Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thomas McNeary, The Brown Stockings, Eastern Trips And Bad Dickey

It is expected that the new grounds, negotiations for which are proceeding, will be inaugurated with a game with the Chicago Club, after which the St. Louis Club will set out on its first Eastern tour. The new grounds will, it is said, be very near the city (a desideratum the present grounds lack), and very ample both for the players and spectators.
-Chicago Tribune, November 22, 1874

I've been looking at the organization of the Brown Stockings in 1874 and thought this note from the Trib was particularly relevant.

Thomas McNeary was involved in the original meetings organizing the club and had gone so far as to purchase some of the club's stock. However, by the beginning of 1875, he was making plans to place the Red Stockings in the National Association in competition with the Brown Stockings. I had speculated that his plans changed once the Brown Stockings decided to play their home games at the Grand Avenue Grounds rather than McNeary's Compton Avenue Grounds.

The above article shows that the Brown Stockings did not originally intend to play their home games at the Grand Avenue Grounds and were looking for grounds closer to the population center of the city. While I can't say for certain that they were looking at playing at the Compton Avenue Grounds (even though I think it was a bit closer to the center of the city), I do think this lends a bit of evidence to the idea that McNeary got involved with the club in the hope of getting them to play at his baseball grounds.

Also of interest is the notion that the Brown Stockings had originally planned on making an early trip East in 1875. If I'm remembering correctly (and not confusing 1875 with 1876), the Globe was disappointed that the club did not play the Eastern clubs early on and instead opened the season against the weaker Western clubs. These original plans to go East in May helps explain the Globe's sense of disappointment.

Apropos of nothing, about eight times today I came across Dickey Pearce being referred to in 1874 as "Bad Dickey." I know there's been some discussion here and elsewhere about 19th century nicknames and how much they were used at the time and I thought I'd just pass it along. Even Harry Wright referred to Pearce as Bad Dickey in a letter. It is, by the way, a great nickname and reminiscent of Bad Henry Aaron. Oddly enough, B-Ref doesn't have it listed as Pearce's nickname.


james e. brunson said...


This is too funny! I love that nickname!

Great infromation, Jeff!

Jeffrey Kittel said...

I think it's a classic and, from here on out, I will only refer to Pearce as Bad Dickey. I'm also thinking about sponsoring Bad Dickey's B-Ref page so I can spread the word.

james e. brunson said...

"Bad Dickey!" (a little double entendre?) I love that! Ha! Ha! Ha!

Anonymous said...

Keep posting stuff like this i really like it