Born: February 3, 1872 in Elkhart, Indiana
Died: May 14, 1934 (aged 62) in Tucson, Arizona
Weight: 165 lbs.
Cleveland Spiders (1896–1898)
St. Louis Perfectos / Cardinals (1899–1900)
Boston Americans / Red Sox (1901–1908)
St. Louis Browns (1909)
New York Highlanders (1910)
St. Louis Browns (1912)
Criger, considered one of the greatest catchers of his day, died at Tucson, Ariz., May 14 (1934). He had been living in Tucson the past ten years on account of failing health. His widow, four sons, a daughter, five brothers and a sister survive him.
He was one of the few players ever pensioned by Organized Ball. For years, during the incumbency of Ban Johnson as president of the junior major, the former American League star was cared for out of league funds after illness had overtaken him. This was in reward for his revelations of an attempt to “fix” the World Series of 1903, in which he was a dominant figure, his great throwing and tactics enabling Boston to win from Pittsburgh. Just before the Series opened, a letter reached Criger from a man representing a group of gamblers who wanted him and Young to do business with them and help throw the Series. Criger took the letter to President Johnson, who was able to thwart the plotters, thanks to Lou. Johnson remembered that service when the ex-star was stricken with tuberculosis and forced to go to Arizona more than ten years ago.
In 1903, Criger was approached by a professional gambler, who offered him $12,000 to throw the first World Series ever played – between Boston and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The fact of this attempted bribe was revealed by the great catcher in an affidavit sworn in 1923 when Criger, failing in health, departed for the West, believing he had only a few weeks to live. In his affidavit, Criger said he had been introduced to a man named Anderson by Wibert Robinson, former manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, in 1901. He said he had spent the afternoon with Robinson and Anderson at a country bowling club near Baltimore. Criger did not see Anderson again until 1903, when he met him at Pittsburgh, where the rival clubs were playing the first World Series held after the war between the American and National Leagues.