Monday, June 1, 2009

Football And Shinny

The following communication will be devoured with great avidity by our sporting readers, particularly those lovers of the manly game of football, of whom our city boasts so large a number:

Mr. Editor:  On Friday last...arrived in St. Louis, by the Alton packet, Phelim O'Murphy, the world's champion of football...On Saturday he was waited upon by a deputation of St. Louis football players, who invited him to a trial of skill...Measures have been taken to form a football club under the artistic instructions of O'Murphy.  The enthusiasm for this scientific sport is rapidly increasing...
-Daily Missouri Republican, October 25, 1858

Our review of the past week contains interesting meetings for mumble peg, marbles, peg top, shinny, &c.  The weather has been more propitious, the oppressive heat of midsummer having given way to a delightful touch of autumn, making out-door games beautiful and pleasant.
A very interesting match at shinny was played on Tuesday afternoon, at Washington Square, between the Hickory and Chiukapin clubs.  The beautiful weather, together with the noted reputation of the players, brought on the grounds a large number of spectators, among whom we noticed a fair sprinkling of ladies.  The play on both sides was very good indeed...Chiukapin won the match, having scored seventeen "homes" to only thirteen of their opponents.
-Daily Missouri Republican, August 23, 1858 

These references to outdoor sports are noted simply to illustrate the sporting culture that existed in St. Louis during the antebellum era.  The New York game in St. Louis didn't develop in a vacuum.  It's popularity and success can be traced to the fact that it was introduced into a well-developed and healthy sporting culture.  

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