AN ARTICLE FROM THE BASEBLL MAGAZINE:OCTOBER
THE OCCIDENTAL HOTEL IN SAN FRANCISCO WAS JUST A BIT SHORT OF BEING SLEEZY. IT WAS NOT FAR FROM A GROUP OF FACTORIES THAT SPECIALIZED IN MEAT PACKING, HEAVY MACHINERY, AND STORING VOLUMINOUS PILES OF GRAIN AND BARLEY. HOTELS SUCH AS THE OCCIDENTAL CIRCLED THE AREA AND HOUSED SEAMEN WHO HAD LANDED OFF SHIPS FROM THE NEARBY PORT, LOCAL TOURISTS WHO COULDNT STAY AT MORE EXPENSIVE QUARTERS, AND IMMI- GRANTS WHO WERE WORKING IN SHIFTS AT THE FACTORIES.
THE DATE IS JAN. 13, 1903. ITS A COLD, NASTY WINTER. GEORGE MURRAY SIGNED IN TO THE OCCIDENTAL FOR THE NIGHT. HE WAS DRESSED DECENTLY, LOOKED TO BE AROUND HIS LATE TWENTIES AND HAD A SMALL WORN SATCHEL WITH HIM.
THAT NIGHT SOME OF THE GUESTS SMELLED GAS COMING FROM ROOM 215.THE NIGHTWATCHMAN BROKE DOWN THE DOOR. FIGHTING THE GAS, HE CHARGED INTO THE BEDROOM. MURRAYS BODY LAY DRAPED ACROSS THE BED WITH A COAT AND WAISTCOAT OVER HIS HEAD. A TUBE WAS STUCK IN HIS MOUTH AND RAN DOWN TO A NEARBY GAS JET. AMONG SOME PAPERS FOUND ON THE NIGHTTABLE WAS A LETTER WHICH READ, TELL MR. VAN HORN OF THE LANGHARA HOTEL THAT .HAS TAKEN HIS LIFE.
Win Mercer was one of the few stars of the Washington Nationals. In 1896 he was 25-18 & in 1897 he had a record of 20-20. He was also known for his hitting & was used often as a pinch hitter. He had speed & was the first AL pitcher ever to steal home. Ruggedly handsome, with a compact and well built frame, he seemed to be the perfect complement to the teams he played with. At the age of 29 he had established a reputation as a knowledgeable ballplayer, a good teammate and a team leader. One drawback though was his physical health. From his childhood on he suffered from pulmonary problems. In recent years it had grown bad enough to cause him to become despondent as each treatment he underwent did not work out.
After leaving Washington he came to Detroit & although his record was 15-18 he did have a fine 3.04 ERA.
Admiring his leadership abilities, Detroit management offered him a job as player-manager for the following season. He accepted and that brings us up to January 15, 1903 and George Murray.
Nobody knows why Win Mercer signed into the Occidental Hotel under the name of George Murray. The name appears nowhere else in any of his correspondences or business dealings. He was never known to refer to himself as George Murray to any of his friends or people he was introduced too.
Nobody knows why he committed suicide with the prospects of such a bright future ahead of him. Letters later found in his apartment mentioned bad women & gambling. He also left a financial statement which indicated that all his accounts were paid up.
Its a mystery that for 100 years has not been solved.