Walter R. "Doc" Osterkamp, the second child of Robert Osterkamp and the former Augusta Martin, was born on April 2, 1888 in St. Louis' German-American Soulard neighborhood, on property purchased by his grandfather Hicke in 1857.
In his teens and early 20s, Walter was an excellent baseball player, and drew considerable interest from scouts and minor league teams. In January 1908, he signed with the Fond du Lac (Wis.) Cubs, a Class D team in the Wisconsin-Illinois League. In 1909, he played first base for a Sedalia, Missouri team. And in January 1910, not long after signing a contract to play first base with the Decatur (Ill.) Commodores, a Class B team, the Decatur newspaper stated that he came "highly recommended" and had been "a leading light in a dinky city league in St. Louis." However, he may not ever have played with the Commodores. In April 1910, the team's manager told the local newspaper that he did "not understand why Osterkamp, that first baseman from St. Louis, does not report."
The answer is unclear, but on April 26, 1910, about two weeks after the manager's complaint, a Census taker listed him as living at his parents' home in St. Louis and working as a clerk. Indeed, Walter continued to work at various positions during his baseball-playing days, including as a clerk for J.R. Brockman Manufacturing Co. in 1908; as a stenographer in 1909; and as a clerk again from 1910 to 1912. From about 1913 to 1915, he worked in advertising for Gould Directory Co., a publisher of city directories. He was listed as living with his parents and brothers throughout this time.
In January 1916, Walter left St. Louis for a sanatorium in San Antonio, Texas in order to receive treatment for tuberculosis, a contagious disease that had killed his father on November 27, 1915. (Most sanatoria in the early 20th Century were devoted to tuberculosis patients, and San Antonio at that time had a reputation as a "health resort" for people infected with tuberculosis.) The treatment was not successful, and Walter died of tuberculosis at about 3 a.m. on February 25, 1916. He was buried on February 29 at Gatewood Gardens Cemetery, formerly Picker's Cemetery.
Robert Osterkamp (1855-1915) Augusta Osterkamp (Martin) (1857-1923)
Fred Osterkamp (1885-1947) Cliff Osterkamp (1892-1959)
Hicke Osterkamp (1819-1889) Caroline Osterkamp (Nicolai) (1829-1884) Joseph Martin (1829-1894) Elise Martin (Mueller) (c.1828-1906)
Walter was a member of Naphtali Lodge #25 A.F. & A.M., a masonic temple in St. Louis.
City of St. Louis birth registry for portion of 1888 (entry for Walter R. Osterkamp).
St. Louis City Directory, 1908-15 (entries for Walter R. Osterkamp).
The State Medical Association of Texas, Texas State Journal of Medicine, Vol. II, May 1906-April 1907, p. 206.
"Many Players Being Drafted," The La Crosse Tribune, Jan. 7, 1908, p. 6.
"Walloped Again," Cole County (Mo.) Democrat, May 5, 1909, p. 8.
"Locals Won Sunday, But Dropped Monday's Game--Brockman Twirled Both," Jefferson City (Mo.) Weekly Tribune, May 6, 1909, p. 7.
"Love Gets In Six Contracts," The Decatur Review, Jan. 30, 1910, p. 5.
"Decatur Signs Up Billy Lane," The Decatur Review, March 6, 1910, p. 4.
"Williams To Get Busy With Axe," The Decatur Review, April 10, 1910, p. 5.
U.S. Census Report, 1910 (entries for Robert Osterkamp and family).
Death certificate (Texas) for Walter R. Osterkamp.
Obituary for Walter R. Osterkamp, The San Antonio Light, Feb. 25, 1916, p. 7.
Obituary for Walter R. Osterkamp, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Feb. 28, 1916, p. 16.