In 2012 there are exactly zero major league baseball players who are openly homosexual. Statistically there are certainly many who are. But none feel comfortable enough to have come out openly while actively playing the game at the big league level. Sadly there’s a stigma attached to homosexuality, especially when it comes to athletics, where men are supposed to be macho. Where they are supposed to be meeting women in bars and hotel rooms. 100 years ago the stigma was even more significant.
Stahl and David Murphy became friends, how close isn’t exactly clear, but Murphy’s lifestyle points to a man conflicted by his own sexuality. The United States in the first decade of the 20th century had a hang-up about sex, let alone sex between men. Murphy and Stahl kept the details of their personal relationship between the two of them. But Collins – his teammate, roommate, best friend – knew. He knew how tortured Chick was, but he didn’t tell anyone. He didn’t tell the policeman when he was asked what Stahls’ final words meant.
...But there was more than baseball that was troubling Stahl. His had a wife (a wife!) and she wanted a family. He had responsibilities to her, but he also felt his heart pulling somewhere else, somewhere he couldn’t go in the light of day. His forbidden relationship with David Murphy was going to have to end now. Now that he had a wife and was the boss instead of just one of the boys, Chick could no longer live that other life. Or so his unhealthy mind told him.
“I couldn’t help it. I did it. It was killing me and I couldn’t stand it,” he groaned to Collins as he died.
“I did it.” What did he do? Did he end his relationship with David Murphy that spring? After his wedding just four months earlier it was probably the first time Chick had seen David. Did they have a fight, or did they reluctantly agree that their relationship must end? No one will ever know for sure. But something tortured Stahl to the point that he emptied that bottle down his throat, releasing acid into his system that ate away at his body and killed him withing 15 minutes.
Posted: August 18, 2012 at 08:07 AM | 35 comment(s)
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