Monday, June 29, 2009

The St. Louis Club

How St. Louis Thumped Cincinnati
[From the Cincinnati Enquirer.]

The first League series of twelve games to be finished this season is the Cincinnati-Indianapolis (or St. Louis) series, which ended last Saturday. The result was eight games won by the St. Louis Club to four by the Cincinnatis.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 9, 1878

The implication is that the Cincinnati paper was referring to the Indianapolis club as "the St. Louis Club." Of course, this could have been creative editing by the Globe.


David Ball said...

Indianapolis drew poorly at home and very quickly became "the Homeless Browns," playing most of their games on the road. There was a lot of speculation that they would settle in St. Louis or perhaps Pittsburgh, but I don't know how serious it was.

However, I have seen an item in one of the St. Louis papers late in the season saying that W.B. Pettit, the Indianapolis president, had backed out on a commitment to play another game in St. Louis, and complaining generally that Pettit was unreliable and dishonest. Can't remember exactly when this was or which paper I saw it in, unfortunately.

I know there was also talk about bringing Milwaukee, another weak franchise, to St. Louis. You may be interested to know, by the way, that Harry Wright's correspondence (avaiable in microfilm through SABR) includes a letter from Gus Solari expressing an interest in bringing the Boston team to St. Louis for a game, with a view to reviving professional baseball in the city.

Jeffrey Kittel said...

I appreciate the input on the Indy situation. I've read a bit on Pettit and his club but it's been a while.

I think I have most of this story covered and it'll be posted over the rest of the week (if I can get the darn application to post them as scheduled). But it appears that there was a contract between Indy and Solari for an unknown number of games (and best evidence suggests that it was six games). Indy backed out of at least two series that would have been played in StL, siting the heat as an excuse, and after the season played three games here against Chicago. After the exhibition series against Chicago, there was no more talk about the contract or Pettit being dishonest or whatnot. My assumption is that the exhibition games fullfilled the contract, although not in the way originally intended.

The stuff about Solari and Wright is interesting because I always look at this situation as Indy coming to town with Croft, Flint and Clapp (with the possiblility that the club may settle permanently in StL). But it's rather amazing that the club they played was the great Boston team rather than somebody like Milwaukee. There were serious problems in StL in 1878 if they couldn't get a decent crowd for a Boston/Indianapolis game.