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Ballplayers Have Long Found the Pfister Scarier Than a Brushback Pitch

Mitch Teich photo

Milwaukee's Pfister Hotel is known for its decades of hospitality along Wisconsin Avenue.  But for years, it's also been recognized for its inhospitality to some visiting sports figures.  Athletes - predominantly baseball players - have stayed at the Pfister and reported some spooky encounters with the paranormal.

The story is back in the news this week, thanks to a report in ESPN: The Magazine, in which players - from the Nationals' Bryce Harper, to the Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton - relate their own unexplained experiences at the Pfister.

Lake Effect's Mitch Teich reported on the story for NPR's Only A Game in October of 2010, and spoke with the Brewers' Carlos Gomez, who had his own stories of haunting times at the Pfister, back when he was playing for the Minnesota Twins.

Gomez was napping in his room, ahead of a night game, when he woke up and realized lights he had left off were now on, and lights he had turned on were now off.  But there was more:

"I started putting on my clothes," Gomez said, "I put on my underwear – and I left my iPod on the bed.  And my iPod starts changing the music by itself.  And I heard a noise, and I went to the bed to turn it off – and before I touched it, it stops.  And when I stepped back, it started again.  And I grabbed my shoes and my pants, and I’m running in my underwear, and I put on my pants and my shirt in the lobby."

Yes, if you were in the lobby of the Pfister Hotel that day, that was a major league baseball player you saw in his underwear, before he grabbed a cab and headed for Miller Park. 

Gomez said his biggest relief in being traded to Milwaukee was less about the team's playoff chances and more about the freedom to find a less haunted place to sleep.

For their part, officials at the Pfister say there is, indeed, a spirit alive at the hotel - the spirit of hospitality.