Moxie Hengel

Second Base
  • Card series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Chicago
  • Team: Maroons
  • League: Western Association

Emery J. Hengel (1857-1924) had brief stints in major league¬†baseball during parts of the 1884 and 1885 seasons. Moxie signed on as an infielder with his hometown’s entry in the upstart Union Association, whose Browns sought to compete with the renowned Chicago White Stockings. The experiment failed and, by August, the club had moved to Pittsburgh (as the Stogies) and lasted until September 18. Many of the players went to Baltimore’s Monumentals, but Hengel landed in the Twin Cities with the St. Paul Saints (White Caps). That franchise’s contribution to the UA amounted to eight games in total, all on the road. Moxie’s anemic .152 average might have signaled a quick end to his would-be career, but he got one more chance – this time with the National League’s Buffalo Bisons in what would be their final campaign in the majors. That 1885 season saw Hengel teaming with some real stars: first baseman Dan Brouthers, second baseman Davy Force, shortstop Jack Rowe, third baseman Deacon White, outfielder Hardy Richardson and pitcher-manager Pud Galvin were all on hand. Despite all that talent, the Bisons ended the year ahead of only the woeful St. Louis Maroons and were folded into the Detroit Wolverine club the following season. By this time, Moxie had achieved the dubious distinction of having been on the final rosters of four straight failed ball clubs within two years – and Moxie’s days in the Show were over. Undeterred, Hengel returned to the minors, playing for the Utica Pent-Ups, Chicago Maroons, Minneapolis Millers and others before closing his pro tenure with the Minneapolis Minnies of the Western League in 1894 at age 36. In ’92 Moxie made a stop in Michigan with the Ishpeming-Negaunee Unions of the Wisconsin-Michigan League, a team that, thankfully, never had to recruit a radio broadcaster.

  • Moxie’s first major league manager was Ed Hengel. One of three managers for the Chicago Browns in 1884, Ed managed the team to 34 wins and 39 losses. Ed was also born in Chicago and just two years before Moxie. While it’s hard to imagine the two were not related, research has not revealed any familial connection.
  • Moxie’s batting average for his three big league teams was .180. He hit no home runs but did manage three doubles and two triples in his 35 games
  • Moxie may have been a better leader than ballplayer: He managed the Chicago Maroons in 1888 and the Minneapolis Millers (road games only) in 1889
  • The first release of this card (January, 2017) was likely an error:¬†Hengel was misspelled as “Hengle.” This is actually a common mistake for Moxie and it has caused a fair amount of confusion through the years. The Old Judge editors spelled his name “Hengle” and his Wikipedia entry uses the two spellings interchangeably. Deeper research indicates that “Hengel” is the most likely spelling. All subsequent releases of this card will feature the name “Hengel.”

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