Wielert’s was one of 113 bars on Vine Street in Over-the-Rhine (a roughly 1.5 mile stretch of Vine between Central Parkway and McMicken.) Wielerts stood out among this ample competition. It had a block-long beer garden with an elegant bandstand at one end. The stage was big enough to accommodate a 40-piece orchestra, and the house band was good enough to form the nucleus of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Some of its patrons also set it apart from the fold. August “Garry” Hermann and “Boss” George B. Cox were two of the most notable regulars, meeting their daily at 4PM for lager beers and German food, typically drinking past midnight.
Cox was the head of one of America’s strongest and most well-organized political machines between the years 1891 and 1916. With the assistance of his two most trusted lieutenants, August “Gary” Hermann and Rudolph “Rud” Hynicka, Cox ruled Cincinnati government from an office above a Walnut Street bar and a table at Wielert’s. The Progressive era of American politics both inextricably linked and tarnished the names Cox, Hermann and Hynicka, defining their legacies through political corruption. This is particularly unfair to Hermann who leaves an honorable and largely forgotten legacy on both Cincinnati city government and the Cincinnati Reds.
In 1902, Cox, Hermann, Cincinnati Mayor Julius Fleishman and his brother Max bought the Reds from an out-of-town owner that Cincinnatians loved to hate. It was a business decision and a political move that benefited baseball fans. The core players in Cincinnati politics realized that giving the city a locally-owned winning baseball team was good for fans, good for local businesses, and would increase their own political capital. Garry Hermann was named President of the club and served in this position until 1927.
The idea for the American League was formed by friends Charles Comiskey and Cincinnati sports columnist Ban Johnson in a Vine Street bar called the Ten Minute Club – so called because somebody at every table was required to order a drink every 10 minutes. Once formed, the league engaged in bare-knuckle competition with the National League, which included the Reds. The competition was more than a sports rivalry. It was a war in which each league tried to destroy the other, and it threatened the future of baseball. In January 1903, the leagues agreed to meet for a peace conference in Cincinnati. Hermann organized it, rose as the natural leader of the two-day meeting, and is given primary credit for brokering a deal between the leagues. A National Commission was created to oversee the relationship between the leagues and Hermann was appointed to chair it. (He held the position from 1903 to 1920.)
Peace between the National League and the American League turned a destructive war into a productive rivalry. The champions of each league met in 1903 and played a nine-game, post-season series. It was a private arrangement between the team owners and it was not repeated in 1904.
The idea was so popular, however, that August Hermann, as chair of the National Commission, met with Ban Johnson, President of the American League, and reached terms that allowed for a post-season series to be played by the champions of both leagues in 1905 and every year thereafter. This deal and the annual event that it produced earned Wielert’s regular August “Garry” Hermann the title “Father of the World Series.” taken from the following website:
German Potato Salad
2 1/4 pounds potatoes, such as Yukon Gold
4 slices bacon
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup onions, diced
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons mild brown mustard
1/2 bunch chives, snipped
• Cook the potatoes in simmering salted water until just tender, about 15-18 minutes. Drain and dry. While the potatoes are still hot, remove the skins and slice the potatoes 1/2-inch thick.
• While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the dressing. Cook the bacon over medium-high heat until the fat has rendered and the bacon is crisp. Remove the bacon to a plate with a slotted spoon, reserving the bacon fat in the pan; crumble the bacon into small pieces, and reserve.
• Bring the chicken broth, vinegar, onions, salt, sugar, and pepper to a boil.
• Combine the oil, rendered bacon fat, and mustard with the warm potatoes. Pour the boiling broth-vinegar mixture over the potatoes. Toss in the crumbled bacon and chives.
• The salad may be served warm, at room temperature, or chilled.