Fred C. Merkle was born in Watertown, WI on Dec. 20, 1888 to Ernst and Anna Amalia (Thielmann) Merkle. He made his major league debut as a first baseman with the New York Giants on 9-21-07 at the age of 18. During his 16 years in the majors, he played for the Giants, Brooklyn Robins (Dodgers), Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees. With Merkle, each of these teams advanced to the World Series, totaling six times. Throughout his career, he displayed a blend of speed and power. He had eight seasons with 20 or more stolen bases and a solid .273 career batting average in an era dominated by pitching and defense. Teammates and opponents considered Merkle one of the smartest players in the game. Merkle was the only player who Giants manager John McGraw consulted on strategic decisions.