Local MLB Player Has Posthumous Role In Starting All-Star Game

(Beaver Dam) The Major League Baseball All-Star Game owes its origin to a hall-of-fame player who went to school in both Beaver Dam and Juneau. Addie Joss was born in Woodland, Wisconsin, in 1880. He went on to be a pitcher for the Cleveland Naps, now the Guardians. Joss was a two-time American League Earned Run Average leader and won a total of 160 games in his nine year career.

Local Historian Roger Noll says Joss had a flair for the athletics and soon realized he was a good pitcher. He says his first big pitching gig came at the Dodge County Fair when Joss overheard some upperclassmen say that they were down a pitcher and would have to forfeit the game. Noll says a 13-year-old Joss ran home to grab his glove and pitched for the Juneau High School team.

Noll says Joss graduated from Juneau High School at the age of sixteen with a teaching certificate and immediately began working at his alma mater and in Horicon. A year later, Wayland Academy’s Headmaster E.P. Brown offered Joss some money to come pitch for their program. Joss was not required to go to school there but did audit some classes.

He then pitched at several area colleges before getting noticed by scouts for the minor league team Toledo Mud Hens. They signed Joss for $75 a month and soon after the Cleveland Naps called him up to the big leagues.

Joss died tragically two days after his 31st birthday of tuberculous meningitis.

Noll says the league organized a benefit game to help raise money for Joss’ loved ones. He says everyone in the American League wanted to play in the game that was held in Cleveland. Noll says even players from the National League wanted to play. He adds that there were so many players, not all of them could be fielded.

Noll says the Addie Joss Benefit Game, played in July of 1911, is considered the first ever all-star game in Major League Baseball history. It raised just under $13-thousand-dollars, today that would equal out to roughly $375-thousand.

Noll will be sharing more details about Joss, and major leaguer Pink Hawley who was born in Beaver Dam, Wednesday at the Beaver Dam Community Library. The program gets underway at 2pm.