Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Cricket Match At Gamble's Lawn

A match took place yesterday at Gamble's grounds, between the Prairie Cricket Club of Chicago, and the St. Louis Cricket Club.  There was a large number of spectators present, and among them a goodly number of the fair sex, who appeared to be as anxious as the players themselves for the result of the game.  First innings, Chicago, 98.  First innings, St. Louis 115.  Second Innings of the Chicago, 85.  The game will be resumed today, and we will give our readers a full report of the match.
-St. Louis Daily Bulletin, May 3, 1860

Grand Cricket Match-The Prairie Cricket club of Chicago against the St. Louis Club-The St. Louis Boys Defeated.-A grand match commenced between eleven of the Prairie Club of Chicago, and eleven of the St. Louis Cricket Club, on Wednesday, at ten o'clock, at Gamble's Park, south of Clark avenue, and closed yesterday about one o'clock.  A large crowd was present both days, including many ladies, who watched the game with much interest.  The Chicago cricketers are all good looking young men, and seem to be familiar with the bat and ball.  Their uniform is white pants, blue frock shirt, white cap with blue trimming.  The dress of the St. Louis boys is similar, excepting the frock, which is white.  Most of our St. Louis cricketers are new at the game, yet it will be seen by the scoring that they played well.  The umpire for the Chicago club was S.P. Oldershame; scorer, C.J. Bloomfield; umpire of the St. Louis Club, Thomas Bennington; scorer E.M. Joel...
-St. Louis Daily Bulletin, May 4, 1860

The St. Louis club scored 48 in its second inning, ending the match.  

This is another example of Gamble Lawn, one of the earliest baseball grounds in St. Louis, being used for cricket.  Also of interest is the fact that this was a match between St. Louis and Chicago clubs.  While the St. Louis/Chicago baseball rivalry wouldn't begin until after the Civil War, this is evidence that sporting clashes between the two cities predated the war.    


Richard Hershberger said...

A nit: The St. Louis club undoubtedly scored 48 in its second "innings". In cricket, "innings" is both singular and plural. This useage can also be found in some baseball reporting of this period (as well as "batsman") but it died out soon enough.

It isn't terribly surprising that St. Louis and Chicago were competing in cricket this early. Cincinnati and Pittsburgh clubs competed in 1850. Chicago and Milwaukee were competing early on, as was Cleveland.

Cricket had the initial advantage of universally recognized standardized rules, so distant clubs could compete without any confusion in this regard. This is one aspect of why the later triumph of baseball over cricket is so interesting.

Jeffrey Kittel said...

I actually had a qualification in there after the second innings thing about how little I knew about cricket terminology (as well as the intricacies of the game) and asking for forgiveness if I messed it up. Ending up editing it out but should have left it in.

The little I know about cricket comes from watching videos of matches online. I actually find the game rather interesting and am impressed with the skills of the players. The whole hitting the ball backwards thing is pretty neat. It's a good game and I wouldn't mind learning more about it.

Richard Hershberger said...

Nothing beats attending games live. This is easier than you might expect: http://stlcricketleague.com/. I know nothing of this league in particular, but based on my experience in Maryland be prepared to be the only person within a hundred yards whose first language is English. But once the players get past being startled by your presence, they are generally very friendly and more than happy to explain what is going on.

Jeffrey Kittel said...

Thanks for the link. I had no idea they were playing cricket in StL. Good stuff.