Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
There will be a meeting of the Brown Stocking ball-tossers at Christ Von der Ahe's, on Grand avenue, to-night.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
The base ball breeze alluded to in these columns on Sunday morning culminated in a storm, and the result is that the St. Louis Brown Stockings will play no more games at the
. Their organization will be maintained intact, however, and the team that has won thirty-one of the thirty-nine games played this season will continue to represent the Brown Stockings on the ball field. The players, whose names are as familiar as household words to the base ball loving public, and who have decided to cut loose from the Grand Avenue Association, are McGinnis, Baker, Gault, McDonald, J. Gleason, W. Gleason, Magner, McCaffrey, Seward, Morgan and Grand Avenue Park . One and all are agreed that the association has violated faith with them. Its officers, during the last forty-eight hours, have been moving heaven and earth to induce these fine players Levis
To Desert Their Colors,
but have miserably failed, not meeting with success in a single instance. The Grand avenue officials knew that the pick of the local profession were to be found in the Brown Stocking ranks, and that without the aid of some of them they stood no earthly chance to give an exhibition against such an organization as the Brooklyn Atlantics as would attract a corporal’s guard of spectators. While vehicles were in great demand Sunday night and seductive offers many, players when found turned a deaf ear to all entreaties, and the Grand avenue folks found that the only way to place a team in the field was to select an entirely new corps of players from such material as had been discarded when the Brown Stocking organization was being formed. The attempt to swallow up the club at a gulp, as it were, thus proved abortive. The proposition of the association to oust the officers of an organization over which they never had the slightest control, that men of their own choice might fill the positions, received just such a response as its nature was sure to bring forth. As to the guarantees that were given visiting clubs, nothing need be said. They never resulted in the loss of a cent to the association, but on the other hand were paid for by the percentage of gate receipts that the Sportsman’s Club acknowledges having received. It would have been an easy matter for the Brown Stocking Club to have given guarantees itself and made no concession as to percentage, had it not been desirous of avoiding anything like a quarrel. As before stated, the Brown Stockings players are thoroughly in accord. In the list given above, the name of
Every Regular Member
of the team since its organization is to be found. The boys will carry out all present and future arrangements at the
, which is now, as it has been all season, in superb trim. There will be no change of dates owing to the clash, but the season’s programme will be carried out as originally arranged. It has been officially stated that the team which the Grand Avenue Association proposes to put in the field is to be called the Brown Stockings. This is a move worthy of its authors, but playing the national game under false pretenses won’t work. The base ball public of Compton Avenue Park is pretty well informed on this subject. It knows that a team which includes McGinnis, Baker, Gault, McDonald, the Gleason boys, Magner, Seward, McCaffrey, Morgan and Lewis represents the Brown Stocking Club, and no other. It will have no trouble in discerning between the bogus and the genuine Browns, and the records of wins and losses in future contests will also demonstrate that there is but one Brown Stocking Club in existence. The Browns will take the field against a first-class professional Club at the St. Louis on Saturday of this week. Their successors at the Grand Avenue Park-whoever they may be-are booked for games with the Atlantics to-day, to-morrow and Thursday, Manager Barnie having been given a guarantee of $300 for the three games. The Browns, at their meeting last night, signed a document reasserting their determination to remain together as of old. Compton Avenue Park
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 4, 1881
I hope to post some background information on the Interregnum and the very interesting 1881 season over the next couple of days before I start showing how this rather interesting turn of events in October of 1881 ties into things. The basic point I'm trying to get at (and taking my sweet time getting around to) is that the intrigue that we see here is directly related to the formation of the American Association. The argument I'm hoping to lay out is that Chris Von der Ahe forcibly seized control of the St. Louis professional baseball market and that the entry of the Browns into the AA was part of that.
I don't think this is anything really new or earth-shattering but it is interesting, specifically when we compare the machinations of the late summer/fall of 1881 to how Von der Ahe is normally perceived. It's fascinating to look at this and see a rather deliberate and Machiavellian Von der Ahe plotting and scheming and arranging things so that, in the end, he becomes the master of the St. Louis baseball market. This isn't the bumbling Von der Ha Ha Ha falling backwards into a nice situation but rather a smart and calculating businessman maneuvering to come out on top.
Hopefully, I'll pull this series of posts together and be able to show how all the pieces fit together.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
A breeze is said to have been stirred up in base ball circles because the officers of the Brown Stocking Club desire to manage that organization in their own way. Some interested individual has seen fit to furnish a one-sided version of the affair to the press. It is claimed that the Brown Stocking Club gets half of the gate receipts, and that the St. Louis Sportsman’s Club gets nothing for the use of its grounds. Such is far from being the case. The association gets 10 per cent of the gross receipts, the proceeds from the sale of reserved seats, the profits for refreshments and the income from all other privileges. The team which, by its superb play throughout the season, has earned the liberal patronage of the public, never cost the association a cent. The boys were solicited to play at the park at the beginning of the season, and a complete outfit, uniforms, etc., for the players was offered as an inducement. The Brown Stockings are under no compliment to any organization nor do they propose to be. They have put a small fortune into the treasury of the association alluded to, and are not indebted to it or any one, except a generous public, in the slightest. The President of the Brown Stocking organization stated last night that no complaints had been brought to his notice, and added that if any dissatisfaction existed the club was ready to sever its connection with the park at once. He also stated that the unprecedented base ball boom was due to the brilliant and reliable work of the home team on all occasions, and that the slurs cast at the playing of the Browns were entirely undeserved. The fact that they had lost but one Sunday game this year was because they are enabled to present their full team on that day, while it is a difficult matter to do so at other times. If any complaint has been made it is because the team has been a much greater success than was anticipated when the season opened. It is certainly entitled to all that it has earned, and lovers of the game, with fair play in view, will undoubtedly look at the question in that light.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 2, 1881
I've posted a bit about this before and wrote that I wished I had a bit more information about what was going on. Well, I have a bit more information now. I also have a lot of thoughts about what was happening, why it was happening and the significance of it all but I'm going to save that until I've posted all the information I've found. I'll just say now that the fight between the St. Louis Baseball Association (the Brown Stockings) and the Sportsman's Park and Club Association in October of 1881 brought about the end of the St. Louis baseball interregnum and the beginning of the age of Von der Ahe.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Captain Wm. Hambleton was offered the position of pitcher in the new steamboat base ball club Dirty Sox, and would have taken the place, but Captain H. said he could not handle the balls as he used to, and would not therefore be able to fill the place...
Monday, May 10, 2010
[From the New York Clipper.]We can almost safely say that the finest display of catching we have ever seen in a single game was that exhibited by Clapp, of the St. Louis nine, during the June contests in Brooklyn in 1876. His play close behind the bat on these occasions was excellent. A peculiarity of Clapp's catching the past season was his adoption of the rule to play behind the bat-mentioned in an article on catching, published in 1866-of a rapid return of the ball to the pitcher. This is as important for effective play as is a rapid delivery by the pitcher; we don't mean as regards pace, but in sending in balls in rapid succession, by which the batsman is obliged to be on the alert all the time, with but little opportunity afforded for leisurely judging the balls. Some catchers hold the ball, after receiving it from the pitcher, for some time, with a view of throwing it to a base, or being ready for that play. but the best plan is to promptly return it to the pitcher, unless a base runner has started to run on the actual delivery of the ball. We have seen many a base stolen while the catcher has thus held the ball, apparently in readiness for a throw. A prompt return bothers a base runner, especially if the return throw is swift and accurate to the pitcher. But the main value of it is that it enables the pitcher to play his strong point of catching the batsman napping by a rapid return of straight balls when the batsman is not ready to strike. This point was played by Bradley last season almost as frequently as by Spalding and its success was mainly due to Clapp's quick returns. Clapp is another of those quiet players who are seldom heard of except in the way of fine play in their position. The Athletics never committed a greater mistake than when they allowed Clapp and McBride to leave their service. They fully realized this fact last season.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
The following, from the New York Clipper, indicates that St. Louis will have more than one semi-professional club next season:The directors of the newly-organized Baltic Club, of St. Louis, Mo., met at the Phoenix Hall December 12, when, a correspondent informs us, six of the nine were selected, as follows: H. Wilson, J.H. Mills and S.T. Bodine, fielders; W.W. Burke, short-stop; Mayne, of Bloomington, Ill., third base; George Stout, Cincinnati, O., second base. Eugene White, of Philadelphia, will fill the position of catcher, providing he can secure a release from the Aetnas of that place. Harry Woodall, of Iowa, will be the pitcher. Malone, of the Irvington (N.Y.) Club will play at first base. None of the players are over nineteen years of age. The directors are negotiating for the Lafayette Park Grounds. The club will probably come East in June.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
For the benefit of certain foolish friends of the Brown Stockings, who think that the club must necessarily suffer by the loss of Bradley, the following extracts in regard to his successor, picked at random from a few old exchanges, will show that Nichols, backed by such a magnificent fielding team as he will have to support his pitching, is fully capable of winning the championship:The Boston Herald says: "Nichols is credited with winning the game by his remarkable pitching and batting. No runs were earned off him, and four of the professionals failed to hit safely in a single instance."The Fall River News says: "Nichols, of the New Havens, is probably one of the best pitchers living; he has a variety of styles (making the catcher lots of work), a hard-hitter, fast-runner, and full of vim when pushed."The New York Clipper says: "Of the many professional clubs who have met the Resolutes this year, there was none who played the game so sharply and well as did the New Havens. Their pitcher, Nichols, is the best, all points considered, the Resolute Club ever faced."The Cincinnati Enquirer says: "Much of their strength is due to Nichols, their pitcher. This little fellow is, in our mind, without a peer in his position, except it be Bond. In him the Browns have won a treasure for the next year's nine, and one they can well afford to swap for Bradley. Besides being a good pitcher, he is a good general player, and one of the best-natured and jolliest men we have ever seen on the ball-field."
Friday, May 7, 2010
After considering the matter for some time, the Board voted that the ground taken in the St. Louis protest was valid, and that the games due from the Mutuals and Athletic Clubs to the other six clubs should be reckoned as forfeited, and the championship was accordingly awarded on the basis of the following table of games lost and won.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
L'Afrique, a home-made comic opera, has been the sensation of the week just closed. It was presented at the Olympic by a company of amateurs who, while they did all in their power and acquitted themselves very creditably, failed to make the musical beauties of the work as prominent as professionals could have done, thereby placing the production before the public almost entirely on its own merits. That a great success was achieved is a personal triumph for the originality and genius of the composer, Mr. W.C. McCreery, who may well feel proud of the reception given to L'Afrique and of the almost unanimous endorsement of it by the large and fashionable audiences that listened to it. It is a triumph for home talent that may be accepted as marking an epoch in the aesthetic growth of St. Louis, as it will encourage further efforts in behalf of the musical art and give an impetus to local theatrical and operatic ventures that may result in very much good.
After some preliminary announcement, a certain Mr. McCreery, of St. Louis, produced a work which he is pleased to call a new comic opera, entitled "L'Afrique," at the Bijou Theatre last evening. A really new comic opera would doubtless be welcomed; but in "L'Afrique," which is neither new nor comic nor an opera, the public are not likely to find any enjoyment. It is a pity that ambitious writers seem unable to be original, and prefer to be mere servile imitators, as in the case of Mr. McCreery. It is a thankless task to say of this work that it is worthless. There is, of course, nothing American about it. The scene is supposed to be on the border of the Transvaal. the men are British soldiers, Zulu warriors, and Dutchmen with a German accent; the women are the counterparts of the rapturous maidens of "Patience," dressed in bright, short dresses, with sunflowers and other aesthetic adornments. Whatever they may say, either in their speech or songs, it is almost impossible to discover the plot, if there be any, and the result is a dreary representation. Why they should engage in the various scenes, which are of excessive length, is never apparent, and in the absence of a libretto there is no clue to the meaning of the story. As a musical matter, "L'Afrique" demands criticism only to say of it that while the composer seems to know how to orchestrate and to write bright and clever songs, he has done nothing to entitle him to praise. He is a mere imitator. His opera, as he calls it, will never be considered of any value, and will pass from public notice on a calm judgment of its merits. The cast was very weak, and suggested the presence of inexperienced amateurs and a certain variety of minstrel company style that was vulgar and inartistic.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Though St. Louisans have had a first-class base ball club for two years, a suitable resort for the players and their friends has been lacking until now. Last night base-ball headquarters were established permanently by Mr. George McManus, the manager of the Brown Stockings, at the southeast corner of Sixth and Locust streets. The place has been tastefully fitted up with a view to the comfort of the players and the friends of the club. The New York Clipper, New York Mercury, Philadelphia Sunday mercury, Boston Herald, Chicago Tribune, St. Louis Globe-Democrat, and other newspapers will be kept on file, so that all who desire to keep themselves posted in regard to base ball matters free of cost can do so. Desks and writing materials can be had for the asking, while those who desire to enjoy themselves at the card table will be accommodated. Mac has established a much-needed institution, and the fraternity will appreciate his enterprise, during the winter months at least.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
The St. Louis Browns do not relish the idea of being swindled out of second place in the championship race, and the following protest, which explains itself, signed by the Secretary of the St. Louis club, will be presented to the Directors of the League for consideration in December:St. Louis, Mo., November 16, 1876-To the Board of Directors of the National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs: Gentlemen-The St. Louis Base Ball Club of St. Louis, Mo., respectfully presents this, its complaint and claim, against the Mutual Base Ball Club of Brooklyn, New York, and says:1. That said St. Louis club has faithfully complied with all requirements of the Constitution of the National League, especially with so much thereof as is embraced in section 2 of article xii, and more particularly that during the season of 1876 it played five championship games with said Mutual Club on the grounds of said club in Brooklyn, N.Y., as follows:The first on the 23rd day of May; the second on the 25th day of May; the third on the 27th day of May; the fourth on the 5th day of September; the fifth on the 6th day of September.2. That said Mutual Club, during said season, played two championship games with the St. Louis Club, on the grounds of the latter, in St. Louis, MO., as follows: The first on the 27th day of June, and the second on the 29th day of June, and that these seven games were all the games played by said clubs with each other during said season.3. That by the terms of said section 2 of article xii, said St. Louis club was entitled to have five games played upon its grounds by said Mutual Club, so that three games are still due from said Mutual club to said St. Louis Club, and playable on the grounds of the latter.4. That when the last game was played, viz: in Brooklyn, N.Y., on the 6th day of September, the St. Louis club then and there required, and was by the Constitution entitled to require, and expect the said Mutual club to play the remaining three games on the grounds of the St. Louis club within a reasonable time, not exceeding two months; that more than two months have elapsed up to and including the 15th day of November, on which last mentioned day the playing season closed, so that it is now impossible to play said games; that the St. Louis Club, ever since the 6th day of September and up to the close of the playing season, offered every facility to the Mutual Club to play said games; and, in addition also guaranteed said Mutual Club a sum of money sufficient to cover its traveling and other expenses if it would come to St. Louis and play said games, but the Mutual Club wholly failed and refused to play said games.Wherefore, the St. Louis Club claims that, under the provisions of said section 2 of article xii, it is entitled to and should be allowed a forfeiture of said three games from said Mutual Club, and prays the Board to decree that said three games are forfeited to the St. Louis Club by a score, each, of 9 runs to 0, and that they shall be counted in favor of the St. Louis Club as three games won in the championship season of 1876.
Monday, May 3, 2010
Three or four days ago the Chicago Tribune published the batting averages of the professional base ball players in tabulated form, carefully compiled from the official scores of all League games played during the season...The most important point, however, is one to which the Tribune does not refer at all, in all probability for the reason that it would demonstrate that the White Stockings, although they appear to be on paper, were by no means the strongest batting team in the League. The point referred to is, that no allowance has been made for the fact that while Chicago invariablyPlayed With A "Lively" Ballwhen it had the choice, all the other clubs except the Athletics used a "dead" ball during the entire season. Mr. Meacham, of the Tribune, has on several occasions attributed the defeat of the Chicago Club by the Browns to the soft ball furnished by the latter, which he claimed it was almost impossible to knock base hits out of. Why, then, was no allusion made to this fact in figuring up the averages? Simply because a glance at the record shows that Chicago would have appeared in a very poor light as compared to St. Louis in the matter of willow-wielding...
Sunday, May 2, 2010
We are now informed by the New York Herald that the result of the season's playing among the base ball clubs will be decided at the December meeting of the League. This certainly sounds like a most lame and impotent conclusion to a season which started out with so much promise, and base ball must certainly be firmly anchored in the affections of the public if it can stand many such ordeals. A game in which the championship is decided, not by the games played and won, but by the financial condition of the clubs, is certainly a sporting novelty, and one not likely to seize the popular affection all at once. Better luck next year!
Saturday, May 1, 2010
About 100 persons witnessed the game of ball played yesterday afternoon between the Browns and Reds of this city at Grand Avenue Park. The threatening weather doubtless kept a great many from attending. The game did not begin until 3:30, owing to the tardiness of one of the Browns' players. The playing on both sides was a great improvement over that of the day before. A change was made by both nines, Pearce playing instead of Cuthbert for the Browns, and Sullivan instead of Billy Gleason for the Reds. Up to the sixth inning the ponies led the score by three runs, but in the next the Browns got in four runs, two being earned; and as they presented lime to the Reds, they took the lead by one run, which they not only kept, but added another tally in the eighth inning to their side of the book. "Bad Dickey" got a bad "finger" put in him in the fifth inning while taking a red hot grounder from Morgan's bat. It will be seen, by glancing at the score, that the Reds made as many base hits as the Browns, but luck and the umpire seemed to be against them, and their sixth defeat at the hands of the Browns this season had to be chalked down. Although defeated, the Reds have nothing to be ashamed of over their performance yesterday. The pitching on both sides was very good, and both catchers did nobly. The Browns struck out six times, which shows that Galvin's red hot twisters were not easy to light on.