Frank Jacob Hoffman
(The Texas Wonder)
- Bats Unknown, Throws Right
- Height 5' 9", Weight 163 lb.
- Debut August 13, 1888
- Final Game October 10, 1888
- Born January 1862 in Mississippi USA
- Died October 29, 1916 in San Francisco, CA USA
Frank Hoffman pitched 12 games for the Kansas City Cowboys of the American Association in 1888. Not much was known about him except for the fact that he had previously pitched in the Texas League, so he was presumed to be from the Lone Star state. In 1890, he married one Lottie Stewart in Sacramento, CA. He was later reported to be working as a machinist in a foundry in San Francisco, CA. Nothing further was known about him.
His name was found in the 1900 Census living in Alameda, CA, and city directories from the period also list him as living in or around San Francisco. These findings made it possible to trace him back in the 1870 and 1880 censuses as a young man born in Mississippi around 1862 and living with his family in Colorado both years. In 1910, he was still in San Francisco but was now divorced. The trail then goes cold in 1913, when he last appeared in a city directory and on a voters registration list.
Researchers Richard Malatzky and Peter Morris from SABR were able to trace Hoffman through his relatives listed in the 1870 and 1880 census, many of whom had moved to Montana. In particular, his younger sister Amy had married a man named Nicholas Howard Gramling. This proved to be an important detail, when these same researchers tried to ascertain whether a person named F.K. Hoffman, who had died in San Francisco in 1916, was the ballplayer or not. The problem was that the pitcher Hoffman was often called "F.J. Hoffman", so the middle initial was wrong, but other details fit. Records about the deceased indicated he had been found dead of a heart attack on a sidewalk. The coroner only found a few possessions and attempted unsuccessfully to locate one possible relative, a person named "Howard Granling" in Salt Lake City, UT, before closing the case. This was in fact the smoking gun needed to make a positive identification, as the relative the coroner had vainly tried to locate was obviously the pitcher's brother-in-law mentioned above.
- "Frank Hoffman Found", in Bill Carle, ed.: Biographical Research Committee Report, SABR, May/June 2016, pp. 1-3.