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Early Club History 

The Mountain Athletic Club (M.A.C.) was established in the Catskill Mountain town of Griffins Corners, New York in 1895 by brothers Julius and Max Fleischmann, of Fleischmann’s Yeast fame. Julius served two terms as the Mayor of Cincinnati, OH (1900-1905) and with Max, was an owner of the modern-day Cincinnati Reds and the Philadelphia Athletics (Phillies).

During the heyday of the grand hotels in the Catskills - legions of spectators would flock to the "M.A.C. Grounds" for ball games. The M.A.C. or the Mountain Tourists as they were often referred to was composed of amateurs, minor-leaguers and seasoned professionals from the Cincinnati area and elsewhere that were paid handsomely by the Fleischmanns and treated like royalty.

Over a dozen future and former major league ballplayers spent all or part of a season with the M.A.C.; the most famous of which are Honus Wagner (HOF '36) and Miller Huggins (HOF '64). The latter played under a pseudonym out of fear of losing his NCAA scholarship. The MAC's best season likely came in 1900 when the team went 56-4, defeating the Reds in an exhibition game in Cincinnati.

The M.A.C. also starred four players that helped the Chicago White Sox "Hitless Wonders" defeat the 116-game winning Chicago Cubs in the 1906 World Series. Among them was Nick Altrock - a lefty pitcher with 189 career wins and the oldest player to hit a triple in the majors at age forty-eight. Altrock is best known for his second career as the most famous baseball clown of the twentieth century. Others on that club included Doc White who pitched five consecutive shutouts in 1904 (a feat not matched until Don Drysdale did it with the Dodgers 64 years later), Jiggs Donahue, Patsy Dougherty and George 'Whitey' Rohe.

Nick Altrock

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Even the famous concessions magnate Harry M. Stevens is purported to have been involved with the M.A.C. for a time. Stevens is credited with inventing the modern scorecard, the drinking straw and perhaps the hot dog. 

Julius Fleischmann donated his athletic grounds to the village with the stipulation that the community be able to enjoy the park amenities free of charge and that it be "maintained as a park for all time". In honor of his donation, the village was renamed Fleischmanns in 1914.

Sources:

  1. MAC - where major leaguers got their start, Historical Society of Middletown, Tin Horn blog, 1 July 2018, http://mtownhistory.org/2018/07/01/mac-where-major-leaguers-got-their-start/

  2. Mangled Forms, Thorn, John, 11 Oct 2016, https://ourgame.mlblogs.com/mangled-forms-b7f73a2e40d9

  3. Mayer, Robert - presenter at Headwaters History Days, Skene Memorial Library, Fleischmanns, New York, 7 June 2018.

Sign along old New York State Route 28,

the main thoroughfare into the Village. 

Fleischmanns. Private Baseball Park 
Riverside Daily Sun, 6/24/1899

Souvenir silver spoon depicting the M.A.C. Grounds at Fleischmanns, NY. Courtesy of Robert Mayer

Mountain Tourists c. 1899.  This image is what most people refer to when alleging that Honus Wagner, (perhaps shown on the bottom row, far right) played in Fleischmanns. The claim has yet to be proven by other means. Uniforms are blue with maroon trimmings.  Notice the sweaters, it's likely this photo was shot in the Fall. Photo coutesy of the late John Kelly, frmr postmaster of Griffins Corners.

Julius Fleischmann with his Club in 1900. This team featured future major-leaguers  Nick Altrock, "Peekskill" Pete Cregan, Red Dooin, Miller Huggins, and Doc White.

Original letter encouraging trustees of newly incorporated Griffins Corners to accept Fleischmanns' land.

Play returns to the M.A.C. Grounds in 2018.
Courtesy of Walton Reporter

M.A.C vs. Cuban Giants at the M.A.C. Grounds.

August 10, 1903

1906 post card image of the M.A.C. Grounds.

"Fleishmann's Ball Grounds - Catskill Mountains"

Nick Altrock