Saturday, July 26, 2008

Adam Wirth Gets Some National Ink (Sort Of)

We present to our base ball readers in this week's issue, the third of our series of illustrations, and the second of the portraits of leading players of the country, the subject of our present sketch being Mr. Adam North, of the Empire Base Ball Club of St. Louis, Mo.

The furore for base ball which existed in the Middle States in 1860 to such an extent, reached as far West as St. Louis, and in that year it led to the organization of the Empire Club of that city-then, as now, the champion club of the Western States. The war, however, affected the Empire Club, as it did all base ball clubs, and for four years, play was, in a measure, suspended. In 1865, however, the activity and enterprise which marked the action of the Empire Club in 1860 were resumed, and by several finely-contested games with leading organizations of sister States and cities, the Empires fully established their claim to the title of the Champion of the West, and it will, doubtless, be some time ere the laurels will be wrested from them; for this season they open play stronger and seem more enthusiastic than ever before.

In accordance with our request, we have to acknowledge a prompt reply to our circular from Mr. H.C. Sexton of the Empire Club, the first Vice-President of the National Association, who has sent us the name of Mr. Adam North, the first baseman of the Empire Club of St. Louis. Mr. North is of the typographical fraternity, and as such, as a matter of course, is "a gentleman and a scholar," and, moreover, a first-class ball-player. His strong points of play are his accuracy in throwing and his certainty in holding a ball, these two physical attributes making his services exceedingly useful in other positions besides the one he has made his specialty-viz., the first base of the nine. To these desirable qualifications he adds calmness and steadiness of play, and presence of mind and evenness of temper in exciting and critical positions of the game.

Mr. North is about twenty-two years of age, possesses a manly physique, and considerable power of endurance, and his strength of muscle is shown in his batting skill-his average play at the bat being of the best of his club. At present he is an employee in the office of the Missouri Democrat, and is highly esteemed by his companions and employers. Among the games in which Mr. North has conspicuously figured are the contests between his club and those of Freeport, Ill., Dubuque, Iowa, and with the Morning Star and Commercial Union Clubs of St. Louis.
-Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, August 4, 1866

This is a great piece and I have to give a hat tip to Richard Hershberger who was kind enough to send it to me. There's just one little problem with it though. The Empire Club never had a first baseman named Adam North. The guy they're talking about is the great Adam Wirth, first baseman extraordinaire and arguably the best player the Empires ever had. How would you like to be Adam Wirth in 1866? You get some serious national ink but they get your last name wrong. Such is life.

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