Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Boss Colored Team Of Base Ballists

There is one fact that can not be disputed, Chicago journals to the contrary notwithstanding, and that is that St. Louis is possessed of the boss colored team of base ballists, who yesterday captured a victory from Chicago's famous nine of the same color. The coming of the Uniques, of the Garden City, has been eagerly anticipated by the Blue Stockings, of this city, for some time, and yesterday the long looked for struggle between these two clubs took place, and St. Louis forced Chicago to pull down her colors. Although the day was damp and disagreeable, there were several hundred people present, including many of the Caucasian race, who were anxious to witness the play between these clubs. The game was marked by many brilliant plays, and resulted in a victory for St. Louis by a score of 11 to 9. The same clubs play again Thursday afternoon, and, should the day be favorable, a large crowd will doubtless be attracted to this novel game.

Another colored club of this city is looming up as a candidate for honorable distinction in the National pastime, and yesterday met a white organization called the Lyons. The colored boys call themselves the Green Sox. The game was closely contested, the white club winning by a score of eleven to ten, in six innings, when darkness setting in put a stop to further play. The game was umpired by James Pollack (colored) who gave general satisfaction.

The Sunsets and Uniques are to face each other this afternoon, at grand Avenue Park.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 14, 1876

This may be the best article I've come across about black baseball in St. Louis during this era. In general, you have two periods when the Globe is covering black baseball to any extent: the mid-1870s and the mid-1880s. Both periods coincide with a peak in baseball popularity in St. Louis and an expansion in baseball coverage in local newspapers.

But even at the peak of its coverage of black baseball, the Globe usually only devoted a sentance or two to a game and would often fail to note the final score. Here we get a mention of three games and two scores. It's like hitting the mother load. Even better, we get an interesting reference to James Pollack, an African-American who umpired the Blue Stockings/Unique game. I'm not sure who he is but I'll have to take a look around and see if I can find anything on him. Also, the Green Sox is a club that I've never heard of before and we can add them to our list of 19th century African-American clubs.

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