Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Reds Return In 1878?

The outlook for fine sport in this city this season is good, in spite of the fact that the famous Brown Stockings are no more. Mr. Thomas McNeary, aided by L.C. Waite, Esq., are quietly at work securing a team to play under the old Red Stocking banner, and their knowledge of the game assures the success of their selections. This club will occupy the Compton avenue grounds, which are in prime condition, and the boys will show some first-class play during the summer.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, March 24, 1878

It's difficult to say if the Reds actually took the field in 1878. Waite was involved in the organization of the International Association that year and was listed as representing the Reds but I haven't been able to find any record of the Reds playing a game that year. After the club disbands following the 1876 season, the next reference to a McNeary led Red Stocking club I can find is a game played in 1880. There is a reference to "the Red Stockings" in 1879 but the team mentioned is actually the Grand Avenue Club who, it appears, wore a uniform with red stockings.


david ball said...

Do you know anything about Waite? When did his connection with the Reds begin? I believe it was 1877 that he was involved in the formation of the International Association.

Jeffrey Kittel said...

I know a bit about him. Born in Ohio in 1841, he was living in StL by 1871. Worked as a newspaperman and was also with the Quartermaster Corp. I'm not certain when his involvement with the Reds began but he was involved in baseball by 1875, when he was secretary of the Grand Avenue Club. Certainly involved in the attempted reformation of the Reds in the 1877/1878 period and by the 1880s he's essentially running the club (and I think the post tomorrow or Friday has some of that information in it).

His name is in the Globe a lot in 1877/78. There's a good deal of coverage of his involvement with the International Association and it's mostly from the point of view of the Reds and the smaller clubs struggling against the League monopoly. If you look at it strictly from the Globe's coverage, the IA was created by Waite as a reaction to the Reds not being admitted into the League. He spends 1877 organizing the IA and the Reds were supposed to field a club in 78 under that umbrella. However, it doesn't appear that things worked out (although I'm still looking at 1878 to see if I can find any evidence of the Reds fielding a team).

Of course, the Globe was a bit biased in favor of the Reds and their coverage always paints the club and its activities in the best light. Waite was certainly involved in the organization of the IA, was the Reds representative, and served on various committees. But I don't know enough about the IA to say how great his involvement was or how pivotal his role was in its founding.