U.S. Advertising Co., 1899

This trade card is a rare survivor of the unusual career of George J. E. Mayer, an unfamiliar figure who is featured prominently in Baseball in the Garden of Eden. A jeweler and then hotelkeeper, Mayer had been a student and ballplayer at Notre Dame with Cap Anson. He became the catcher for the Kekionga Baseball Club of Fort Wayne, Indiana when it played Cincinnati’s famous Red Stockings of 1869. He went on to be the club’s manager and acquired players to improve Fort Wayne’s charter club in the National Association. He organized a barnstorming club of Chinese ballplayers and became owner and editor of a newspaper. But his most significant role in baseball history was that he was the first husband of Lizzie Minott Churchill, who, after becoming a force in the Theosophical Society, would become the second Mrs. Albert Spalding.

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