Monday, February 16, 2009

An Interesting 1858 Reference To Bats And Balls

In the November 11, 1858 issue of the Alton Weekly Courier, there's a long article praising the virtue of "Physical Culture" and the salatory effects of physical exercise. The article contains the following quote:

We have been content to use our arms in driving quills, and measuring tape, and holding books-we need to go out under the glorious sun and try them at pitching quoits, throwing balls and wielding bats and cricket clubs.

Attribution of the piece is difficult because there is no specific author named or source mentioned. There's nothing in the piece that specificly mentions Alton or the St. Louis area but there are some references that could lead one to believe that the piece was written elsewhere and then picked up by the Weekly Courier. While it's difficult to make a judgement, I'd bet the piece was not specific to the Weekly Courier. Regardless, it is one of only a handful of references that we have to bat and ball games in the St. Louis papers during the antebellum era.

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