The 5’7″ 140-lb Mercer was the ace of the lowly Washington (NL) club at the end of the 19th century; he went 25-18 in 1896 and 20-20 in 1897. A .285 hitter, he often played the infield or outfield when not pitching. He joined the Tigers in 1902 and went 15-18 with a career-best 3.04 ERA. The following winter, Detroit appointed the 28-year-old their player-manager for 1903. But that January 12, Mercer checked into a San Francisco hotel room and killed himself by inhaling poison gas. He left a suicide note warning of the evils of women and gambling.