Dodgers in Time: Ferdinand Abell
By Scott Andes
I will be starting a new series of posts called Dodgers in time, where I profile a Dodger from somewhere in the past. This could be a player, manager, coach, executive, or anyone influential that worked for the Dodgers. Today’s Dodger in time is one our founding fathers of Blue. Former owner, and executive Ferdinand A. Abell.
Not much is known about him. The Dodgers were founded in 1883 by four men. George Taylor, Charles Byrne, Joseph Doyle, and Ferdinand Abell.
Taylor was an editor for the New York Herald news, and was receiving a lot of letters asking for Baseball news. Charles Byrne was a real estate magnate. Both were huge Baseball fans. They decided to form their own club in Brooklyn, originally called the Brooklyn Atlantics. They found someone to manage the team, (Doyle), and then turned to friend Ferdinand A. Abell for financial backing. Abell put up the money to finance the team. While Taylor, Byrnes, and Doyle were running the on-field operations, Abell stuck to overseeing the finances for the Brooklyn Baseball Club. All four men were directly responsible for building the Dodger’s home park back then, Washington Park. Washington Park number two would be the Dodgers home from 1898-1912
Ferdinand Abell was a business man from Rhode Island. According to reports he was a casino owner and operator at the time he became part owner of the Dodgers. Abell became a part time owner in 1899 when Charlie Ebbets bought out Taylor’s share and became majority owner (Charles Byrne would fall ill and die in 1898). Ebbets is of course responsible for building Ebbets Field. Abell was still part time owner when the Dodgers were merged with the Baltimore Orioles before the 1899 season. The team changed their name to the Brooklyn Superbas, although officially they were still the Brooklyn Baseball Club. During the merger and later on when the American League was forming in 1901, Abell fought to keep salaries from rising. Abell, Byrne, and Doyle were very aggressive when pursuing players during the hot stove.
Abell would stay on as part time owner until 1907 when Ebbets bought him out of his remaining shares. Ferdinand Abell was an important man in Dodgers history. He is one of the founding fathers of Dodger Blue. Ferdinand Abell died in 1928. Mr. Abell we salute you, as you are one of our founding ancestors of Blue.