Monday, July 6, 2009

A Set Of Frauds

The Indianapolis and Milwaukee Clubs were to have played three of their series of championship games in (St. Louis) on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday of the present week. President Pettitt, of Indianapolis, so informed Superintendent Solari, of Grand Avenue Park, with whom he has a contract to play a certain number of games in St. Louis the present season. At Pettitt's request the announcement was made, and now comes a letter from that gentleman stating that owing to "fever and the prevailing hot weather" the games will not be played here, but that he will complete his contract with Solari before the season closes. The gentlemen who take a lively interest in the national game here have about come to the conclusion that the Indianapolis crowd are a set of frauds. The excuse quoted above is so thin as to prove for itself that other engagements, which probably promise better, will be entered into before the St. Louis contract is carried out...The fact that the Milwaukee and Indianapolis Clubs will not play here should be a matter for congratulation. To witness the two worst clubs in America cross bats, after the magnificent entertainment furnished by the old Brown Stocking Management, would go a great way towards knocking the last spark of life out of the national game, which is already nearly dead, owing to the manner in which players have been compelled to do crooked work by men in high places who claim to be immaculate. Not the slightest breath of suspicion ever attached to any officer of the St. Louis Club, and while the record of the home organization is clean, care should be taken that it is not smirched by any foreign element.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 1, 1878

The most important matter here is that, according to the Globe, Pettitt had a contract with Solari to play "a certain number of games in St. Louis..." That, I think, speaks to a seriousness of purpose with regards to a possible "relocation" of the Indianapolis club to St. Louis. The question, of course, is how many games did the contract call for Indianapolis to play at the Grand Avenue Park. Based on the evidence, I'm thinking that the contract wasn't for more than six games. The club played the three games against Boston in St. Louis and there was continuous talk about another series. As we'll see later, the club did return to St. Louis after the season for an exhibition series against Chicago and, following that, there was no longer any talk about a contract or possible games in St. Louis. The season was over with and there was really no more games to be played but the fact that Chicago series put an end to the Globe's grumblings lends credence to the idea that the contract was for a limited number of games rather than for the remainder of Indianapolis' home schedule.

The second point I'd like to make regards the "magnificent entertainment" furnished by the Brown Stockings. Obviously, someone forgot about the disaster that was Brown Stockings baseball in 1877. Baseball in St. Louis was "already nearly dead" and at the beginning of a major league interregnum for a reason.

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