Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Like his brother, William McDonald Spink, "the first of St. Louis sporting writers," Al Spink, the author of this book, was born in Quebec, Canada, and educated at the Quebec High School.-Al Spink, writing in The National Game
He and his brother, William, played on the High School cricket eleven and then and there became enamored of outdoor sports.
The great book at the high school then was "Tom Brown's School Days at Rugby."
In it the great story was the description given by Tom Hughes of the fight between Tom Brown and "Slogger" Williams.
It taught the school boys that there was nothing so fair as a game at fisticuffs and down the hill from the high school there was a platform on which was settled with the fists all real differences that came up.
Manliness and fair play came from this practice and with it a wish to excel in all manly sports. So it came that the Spink boys early became enamored of cricket and boxing and when these two brothers left Canada they carried this love of sport with them.
William Spink came to St. Louis from Quebec when a mere lad to take charge of the Western Union telegraph office. He was even then the fastest receiver in that company. Soon after William Spink located here his brother Alfred came on and joined him.
That was back in the sixties. Since then Mr. Spink has done special or regular newspaper work for nearly all the leading newspapers of America. He was sporting editor of the Globe-Democrat, the Missouri Republican and the Post-Dispatch, all of St. Louis. For them he did all around sport work, but mostly baseball. In the early days of the game he organized many baseball leagues and in his time he was president of the first Western League, the first Inter-State League, and the first St. Louis College and Business Men's League. In 1884, while acting as secretary of the St. Louis Union team, he established The Sporting News, now the great baseball paper. A year or two later he was the secretary of the St. Louis Browns. He was one of St. Louis' early players and he was the president of the Standard Baseball Club, with whom he played in the early seventies.
Ten years ago he promoted the St. Louis World, a daily newspaper, which is still being published in St. Louis. It would, in fact, take more space than this book allows to tell of the many things he was started during his career, and this history of the National game is only one of them. Some future historian will perhaps tell the rest.