Former Oriole Convicted of Double Homicide

This is not a headline you see every day. Scanning through the old archives for The Baltimore Sun, we found this crazy one detailing the salacious story of a love triangle involving a former Baltimore Oriole. The article was published on September 24th, 1929.

Sam Crane lived in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and last played professional baseball in 1927 with the Chicago Cubs minor league team, the Reading Keystones. He had played for the Baltimore Orioles, then a minor league team in the International League, in 1916 and 1918.

Photo of Sam Crane

On the night of August 3rd, it was alleged that Crane entered a Harrisburg saloon, intent on killing Dela Lyter and John Oren, a brick salesman, and his rival for Lyter’s amorous affection. He found them together in a backroom where he shot them both.

His defense claimed that he was “overwhelmed with grief” at losing the courtship to his rival, and in a fit of drunken and uncontrollable rage, shot them both. To make matters more bizarre, Oren jumped from the table and attempted to stroke Crane with a ukulele which he had been strumming to entertain a crowd in the room.

A jury found him guilty and he was sentenced to 18 to 36 years. His former manager, Connie Mack, eventually arranged for his parole in 1944.