Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A New Empire Club

The Empire Base Ball Club have organized for the season of 1884 with the following players: J. Yule, c.; W. Fitzgerald, p.; Dougherty, 1b.; T. Stack, 2b.; Tom Gorman, 3b.; R. Nagel, s.s.; W. Noole, l.f.; H. Heine, c.f.; J. Downey, r.f. All challenges should be addressed to T. Gorman, 1430 Market street.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 11, 1884

The Young Brennan Base Ball Club defeated the Empire Club after a hard fought contest by a score of 12 to 8. The features of the game were the work of the Brennan's battery and the batting of Hogan and Dean.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 28, 1884

To the best of my knowledge, the last active season of the Empire Club was 1877. All references between 1878 and 1883 that I've seen refer to the club in the past tense. This 1884 Empire Club is not the same club that existed from 1860 to 1877 and dominated the local St. Louis amateur baseball scene.

However, this new club may have had a connection to the Empires of old. As the Globe noted, the catcher for the new club was J. Yule and James Yule was a member of the old club. Not only was Yule a member, he was a core member of the first nine during the club's championship run, playing the outfield and serving as field captain from 1861 to 1863 and also in 1868.

James Yule was born in 1836 and would have been almost fifty years old in 1884. In 1876, he appeared in what was essentially an old-timers game and had most likely retired from the game. While it's unlikely that a forty-eight year old man was catching for a local amateur club in 1884, it can't be ruled out.

The bottom line is that this 1884 Empire Club is not the champion 1860-1877 Empire Club.

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