Thursday, January 31, 2008

Considering Dave Foutz With A Bat In His Hands

I was reading something today after I got home from work about how Chris Von der Ahe acquired Dave Foutz in 1884 and I went to Baseball-Reference to see if they had anything about the transaction. Scrolling down to the transactions section of Foutz's B-R page, I noticed a few things. First, the two most similiar pitchers to Foutz are Dizzy Dean and Mort Cooper. I thought that was pretty neat. The second thing I noticed though was that, at a glance, Foutz had a lot of top ten finishes in various catagories but didn't have much black ink or gray ink. I thought that was kind of odd and went back to look at it in detail.

While I knew that Foutz was a good hitter what I found surprised me. Foutz wasn't just a good hitter. Foutz was a great hitter and between 1886 and 1890 he was one of the best hitters in the game. During his five year peak as a hitter, Foutz posted an OPS+ of 111, 138, 119, 110, and 132. He was in the top five in RBI's every year between 1887 and 1890. He was also in the top ten in runs created during that period.

Those are rather extraordinary numbers when you consider that Foutz was also an elite pitcher. While his peak as a pitcher didn't exactly overlap with his peak as a hitter, from 1886 to 1888 Foutz must have been something to see. From 1886 to 1888, he finished in the top ten in ERA every year, winning the ERA title in 1886. He was also finished in the top ten in wins in 1886 and 1887.

Think about it. In 1887, Foutz finished in the top ten in RBI, runs created, ERA, and wins. In 1888, he finished in the top ten in RBI, runs created, and RBI. For two years, Foutz was both an elite pitcher and hitter. Off the top of my head, the only other person I can think of who did something comparable is Babe Ruth in 1918. Certainly, in the history of baseball, there have been pitchers who were good hitters. There have been pitchers who also played in the field. But besides Foutz and Ruth, I can't think of any player since the advent of "organized" baseball who was both an elite pitcher and an elite hitter.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Benteen At Little Big Horn

I should have included this picture of Frederick Benteen at the cemetery at Little Big Horn in the last post but I don't quite have it all pulled together today. An interesting picture, it shows Benteen, fourth from the left, returning to Little Big Horn with other veterans of the battle.

More Pictures of Frederick Benteen

Here's a picture of a mature Frederick Benteen, Cyclone Club member, just before his retirement from the army (dating the pic somewhere around 1888) and a pic of Benteen's tombstone in Atlanta's Westwood Cemetery.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Silver King Pitches A Gem

Round two of VEB's All-Time Sim Tournament started today and in one of the series that we're following here at TGOG, the 1888 Browns are taking on the 2004 Cardinals.

In game one, Silver King threw a two-hitter, allowed only four base runners, and at one point retired seventeen in a row as the Browns beat the Cards 4-0. That's what we call pitching a gem. And so much for the big bats of MV3, who went a collective 0-10 (although the Mighty Pujols did manage a walk).

You can check out the box score here and read a game summary here. Follow the tournament at Cardinal70's tournament site or, as always, at Viva El Birdos. The 1885, 1886, and 1888 Browns are all still alive and fighting for there place in St. Louis baseball history.

The Rest Of The Griswold Missouri Democrat Article

As promised, here is the rest of the April 26, 1860 article from the Missouri Democrat. It consists of a diagram that shows the layout of a baseball diamond as well as the positioning of the men on the field. Merritt Griswold also included the rules of the game "as adopted by the United States Convention of Base Ball Players."

Monday, January 28, 2008

I Would Refer You To The Files Of The Missouri Democrat

In his letter to Al Spink, Merritt Griswold wrote "To start at the commencement of the game in its first introduction into Missouri I would refer you to the files of 'The Missouri Democrat' for the Winter of 1859 and 1860, wherein you will find published 'the rules of the game,' also a diagram showing the field and the position of each player made from a rough sketch I gave to Mr. McKee and Fishback, the publishers or to Mr. Houser, at that time their bookkeeper, cashier and confidential office man..."

"Refered" to the Democrat, we find in the April 26, 1860 issue a letter from Griswold as well as "the rules of the game" and "a diagram showing the field and position of each player" just as Griswold stated. This is not only fascinating in and of itself but it's also more confirmation of the claims that Griswold made in his letter to Spink.

Griswold's letter from the April 26, 1860 issue of the Democrat appears below and I'll post the rest of the article tomorrow. I have to give a big hat tip to Paul Conley, who was kind enough to send me a copy of the April 26th issue. Mr. Conley's book, The Origins of Base Ball in St. Louis, will be going to the publishers soon and trust me when I tell you that I'm looking forward to getting my hands on it.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Fullerton's Grave

Here's another photo of Joseph Fullerton, a member of the Cyclone Club, as well as a photo of his final resting place.

Good News And Bad News

Well, the 1887 Browns were down three games to two to those pesky 1996 Cardinals in VEB's All-Time Sim Tournament and forced to pitch Nat Hudson in game six because the darn program thinks Dave Foutz and Bob Caruthers are outfielders. Silver King can only pitch so much.

Hudson, of course, got pounded, giving up three runs in three innings. Comiskey had no choice but to bring in Silver King, who stabilized the situation. So the Browns come back and were up 4-3 going into the seventh when the John freakin' Mabry rips a two run single to center, scoring Ron Gant and Brian Jordan. The Browns tied it up in their half of the seventh on an rbi single by Bill Gleason that scored Yank Robinson. The score stayed 5-5 through nine and the teams headed to extra frames.

The game headed to the eleventh inning still knotted at five. At that point, King is about to pitch his eighth inning of the game. He already had a complete game victory in game one, pitched 7 2/3 innings in relief of Nat Hudson in game two, pitched a complete game victory in game three, pitched 6 1/3 innings in relief of Nat Hudson in game four, and pitched 7 1/3 innings in a tough start in game five. If I did the math correctly, Silver King, going into the eleventh inning of game six, has pitched 40 1/3 innings, throwing in every game in the series.

One man can only do so much. In the eleventh, the Cards shellacked King, scoring six runs on two doubles and four walks. What can you do? That's a winner for the 1996 Cards and one of the Four Time Champions are now out.

Do I even need to talk about the errors the glove-less Browns committed or how this would have been a different series if Caruthers and Foutz had pitched. For the love of Pete, Silver King had to pitch 41 1/3 innings. They only played 56 innings in the whole series. King threw 74% of all the Browns innings in the darn series. It's ridiculous. The 1887 Browns lost to the freakin' 1996 Cards. They lost to John freakin' Mabry and Ronnie Gant and Todd Stottlemyre and Royce Clayton and Danny Jackson and Tom Pagnozzi and Tony freakin' Fossas. Ridiculous.

Well, things went a little better for the 1888 Browns in game seven against the 1987 Cards. Behind a complete game victory by (who else) Silver King, the Browns cruised to a 7-0 win to clinch their series and advance to round two where (holy cow) the 2004 Cards are waiting.

Also in round two, we'll have the 1885 Browns taking on the Rick Ankiel meltdown Cards of 2000. That should be interesting.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Merritt Griswold And The Civil War In St. Louis

When I first looked at Merritt Griswold's Civil War service records last year, I wasn't particularly impressed. He mustered into the Company D of the 3rd Regiment of the United States Reserve Corp as a Captain on May 8, 1861 and mustered out on August 17, 1861. Looking at the records, it seemed that Griswold had pretty much sat out the war. However, having done some research on the war in St. Louis, it appears that Griswold and his unit played a significant role in securing the city for the Union.

In the Spring of 1861, the loyalty of St. Louis and Missouri, a slave state, was very much in doubt. While the Missouri Constitutional Convention of March 1861 had voted overwhelmingly to keep Missouri in the Union, Governor Claiborne Jackson had pro-Confederate sympathies and refused Abraham Lincoln's order to raise troops for the Union. The state militias that were already existent were in the process of dividing along Union/Confederate lines and the pro-Jackson militias were actually taking offensive actions against Federal targets. In April of 1861, the Federal arsenal at Liberty, Missouri was seized and there were fears that the arsenal at St. Louis, the largest in a slave state, would be targeted.

The pro-Union forces in Missouri, led by Colonel Frank Blair and Captain Nathaniel Lyons, took decisive actions in April and May of 1861 to secure St. Louis. First, in what can best be described as an extra-constitutional move, Blair and Lyons hastily began to raise troops. Relying heavily on the Wide Awakes, a pro-Union political organization, Blair and Lyons raised ten regiments who would come to be known as the Home Guards. Second, with new troops in hand, Lyons seized the arsenal at St. Louis, securing it for the Union.

From there, things spiralled out of control quickly. On April 24th, three days after the seizure of the arsenal, a group from the pro-Confederate Minute Men political organization in St. Louis fired on a street car, believing that it was being used to transfer arms from the arsenal to Illinois. On May 1st, Governor Jackson called up the Missouri Militia and ordered it to encamp just outside of St. Louis. This encampment, which was dubbed "Camp Jackson", was just south of the present day location of St. Louis University and included the property upon which Thomas McNeary would build the Compton Avenue Grounds.

On May 10th, Lyons ordered the arrests of 670 members of the St. Louis Minute Men and, at the same time, an attack on Camp Jackson. Both the arrests and the surrender of the camp were accomplished peacefully but the strong display of Union force created an uproar among the pro-Confederate citizens of St. Louis.

James Peckham, in General Nathaniel Lyon and Missouri in 1861, has Lyon's account of what happened next:

Captain C. Blandowski, of Company F. (Third Missouri Volunteers), had been ordered with his company to guard the western gateway leading into the camp. The surrendered troops had passed out, and were standing passively between the enclosing lines on the road, when a crowd of disunionists began hostile demonstrations against Company F. At first these demonstrations consisted only of vulgar epithets and the most abusive language; but the crowd, encouraged by the forbearance and the silence of the Federal soldiers, began hurling rocks, brickbats, and other missiles at the faithful company. Notwithstanding several of the company were seriously hurt by these missiles, each man remained in line, which so emboldened the crowd that they discharged pistols at the soldiers, at the same time yelling and daring the latter to fight. Not until one of his men was shot dead, several severely wounded, and himself shot in the leg, did the Captain feel it his duty to retaliate; and as he fell, he commanded his men to fire. The order was obeyed, and the multitude fell back, leaving upon the grass-covered ground some twenty of their number, dead or dying. Some fifteen were instantly killed, and several others died within an hour. Several of Sigel's men were wounded, and two killed.

The actions of Blair and Lyons, despite the catastrophe that followed the surrender of Camp Jackson, secured St. Louis for the Union and, combined with U. S. Grant's actions at Cairo, Illinois and Paducah, Kentucky a few months later, was one of the most significant acts in the Western theatre of the war. With St. Louis, Cairo, and Paducah under control, the Union had secured the Upper Mississippi, the Western Ohio, and the Missouri rivers.

What was Merritt Griswold's role in all of this? While it's unknown what specific role he played in the attack on Camp Jackson, it is known that the 3rd Regiment took part in the attack. Peckham writes that "The regiments selected by Lyon to assist in the capture of Camp Jackson were the First, Second, Third, and Fourth Mo. Vols., and the Third and Fourth 'Home Guards' (Reserve Corps)." I think it can be assumed that Captain Griswold was present at the attack on Camp Jackson and was involved, during the late spring and summer of 1861, in securing St. Louis for the Union.

More importantly, Griswold's service in the 3rd Regiment tells us a great deal about him. In recruiting the Home Guards, Lyon relied heavily on two sources: German immigrants and the Wide Awakes. Since Griswold was not a German immigrant, it's rather likely that he was member of the Wide Awakes. Galusha Anderson, in The Story of a Border City During the Civil War, describes the group as "Republican in politics. It was made up of the most progressive young men of St. Louis. Many of them had just come into the Republican ranks; their political faith was new; they had the zeal and enthusiasm of recent converts. They were also stimulated by the fact that they were called upon to maintain their political doctrine in the face of the stoutest opposition. With their torchlights they had just been marching and hurrahing for Lincoln. They had cheered the vigorous speeches of their brilliant orators. Their candidate, though defeated in their city and State, had been triumphantly elected to the Presidency. Such a body of men, flushed with victory, was a political force which every thoughtful man saw must be reckoned with."

Anthony Monachello, in his article America's Civil War: Struggle For St. Louis, describes the Wide Awakes as "a shadowy political organization" that "spent most of their time attempting to win the hearts and minds of the local populace by organizing demonstrations, posting signs and publishing pamphlets extolling the virtues of their (cause)." They were also described as, essentially, a paramilitary organization that had violent clashes with their Minute Men rivals as early as March 4, 1861 and were stockpiling arms and undergoing military training in preparation for the outbreak of war.

I think that it's safe to assume that Griswold was ardently pro-Union. He took decisive steps in joining the Home Guards to defend the Union cause in St. Louis and most likely had been a member of a significant pro-Union political organization for some time before the outbreak of hostilities in St. Louis.

Under those circumstances, his statement to Al Spink that the Cyclone Club broke up due to the Civil War is rather poignant. The political tensions within the club must have been severe. Griswold, one of the founders of the club, was an active Unionist. His teammate, and co-worker, Edward Bredell, was obviously and firmly on the opposite side. Club President Leonard Matthews found the war "inconvenient" and purchased a substitute to serve for him. His own family was divided over the war and his father tried to talk his brother and fellow club member, Orville Matthews, into resigning from the Navy. Orville Matthews, of course, did no such thing and served the Union cause with honor.

Other club members who served with the Union include John Riggin, John Prather (who also served in the Home Guards), Frederick Benteen (who helped organize a company of cavalrymen in St. Louis), Joseph Fullerton, and William Collier.

I can find no record of any member of the Cyclone Club serving with the Confederates other than Bredell. However, since all known members of the club have yet to be positively identified, I feel that the chances are good that there were others.

Note: The three images in this post are of Camp Jackson (top), St. Louis 1861 (middle), and the attack on Camp Jackson (last).

Friday, January 25, 2008

Final Rest In The Shadow Of His Old Home

One of the men killed in the Blazer fight was Edward Bredell of St. Louis. He had been an officer in the regular army before he came to us, and his parents were very wealthy. Moreover, he was an only child. On the day of the fight the boys laid him to rest where he fell, but afterwards we brought his body over to our side of the mountain and buried it near Oak Hill, the former home of Chief Justice Marshall. Before the war ended young Bredell’s father came down to Virginia and took his dead son’s body home. When he reached St. Louis, owing to the bitter feeling there towards the Southerners, he was informed that the body could not be buried in any of the cemeteries. He thereupon had a grave dug in his own handsome grounds, and his son’s body found its final rest in the shadow of his old home.

At the close of the war, or rather two years after, I went to St. Louis to live, taking with me a letter of introduction to the father of Edward Bredell, whom I found to be an old Eastern shoreman of Maryland, and distantly related to family connections of mine. Upon my first visit to the old gentleman he took my hand and escorted me to the beautiful grounds in the rear of his house, where we two sat by the grave of the Partisan Ranger and talked of him as we had known him in the flesh. I called frequently at the Bredell home and I have not the slightest doubt that it gave the old man no little pleasure to hear me recount the exploits of his brave son, and to repeat, time and time again, the story of the fight in which the boy fell and died. Many a time I have sat near him in the shade of the trees that spread their limbs over the simple grave, and caught him gazing wistfully at the green mound that covered his son’s body. He tried to take his sorrows philosophically, but I cannot forget his first remark as we stood together:

“Maybe it is all right to give your only boy to your country, but I wish I had mine back again.”
-From Partisan Life with Col. John Mosby by John Scott

Connie Nisinger wrote the following about Edward Bredell's father, Edward E. Bredell, Sr.:

A pioneer businessman in St. Louis, Bredell founded the firm of Bredell & Bro., one of the first wholesale dry goods houses in St. Louis. He also founded the Missouri Glass Company & was president of that firm. Bredel devoted much of his time & money to Christian work & was president of the St. Louis Bible Society for many years. He was considered a true Christian philanthropist & made considerable bequests to many noble institutions at his death.
Bredell, Sr. died on March 16, 1896 and is buried next to his wife, Angeline, at Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

More On Joseph Fullerton

Brigadier-General Joseph Scott Fullerton was born in Chillicothe, Ohio. At the age of sixteen he entered the Freshman class at Miami University, and graduated in 1855. He entered the Cincinnati Law School, graduating there in 1858. Soon after leaving the Law School he removed from Chillicothe to St. Louis, Missouri. There, while preparing to practice his profession, he took an active part with the Union men of Missouri in their struggle against secession. In the fall of 1861 he was appointed secretary of a committee, being the Honorable Joseph Holt, Judge David Davis, and Honorable Hugh Campbell, appointed by the President to examine into the military affairs of the Department of the West. Though anxious for field service, he was being unwillingly detained in the rear by the work of this commission till the fall of 1862. He was offered by Governor Gamble, of Missouri, a commission as major of infantry, but declined this because of his want of military knowledge.

At once, being relieved from the commission, he entered the service as a private. October 14, 1862, soon after enlisting, he was appointed lieutenant in the Second Missouri Infantry, and at the request of Major General Gordon Granger was detailed for duty with him as aide-de-camp. In such capacity he served in the Kentucky campaign till the spring of 1863. In April, 1863, he was appointed major and assistant adjutant-general, and assigned to duty as General Granger's chief of staff. Soon after the battle of Chickamauga he was appointed assistant adjutant-general, with the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and assigned to duty as assistant adjutant-general of the Fourth Army Corps. He was ordered to duty as assistant adjutant-general of the Army of the Tennessee by the War Department when General Sherman was about to move with that army from Atlanta to the sea; but General Thomas objecting to the transfer, he was retained with the Army of the Cumberland.

General Fullerton participated in the first battle at Franklin, Tennessee; Shelbyville, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Buzzard Roost Gap, Dalton, Resaca, New Hope Church, Pine-Top Mountain, Kenesaw Mountain, Peach-Tree Creek, Atlanta, Jonesborough, Lovejoy Station, Columbia, Spring Hill, Franklin, Nashville, etc. He was brevetted colonel for "distinguished services and gallantry in the Atlanta campaign," and brigadier-general "for most valuable services and distinguished personal gallantry at the battles of Franklin and Nashville." In May, 1865, he was assigned to duty to assist General Howard in organizing the Freedmen's Bureau. From this duty he asked to be relieved. In October, 1865, he was sent by President Johnson to adjust the difficulties existing in Louisiana between State officers, citizens, officers of the military service, and officers of the Freedmen's Bureau. Having succeeded in this work, he returned to Washington and offered his resignation from the military service. Such was not accepted, and he was assigned to duty with the President as acting military secretary.

In April, 1866, he was sent South with General J. B. Stedman, by the President, to inspect the social and political condition of the people, and the conduct of the Freedmen's Bureau. The reports made by these officers caused expressions of great bitterness from radical politicians then engaged in the work of reconstruction in the Southern States. But concerning their reports the leading Republican paper of the day, the New York Tribune, said, " The two commissioners have performed an important public service.... Generals Stedman and Fullerton have pricked some pretty bubbles. They have exposed the hollowness of much maudlin sympathy for the negro," etc. Having performed this duty, General Fullerton again, for the third time, tendered his resignation from the military service, and urging this it was accepted, and he was mustered out in September, 1866.

He was offered the commission of colonel of one of the new regiments of the regular army, but not caring for military life in the time of peace declined the same, and returned to civil life. After leaving the service he was appointed postmaster of St. Louis, which office he held for two years, and then retired to take up the practice of law. For twenty-five years he has been treasurer of the Society of the Army of the Cumberland, next to the G. A. R. the largest military society.

In the fall of 1890 he gave up the practice of law in St. Louis, and since then has been actively engaged as chairman of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park Commission.

From Officers of the Volunteer Army and Navy who served in the Civil War

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Leonard Matthews' Obituary

Leonard Matthews Dies at 102; ‘49er, Druggist and Broker

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

May 6, 1931

Succumbs to Series of Heart Attacks – Continued Supervision of Garden Until Last Fall.

Leonard Matthews, 102 years old, died last night at his home, 5447 Cabanne avenue, where he had lived for more than 40 years, and there his family had gathered on his 100th and other birthdays. A series of heart attacks, which had kept him in bed for a month, caused death. Arrangements for the funeral, to be held probably tomorrow afternoon, are awaiting word from members of the family at a distance.

Mr. Matthews, who was one of the ‘49ers of the California gold rush which followed the Mexican War, spent most of his mature life in St. Louis, and was in the drug business, retail and wholesale, and then in brokerage. In 1890 he settled in the Cabanne avenue home. There he devoted himself to his garden, which become one of the city’s show places, and to study and writing.

23 Great-Grandchildren.

The Matthews homestead, still unusually spacious for a city estate, was nearly three times as large until, a few years ago, the pressure of apartment builders became irresistible. The frontage of 316 feet was cut to the present 106 feet. Mr. Matthews continued his garden work and supervision up to last fall. Since his 100th year his sight and hearing had been somewhat impaired.

He is survived by fours sons, three daughters, 23 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren. The sons are William N. Nisbet of St. Louis, Edmund Orville Matthews of Nogales, Ariz.; Leonard Jr. and Claude L. Matthews of St. Louis. The daughters are Mrs. Robert Lee Morton of St. Louis, Mrs. Saunders Norvell of Larchmont, N. Y., and Mrs. William L. Chambers of St. Louis. A sister of Mr. Matthews, Mrs. D. C. Gamble, died nearly three years ago.

During his business life, Mr. Matthews often related, he learned to eat sparingly, as he found that a heavy lunch meant an afternoon headache. He never used tobacco, but he drank “all sorts of liquor,” though not to excess, in a time when merchants and bankers commonly treated their customers on the premises. He attributed his long life to his regular habits.

Descendant of Huguenots.

Leonard Matthews was born Dec. 17, 1828, in Baltimore. His parentage, in both lines, went back to the Huguenots, whom King Louis XIV drove from France, by revoking the edict of Nantes, in the seventeenth century.

At the time of his birth John Quincy Adams was near the end of his single term as President of the United States, and Andrew Jackson had been elected to succeed him. The slavery question had been settled “forever” by the Missouri compromise of 1820-21. Abraham Lincoln was a Indiana youth of 19. Construction of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was begun in that year. Morse’s telegraph line was 16 years in the future.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Nat Hudson Is Killing Us

The 1888 Browns lose game four in the VEB All-Time Sim Tournament to the the 1987 Cards. The glove-less Browns commit three errors in the loss.

The 1887 Browns are up two games to one on the 1996 Cards after winning game three behind a complete game by Silver King and the hitting of Tip O'Neill. Three more errors for the Browns. Will somebody please buy these guys some gloves!

Frederick William Benteen

There's a fantastic article about Fredrick Benteen, a member of the Cyclone Club, at Written by Steven M. Leonard, it covers Benteen's life and military career much better than I ever could. So rather than subject you to my ponderous prose, I'll just direct you to Mr. Leonard's fine piece on Benteen.

Mr. Leonard writes the following about Benteen:

Frederick William Benteen was born in the Virginia port city of Petersburg on August 24,1834 to Theodore Charles and Caroline Hargrove Benteen. The Benteens had moved to Virginia from Baltimore shortly after the birth of their first child, Henrietta Elizabeth, in October 1831. The elder Benteen earned a prosperous living as a paint and hardware contractor, securing a private education for his son at the Petersburg Classical Institute, where Frederick was first trained in military drill. Sadly, Caroline Benteen died suddenly in 1841, leaving a young husband and family. Undoubtedly, the loss of his mother at such an impressionable age impacted Frederick, but to what extent is unknown.

Following the marriage of his daughter in the spring of 1849, Charley Benteen followed the call of the west and moved his family to St. Louis, Missouri. There, he remarried, established a paint and glass supply business, and employed his sixteen-year-old son as a sign painter. In 1856, Frederick became acquainted with Catharine Louisa Norman, a young woman recently arrived in St. Louis from Philadelphia. "Kate", a staunch supporter of the Union, would have a profound influence on the future of Frederick Benteen.

The election of Abraham Lincoln as U.S. President in 1860 polarized the country, and Missouri was no less affected than any other state in the Union. Kate strongly urged Frederick to support the cause of the Union forces in Missouri. His father, an ardent secessionist, vehemently opposed Frederick's association with Unionists, igniting a family crisis that was never truly resolved. When told of his son's decision to support the Union, Charley Benteen retorted, "I hope the first God damned bullet gets you."

As early as July 1861, Frederick was observing and supervising the drill of volunteer infantry companies in and around the St. Louis Arsenal. He got his first taste of battle -- although not officially on the rosters of any of the participating units -- on August 10, at Wilson's Creek. Outnumbered five to one, volunteer and Federal forces under Brigadier General Nathaniel Lyon attacked a concentrated force of 22,000 Confederates ten miles southwest of Springfield, inflicting over 5000 casualties before retreating in ultimate defeat to Rolla. The opening act of the Civil War in Missouri, although inauspicious, cemented Frederick's decision to join with the volunteers.

On September 1, the 67 members of what would become the 1st Battalion, Missouri Cavalry, held an election of officers; Frederick Benteen was elected first lieutenant of C Company. By October 1, the battalion was at full strength and Benteen was elected captain and commander of C Company. Twelve days later, Benteen saw his first action as an officer at Dutch Hollow against a large body of irregular Confederate cavalry.

On January 7, 1862, Benteen married his longtime girlfriend, Kate Norman, at Saint George's Church in St. Louis. Only her immediate family attended the ceremony. Their honeymoon was short; within three days, Frederick returned to Rolla. Kate settled into their new home to wait out the war.

Quoting Harold Schindler of the Salt Lake Tribune, the Arlington National Cemetary Website has a very interesting reference to Benteen and baseball:

He was a good soldier, Benteen. He was dearly fond of fishing ("I saw him wade over his boot tops many times into the cold water to get mountain trout," one of his troopers recalled in later years) and he loved baseball with an extraordinary passion. As a matter of fact, most men in H Company were members of the "Benteen baseball and gymnasium club." The Benteen Nine, it seems, was a ringer. It regularly shellacked Army competition. For instance, in June 1875, when the Benteens played the Fort Randall First Infantry, the final score was Benteens, 54; Randalls, 5.

At the website for the Ninth Memorial Cavalry, there's an article by Robert Foster that chronicles the Ninth Cavalry's time in Utah under Benteen in the late 1880's. Talking about the relationship between the black and white soldiers at Fort Duchesne, Foster writes the following:

Relations between black and white soldiers stationed at the post were generally amicable. A visitor to the fort commented, "The white infantrymen and the black cavalrymen at the fort fraternize without any fine discrimination as to color." The men ate together and, according to the same visitor, may have slept and fought "the festive bedbug together." Army records show no serious incidents of any kind between black and white soldiers at Fort Duchesne.

The only problem between white and black soldiers seemed to occur at baseball games. The buffalo soldiers were tremendous baseball players, usually winning most games they played. Many of them were exceptionally good boxers, too. Fistfights between black and white soldiers over "bad" calls by the umpires are mentioned in several newspaper stories. Of course, a good fistfight relieved some of the dull monotony of garrison duty, and many members of the 21st Infantry were Irishmen who loved a good donnybrook--among themselves, with blacks, whites or any others who were in the mood.
It's not necessarily related to Benteen or baseball in St. Louis but it's interesting none the less.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Just Win The Odd Numbered Games

Today in VEB's All-Time Sim Tournament, the 1888 Browns pulled out a big win in game three against the 1987 Cards by a score of 5-4. You can check out the box score here. The Browns pulled it out despite four errors (for the love of Pete, give them fellows some gloves) and three CS. Silver King pitched a complete game (shocking) for the victory. Latham went 0-4 with an error and a CS, a feat which should have some kind of a name (like the Steve Jeltz hat trick or something).

This is definitely the best series of round one of the play-in, as far as I'm concerned. You have my favorite Cardinal team of all-time against probably the weakest of the Four Time Champions. The 1888 Browns were supposed to be decimated by the fire sale that cost them Caruthers and Foutz and Welch and Bushong but they still managed to win the pennant behind a still strong pitching staff of King, Nat Hudson, and Icebox Chamberlain. If Hudson or Chamberlain can steal a game against Whitey's Boys then this series is over.

In the other interesting series, as far as TGOG is concerned, the 1887 Browns are tied with the 1996 Cards one game apiece. If you remember, the 96 Cards were LaRussa's first Cardinals team and they lost to the Braves in the NLCS after being up three games to one (and running into the buzz saw that was Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz). If the dang computer could figure things out to the point where the 1887 Browns could throw Foutz, Caruthers, and King, the Browns would romp to victory. But, as things are set up, they're going to have to make due with King and Hudson. Hudson, btw, got shellacked in game two and King, after throwing a complete game victory in game one had to come back and throw 7 and 2/3 innings in game two. The handicap of having to use only their third and fourth best pitchers in the series might be too much for the Browns to overcome. Game three is tomorrow.

You can follow the tournament day by day at Viva El Birdos and I'll give periodic updates as long as Four Time Champions are still alive.

The Matthews Brothers

The above photograph includes three members of the Cyclone Club-Orville Matthews (front row, center), William Matthews (front, right), and Leonard Matthews (top, right).

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Leonard Matthews And The Cyclones

In 1927, a transcription of Leonard Matthews autobiography was published privately under the title A Long Life In Review. In the book, Matthews, the brother of Orville Matthews, wrote the following about the Cyclone Base Ball Club:

In the early days in St. Louis my most intimate young men friends were John Riggin, Louis Hutchinson, John Stetinius and Paul Prewett, all “high rollers,” except myself. We belonged to the St. Louis Cyclone Base Ball Company in 1860. We leased what is now Lafayette Park. At that time, it was surrounded by an osage orange hedge. We spent $600 to put the grounds in shape. This company was one of the first of its kind, formed long before the game became professional. The members were all young men in business, or sedentary life, and the club was for exercise, recreation and social intercourse. I was the first President. Among its members, I remember, were Edward Bredell, who lived opposite on Lafayette Avenue; Jack and William Collier, Ferd Garesche, Alex Crosman and E. O. Matthews, the latter two cadets in the United States Navy; Edw. Farish, my brother W. H. Matthews, now of New Orleans, and others I do not recollect. One afternoon some of us, Ed. Bredell among the rest, were lying in the shade of the hedge, pitching a ball from one to the other, when someone remarked – “Boys, we will soon have another kind of ball to pitch” – and poor Ed. caught one in battle in Virginia, early in the war.
A couple of notes:

-Both Leonard Matthews and his brother William H. Matthews worked for J. Matthews & Co., an apothecary business that they owned along with their father John Matthews, Jr. and their brother John III.

-Matthews account confirms the fact that the Cyclone Club played games at Lafayette Park (an idea advocated by Bill Battle); Al Spink lists Lafayette Park as one of the places were some of the earliest baseball games were played in St. Louis.

-Members of the Cyclone Club mentioned by Matthews but not by Griswold include Leonard Matthews, Louis Hutchinson, John Stetinius, Paul Prewett, Jack Collier, William Collier, and Alex Crosman.

-Interestingly, Matthews does not mention Griswold, Ed Bredell's co-worker from Brooklyn. I'm not sure how to interpret this. Matthews also fails to mention that the Cyclones were the first baseball club in St. Louis and that they played in the first baseball game in the city. While this suggests numerous possibilities, I don't want to read too much into it.

-That quote about "we will soon have another kind of ball to pitch" sounds awfully familiar. I don't know if I've heard it before, if Matthews "borrowed" it, or if I'm just imagining things.

-The photo of Leonard Matthews that is at the top of this post was taken from Life in St. Louis: The Matthews Family Exhibit 1851-1933, the website where I also found Matthews' autobiography.

More On The Make-Up Of The Cyclone Club

In his letter to Al Spink, Merritt Griswold wrote the following:

Other members of "The Cyclone" were John Riggin, Wm. Charles and Orvill Mathews (the latter the late Commodore Mathews of the U.S. Navy), John Prather, Fred Benton, (later captain under Gen. Custer), Mr. Fullerton, (later a General, U.S.A.), Mr. Alfred Berenda and his brother, Mr. Ferd Garesche, Mr. Charles Kearney (son of Gen. Kearney), Mr. Edward Bredell, Jr., and a number of other young men of St. Louis.

Several of these men can be identified in Kennedy's 1860 St. Louis City Directory. Most interestingly, Edward Bredell, Jr. was the son of Edward Bredell, Sr., who was the president of the Missouri Glass Company. Bredell, Jr. worked for his father's company as a clerk, as did Merritt Griswold. Therefore, Bredell, Jr. and Griswold were not only members of the same baseball club but also co-workers.

According to Kennedy's Directory, John Riggin, Jr. worked for a real estate firm with his father, John Riggin, Sr. John G. Prather was employed with Daniel G. Taylor & Co., which sold wine and liquor. Ferdinand Garesche was a principle (along with John P. Norris) in the firm of Norris & Garesche who are listed as proprietors of the Western Spice Mills.

If one reads "Wm. Charles and Orvill Mathews" to mean "Wm. Charles Mathews and Orvill Mathews" then we can identify William Mathews, proprietor of Wm. Mathews & Co., as a member of the Cyclone Club. He is listed in the Directory as a commission merchant. There is no William Charles listed in the directory.

Fred Benton is Frederick William Benteen, who is listed in Kennedy's Directory as a painter. According to the Wyoming Tales and Trails website, Benteen was born in 1834, died in 1898, and retired from the United States Army as a brigadier general. It goes on to say that "At the beginning of the Civil War his family was living in St. Louis. As a result of the War, he was estranged from his father. At the beginning of the War, he announced his intention to enlist in Union forces. His father declared that he hoped his son would be killed by a Confederate bullet, preferable fired by a Benteen. Nevertheless, he enlisted. During the war he was responsible for the capture of a Confederate steamboat upon which his father was serving as an engineer. While other members of the crew were paroled, the elder Benteen remained imprisoned...His army career effectively ended upon a court martial for alleged drunkedness in which he was found guilty of three counts. Benteen, himself, felt himself a failure. " At the Battle of Little Big Horn, Benteen was in command of three companies and was wounded in the right hand.

Charles Kearny is listed in Kennedy's Directory as a clerk and according to the Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri was the son of Gen. Stephen Watts Kearny and the husband of Annie Stewart.

Orvill Mathews is, of course, Edmund Orville Matthews and Mr. Fullerton is J.S. Fullerton.

Based on this research, I have to seriously back away from the ideas that I had concerning the influence of St. Louis' military community on the development of baseball in the city. Certainly Orville Matthews was an active duty naval officer at the time he was a member of the Cyclone Club and Jeremiah Fruin was in the army when he came to St. Louis. Benteen and Fullerton, however, did not join the army until the Civil War and there is no evidence, so far, of Kearny serving in the military.

Update: Griswold, in his letter to Spink, also mentioned a "Mr. Whitney" who worked for "Boatman's Savings Bank" and was the one who suggested the name "Cyclone" for the club. "Mr. Whitney" was Robert S. Whitney who worked as a teller at what was then called Boatman's Savings Institution.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Go Browns!

Viva El Birdos is probably my favorite site on the whole world-wide interweb. It's without a doubt the best Cardinals' related site out there and I usually visit everyday. If you're a Cardinals' fan and don't know about VEB, do yourself a favor and check it out.

Anyway, VEB is running a simulated tournament involving every team in Cardinals' history that has won a championship. Every team that has won a World Series, a pennant, or a division championship is in (sorry, 2001 Cardinals-your "co-championship" doesn't cut it). The coolest thing about this is that they're including the Four Time Champions. The 1885-1888 Browns now have a chance to prove themselves to modern Cards' fans. And I really believe that they're going to do well.

It's a complicated bracket involving twenty-five teams. The 1886 Browns, due to their World Series victory over the Chicagos, get a two round bye and are in the final sixteen. The 1885 Browns are totally getting jobbed (because, let's face it, they won the 1885 Series and should be counted with the rest of St. Louis' World Series winners) and have to play a play-in series to make the final sixteen. The 1887 and 1888 Browns have to win two play-in series to make the final sixteen.

That's a tough row to hoe for the 1887 and 1888 Browns. If I did my cypherin' correctly, they have to win six series against some stiff competition to win the whole thing. In the first round, the 87 Browns have the 1996 Cards and the 88 Browns take on the 1987 Cardinals (which might just be my favorite Cards team of all time). Currently, the 87 Browns are up one game to nothing and the 88 Browns split their first two games. You want to know how tough this tournament is going to be? If the 87 Browns win their series, they get the 1985 Cards in round two. If the 88 Browns win, the 2004 Cards are waiting. Good luck with that.

The 1886 Browns are actually sitting in pretty good shape. They're currently seeded third and, in the round of sixteen, should get one of the weakest teams in the field (they're going to re-seed the field in the round of sixteen based on winning percentage).

The problem is that the 19th century teams are operating under some handicaps. The tournament is being played under modern baseball rules and that should dampen the offensive production of the Four Time Champions. At the same time as the computer adjusts the Browns' offense to the modern era, it doesn't adjust their defense. Just imagine the 1888 Browns taking the field at an astro-turfed Busch Stadium against the 87 Cards without gloves. In game one of that series, as an example of what we can expect, Arlie Latham made three errors (he also had four hits, three stolen bases, three runs scored, and was player of the game).

But the biggest handicap that the Browns are going to be working under is the way the computer views Dave Foutz and Bob Caruthers. For 1887, the computer considers Foutz and Caruthers to be outfielders rather than pitchers. So Silver King and Nat Hudson are going to have to carry the pitching load for the Browns. If the computer made the proper adjustments so that Foutz, Caruthers, and King split time on the mound and divided outfield playing time among O'Neill, Welch, Foutz, and Caruthers then the 1887 Browns would be very tough to beat. The computer is punishing the Browns because Foutz and Caruthers were complete baseball players and it is unable to adjust for differences between the 19th century game and the modern game.

It's going to be an interesting tournament. You can follow it day by day at VEB or you can visit Cardinal70's VEB All-Time Sim Tournament page for a more comprehensive view.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Orville Matthews' Obituary

Matthews was a member of the Cyclone Club in 1860 and his obituary appeared in The New York Times on January 31, 1911.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Martial Make-up Of The Cyclone Club

I've been looking at the members of the Cyclone Club and noticed that several of the members were either in the military in 1860 or would go on to have prominent military careers.

Merritt Griswold was a Captain with the 3rd regiment of the United States Reserve Corp. Orville Matthews was a graduate of the Naval Academy, Class of 1855. Joseph Fullerton was practicing law in St. Louis in 1860 but would serve as an officer in the Civil War and rise to the rank of General. Edward Bredell was an officer in the Confederate army and served with Mosby's Rangers. Charles Kearny was the son of General Stephen Watts Kearny. Fred Benton would serve as a Captain under General Custer.

One would have to assume it's common for teams of this era to have a high percentage of members who would serve in the Civil War. But I think the Cyclones may be a bit different. Matthews was an active duty naval officer in 1860. It's likely that Kearny was an active duty army officer and Griswold was already a member of Reserve Corp. This leads me to speculate that the Cyclone Club may have been formed by some of the military men in St. Louis and their friends (heavy emphasis on speculate).

Add to this the fact that Jeremiah Fruin was in the army prior to the Civil War and was stationed in St. Louis in 1861 and one can begin to see a pattern. The influence of military men who came to St. Louis prior to and during the Civil War on the development of baseball in the city seems to be rather prominent and demands more research.

Note: The picture at the top of this post is of the cemetary at Jefferson Barracks around the turn of the century.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Joseph Fullerton

Joseph Fullerton, according to Merritt Griswold, was a member of the Cyclone Club in 1860. His death was reported in the March 22, 1897 issue of the New York Times and that article appears below.

Hat tip to Bill Battle who was kind enough to send me the Fullerton article.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Edward Bredell

Edward Bredell, Jr. was mentioned in Merritt Griswold's letter to Al Spink as one of the members of the Cyclones, the first baseball club in St. Louis to play under the New York rules. Recently, I received an email from Bill Battle, who is a member of the St. Louis Perfectos Base Ball Club, and he was kind enough to share some information with me about Bredell.

According to Mr. Battle, Bredell was born on August 3,1893 and died on November 16, 1864. Bredell had been an lieutenant in the Confederate army during the Civil War and was serving with Mosby's Rangers when he was killed at the Battle of Ashby's Gap.

Bredell's death is mentioned in Partisan Life with Col. John Mosby, a book written by Major John Scott and published in 1867. According to Major Scott, "Lieutenant Edward Bredell, from St. Louis, Mo., was killed at Whiting's house. He was a private in the battalion, and derived his title from a staff position which he had filled in the regular service. He was a brave soldier and his loss is much regretted in the command. Bredell had a midnight funeral on the island, a sand deposit in the Shenandoah, but his remains have since been removed to Cool Spring Church, near Piedmont."

Monday, January 14, 2008

That's One Ugly Cap

-From an advertisement in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, May 23, 1875

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Empires Toss The Yarn And Leather

"The Empires indulged in tossing the yarn and leather about at a great rate at their park yesterday afternoon. At a late hour two 'nines,' composed of ten men each, were picked out and went for one another at a great rate. It was the intention of the boys to play a game between the married and single members of the club, but it had to be abandoned on account of the benedicts staying away; so the two tens were mixed up. Nine innings were played, which resulted in favor of the Spaulding side (over the Barron side, 32-22)."

"In the third inning Ellick, Spaulding and Welch made a very pretty double play. During the game Jimmy Spaulding made a home run. The weather was entirely too cold to play ball, but any amount of fun was indulged in by the players which pleased the 500 or 600 spectators in attendance hugely. Before the game came off, Billy Gorman, of the Empires, in taking a terrible hot liner, got the third finger of his right hand broken. 'Surgeon' Dickey Pearce, being on the ground, set the finger in real professional style."

-From the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 12, 1875

The Buckeye Base Ball Club

"The Buckeye Base Ball Club of this city will give a grand complimentary ball this evening at Hiemenz Hall at the corner of Carondelet avenue and Carroll street. It is hoped that all hands will have a jolly good time."

-From the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 3, 1875

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Bias Of The Globe-Democrat

I'm sure I've mentioned that the Globe-Democrat was a pro-Reds paper. The paper began as The Globe in 1852 and became the Globe-Democrat after an 1875 merger with the Missouri Democrat.

In the late 1860's, William Macdonald Spink moved to St. Louis, went to work for the Missouri Democrat and became the telegraph editor at the Globe-Democrat after the merger. According to The National Game, "One day he asked the editor of his paper leave to insert baseball and other sporting items in the Globe-Democrat. Mr. Spink offered to do this work as a labor of love, and his offer was accepted." Spink, as the sports editor of the Globe, became a champion of baseball in St. Louis and a supporter of efforts to place a team in the NA.

As to any biases that Spink may have brought to his baseball coverage, his brother, Al Spink, wrote that "In the early days 'Billy' Spink championed the Empires and the St. Louis Reds. He was their friend even after the professional teams had come in."

There is no doubt that Spink gave more favorable coverage in 1875 to the Reds at the expense of the Brown Stockings. The Reds were "our boys" while the Brown Stockings were the "St. Louis-Easton-Atlantic professionals" and his post-season coverage of the Reds is more apologetics than journalism.

All journalists have their biases and all newspapers have an editorial slant. I'm not knocking Spink for his pro-Reds stance (which I happen to share). I just think it's important to note it.

If I Can Make It There...

The Brown Stockings made there first Eastern trip in July and August of 1875. On July 12, 1875, they became the first St. Louis team to play a game in New York. Okay, technically, it was Brooklyn but let's not split hairs. The team made the hajj to the cradle of baseball and made a favorable impression. It was a sort of homecoming for several of the players on a club that the Globe-Democrat liked to refer to as the "St. Louis-Easton-Atlantic professionals."

Friday, January 11, 2008

One More Thing

I guess this is why you should never drink and blog (unless you're VodkaPundit). And I'm only on my third extra special bitter.

TGOG is a baseblog and a narrowly focused one at that. I know what my purview is and try to keep within that framework. Having said that...

There have been two bloggers in the news lately that I wanted to bring to your attention. Fouad al-Farhan is a Saudi blogger who was arrested in December for speaking out about the human rights situation in his country. Lionheart is a British blogger who faces the threat of arrest for his comments about the destruction of his country's culture.

As a blogger and a free man, I can do nothing but decry the tyrannical oppression of our God-given right to free speech. There but for the grace of God go I...and you.

Covering The Bases

Just a little business related post as I'm sitting here listening to the Blues take on Columbus. Go Blues! What? You think TGOG is all 19th century baseball all the time? As I'm fond of saying, there are two seasons: baseball season and non-baseball season. Luckily for me, they play hockey during non-baseball season (and someone was very good last year and got a nice pair of center ice tickets to next Saturday's game for Christmas). Also, as I listen to the game on the radio and type this up, you may be interested to know that I'm sampling some of Schlafly Brewery's finest. It's a nice extra special bitter winter ale and it's going down well.

As to business:

  • You may have noticed a Google search bar to the right. I've played with a couple of different search bars since I started TGOG and was never happy with any of them. I went back to the Google search bar, fiddled with the code until it fit nicely in the side column, and am reasonably happy with the result. Try it out. You should be able to search for anything on this site and get solid results. If anybody has problems with it, let me know.

  • I'm thinking about messing with the template for no other reason than I'm bored with the red/grey color scheme. So if I get serious about it and start changing things, don't freak out. This is still a young site and I've been trying different things since I started with it. Maybe one day I'll be satisfied (although I doubt it). Any thoughts or input on how to improve the layout of the site would be welcomed and appreciated.

  • Traffic on TGOG has been great and has done nothing but grow since the beginning. I want to take this opportunity to thank everybody who has visited. It's truly amazing. When I started this, I never really expected anybody to pay attention. I figured that I'd just use the site as a place to put all the stuff I was working on and no big deal. But to my amazement, I built it and people came. I really want to thank all the regulars-the folks who subscribe to my feed, who come back time and time again, who post comments. You guys are awesome. The best part of working on this blog is the chance to get to talk to all of you. The emails that I've received have been fantastic. I really can't thank everybody enough for all the kind words and the information that they've shared. Really, you guys are the best.

  • Things have been kind of crazy on my end since the Holidays. Work has been nuts. I've been putting in crazy hours and literally haven't had a day off since Christmas. But things are getting back to normal and I'm actually taking the weekend off, so I'm going to put a lot of work in this weekend on TGOG. Lots of plans, lots of projects. It should be fun. Then again, the best laid plans of mice and men...

  • Anything else? I don't think so but I really do recommend this extra special bitter winter ale from Schlafly.

The Union Club Of Morrisania Visit St. Louis

The Union Club of Morrisania, New York (pictured above in an illustration taken from the October 26, 1867 issue of Harper's Weekly) actually played two games in St. Louis in 1868. On August 14, they played the Union Club of St. Louis and won 37-30. It was the second most runs the Union of Morrisania would give up all year and it's actually rather shocking that the Unions of St. Louis almost upset the 1867 champions.

The next day's game between the Empires and the Union of Morrisania was covered briefly in the New York Times on August 17, 1868.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Remembrance Of Things Past

We were very proud of our St. Louis Browns, and equally jealous of the Chicago White Sox. One never gets this partisanship out of the blood. Only last Saturday the sculptor, Ruckstull, now sixty-eight, and sunk deep in the hollow of a library leather chair from which he was freely reading Montaigne's archaic French, paused at some mention of memory and said: "What a heaven sent gift memory is!" And then, with an accusing challenge, "Can you name the whole nine of the first St. Louis league team when they won that first series from Chicago in 1874?"

And trying to beat each other to it, we alternated and interfered and reached a flushed crescendo in a run of competing explosions, telling: "Bradley, pitch; Miller, catch; Dehlman, Bannon, Hogue, on bases; Dickey Pierce at short; and in the field? Cuthbert, Chapman, and-and Haight."

But we couldn't remember Chicago. We remembered the whiskers on some of those Lake Front athletes, as luxuriant as those now worn by the Cough Drop Brothers. And all the time the sculptor was commanding attention with a hand on which the hypnotic feature was an ossified contusion of the first phalange of the little finger, pitched to him on our old railroad nine of that epoch.
-From The Print of My Remembrance

Augustus Thomas (pictured above as a young man), author of The Print of My Remembrance, was a playwright and journalist who was born in St. Louis in 1857. As a young man, he worked on the railroad in St. Louis which explains the reference to "our old railroad nine."

I guess I should point out the irony of discussing how wonderful a thing memory is and then not being able to remember correctly the year the Brown Stockings joined the NA. Thomas and Frederick Ruckstull also misidentified the Brown Stockings starting nine. "Bannon" was Joe Battin and I don't know who "Haight" was but the name they were looking for was Lip Pike.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

To Be A Fly On The Wall

This is a picture of a National League owners meeting in 1897. In the back row is Edward Becker (far left), Chris Von der Ahe (second from left), and Frank De Hass Robison (fourth from left). In 1899, Becker, one of Von der Ahe's many creditors, would buy the Browns out of receivership and then sell the majority interest to Robison and his brother Stanley.

Von der Ahe had almost sold the Browns to Frank Robison prior to the 1898 season but the deal fell through because Robison would not allow Von der Ahe to keep the beer concessions at Sportsman's Park. In March of 1899, after Becker had purchased the Browns, Von der Ahe was quoted as saying "I don't care who got the property, just so that...Robison did not."

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Joe Quinn

Joe Quinn, the second baseman of the Boston Club when they won the National League pennant in 1891, is now a resident of St. Louis.

He played his first professional ball in 1884 with the St. Louis Unions, having been brought from Dubuque, Ia., by Ted Sullivan to play at first base for that team.

Dunlap was captain and second baseman of the Unions that year. Quinn followed closely in Dunlap's footsteps, copied his every move, and so well that he was able for years afterwards to hold his own as a second baseman with the best clubs in the major leagues.

Quinn was a very lively sort of a lad at second, fielding finely and being a good hitter when a hit was badly needed.

He is now engaged in the livery business in St. Louis, and is rated one of the Mound City's most prominent and popular citizens.

-From The National Game

An interesting player, Joe Quinn was born in Sidney, Australia in 1864 and was the only Australian native to play in the big leagues until Craig Shipley came up with the Dodgers in the 1980's. Quinn is also the only person to play in the NL, AL, UA, and the Players League. Sadly, he never played in the AA. In 1884, Quinn played for the Black Diamonds, whose .832 winning percentage is the highest in the history of the major leagues. In 1899, Quinn played for the Cleveland Spiders, whose .130 winning percentage is the lowest in the history of the major leagues.

In the Historical Baseball Abstract, Bill James has Quinn ranked as the 102nd best second baseman of all time. He also has him rated as one of the worst defensive second baseman of all time with only 3.68 Win Shares per 1,000 defensive innings.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Every Day Is Ladies Day

The question has been asked a thousand times: "Will there be ladies' day at the park this year?" When the question was put to President Frank Robison this morning he said: "Every day is ladies' day at League Park. I don't believe in the old time 'ladies' day' because of the elements it attracts but I believe in having ladies in the grand stands at every game and for that reason I want to announce that the extra charge for admission to the grand stand does not apply to the fair sex. I hope the young gentlemen of St. Louis will make a note of this and we hope to have a fine display of spring bonnets back of the home plate every day."
-From Sporting Life, April 29, 1899

Is it just me or was the new regime a bunch of prigs?

Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Brown Stockings Open The Season

This game, which was played on March 27, 1875 and was described by the Democrat as the Brown Stockings' first of the season, was not exactly competitive. The Brown Stockings had their best team on the field and the picked nine was a motley crew. Charles Turner and Robert Lucas had been members of the Union club in the 1860's. Turner was involved in the management of the Brown Stockings as was Lucas' family. Deviney played left field for the Atlantics. Joe Blong, of course, played with the Reds in 1875 and would go on to play for the Brown Stockings in 1876 and 1877. George Seward, Frank Fleet, and Charlie Waitt all saw action with the Brown Stockings in 1875 but were not regulars. Eugene Wolff "used to be a good player" and Maynard was "a young man from Brooklyn."

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Atlantics' Roster For 1875

The Globe had this short notice in the March 21, 1875 issue:

"The St. Louis Atlantic Club will be composed of the following players: Ullery, p.; Good, c.; Williams, 1st b.; Dubuque, 2nd b.; Libby s. s. and change pitcher; Jones, 3rd b.; Deviney, l. f.; Price, c. f.; Mueller, r. f.; with Peterson and Herring as subs. The Atlantics will play at the St. Louis Red Stocking Park"

Friday, January 4, 2008

One Unhappy Citizen

There was great cheering for the ballplayers along the line of March in Sunday's parade before the game. Just as the procession neared...Third Street Chris Von der Ahe, who had been standing in the doorway of an opened but unoccupied building, caught the strains of the brass band. He looked about and saw the eyes of the crowd about centered on him. His face flushed a deep crimson. For a moment he hesitated, thinking to brave it out but the struggle was too much for him and he retreated to the rear of the building. The sympathy of the crowd went out to him. It is said that the first complementary season book sent out by Messrs. Robinson and Becker was sent to Mr. Von der Ahe, but that he refused to accept it.
-From Sporting Life, April 22, 1899

Von der Ahe, having lost his ball club, with his financial empire collapsing about him, standing alone in a doorway as the Browns parade towards Sportsman's Park to begin a new season, makes for a rather tragic figure. He would, as Jon David Cash wrote, fade "into the obscurity of the St. Louis saloon business."

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Fruin Lives!

-From The New York Times, March 6, 1887

And I don't know why this interests me so much but the company that Jeremiah Fruin started in 1872 as Fruin & Company General Contractors is still in existence. Now known as the Fru-Con Construction Corporation, the company is headquartered in Baldwin, Missouri and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bilfinger Berger.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Henry Clay Sexton

I found this picture of Henry Clay Sexton in A Tour Of St. Louis by J. A. Dacus and James Buel. The book was published in 1878 and is available online here.

Dacus and Buel wrote the following about Sexton and the StLFD:

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Jeremiah Fruin And The Charter Oak Club

Before coming to St. Louis in 1861, Jeremiah Fruin played baseball with the Charter Oak Club of Brooklyn in 1859. According to Marshall Wright, Fruin played in all four of the club's match games that year. On May 26, 1859, the Charter Oaks lost to the Star Club of Brooklyn by a score of 26-22 with Fruin playing first base. The Brooklyn Eagle's account of the game is below.

Happy New Year

Ringing in 2008 with Father Time!