Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Known 19th Century St. Louis Baseball Clubs, Part 2

When writing about the founding of the Missouri State Association of Base Ball Clubs, Tobias notes that there were “quite a number of clubs organized in the interior cities and towns” of Missouri. He also mentions that sixteen St. Louis clubs attended the “preliminary meeting” founding the State Association. Sadly, he doesn’t name all of those clubs.

Veto-Tobias writes that the Empire Clubs’ anniversary game was played in 1868 “on the grounds of the Veto Club…”

Athletic-first mentioned by Tobias as having a club member on the State Association Judiciary Committee in 1868

Mutual-played a game against the Union Club on September 24, 1868

Union, Jr.


The above clubs were mentioned as having been defeated by the Union Club in 1868. The Union, Jr. was the junior nine of the Union Club. Most of the prominent 19th century clubs would, besides having multiple nines for the parent club, also have a junior club made up of younger players. The junior players would sometimes “graduate” to the parent club or sometimes split off and form their own independent club.

Lone Star

St. Louis

All the above clubs were mentioned by Tobias as intending to compete for the championship in 1869. The Lone Stars were a club “located in the Southern portion of the city.”

Olympic (ii)-In 1869, the Union Jr.’s broke away from their parent organization and formed the Olympic Club taking up the name after the old Olympic Club had broken up.


All of the above clubs were mentioned as being represented at one or more meetings of the State Association in 1869.

Washington University-first mentioned by Tobias as playing a match against the Unions on June 2, 1870; the club, composed of college students, was certainly active before this and probably as early as 1866.

St. Louis University-mentioned playing the Unions on June 25, 1870; again the club was likely active immediately following the end of the Civil War.

Bill Kelsoe, in A Newspaper Man’s Motion-Picture of the City, mentions that the nickname of the Wash U club was “the Olympics” and that SLU’s nickname was “the Pickwicks.” The rivalry between the two clubs was great and Kelsoe relates that Shepard Barclay, a former chief justice of the Missouri Supreme Court and member of the Union Club, told him that his fondest moment was when he pitched SLU to a victory over Wash U in a game on May 23, 1867.

Olympics of Carondelet-played a game against the Unions on July 30, 1870; this is the fourth team that used the Olympic moniker (including the original Olympics, the Union, Jr./Olympics, and Wash U).

St. Louis Junior-“A new organization, named St. Louis Junior, was composed entirely of Mechanics, formerly connected with the Atlantic, Jr., and they located (in 1871) on the old Veto grounds, near the Pacific machine shops, with Joe Blong, president.” I’ve seen a reference to the possibility that Packy Dillon also played for the St. Louis, Jr.’s and if this is true there’s an argument to be made that this is the club that would evolve into the Red Stockings.

Atlantic, Jr.-see above note.

Pacific-mentioned as holding elections for officers in 1871.

Varieties-“a new club…that had been but recently organized (in 1871) and having for its foundation five seceeders from the Atlantic Club…”

Rival-played a game against the Empire Club on August 4, 1872 and Tobias described them as having been “lately organized.”

Dodd, Brown & Co.
Crow, McCreery & Co.
Sam. C. Davis & Co.

“In the latter part of (the 1872) season base ball received quite an impetus through the inauguration of the early closing movement among mercantile and other business houses on Saturday afternoons, whereby the employees of a number of these firms were brought into organized clubs named after the firms by whom they were employed such as the (ones listed above). In those clubs some fine base ball talent was developed…” On the 1873 season, Tobias wrote that “(the) Mercantile community also took a deeper interest and more wide spread participation in the game and so numerous were the matches played by the representatives of business concerns that it will be impossible in this history to do more than give such games the briefest passing notice.” There is no telling how many clubs liked this existed in St. Louis in the 19th century and, along with minor clubs that weren’t part of the State Association or didn’t compete for the championship, it makes the task of putting together a comprehensive list of 19th century St. Louis baseball clubs an impossibility.

Red Stockings-first competed for the championship in 1873; competed for the national professional championship in 1875

Stoddards-“an entirely new club of young representatives of the solid families of the city” who first began play in 1873

Modocs-played a game against the Atlantics on July 13, 1873

Niagara-first mentioned playing a game against the Turners on July 20, 1873


Marble City
Forest City
J.B. Sickle & Co.
Burns & Deguan


All of the above were mentioned by Tobias as having played games in August of 1873

National-“A new club entered the base ball fraternity (in 1874)…under the name of National and was composed of players from the former Independent, Olympic, Commercial, Eckford, Union and Rowena teams.”

Independent-see above note.

Gymnasium-members of the Gymnasium Club played as a part of picked nine in a game against the Westerns of Keokuk on June 27, 1874

Artisan-members of the Artisan Club were at a special meeting of St. Louis clubs in 1874 that met upon the death of Asa Smith

Lone Stars of Collinsille-played a game against the Niagara Club on July 19, 1874.

Jackson-“organized from ‘Home Bitters’ (in 1874)…”

Home Bitters-see above note

Peerless-“On July 28 (1874), the Union Club defeated the Peerless at Grand Avenue Park…The latter club though young was already known as a club making low scores and playing brilliantly.”

Stocks-“The Stocks, as their name implies, was made up of livestock men, most of them residing in ‘Butcher Town’ north of Easton and west of Vandeventer avenue.” First mention playing a game on July 29, 1874.

White Stockings-“(A) consolidator of players from the Rowena and Jackson Clubs” who first played in 1874.

Brown Stockings-the National Association club made up of Eastern professional players that began play in 1875; moved to the National League in 1876 and disbanded after the 1877 season; remnants of the team would form an independent professional team in 1878, also called the Brown Stockings; two years later Chris Von der Ahe would become involved with the club and, by 1882, would have the team playing in the American Association.

Elephants-mentioned as a “prominent club that still existed in 1875 under the old amateur organization”

Besides the Elephants, Tobias mentions the Empire, Rowena, Atlantic, Olympic, Nationals, Niagara and Haymakers as the prominent amateur clubs still playing in 1875. There were questions as to whether any of the amateur clubs would be able to survive the presence of two professional teams in the city in 1875. “Many amateur clubs disorganized but the Empire and a few others determined to hold fast for the season at least.” While he was talking specifically about the Empire Club, Tobias could have been talking about the entire era of 19th century amateur baseball when he wrote that “(as) the season (of 1875) advanced it was made apparent that the famous old Empire Club was in its declining days…with the exception of an occasional spurt recalling its former glory, its record was that of a sick old man with the grip of death on his vitals.”

Grand Avenues-a club organized in 1875 by August Solari; played its home games at the Grand Avenue Park; on the board of directors of the club that year was Chris Von der Ahe, later to become famous as the owner of the St. Louis Browns.

Cote Brilliants-first mentioned playing a game against the Haymakers on August 21, 1875.

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