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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.

From 1895 to 1913 - 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. also played as the Mountain Tourists or the Mountaineers and was composed mainly of semi-professional players from the Cincinnati area paid by the Fleischmanns to hone their skills before joining their major league club. 

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 five 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 ballpark concessionaire Harry M. Stevens managed the M.A.C. for a time. Stevens is credited with inventing the modern scorecard, the drinking straw and perhaps the hot dog. 

In 1913, 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. 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. 

Early etching of the athletic grounds at Fleischmanns. 

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

Early image of Honus Wagner on the M.A.C.

(most likely on the bottom row right).

Julius Fleischmann with his Club circa 1900.

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"