Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Main Base Ball Center Of The City

The subject matter of providing a permanent habitation and home for the Empire Club had long been under consideration by leading members of the club and early in (the 1867) season assumed a tangible form by the appointment of a committee to select suitable grounds. They reported favorably upon what became known as the St. Louis Base Ball Park, the property being then a cornfield and owned by John Dunn. At the same time the Union Club, having become dissatisfied with their own grounds further South on Grand Avenue and opposite where now stands the Rock Church, also discovered the availability of the tract selected by the Empire committee. The main recommendation of this ground was its near proximity to the Fair Grounds, which was then the objective point of several street car lines built and to be built. August Solari, a member of the Empire Club, secured a five-year lease of this property and entered into an agreement with the Union Club whereby upon the payment of a small rental and giving him the lumber contained in their old grounds for use in the erection of grandstand, fencing, etc., in the new park, Solari was obligated to provide necessary accommodations, keep the grounds in good order, the Union Club to have the exclusive right to use of the park on certain days. The Empire Club rented from Solari two days in each week, one being Sunday. It was in the foregoing manner that old Sportsman's Park, as it was known eventually, became the main base ball center of the city and for several years thereafter it remained so.
-E.H. Tobais, writing in The Sporting News, November 23, 1895

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