Of the vast numbers of men who have played major league baseball, few
have had more experiences than Erskine Mayer, the ace righthanded hurler of the
Philadelphia Phillies during the second decade of the 1900's. During the course of his
career, he became a star on a pennant-winning team with the legendary Grover Cleveland
Alexander, moved on to a second team where he was involved in one of the great marathon
pitcher's duels in history, and while with a third team became an innocent participant in
one of the greatest scandals in the history of sports.
From the very beginning, "Erk" had a most unusual background.
In an interview with the authors of the encyclopedia of JEWS in Sports, Erskine's
brother, Mark, said, "My mother's mother converted to the Jewish religion. She traced
her ancestry back to the Mayflower. That branch of the family was given tracts of land in
what was then Virginia Territory and is Kentucky today. My grandmother's brother, Captain
James Allen, ran a boat from Hannibal, Missouri, to New Orleans. Samuel Clemens received
his name of `Mark Twain' from marking twain on Captain Allen's boat.
"My grandparents on my father's side came from Germany. They were
musicians. My father, Morris Mayer, wrote an opera in Hebrew. Grandmother's father was a