John William "Wee Willie" Sudhoff

List of emigrants

  born: 17.09.1874 in St. Louis, MO
died: 25.05.1917 in St. Louis, MO

Son of the emigrant Gerhard Heinrich Sudhoff, who is related to our family by the Pante line.

The following was written by

Craig Carter,

Great Grandson of John William "Wee Willie" Sudhoff and Editor/Statistician for The Sporting News Magazine St. Louis, Missouri.

Thanks to him for allowing us to publish this on our family home page.

John William (Wee Willie) Sudhoff pitched in the major leagues for 10 seasons. Immediately prior to the start of his major league career, I believe he played minor league ball with Paducah in the Central League in 1897, although I am having a hard time locating Central League stats from that season.

Sudhoff, a 5-7, 165-pound right-hander born on September 17, 1874 in St. Louis, began his major league career with the St. Louis National League club--then known as the Browns--in 1897. Sudhoff was 1-8 in 11 games in his rookie season, playing on a terrible Browns team that went 29-102 for the season.

The following year, Sudhoff was a regular member of the starting staff and finished 11-27 for a team that again finished last with a record of 39-111.

In 1899, Sudhoff started the season with the Cleveland Spiders, a team that finished the season with the poorest record in major league history, winning only 20 games all year while losing a record 134. One of the reasons Cleveland was such a bad team was that the owner of the club, Frank Robison, also was the new owner of the St. Louis team. Today, a person wouldn't be allowed to have ownership in two teams. Because Robison owned both clubs, he shuffled players around frequently between Cleveland and St. Louis, with the best players eventually winding up in St. Louis. Sudhoff started the season with a 3-8 record in Cleveland, but pitched well enough to be brought to St. Louis. He compiled a 13-10 record for St. Louis, finishing the season with a combined record of 16-18.

In 1900, Sudhoff pitched in 16 games, finishing 6-8. He may have suffered an injury this season. Around this time the St. Louis team was starting to be called the Cardinals. They had previously been called the Perfectos by some, but the nickname didn't stick.

Sudhoff came back in 1901 to pitch in 38 games and compiled a 17-11 record for the Cardinals.

Following the 1901 season, Sudhoff jumped to the new American League team that had settled in St. Louis, the Browns. The rival American League declared itself a major league in 1901 and began offering more money to National League players who would defect to the new league. The Milwaukee Brewers were an American League team that lasted only one season before moving to St. Louis to become the Browns in 1902. Sudhoff jumped to the new cross town A.L. entry. In his first season for the American League Browns, he went 13-13.

Sudhoff had his biggest year in 1903, finishing the season at 21-15. He pitched two more seasons in St. Louis, going 8-15 in 1904 and 10-19 in 1905.

Sudhoff found himself pitching for Washington in 1906, but by now he was near the end of the line. He pitched in only nine games and went 0-2 for the Senators. His major league career ended at 103-136.

At some point in his career, Sudhoff was hit in the head or face by a batted ball.

During the off-season and likely following his baseball career, Sudhoff worked for the St. Louis water company.

Sudhoff died at the St. Louis City Sanitarium on May 25, 1917. One newspaper account said he died of paralysis after a long illness. The story said his downfall as a pitcher started when the Browns were in a train wreck outside of Cleveland. The accident, the story said, made Sudhoff a nervous wreck and he was never again able to sleep on trains. This helped to shorten his career, considering the amount of traveling required of players. The paper said his nervous breakdown was undoubtedly indirectly the cause of his death at age 42.

The newspaper account of Sudhoff's death incorrectly stated he had only one child. But it did mention that the child--Emmett Wallace Sudhoff--was named for two of Sudhoff's pals from his days with the Cardinals and Browns: outfielder Emmett Heidrick and Hall of Fame shortstop Roderick "Bobby" Wallace.

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