"Chief" John Tortes Meyer
John "Chief" Meyers (Santa Rosa Cahuilla) baseball card
The most famous Cahuilla baseball player “Chief” John Tortes Meyers,
commonly known as “Jack”, was born July 29, 1880. His family moved from
the Santa Rosa Reservation to Riverside when he was about 12 years old.
Prior to the 1890s, practically all Indian participation in non-Indian
sports was restricted to boarding schools. By the late 1890s, Meyers’
talent stood out when playing baseball for Riverside High School. After
high school, he caught for various semi-pro teams, playing on
reservation, town, and company teams around southern California and the
Southwest. In 1909 he was the first Cahuilla accepted at Dartmouth
College where his athletic abilities caught the attention of major
Meyers earned the starting catcher position for the New York
Giants and was pitcher Christy Mathewson’s regular batterymate from 1910
through 1915. In 1910, baseball became the “official” national pastime
when President William H. Taft participated in a new American ritual:
the head of state throwing out the first pitch to open the season.
Meyers batted .332 in 1911, .358 in 1912, and .312 in 1913. The Giants
won the National League pennant in each of those years.