Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Blue Stockings/Sunset Game

The Blue Stockings and Sunsets, rival colored organizations of this city, contest for supremacy this afternoon, at the Red Stocking Park.
-The St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 12, 1875

The information is in bits and pieces-meager scraps scattered all about-but I'm starting to find it. While I'm certainly no expert on black baseball, all the information that I've seen has ignored the 19th century history of the game in St. Louis. In the one book I have on the subject, the first mention of an African-American team in St. Louis is Charles Mills' Giants early in the 20th century. There's at least forty years of baseball history previous to this that has been neglected.

One interesting thing, it appears that many of the games played by the black clubs in the 1870's and 80's were held at the Compton Avenue Park. I'm not sure how significant this is. It may speak to the character of Thomas McNeary or it may indicate that McNeary, due to the poor location of the grounds and the failure of the Reds as a NA entity, simply needed the money and took any tenant or game he could get.

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