A baseball player Frank Ringo married in Jan 1889 and killed himself in April of that same year his suicide is the earliest by a major league baseball player baseball player to be recorded in the Baseball Almanac.
Frank C. Ringo was a professional baseball player whose career lasted from 1880 to 1888. He played four seasons of Major League Baseball as a catcher for the Philadelphia Quakers (1883–84), Philadelphia Athletics (1884), Detroit Wolverines (1885), Pittsburgh Alleghenys (1885–86), and Kansas City Cowboys (1886). He committed suicide by morphine overdose in April 1889 at age 28. His suicide is the earliest by a major league baseball player to be recorded in the Baseball Almanac.
On January 1, 1889, Ringo was married to Emma Williams of Fort Scott, Kansas. After a lengthy period of battling problems with alcohol, Ringo had reportedly stopped drinking in the late summer or fall of 1888. In late January, the Sporting Life reported that Ringo was in Kansas City “without an engagement for next season.” The newspaper further noted that Ringo had played well in 1888 and opined: “He is a good man when he keeps straight, and he has kept straight for a long time now. Here’s a chance for some team to secure a good, hard-working catcher.” He signed to catch for the Kansas City baseball club and reported to training camp in the middle of March. For several months prior to reporting to training camp, it was reported that Ringo “had not touched whisky, of which he is inordinately fond.
Shortly after training camp began in March 1889, Ringo resumed drinking and had been on a “terrible spree” for two weeks before his death. On the afternoon of April 11, 1889, Ringo ingested 40 grains of morphine at his mother’s residence at 1214 Virginia Avenue in Kansas City. It was reported that the morphine was his second attempt at suicide, and his actions were motivated by feelings of mortification and shame at being unable to free himself from alcohol. According to one newspaper account, the suicide was “deliberately planned and carefully executed”, and the drug had hours to take its effect before Ringo’s condition was discovered. A doctor was called and at 10:30 p.m., Ringo was declared to be in dangerous condition. He died at 9 a.m. the next day in the presence of his family.
Ringo’s suicide is the earliest by a major league baseball player to be recorded in the Baseball Almanac. He was buried at Elmwood Cemetery in Kansas City.