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Frederick Oscar Bratschi (b. January 16, 1892 in Alliance, OH – d. January 10, 1962 in Massillon, OH) was a left fielder in Major League Baseball between 1921 and 1927. Bratschi batted and threw right-handed. He was born in Alliance, Ohio. He reported that his parents were from Switzerland, but it is likely he was of Italian descent.
Bratschi had registered for the draft in the First World War, listing himself as both a machinist and a ball player with Memphis. He was married, with no children. He never served in the military, though perhaps his talents were put to use in defense work. He played in the minors off and on from 1913 to 1928, with the center of his career, 1917-1921, spent primarily in the Southern Association.
Bratschi was 29 years old when he reached the majors with the Chicago White Sox in 1921, spending one year with them before moving to the Boston Red Sox during 1926-27. In parts of three seasons, he posted a .276 batting average (54-for-196) with 12 runs, 19 RBI,10 doubles, and one triple with no home runs in 89 games played.
After Fred finished playing baseball, he moved on to work as an automobile salesman. On March 2, 1932 he married Irene Knesbeck and worked as owner and operator of a SOHIO station, the Central Service Garage in Massillon, until January 10, 1962, less than a week before his 70th birthday.
He had been despondent over ongoing ill health and while at work that day, his death certificate reports, Bratschi “drank battery acid from his regular drinking cup at his gasoline station.” The Massillon Evening Independent indicated that it may not have been a suicide, however, quoting a friend who was an eyewitness, William Heckman: “Heckman said today that Bratche mentioned his coffee was hot and drank some liquid in a nearby cup supposedly to cool his throat. Bratche mentioned that the second liquid tasted funny and was taken to the hospital according to police reports.” He died a little over 30 hours after being admitted.
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