Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Wild West Show Comes To Sportsman's Park

Buffalo Bill's Wild West show met with a large and flattering reception at Sportsman's Park yesterday afternoon. This exhibition is certainly one of the most realistic and instructive shows ever seen in any country...The rifle shooting and horsemanship of the handsome Buffalo Bill excites the admiration of all. Sitting Bull, the renowned Sioux Chief, looking unconcerned and stately as a veritable king, was observed of all observers. The Indians in their many colored costumes and war paint, the dashing appearance of the hunters, trappers and cowboys, the many beautiful horses, the hunters' camp, with its tents and backwoods appliances, all pleased and inspired the vast audience, and for the time being gave the impression that it was in reality living amongst the scenes of which the show was only a tableau vivant. Too much can not be said in favor of this grand entertainment. Every man, woman and child in the country should see it, not only as a means of an hour or two's amusement, but as a matter of historical education. To those most skeptical as to the merits of the Wild West, one visit to it will be a revelation and make them warmest friends in its praise. There will be a performance this afternoon and then daily performances during the remainder of the week.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 4, 1885

Two grand attractions for one admission price are offered at the park to-day. Buffalo Bill's Wild West will give its regular performance, including Sitting Bull and his staff of chiefs, and a game of base ball will be played between the St. Louis champion Browns and the Cincinnatis. Game will be called at 2:30 in the afternoon, and at its conclusion the great Wild West show will be given complete.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 11, 1885

I always figured that if I could go back in time and see one game it would be the May 6, 1875 game between the Brown Stockings and Chicago, when St. Louis beat the White Stockings 10-0 and the city went nuts. I believe it's the most significant game in the history of St. Louis baseball. But if I can only go back in time once, how could I pass up the opportunity to see the Four Time Champions (even if at this point they were only the One Time Champions and they were only playing an exhibition) and Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. Who wouldn't want to see that?

I'm sure somewhere Von der Ahe has been mocked as the guy who brought in the Wild West Show and had horses and buffalo running around on his ball field but this was a brilliant business move. You have a wildly popular, championship baseball club coming off the most successful season in St. Louis baseball history combined with the most successful touring show the nation had ever seen. Off the top of my head, I'd guess that the baseball game/Wild West Show double header drew a pretty good crowd.

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