Jake Stahl Born in Elkhart
Univ of Illinois Football Captain and MLB World Series Winning Manager
He was born Garland Stahl on April 13, 1879, in Elkhart, Illinois where his parent, Henry and Eliza, opened a general store. Henry had served in the Civil War and survived the Battle of Shiloh. Garland graduated from high school (HS only went through 10th grade) in Elkhart and then went to college at the University of Illinois.
While at college, he was given the nickname “Jake” by his fraternity brothers. Being an athletic person, George Huff, the football coach, got him to try out for the team. He became an outstanding running back for the Illini and played lineman on defense. In 1902, he was named the captain of the football team and was a star on the baseball team. He was the catcher during his sophomore season and batted .441 for the year. He was a member of the Kappa Kappa Chapter of the Sigma Chi and quite the ladies man on campus. Jake was the catcher during his sophomore season and batted .441 for the year
From the University of Illinois history:
Garland “Jake” Stahl was perhaps the most famous of the University of Illinois’ early athletes. He was the captain of the 1902 Illini football team as well as a star on the baseball team. A member of the Kappa Kappa Chapter of Sigma Chi, his nickname “Jake” was given to him by a chapter member.
At Homecoming 1922, shortly after his death, the chapter’s alumni reminisced about their departed brother. One told the story of his nickname, “Garland Stahl came over from Elkhart (Illinois), and he was as green a country boy as they make ‘em. In his freshman year he joined the Sigma Chi Fraternity, and as he played the cornet, he was immediately made a member of the house orchestra. One night a special feature at the house was to be an orchestra program, but when the time came to begin, Stahl was nowhere to be found. The fellows searched the house and finally found him hiding away on the second floor. They dragged him down and asked him what the trouble was. ‘Aw, I ain’t got no lip,’ said Stahl, and he started to walk away, when Jack Allen, 1902, one of the musicians, stopped him with, ‘Come on, ya darn old hay jake, and play anyway.’ Stahl played, but from that time on everyone who had heard the affair called him ‘Jake’ until it just grew into his name.” (The Sigma Chi Quarterly, November 1922, 42(1), p. 62).
At a home game with Michigan in 1903, Stahl hit a game-winning homer “so hard and so high that it struck amid the upper limbs of a tree almost down to the football field.” The soft maple tree became known as the “Jake Stahl Tree” until the late 1940s when it was cut down because of advanced decay.
After Stahl graduated from the university, he played baseball for the Boston Red Sox in 1903. He later played for Washington, Chicago, New York and then became player-manager for Washington.
Debut: April 20, 1903, for the Boston Americans
Last MLB appearance: June 13, 1913, for the Boston Red Sox
MLB statistics Batting average .261 Home runs 31 Runs batted in 437 Stolen bases 178
Boston Red Sox win the World Series
In 1912, Jake managed the Red Sox which went by the “Speed Boys” nickname to an American League pennant-winning 105-47 season record. Facing the New York Giants in the 1912 World Series, Jake both outplayed the Giants’ Fred Merkle at first base, and, according to Connie Mack, consistently out-managed John McGraw. Jake invested his winning World Series share in his father-in-law’s Chicago banks.
Managerial record 263–270
Winning % .493
He married Jennie Mahan in 1906. She was a member of the Delta Chapter of the Kappa Alpha Theta at the University of Illinois and his classmate. Her father was a bank founder and president at the Washington Park National Bank in Chicago. Jake would work there in the offseason and always was a good employee that helped the bank thrive. Later, he would become bank president until he got in poor health. His doctors convinced him that moving to California would be better for his health but that didn’t work. He died on September 22, 1922.
Here is a great story about Stahl from the Sigma Chi history.