Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Fifteenth Annual Ball Of The Empire Baseball Club

Two balls on the night of December 16th (1874) were reported with considerable detail by the papers next day. One was the fifteenth annual ball of the Empire Baseball Club, "champions of Missouri," which was attended by quite a number of prominent citizens with their ladies, and the other was the "grand ball of the Sixth Ward Democrat Club." One of the papers described the dresses worn by some of the ladies. There was no "Veiled Prophet's"ball in those days and the Imperial Club was too select for newspaper publicity.

From A Newspaper Man's Motion-Picture View Of The City

One of the reasons that I find the 1875 season so fascinating is that, in St. Louis, you find the game transitioning from its older forms into "modern" baseball. As the Empire and Imperial Base Ball Clubs clung to the old custom and rituals, men were in the process of ushering in the "professional" era of baseball in St. Louis. As the men of the Empire Club (and their ladies) enjoyed their year-end ball, W.C. Steigers, J.B.C. Spinks, and others were putting together the finances and organizational structure that would lead to the advent of the Brown Stockings and a new era of baseball in St. Louis.

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