A shooting scrape occurred at Reub. Armstrong's saloon, on Christy avenue, between Eighth and Ninth streets, last evening about 7 o'clock. The place was crowded with negroes at the time, all excited over the base ball game between the Chicago and St. Louis colored teams, and the feeling was of a partisan character. A row finally occurred, which resulted in one of the Chicago players, named Benjamin Beatty, drawing a pistol and firing at Armstrong, who was not hit, however, by the bullet. Beatty was arrested and locked up at the Third District Police Station.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 16, 1876
Setting aside the Globe's proclivity to portray African-Americans (and African-American baseball players) as violent, this is a rather interesting story. It tells us quite a bit about the culture of black baseball in St. Louis. Here we find fans and players socializing at Armstrong's saloon after a game. You often hear stories about the 20th century Negro Leagues where fans and players are socializing at the same bars, restaurants, hotels, etc. It appears that culture was already established by 1876, where the social and economic limitations imposed on African-Americans creates an atmosphere where the ballplayers are more a part of and more immersed in the society in which they live than are white ballplayers. 19th century baseball, for white men, could be a way to raise himself above his social and economic situation or to improve his class standing to a certain extent. It does not appear, generally speaking, that this was true of the black experience with 19th century baseball.