The beer that won a baseball game

The wild story of Dasher Troy's libation-aided walk-off

December 27th, 2020

19th-century ballplayer Dasher Troy didn't have much of a big league career -- he appeared in 292 games over five seasons while putting up a .243/.274/.327 slash line. He played so long ago there aren't any real photos of him, just drawings of his freshly-coiffed hair and mustache.

But he did have one heroic, absolutely ridiculous story from the Minors. It's more comedy movie than baseball game. And because his name is Dasher, the holiday season felt like the perfect time to tell it.


The year was 1888 and Troy, a middle infielder, was playing for the similarly-named Troy Trojans. He was having a rough season at the plate and he told his manager Ted Sullivan why.

"Dasher complained to me that his batting had fallen away off," Sullivan wrote in The Washington Times. "He said he had noticed it since he had stopped his beer."

You see, Troy had promised Sullivan that he would abstain from drinking during the baseball season. It's not that it was a problem, Sullivan just didn't like his players indulging on nights before games.

"What little beer Troy drank did him no harm," Sullivan says. "But I must confess that at that period in my life I was a little narrow and prejudiced against any players who drank."

But during a tight game that year, Sullivan made an exception. Not just before or after the game, but during one.

The Trojans were down three runs in the bottom of the ninth and had the bases loaded with nobody out. Troy was up third that inning and the team had little faith in the first two batters getting anything done. Troy went up to his manager and asked a dire question in a dire moment.

"Ted, let me go under the stand and get a big beer and I'll clear the bases for you."

Quite the statement. But given what he'd heard from Troy earlier, the manager threw his principles out the window and acquiesced -- allowing Troy to venture into the stands for a drink. Sure enough, the first two batters got out and back came Troy just in time for his at-bat, wiping the fresh foam from his lips. And with a line straight out of the movie Beerfest, Troy turned to Sullivan as he was heading up to the plate and said:

"The Old Dash is himself again."

Once he got into the box, his confidence sky-high, Troy called out to the pitcher, "Come on my old laddy-buck, you've been getting off pretty cheap."

And then, as you can read in the same Washington Times article, Troy did exactly what he had promised.

After that game, Sullivan never stopped Troy from drinking beers.

Once retired, Troy continued to follow his love for his golden libations. The native New Yorker operated the beer concession at the Polo Grounds, where fans sometimes "paid more attention to Dasher Troy's emporium than they did to the game." Eventually he opened a bar in his old neighborhood on West 39th St. and 10th Ave. He was a bartender for 30 years until he moved to Queens with his wife and lived until the ripe old age of 81.

Maybe next year, instead of reading The Night Before Christmas with your family, you can read this one instead.