1858.42 – In Downstate
, New Club Wins by 134 Rounds Illinois
. – The ILLINOIS [IL] Base-Ball Club . . . a meeting was held on the evening of May 18, to organize a club . . . . The Alton Upper AltonBase Ball Club . . . sent us a challenge, to play a match game, on Saturday, the 19th of June, which was accepted by our club; each side had five innings, and thirteen players each, with the following result: The Alton Base-Ball Club made 224 rounds. The Upper Alton Base-Ball Club made 90 rounds.” “Base-Ball”, Porter's Spirit of the Times, Volume 4, number 20 (July 17, 1858), p. 309, columns. 2-3 Alton IL is a Mississippi River town 5 miles north of St. Louis. . Missouri
Obviously, this isn't the New York game that they're playing in Alton but I believe this is the earliest reference to a non-cricket safe haven game in the St. Louis area that anyone has found as of yet. Very significant and very exciting stuff. This certainly helps shed some light on what was happening with bat and ball games in St. Louis prior to the introduction of the New York game.
1859.39 – Club Organized in
St. Louis MO
“CLUB ORGANIZED, -- A base ball club was organized in
, on the 1st inst. It boasts of being the first organization of the kind in that city, but will not, surely, long stand alone. It numbers already 18 members, officers as follows: President, C. D. Paul; Vice do, J. T. Haggerty; Secretary, C. Thurber; Treasurer, E. R. Paul. They announce their determination to be ready to lay matches in about a month. Source: Underidentified clipping in the Mears collection – The Clipper or the Spirit of the Times – annotated “Sept 1859” in hand. Facsimile provided by Craig Waff, September 2008. St. Louis, Mo
Again, very significant in that this is the earliest contemporary reference to a club that was (most likely) playing the New York game in St. Louis. While the best available evidence suggests that the Cyclone club organized in the summer of 1859, all the references are based on the later memories of the participants. Interestingly, this club is a complete mystery in that I have no information about it. The men mentioned in the source are not mentioned by Tobias in his history of early baseball in St. Louis. It's possible that this may be the Resolute, Hope, or Olympic Club but much more research is needed.
I have done some research and identified three of the men mentioned in the source. Edmund R. Paul was born in Missouri in 1837 and in 1860 he was working as a clerk in a real estate office that was owned by his father Edmund W. Paul. He had a brother named Charles S. Paul who is most likely the C.D. Paul mentioned in the source. Charles Paul was born in Missouri in 1841 and in 1860 he was working as a printer. C. Thurber is most likely Charles H. Thurber who was working as a clerk in an insurance office in 1860. J.T. Haggerty has been difficult to identify because of the fact that there were several Haggerty's and Hagerty's and Hagarty's with first names that started with "J" living in St. Louis in 1860.