Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Indianapolis/Chicago Series

For the past five or six years the Chicago Base Ball Club has put in an appearance at the Grand Avenue Park during fair week, and although St. Louis is without a club this season, the White Stockings intend keeping up the time-honored custom, and games with the Indianapolis Club have been arranged for Wednesday and Thursday. The Blue Stockings have been in the city for several days, and have been practicing vigorously for the coming contests, yesterday annihilating a strong picked nine by the slab-sided score of eleven to nothing.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 8, 1878

Not more than 400 spectators witnessed the defeat of the Chicago club by the Indianapolis team at Grand Avenue Park yesterday afternoon. The game was an interesting one, Shaefer, Clapp, Croft and Peters doing some brilliant work in the field, and the batting of the Chicagos being a fine display. The catching of Flint and Powers was superb, the pitching on both sides being wild. Healey and McCormick exchanged places in the eight inning, and the move worked well. The same clubs are to meet each other again this afternoon.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 11, 1878

Indianapolis won the game by a score of 9-7.

The game between the Chicago and Indianapolis base ball clubs at Grand Avenue Park yesterday afternoon was witnessed by a good-sized audience. The batting on both sides was heavy, and the outfielders were kept busy from start to finish. This afternoon these two clubs play their last game here, and this will be the last chance lovers of the sport will have this season of seeing a professional game. A good crowd will undoubtedly be on hand, as the weather is just the thing for ball tossing. The best field play in yesterday's game was that of Peters at short and Joe Start at first, while Cassidy, Powers and Ferguson did good work with the stick. For the Indicanapolis Clapp and Flint excelled in fielding, while Williamson and Healy led at the bat.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 12, 1878

Chicago won the second game 16-10.

The Chicago White Stockings found no trouble in defeating the Hoosiers in a five-inning game at the Grand Avenue Base Ball Park, yesterday afternoon...
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 13, 1878

Chicago won the final game, and the series, 9-6.

And that's it as far as Indianapolis playing in St. Louis in 1878. All the talk about Indianapolis playing their home games in St. Louis came to very little: three League games against Boston and three exhibition games against Chicago. Did these six games fulfill the contract the club had with Solari? That's unknown but if the club had only contracted to play six games in St. Louis then the talk of a new St. Louis League club was nothing more than an attempt to sell tickets.

I find it unlikely that the club had any real intention of "relocating" to St. Louis for the second half of the 1878 season. It's possible that if the three games against Boston had drawn well Indianapolis would have played more League games at the Grand Avenue Park. That's probably why the contract was for six games. It allowed the club to keep their options open as far as the St. Louis market was concerned. If the fans came out, they got three more games and Indianapolis would have probably signed a new contract for more games.

It's all very interesting but I don't believe that it's accurate to say that St. Louis almost got a National League club in 1878 or that Indianapolis almost moved to St. Louis in the second half of the 1878 season. It is accurate, however, to say that it was portrayed in the local press that way for a variety of reasons.

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