January 19, 1900 - Boston Beaneaters catcher Marty Bergen (photo) kills his wife and two children with an axe, then takes his own life. He was reportedly depressed by his son's death the previous April, and had suffered symptoms of mental illness for several years. Billy Hamilton is the only Boston player to attend the backstop's funeral.

On the night of January 18, 1900, a Thursday, the Bergen family ate a hearty meal and turned in. When Bergen’s father found the bodies the following morning, the beds had been slept in. Some time in the early morning, Bergen arose and started preparing for the day. He removed the ashes from the stove, the home’s primary heat source, indicating that the stove had cooled overnight. Bergen then placed paper in the stove for lighting though he hadn’t yet retrieved wood from outside, as the inside pile was depleted.

Then, for some unknown reason, he snapped. Stressed and delusional, Bergen slaughtered his family. First he attacked his wife in the bedroom, hitting her multiple times in the head with the blunt side of an axe. She fell, dying on one of the beds. Bergen then whacked his son once with the sharp side of the axe. The boy died in the other bed. In the kitchen Bergen killed his daughter, smashing her multiple times in the head with the blunt end of the axe. Bergen then retrieved a razor and stood in front of a mirror in the kitchen. He sliced his own throat, nearly severing his head, and fell beside his daughter.

On January 20 the entire family was laid out in the Bergen home for family and friends to view. They were transported to St. Joseph’s Church for the funeral ceremonies and interred North Brookfield’s St. Joseph’s cemetery. He was reportedly depressed by his son’s death the previous April, and had suffered symptoms of mental illness for several years. Billy Hamilton is the only Boston player to attend the backstop’s funeral.


 


 

PODCAST – Marty Bergen 


 

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