Scary stories from baseball's haunted hotel

Once you check in, you may never check out

October 29th, 2020
Tom Forget / MLB.com

This year, there may be no baseball games played on Halloween as the Dodgers already wrapped up their first World Series title in 32 years, but that doesn't mean you can't combine baseball with heart-stopping, spine-tingling scares. First, you could watch a baseball horror movie! (May I recommend "Body Bags," featuring Mark Hamill?) Or, you could read on to hear tales from beyond the grave featuring ballplayers who stayed at Milwaukee's legendary haunted Pfister Hotel.

Built in 1893, the ritzy building is one of the nicest hotels in the area -- hence why clubs often choose to stay there during their road trips. But it's also known as one of the most haunted lodgings in the country.

So, turn out the lights, get cozy and read on as we collect some of the best baseball player ghost stories set in the Pfister's halls.

Michael Young

ESPN the Magazine rounded up plenty of ballplayer ghost stories from the hotel, but the best belongs to the former Rangers infielder. Why? Because he makes it clear that he is not making this up.

"Listen, I'm not someone who spreads ghost stories, so if I'm telling you this, it happened," Young said. "A couple of years ago, I was lying in bed after a night game, and I was out. My room was locked, but I heard these footsteps inside my room, stomping around. I'd heard all these stories about this hotel, so I was wide awake at that point. And then I heard it again, these footsteps on the floor, so I yelled out, 'Hey! Make yourself at home. Hang out, have a seat, but do not wake me up, okay?' After that, I didn't hear a thing for the rest of the night. I just let him know he was welcome, that we could be pals, that he could marinate in there for as long as he needed to, just as long as he didn't wake me up."

Though he only played seven games in Milwaukee in his career, Young hit well and posted a .969 OPS at then-Miller Park. So, apparently the ghosts didn't bother him too much.

Bryce Harper

The 2015 NL MVP Award winner is perhaps the biggest name to have come forward with a spooky tale, also sharing it with ESPN the Magazine.

While staying in the Pfister in 2012, Harper had laid out his shirt and pants on a table by the end of the bed before going to sleep for the night.

"When I woke up in the morning -- I swear on everything -- the clothes were on the floor and the table was on the opposite side of the room against the wall, Harper said. "I was so flustered. I honestly thought there might be someone in my room. I had no idea what the hell just happened, so I actually looked around, and then I checked to see if the door was still latched, and it was."

Harper thought that perhaps it was a prank from a teammate, but no one came forward. The slugger then requested to be moved to a different room.

Mike Cameron

The former outfielder may not have experienced anything himself, but he's heard enough to avoid staying in the hotel. "When somebody tells me when they wake up in the middle of the night out of the blue," Cameron said, "and they feel like somebody's in the room with them and the door's wide open, that's enough to start making different plans."

Check out his story below:

Gómez was one of the most interesting men in baseball, and that extends to when he's in the hotel. Gómez said he has heard voices while staying in the Pfister, with the worst happening when he got out of the shower one year and heard static playing on his iPod. So he grabbed the device, which then changed to another song. He raced out of the room and into the lobby before putting his pants on.

"I'm scared to go there," he said. "They should change the hotel. Everybody here doesn't like the hotel. Why [do] they always put us in the same hotel when you can't sleep?

"Everything's scary. Everything in the hotel, the paintings and pictures, it's a lot of old, crazy stuff. No good, man. No good."

There's one player who appears to like the ghosts in the Pfister, and that's the one-time Brewer and current Rays cult favorite. Claiming that he's seen ghosts before, Choi said he felt one in his first night in the Pfister when he was in town with the Angels in 2016. Though he said his sleep was "not good" because of the restless spirits, he also said he feels comfortable when ghosts are present.

"I was scared at first," Choi said, "so I didn't want to open my eyes. I dealt with that a lot more times after that."

Those other times include once when Choi was laying on his side and felt a spirit crawl up behind him to hug him, and another whispered into his ear.

The most recent story that we've heard came in 2018 when the Cardinals were in town. That night, Martínez and Ozuna both claimed to have seen a ghost.

"We are here in Milwaukee," Martínez said in Spanish in an Instagram video. "I just saw a ghost. In Ozuna's room, he saw another one."

"We are all here. We are all in Peñita's [Francisco Peña] room. We are all stuck here. We are going to sleep together… If the ghost shows again, we are all going to fight together."

One person seeing a ghost: Who knows, could just be nerves. Two? That makes a bit more compelling argument.

Clint Hurdle

The former Pirates' manager may not have seen a ghost, but he had to deal with the effects of one of his players seeing one. When the Pirates were in town in 2016, Hurdle explained that though he has not "seen that ghost," he did have a player call him because a ghost had turned on his TV twice in one night.

"I actually had him come into my room -- not to sleep. I settled him down, went back to his room with him, sat for a while," Hurdle said. "The TV did not come back on. I exited. Everything was OK. It's real to some people, there's no doubt. I'm absolutely positive that I don't want to name names. He's still playing."

Sadly, Hurdle has never told us just who this player was, so just like what is at play at the hotel, this will remain a mystery.

This one was shared by then-Ranger C.J. Wilson on ESPN Dallas' Ben and Skin podcast in 2010. While Wilson experienced his own chilling events, including flickering lights, it was Lewis with the most terrifying tale.

According to Wilson, Lewis claimed to have seen a "skeletal apparition" around 1:30 a.m. It freaked Lewis out so much that he saw the team chaplain and missed a radio appearance the next day.

As MLB.com's Adam McCalvy reported, Beltré experienced a haunting in the hotel in 2001. The third baseman "heard knocking noises on his door, while the television and air conditioning repeatedly turned on and off. He also claimed to have heard pounding noises from the other side of his headboard like a man hitting his open hand against the wood." We're just shocked that no spectral fingers tried to touch Beltré's head.

Of course, we must end with Major League Baseball's resident ghost hunter. Gray became fascinated with the paranormal after he saw a ghost in his bedroom as a child, so in 2016, he got to live out a dream and investigate the Pfister.

Check out the spooky video below: