear to be the oldest extant ones among professional base-ballists.

For example, from the Brooklyn Eagle (September 2nd, 1872):

Thake 1

And the New York Times (September 2nd, 1872):

Thake 2

And the New York Post (September 2nd, 1872):

Thake 3

And the New York Times, again (September 6th, 1872):

Thake 4

Obituaries collected by site The Deadball Era.




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Carson Cistulli occasionally publishes spirited ejaculations at The New Enthusiast.

8 Responses to “The Four Old Obituaries of Young Al Thake”

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  1. rdj3video says:

    R.I.P. Al Thake. The 1872 Brooklyn Atlantics couldn’t have gone 9-28 without you.

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  2. rdj3video says:

    OK, Ok, they actually went 4-10 without him and 5-18 with him.

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  3. reillocity says:

    Beyond that he had just caught a fish, Thake also disproved any and all assertions that he couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat.

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  4. jcxy says:

    do you think that he ever thought that he’d be discussed 150 years later?

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  5. majnun says:

    I’m not sure why you cut out the Post’s headline:

    Mates Partake In Wake After Thake Mistake At Lake

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  6. baseballvt says:

    Sad that this was posted on the same day as the death of two hall of famers

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