Friday, August 15, 2008
A Pair Of Significant Victories
The 19th century St. Louis clubs were never able to handle the big Eastern clubs that came to town in the 1860's and 70's, suffering a string of humiliating defeats. In fact, they were never even competitive against them. The Eastern Clubs, amateur or professional, were simply too much for the St. Louis clubs to handle. Teams such as the Empires, Unions, Reds, and Turners were not of the same caliber as their Eastern brothers. This was known and accepted at the time.
However, in September of 1874, the Oneida Club of Staten Island, "a crack amateur club," came to St. Louis and the losing streak against Eastern clubs came to an end. On September 21st, the Reds defeated the Oneidas 12-4. The next day the Empires beat them 16-10.
I had never heard of the Oneidas of Staten Island before and they're not mentioned by Marshall Wright as having played in the NABBP between 1857 and 1870. I would assume, based on that, that they were a relatively new club trying to take a big step forward by making a Western tour. The fact that they were defeated by both the Reds and Empires suggests that they weren't one of the better Eastern clubs.
However, a win is a win and these two victories mark the first time that a St. Louis baseball club defeated a club from the East.