Monday, January 18, 2010

The Empire Club Defeated

The Atlantics, State Champions.

The veteran Empires were taken into camp for the second time this season by the Atlantics, at the Stocks' Park on Sunday. The Atlantics outfielded and outbatted their opponents. After a long delay on the part of the Empires, who were short one man, they substituted Gleason, formerly of the professional Stocks. A. Blong umpired the game to the satisfaction of all. With the stick, Gleason, of the Empires, made three of the seven base hits, and Levis, Jones and Rippey, of the Atlantics, also did excellent work. The former made a trio of two-base hits and two singles. The fielding of the Atlantics was excellent throughout. The pitching of Levis was effective, while Rippey supported him in his old style, and Duke at short distinguished himself by his many fine stops and excellent throws to first. On the whole, the fielding of the Atlantics was as good as has been seen on any field this season, while the Empires did poorly, and still worse at the bat.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 11, 1876

My assumption is that this victory over the Empires gave the Atlantics the championship (hence the headline). If this is true than the amateurs had changed their championship series from a best of five back to a best of three, as it had been in the 1860s.

A couple of more thoughts:

-The Atlantics were the first club other than the Empires and Unions to win the Missouri state amateur baseball championship. They were also the first club to wrest the championship from the Empires since the Unions in 1868. The Empires had held the championship for seven years and nine of the previous eleven years.

-Adam Wirth was the last of the old guard. Wirth had been a mainstay of the Empires' first nine for their entire championship run and it's a bit sad to see him playing on losing club. I've written elsewhere that I believe Wirth was the best St. Louis baseball player of his generation.

-It's impossible to say which Gleason we have here, Bill or Jack, because I have no record of either of them playing for the Stocks or the Empires. I'm inclined to say Bill because he worked (at some unknown point) for the St. Louis Fire Department and the Empires had deep ties to the StLFD. But I'd really like it to be Jack. Jack Gleason, in the course of his career, played for NL Brown Stockings, the AA Browns, the UA Maroons, the post-NA Reds, the NL Maroons, and Ted Sullivan's Dubuque club. It would be nice to add the Empire Club to that list.

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