Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The All-Absorbing Topic In Base Ball Circles

The announcement that Hall, Devlin, Nicholls and Craver had been expelled from the Louisville club for crooked conduct was the all-absorbing topic in base ball circles yesterday and the general impression prevailed that it would result in killing the national game "deader than a mackerel." The news, of course, created greater excitement in St. Louis than elsewhere, as two of the expelled players were relied on to help bring the championship here next season; and, if the charges against them can be sustained, it is almost a foregone conclusion that the St. Louis club will "throw up the sponge," and never again place a nine in the field. In this event, the days of professional base ball are numbered, and the hundreds of young men who have depended on the pastime as a means of earning a livelihood will be forced to seek some other field of operations. In these hard times this is a result greatly to be regretted but the only parties to be blamed are the ball players themselves who have permitted about a dozen dishonest men to enter their ranks and carry on a systematic method of swindling, which is now likely to result in the death of what has so long been recognized as the national game of America...The veriest greenhorn knows that there is no future for base ball until the confidence of the public can be regained...If Devlin and Hall are of the crooked class, they can not be punished too quickly and St. Louis is lucky to have found it out before the commencement of the playing season...St. Louis, better than any other city in the Union, can afford to do away with professional ball playing, having amateurs by the score who are almost as skillful as men who are paid to play, and the enthusiasm which was aroused in the days of the Unions and Empires, and later the Empires and Red Stockings, will be again witnessed. Concerning Devlin and Hall, one word should be added. The Louisville dispatch states that these men and Craver and Nicholls were expelled for "selling games, disobedience of orders and general misconduct." It does not specify which of the men were expelled for "selling games." This is of course the gravest charge, and if Hall and Devlin are not included in it, the "disobedience of orders and general misconduct" can be easily excused...
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, November 1, 1877

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