Saturday, April 30, 2011

Dunlap Deserts To The Black Banner Of The Lucas Lager Beer Syndicate

Not to Dunlap's credit be it said that the report of his signing with the Lucas gang in St. Louis is true. His friends in Philadelphia say his figures were $3500, $1,000 of which was paid as advance money. There is no certainty about the truth of the latter news. But Dunlap has deserted Cleveland. It might only be for the purpose of the forcing the Cleveland Club to higher terms, as in base ball matters his contract with St. Louis amounts to nothing. He could desert St. Louis at any time he chose before next season opens, because the League will not recognize the Union (so called) Association while it persists in its piratical course.

And now to consider that course so far as it has been shown. The Lucas club is as yet alone in the "association" to which it was given a name. It is financially strong, backed by a large lager beer establishment, and of course an advertisement for its mainspring. Lucas, its executive head, is certainly a "hustler." His business methods are not reputable, but of the sneaking order. One of the first players he secured was Dave Rowe, who played here one season. Dave is sharp and well known, and has been the agent through which Dunlap, Shaffer and others were secured. As was said before, the St. Louis Club is the only one in the alleged "association" that is not on paper. But Lucas at times has talked of establishing clubs in Cincinnati, Chicago and other places. Whether the "enemy" Cincinnati papers connect with robbing that city's club of their grounds is the Lucas gang or not, the future will show. A.H. Henderson is gathering players for the Chicago "Unions," and talks about giving four Buffalo men $10,000 for a season's work. Where is Henderson to get $10,000? Only through a backer of the greenest short. That backer may or not be the Lucas lager beer syndicate...If any "association" is to be formed it must come out of these tactics. Can such an "association" arrange games for its own convenience and gain the patronage of the people who want fair games and a hot contest every season? Hardly. Such must be inevitable when one gang owns all the clubs in a league or association.

Thus the matter stands. Looked at on all sides it appears like an insane scheme. We believe the future will show it to be such, and that its financial men and the players who enroll themselves under its black banner will be sorry for their venture. Of the two last men who have joined it, Shaffer has some excuse. He dislikes Buffalo and O'Rourke and wants to get away from them. Dunlap has no such excuse. Here he was a universal favorite, pampered by the public and not hampered in any way. His last words to the managing directors before he left for Philadelphia were: "Don't worry about me. I am all right." In his present position the latter is doubtful, and it was at first thought and hoped that his game was purely one of bluff and that he might come back. Anyway, the intervening time between 1883 and 1884 will be full of interest. Dunlap will go to St. Louis and the Cleveland Club and all reputable ball clubs will avoid him as plague-stricken in the future.

It is said above, "it was at first thought that Dunlap's game was one of bluff." But it is not. From local acquaintances it is learned that the man never intended to sign with the Cleveland Club. He has been plotting all summer to get away from Cleveland, and his well-satisfied air and protestations were all in that line of tactics. Had a contract been presented for his signature, he would have wriggled out. May the luck of a traitor go with him. The Cleveland Club's course is plain. They will not consider Dunlap at all, until he proves his treason by not signing his contract or turning up to play by April. In the meantime the rule permanently expelling jumpers of the reserve clause in the tripartite agreement will have been passed. Dunlap will be reported as one of the violators of that rule, and will, so far as the League, American Association and Northwestern League are concerned, have gone on the list with a Hall, a Doscher, a Craver and a Devlin. We believe those associations will rule in the base ball of the future, and that Dunlap will be to all intents and purposes black-listed forever. When good faith and fair dealing are rewarded as Dunlap has rewarded the Cleveland Club such punishment is deserved.
-Cleveland Herald, November 28, 1883

I really wanted to call this post "Dunlap Takes His Talent To South Beach" put "taking my talents to South Beach" has become an interesting euphemism with a colorful definition. Regardless, this article did remind me of Cleveland's reaction to Lebron's desertion, only with a veneer of 19th century rectitude. It also made me thing of what the reaction in St. Louis might be if Pujols leaves after the season.

Friday, April 29, 2011

An Ode To The Second Baseman

The second baseman of to-day is an entirely different unit in the field work of a team than was his fellow-tradesman of ten years ago. There is a wide difference between the play of a Beals, a Farrell and a Burdock of 1873 and a Dunlap, a Farrell and a Burdock of 1883. Not only has the area of territory over which the second baseman of the first class does not permit a grounder to pass grown larger, but the work in throwing and attention to fly balls has increased nearly as much. To the shortstop and second baseman has gradually been assigned the work of attending to all fly balls "between the fields," as the gap between the infielders and outfielders of a team in play is called. And well have the men filling the positions grappled with their task. Years ago it was a wonderful feat for a fielder to capture a fly running with the ball. Now it is an every-day occurrence, and by that means and fast backward running many an apparently safe "pop fly" has been captured. The picking up of grounders has also improved of late, some of the short bound stops being marvelous, and by skillfully placing the ball when first batted many a difficult stop is made with no seeming effort. The second baseman has fully half of the infield hits to attend to on an average, faces all kinds of wild, swift throwing by the catcher, is expected to make quick pickups and lightning and accurate throws for double plays and run-outs, and must never loose his head or the game goes with it. Added to this he must always stand the brunt of rough base-running and hold his ground and the ball after a touch and a tumble. All this is done by the majority of the leading second basemen, and with all the advances in the game, the players of this position have advanced. There is no doubt but that the most brilliant work of the infield is done by the second baseman.-[Cleveland Herald.]
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, November 25, 1883

This is a nice little article about the evolution of second base play but let's not kid ourselves. This is all about The Second Baseman: Fred Dunlap. First mentioned among the "second [basemen] of the first class" and "the leading second [basemen]," he is the once and future Kingpin of Second Basemen. And he was coming to St. Louis.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Some General Thoughts On Early Ball Playing In The Middle Frontier

After looking at the history of early ball playing in pioneer Illinois, I was thinking that early forms of base ball arrived in that area first and then spread to Missouri. Generally speaking, Illinois was settled prior to Missouri and a culture of ball playing came with the earliest pioneers. I figured, through economic and cultural exchange, the early ball games were exported from Illinois to Missouri and Iowa. Now, after looking closer at the pioneer history of Missouri, I no longer believe that to be true.

On of the reasons I don't believe that my earlier thinking holds up is that Illinois really wasn't settled prior to Missouri. While settlement in Missouri wasn't at the same volume as in Illinois at the beginning of the 19th century, the earliest settlements of European/Americans were taking place at about the same time in each state. Both areas saw an influx of settlers in the first two decades of the century and ball playing appears to have been part of the culture that they brought with them. Early ball games didn't spread from Illinois to Missouri but, rather, were brought to each area by the pioneers who came to settle the area.

The evidence suggests, rather strongly, that when the first European/Americans came to the middle frontier, they brought their ball games with them. I'm speaking generally here of the greater Illinois country, an area which Stephen Aron refers to as the American Confluence region and which Cathy Johnson calls the Middle Waters frontier. The area that I'm looking at includes western Indiana, western Kentucky, central and southern Illinois and eastern Missouri, with western Tennessee and northern Arkansas possibly thrown into the mix.

There's a complicated settlement pattern to this area, with French, British, Spanish and American settlements being established at different times and with different levels of success (hence my use of the ambiguous "European/American" tag). You had French settlements in the area at Cahokia in 1699 and French involvement in the area really complicates things, as far as the early history of ball playing is concerned. The Gratiot reference, however, does imply that the French settlers did have a culture of ball playing that they brought with them to the New World and our understanding of French ball playing in general supports this to some extent. While I don't have much in the way of references to support this, I believe that ball playing existed in St. Louis from its founding in 1763. It probably wasn't baseball, in any sense of the word, but the general pattern, supported by Gratiot, would suggest that there were ball games being played. While the adults may have been more interested in cards, gambling and horse racing, the children, as was usually the case, were entertaining themselves with ball playing.

But when I speak of ball games coming with European/American settlers, the people I'm really talking about are the nascent Americans who began to settle the middle frontier in earnest at the beginning of the 19th century. Regardless of whether they were Yankees, who settled the northern part of the region, or Southerners, who settled the southern regions, these people brought ball games with them and these games, including town ball, cat, trap ball, cricket, and bull pen, were being played in the region as early as the first decade of the 19th century. They brought these games with them from the old country, played them in the eastern part of America and brought them with them to the middle frontier.

Ball playing was part of the culture that these people took with them wherever they went. I see no other conclusion to draw from the evidence. The answer to the question of how ball playing spread across the United States is a simple one: When the Europeans arrived on the continent, they brought ball games with them; as they spread out across the continent, they took their games with them.

The one disappointment I have with this research is the lack of sources that I've found regarding what was going on in St. Louis, specifically. I have the Gratiot reference, another reference from 1860 implying that base ball was a game that had been played in the city for a long time and the Tobias reference to St. Louis as a hot bed of town ball. However, I have enough references to ball playing in the general region surrounding St. Louis that I can make an educated guess as to what was happening in the city. My belief, at this moment, is that the French brought some ball games to the area with them and there were ball games being played in St. Louis by the mid-18th century. In the late 18th and early 19th century, there was a heavy influx of Anglo-Americans into the region and these people brought their proto-baseball games with them. The Tice reference places ball playing within 60 miles of St. Louis in the first decades of the 19th century and I believe that some variant of base ball was being played in the St. Louis area within the first decade of the century. I think it's only a matter of time until I find the references that back that up.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Men Had A Game

The amusements were not different from those of the present period. The dance and the social party, attendance upon meeting, picnics, barbecues, were the principal gatherings attended by both sexes. The men found amusement in shooting at a mark with the rifle, in hunting and fishing, in such humble sports as marbles and pitching horseshoes. There were also certain athletic contests, and it was no uncommon thing for the men of the neighborhood to engage in wrestling and in the jumping match. This was before the day of baseball, but the men had a game, out of which baseball probably developed, which was called "town ball."
-History of Southeast Missouri, Volume 1

This is a general reference to pioneer life in Missouri prior to 1850.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

For Recreation

For recreation [at school] the children played town-ball-the game which has been modified into the great National game of baseball. Other games were bull-pen, oldcat, Anthony over, marbles, tag and mumble pet. Jumping the rope and swinging the girls were also indulged in. In this age of luxury it must not be imagined that the children of pioneers did not enjoy life, especially during their school days.
-Past and Present of Livingston County, Missouri, Volume 1

This reference comes from a chapter entitled "All Over Reminiscences," that talks about life in Livingston County in the 1830s, 1840s and 1850s. Livingston County is in the north central part of Missouri.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Pioneer Gallant

When Betsy Biggs moved from Kentucky in 1817 with her husband, Wm. Biggs, she bought courage and character and a copy of Milton's Paradise Lost along with slaves and gold and furniture and a brood of incipient citizens...When one of her sons was married he and also his bride were dressed in fine white linen from head to foot, even wearing moccasins of deer skin tanned to a gleaming white. It is related that one of the guests, a pioneer gallant, slipped while playing ball and had the misfortune to get his pants so stained with grass that he disappeared in mortification from the company.
-A History of Northeast Missouri, Volume 1

Betsy Biggs was born Elizabeth Lamberson in Kentucky around 1795. According to the 1850 census, she was living in Pike County, Missouri, with her husband and one child, Susan Biggs (born around 1822). Therefore, one has to assume that her other children were already married and living elsewhere.

It's really difficult to date this reference but it's obvious that the wedding mentioned took place prior to 1850. However, some of the Briggs children, according to the reference, were born in Kentucky prior to 1817 and could have been of age to marry by the early 1830s. So, like the Fox reference that I posted yesterday, this may be evidence of ball playing in northeast Missouri in the 1830s. While it's tough to say, it's certain that this is a reference to ball playing prior to advent of the New York game in the area.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Mrs. Susan Fox...was seven years old in that far-away spring of 1833 when she started to the log cabin schoolhouse, just at the edge of a forest...Her eyes have witnessed marvelous changes...Log schoolhouses with their blue black spellers, and their simple games of "Black Man" and "Base" have given way to stately stone-trimmed edifices where they babble German, wrestle with Greek, and take exercise in a gymnasium.
-A History of Northeast Missouri, Volume 1

I'm rather uncertain about this reference. "Base," more than likely, refers to Prisoner's Base but, according to the Protoball glossary, it could also have been a ball game. It's tough to say but the interesting thing here is that this was taking place in northeast Missouri which was just across the river from central Illinois, where an active base ball culture had been established in the 1820s. It's entirely possible that the game could have spread, through economic interaction or immigration, from central Illinois to northeast Missouri. However, it's just as likely that the games played in northeast Missouri were brought to that area by the people who settled there, without any outside cultural influences.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Splendid Ball Player

John Tice, a German, and an uncle of the celebrated Prof. Tice, of St. Louis, settled in Warren county about 1809, and was the first settler on Pinckney Bottom...The names of Mr. Tice's children were-John, Joseph, Mary, and Sally. The latter was a splendid ball player, and played with the boys at school, who always chose her first, because she could beat any of them.
-A History of the Pioneer Families of Missouri

To the best of my knowledge, Sally Tice was born around 1812 and was married in 1834. That would but her time at school and her ball playing sometime in the late 1810s and 1820s. Other than the Gratiot reference, this is the earliest source that I've found mentioning ball playing in Missouri.

While I can't say exactly what kind of ball young Miss Tice was playing, the reference is still significant. First, Warren County is about sixty miles west of St. Louis and, along with the Gratiot reference, speaks to a culture of ball playing in the St. Louis area that dates back to the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century. Second, the reference supports the idea that ball playing arrives in a given area with European settlers. When the pioneers came to an area, they brought their culture with them and ball playing was a part of that culture. Now this may be specific to what would become the American Midwest but I have plenty of evidence showing that as soon as pioneer families arrived in Illinois and Missouri, ball playing was taking place. It would be interesting to see if this pattern holds in places like Ohio and western Pennsylvania. Finally, we have a young women playing ball. Most of the early sources mention ball games as being played by boys so this is certainly interesting.

Friday, April 22, 2011

More Cricket

Mound City Cricket Club.-By advertisement in our columns this morning, it will be seen that the above organization are to have a match on the 7th inst. at their grounds, in Gamble's Addition. The Club is in a very flourishing condition, numbering at present over forty active members.
-Missouri Republican, October 1, 1858

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Mound City Cricket Club

The members of the Mound City Cricket Club are requested to meet on Friday the 10th instant, at their regular playing ground on Gamble's addition and Twenty-second street, to play the first annual match of the season. The members are particularly requested to meet at ten o'clock A.M. which will be pitched at eleven o'clock precisely. By order J. Mitchell, Secretary.
-Missouri Republican, September 10, 1858

Cricket is obviously not baseball but the cricket references that we have from the 1850s gives us the best look at the culture of bat and ball games in St. Louis that we have for the period before the advent of the New York game in the city. We have clubs, grounds, matches, and crowds coming out to see the game. While I'm certain that a variant of baseball was being played in the city at the time, I haven't found this level of information about that game that I see with cricket.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lucas Returns From The East, Part Two

"The men I have signed are Mullane, Jack Gleason, Dunlap, Dickerson, Taylor, Mike Mansell, Dave Rowe, Shaffer, Brennan and Wollfe, and, although President Mills, of the League, says I am doing more to injure honest ball playing than anybody else, the club that I will put in the field will cost less than two-thirds of the clubs in the League and American Association. The only regret that I have to express over my action is that I did not start a week earlier. If I had I would have had my pick of the best ball players in the country. President Mills may think his League is doing great work in the interest of base ball, but he will sooner or later learn that the ball players think differently. It is only a question of time until the players revolt against the reserve rule, which they despise, and will no more submit to than to have

Rings Put In Their Noses

and be led by them. The only question players ask when approached for terms is, 'What kind of backing has your club?' Dunlap, when he signed with me, said he did not care anything for the reserve rule, and intended to treat it as an imposition, and his remarks convey a good idea of how the entire profession feels about it. The public, too, sympathize with the players and with every movement to organize associations that are hostile to the reserve rule. You would be astonished to hear the encouragement that I have received, and that I know is being extended to everybody interested in Union Association Clubs. The association is booming, and the whole country is enthusiastic over it. Its clubs have plenty of capital to back them, and they have come to stay. The organization will be perfected on December 18, when a meeting for that purpose will be held at the Bingham House, Philadelphia"

"How will you play the men you have signed?"

"Mullane will pitch, Taylor play first, Dunlap second, Jack Gleason third, Mansell left, Dickerson center and Shaffer right. I may put Dave Rowe at short, and what will be done with Brennan and Wollfe will have to be determined when the season begins. They are both strangers to me. There are a couple more men that I am figuring on, but I won't say anything about them at present."

"When will you begin work on the grounds?"

"Early next week. It is quite likely that they will be provided with a cinder track, for pedestrianism and bicycling, as well as a baseball diamond, and will be adapted for all legitimate athletic sports. I have been urged to put in a cinder track by persons interested in athletics, but have not yet fully decided whether I will or not. If I am given sufficient encouragement I will put it in. I shall be pleased to meet and consult with gentlemen who think they can give me any valuable advice on the subject."
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, November 25, 1883

So much good stuff here.

I find Lucas to be rather sincere when he talks about the reserve clause, the possibility of a players' revolt and the plight and rights of the players in general. I understand that, if Lucas was serious about creating a new major league, he had no choice but to ignore the reserve clause. However, I'm finding it rather easy to take him at his word. I honestly believe that Lucas cared about the players and the game and wanted to create something that would help both. Did he want to make some money? Sure he did. But I also believe that Lucas saw the reserve clause as an injustice perpetrated against the players.

We also have here a nice little list of ballplayers that Lucas had signed by November 24, 1883. This isn't rumor or speculation but, rather, a list of players that Lucas says he signed to contracts. Not all of these players ended up playing for the Maroons in 1884 but that's something we can get into later.

Also, you may have noticed that Lucas mentions that he signed The Second Baseman. And I think that's how I'm going to refer to Dunlap from now on. The Second Baseman, in caps. I'm going to get into Dunlap's signing next, after I take a few days to talk about cricket in St. Louis in the 1850s and early ball-playing in eastern Missouri in the first half of the 19th century.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Lucas Returns From The East, Part One

Henry Lucas returned from the East yesterday morning, looking hearty and cheerful, and expressing perfect satisfaction over the results of his trip. In the afternoon a Globe-Democrat reporter had an interview with him and obtained the following story of his work for the new ball club while away:

"First of all, I want to say three things that I want distinctly understood, because of a mass of contradictory reports that have been given general circulation by the press. They are: The club that I am interested in will belong to the Union Association, and not the Union League. I have signed Mike Mansell and I have signed Dave Rowe. The Union League will form an Eastern circuit and none of its clubs will come West, while the Union Association will have Western and Eastern members, and, consequently, will play games in both sections. I signed Mansell as I went East, at Buffalo, where he met me in response to a telegram that I had previously sent him. From Buffalo I went to New York. I signed Rowe at Baltimore. I see it stated that Secretary Williams has officially reported Rowe as signed with the St. Louis Club, but I can assure you that he will play with my nine. A contract with the St. Louis Club was sent on to Baltimore for Rowe to sign, but when it arrived he was under contract to me, and sent it back without his signature. Now that fact makes it imperative on Mr. Williams to rise and explain why he reported that he had signed Rowe for the St. Louis Club. In all my negotiations with players I have neither talked nor written to any one of them after he had informed me that

He Was Under Contract

or had made a verbal agreement to sign a contract. After signing Rowe I went back to New York, where I closed a contract with Dunlap. Rowe brought him there to meet me, at my request. While I remained in New York the only local ball players that I saw were Clapp and Kennedy. I was informed that Kennedy was not engaged, and asked him his terms. I had previously obtained terms from Schaffer, and when Kennedy gave me his terms it became a question which I would take. I finally decided to take Shaffer, and did so. I have not yet signed him, but have made a verbal contract with him before witnesses, which is just as good. I did not at any time ask any of the Philadelphia players to sign with me. I telegraphed Gross asking his terms. He answered that he would not decide until January, and after that I paid no further attention to him.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, November 25, 1883

Lucas had a rather productive trip East and returned to St. Louis with a ball club in place. In the second half of the interview, which I'll post tomorrow, he mentions all the players that he had under contract. Even more exciting, of course, is this gives us our first mention of Fred Dunlap and the some of the details of how he signed with the Maroons.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Exaggerated In Nearly Every Instance

[From the Pittsburg Dispatch, November 18.]

It is now a settled fact that Mike Mansell will not play ball with the Allegheny team next season, notwithstanding all assertions to the contrary. The press of the country has been flooded of late with telegrams concerning the new St. Louis club, and among these was one published in the columns of this paper saying that Mansell had signed with Lucas for 1884. This statement was correct, but in nearly every instance the reports from Mr. Lucas' team have been exaggerated, especially so in the matter of salaries received by players. There are some details in the case of Mansell that may prove of interest to the base ball public, that have not heretofore been made public.

As is known, Mansell was one of the players reserved by the Alleghany managers, but for various reasons the blonde did not care to play in this city for another season, and so accordingly made a strong effort to obtain his release, but without success. One reason why he did not care to remain in Pittsburg next year was that the Allegheny Club would not give him enough money. After indulging in considerable haggling over the matter, Mansell returned to his home in Auburn, N.Y., and nothing more was heard of him until Mr. Lucas made his appearance in this city and declared his intention of securing Mansell if possible for his team. Then the Allegheny manager awoke to the necessity of prompt action, and accordingly President McKnight wrote Mansell a letter in which he offered him $1,200 for his services for next season, and further intimated in very strong language that in case he did not accept this, but signed with Lucas instead, that he would be promptly blacklisted by the Allegheny Club.

In the meantime Mansell had anticipated trouble, and having made up his mind not to play in this city wrote to Secretary Williams, asking that gentleman to aid him in securing his release. Before a reply to this last letter was received Mr. Lucas had seen Mansell and succeeded in signing him at a salary of $1,800, with $300 advance money, which was paid on the spot and a promise of more if needed through the winter. Hardly had this agreement been completed when a letter was received from Secretary Williams, which contained an offer of $1,600 for Mansell's services with Von der Ahe's team, in case the Allegheny would release him (Mansell) for $100, which he also promised to pay. As a guarantee against Mansell's being blacklisted by the Allegheny, Mr. Lucas agrees in the contract which Mansell signed with that gentleman to give him $250 extra with which to fight the case in the courts, and Mr. Lucas also agrees to proceed against the Allegheny managers in a suit to recover damages, as he has been advised the club would be liable.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, November 21, 1883

I almost passed on posting this because I'm a little tired of shorting through rumors and rumors of rumors about players that would never play for the Maroons. And while Mansell did play in the UA in 1884, he never played for the Maroons. But, as you'll see tomorrow, Lucas stated that he did indeed sign Mansell and, therefore, this is something more than rumor.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Now That We Have That Cleared Up

Contrary to the general impression the Lucas-Wainwright Base Ball Club will not be a member of the Union League of base ball clubs, but of the Union Association. The Union League and Union Association have generally been confounded with one another, while they are two distinct organizations, having no interest in common and pursuing entirely different courses in endeavoring to place nines in the field and make a bid for public patronage. The Union Association is an independent concern, which has gone into base ball on business principles, asking no favors of old associations, respecting no arbitrary rules that abridge the liberty of a ball-player as to where he shall or shall not play, or subject his compensation to the selfish judgment of a manager, but observing a proper regard for all contracts, is bidding for base ball talent and offering to pay each desirable player seeking engagement all that his services can command in an open market. Not so with the Union League, which expected to be propped up. Its inception and organization are due to an understanding that it would be recognized by the National League, and thereby obtain a standing along with that body, the American Association and the Northwestern League. But this understanding was dissipated by the fiction of the Arbitration Committee of those organizations, which at the recent meeting in New York resolved that no member of either the League, American Association or Northwestern League should play any kind of a game with any club organized in a city in which there already existed a club belonging to either association. That knocked the supports from under the Union League, for the reason that it was organizing clubs in cities where the old fraternity had branches, the protection of which was the special object of the resolution passed. Not possessing enterprise sufficiently active or resources sufficiently strong to enable it to operate without assistance, it will very likely pass out of existence. Such is the difference between the Union Association and the Union League.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, November 23, 1883

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Jack Brennan Signs With The Maroons

Speaking of the engagements made by Ted Sullivan at New Orleans for the Lucas nine, McGinnis said: "Wolfe is a fair batter, an excellent fielder and one of the best runners I have ever seen. He is a young lawyer and is strictly temperate. The Boston and Chicago clubs had tried to get him to leave New Orleans, but could not do it, and Sullivan must have held out a strong inducement to secure him. Brennan had not played ball for eight months, but he stood right up and took Mullane's fiercest balls in fine style. Some of the boys thought Tony was trying to knock him out, but if he was he didn't succeed. Brennan's weak point is his throwing. At the bat he is a strong man.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, November 22, 1883

I'm not sure who Wolfe is but Brennan is Jack Brennan, who appears to have signed on with the Maroons while playing with Sullivan's touring club. Jumbo McGinnis, the source of the report, was also on tour with Sullivan's club.

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Burlesque Of Base Ball

Fourteen females of various ages occupied the floor of Armory Hall yesterday afternoon and executed rather tame feats in running, sliding and screaming for the entertainment of 200 persons who stubbornly refused to say they were entertained. Divided into two squads they constituted two sevens, who furnished diversion in the shape of a burlesque of base ball. The features of the play are not worthy of notice, and it is only necessary to state that the management in appealing to gross tastes for support was signally unsuccessful in extracting funds from the public. The women wore long dresses and jockey caps and acted in a mechanical way that showed they had no love for the game. As there was no object for either team to play no public score was kept and neither players, spectators, nor admirers manifested any interest in the result.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, November 20, 1883

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Blondes Vs. Brunettes

The Philadelphia aggregation of female base ball players, consisting of nine blondes and nine brunettes, having failed to induce the ungallant foot ball kickers to give them Sportsman's Park for this afternoon, have engaged the large hall of the Armory building, and will exhibit there every afternoon during this week and Saturday night. Their first appearance will occur on Monday at 3 p.m.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, November 18, 1883

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The 1884 Maroons: Creating Quite A Breeze

The announcement of the location of the new base ball grounds in yesterday's Globe-Democrat created quite a breeze among patrons of the game. Every one declared the site a splendid one for a diamond, and so easy of access that if the Union League Clubs are correspondingly as strong as the local member their games will certainly attract a liberal, if not a very large patronage. Now that the matter of grounds for the home club is settled, public interest is centered in the movements to organize Union League Clubs elsewhere. It is claimed that a great deal is being done quietly and effectively, but the most sanguine supporters of the new League are forced to admit that if anything has been accomplished outside of this city they know nothing about it...Mr. Lucas is expected home in a few days, and it is believed that he will have important revelations to make. At present his movements are extremely mysterious and no information concerning them can be obtained from any source.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, November 17, 1883

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The 1884 Maroons: The Location Of The New Ballpark

The Globe-Democrat is able to state on excellent authority that the grounds leased for a ball park by Henry V. Lucas are located at the corner of Cass avenue and Twenty-fifth street. Whether the Twenty-fifth street referred to is in the old or new enumeration of streets could not be definitely ascertained, the denizens of Cass avenue in the district affected by the new enumeration being so badly muddled that it was only with extreme difficulty they could tell where they resided, and let alone information relative to their neighbors or neighboring property. It is probable, however, that the exact location is a vacant tract...about 150 feet north of Cass avenue and extending east and west from new Twenty-fifth street to Jefferson avenue. It is very level, and corresponds to the description that was given out when the lease was obtained. That it would make an admirable ball park is beyond question. It is within thirty minutes' ride from the Court House-a fact that greatly enhances the prospects of the new club. The dimensions of the park are stated at 515 x 425 feet.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, November 16, 1883

Monday, April 11, 2011

The 1884 Maroons: Energetic Effort And Liberal Outlay

As was indicated in these columns the lease for the new ball ground was concluded yesterday about noon. Mr. Lucas arrived home in the morning and worked actively until the papers were completed. In the afternoon he went out to his residence at Normandy, and in the evening took an Eastern train, to keep appointments with ball players and Union Club managers in distant cities. If energetic effort and liberal outlay can make a new ball club a success, Mr. Lucas is certain to succeed. The new grounds are not far distant from the Dayton street plat, and are said to be larger, and in every other way finer. Their exact location is still withheld from the public for prudent reasons, which will be removed within a day or two. Work is expected to begin on the stand in about a week. The diamond will be placed in the northwest corner of the grounds, and a batsman at the plate will face southeast. If the grounds are easy of access the new club will have a good patronage, but otherwise it will do well to pay expenses. As soon as the park is announced, an intelligent idea of the club's chances can be obtained.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, November 14, 1883

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The 1884 Maroons: An Interview With Henry Lucas, Part Two

"The intention of the new League is to break down [the reserve rule] in a measure," said Mr. Lucas, "by affording players an opportunity of escape from its rigid conditions. We propose to play first-class men first class salaries, and if one place can afford to pay a good man more than another, why let him go where he can earn the most money. We don't care to make a wagon-load of wealth at the expense of the players, but are willing to let them share our prosperity."

"What is the outlook for the new League?"

"Very good indeed. We expect to have eight good, strong clubs in the field next season, Chicago, St. Louis, Washington, Richmond, Cincinnati, Hartford and possibly Indianapolis and Brooklyn will be represented. The last named cities recently made application for membership to the association and in case they are refused will join the new league. There seems to be a desire to make the undertaking a success and in case the association lives through one season the older associations will be compelled to do business with us in the future. But the St. Louis Union team will survive regardless of the fate of the other associations, and we will be ready to play ball with all comers. I am going East to-night and do not propose to stop until I have secured the strongest club ever presented in St. Louis.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, November 13, 1883

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The 1884 Maroons: An Interview With Henry Lucas, Part One

While in Pittsburg last Thursday Mr. Lucas was interviewed by a reporter of the Dispatch of that city, to whom he imparted the following information relative to his plans. During the conversation he said: "I have now signed four players for next season, Mullane, of the St. Louis; Jack Gleason, of the Louisville, and Taylor and Dickerson. I have also wired Mike Mansell, who is at present out of the city, asking him for terms, and if his figures are satisfactory I will also sign him before I leave town."

Concerning the rumored signing by him of Manning, Gross, Purcell and McClellan, of the Philadelphia League team, Mr. Lucas said: "This is all a mistake. The truth of the matter is this: I received a telegram from these men saying they would sign for $2,400 each and $600 advance money. I simply paid no attention to the offer, as I considered it more money than they were worth, and since then I have heard nothing further from any of them. I never made them any offer, but may yet sign one or more of them in case we can agree upon a fair salary. When I left home I did so with the intention of signing a team which will be able to win three of five games from Von der Ahe's club, and I think I shall succeed. We have got plenty of money and expect to pay good prices to the right men. St. Louis is a good base ball town, and large enough to support two first-class nines.

"Do you expect to sign Deasley, of the St. Louis?" asked the reporter.

"Well, I can't say positively as to that. I have given him until the 10th of the month in which to make up his mind positively. It will not surprise me very much however if he concludes to join my team. He told me positively a short time since that he would not play with Von der Ahe's team next season, and I rather think he meant it."

"How did Von der Ahe like the idea of Mullane leaving him?"

"Oh, he threatened to black-list him and all that, but I guess he will change his mind and let him go. When Mullane came to see me the first matter he inquired about was the protection we would afford him. I replied that we would pay him every dollar of the salary agreed upon and that in case Von der Ahe under took to black-list him we would give him $250 for the suit and make a test case for damages. This was the only promise made him. I have been reliably informed by

Competent Legal Authority

that we could recover damages. At all events, we will try it in case Mullane is black-listed. He had not signed a contract with the St. Louis team, but was held by the reserve rule. Of course in signing with us he violated that rule, which, by the way, is one of the most outrageously unfair laws ever adopted by any combination. The new League certainly has no ambition to make a fight on the old associations, but we positively refuse to recognize that reserve rule under any circumstances. The idea of any association getting control of the best players in the country and then holding them at its mercy is simply ridiculous. Take the case of the Athletic Club. It is stated on good authority that the managers of that association cleared $70,000 during the past season. Under that reserve rule he can hold eleven men of the team at $1,001 if he sees fit, and, if they don't care to accept the terms, he can stop them from playing ball in any of the old associations.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, November 13, 1883

Friday, April 8, 2011

The 1884 Maroons: Spacious, Level And Very Accessible

It is now definitely settled that the Lucas-Wainwright base ball organization will not have grounds at the corner of Dayton and Jefferson avenue. The lease for another spot that is said to be decidedly better has been signed by all the interested parties but Mr. Lucas, who is expected to arrive home this morning and complete the document by affixing his signature to it. The location of the prospective diamond is known only to those directly interested, and will not be revealed until the lease becomes a fact. It is, however, freely asserted that it is a spacious, level and very accessible, though not so near the central part of the city as the tract previously supposed to have been engaged.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, November 13, 1883

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The 1884 Maroons: Materializing Into An Organization

The Lucas-Wainwright Club is materializing into an organization that will command the respect and admiration of the whole country. Early yesterday afternoon news was received that Mr. Lucas, who was in Pittsburg, had signed Mike Mansell, Wm. Taylor and J.P. Dickerson, respectively the left fielder, first baseman and center fielder of the Allegheny Club of this year. Later in the day messages came announcing that Gross, the catcher of the Philadelphia Club, Dave Rowe, center fielder of the Baltimore club, and Jack Rowe, catcher of the Buffalo nine, were secured, making in all six important acquisitions. Mike Mansell is a grand left fielder, a good left-handed batsman, and one of the fleetest runners in the profession. Taylor is an all-around player, who is able to acquit himself in an exceedingly creditable manner in any position on the field. Dickerson is a center fielder of merit and a reliable left-handed batsman. These three men will come here on salaries of $2,000 each. Gross is one of the tallest catchers in the country, and has a remarkably long reach, which he utilizes to the greatest advantage. He is also a wonderful thrower and an excellent batsman. The Rowe brothers are highly esteemed by both the public and the management, the latter's appreciation of their ability being attested by contracts providing them with salaries of $2,600 each...Besides being a grand catcher, Jack can play any position on the field.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, November 9, 1883

Of the players mentioned above, only Billy Taylor, Buttercup Dickerson and Dave Rowe actually played for the Maroons in 1884. It appears that the Allegheny's had given Dickerson and Taylor their releases and they were free to sign with any club.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The 1884 Maroons: More On The First Signings

The new base ball club has the nucleus for a strong nine in Mullane and Gallagher. Mullane's strength in the pitcher's box is recognized throughout the country, and with a proper man to support him behind the bat the club would have a formidable battery, the presence of which on any ball field would prove an attractive card. Gallagher, who has been pitching for the Lucas nine, is highly thought of by Mr. Lucas, and also by the amateurs who have witnessed his work. He has not the speed that many managers desire, but is nevertheless very effective. His curving and judgment are his elements of strength, and in these qualities he is surpassed by few of the noted twirlers. With these two pitchers the new club is certain to be well represented in the points. The engagement of Jack Gleason is another step toward a nine of uniform strength, and will doubtless cause other professionals to laugh at the reserve rule and negotiate with the management.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, November 8, 1883

I'm not certain who Gallagher was (except that he played for Lucas' amateur club) but he didn't play for the Maroons in 1884. But the idea that he would have been signed is kind of odd. It's as if Lucas hasn't figured out yet what his new club was going to be. On the one hand he's signing Mullane and, on the other, he's signing his buddy from his amateur team. Was he trying to put together a top-flight nine or not? Did Lucas know, in early November of 1883, what the Maroons were going to become? Had Lucas finalized his plans for the Maroons and the UA by this time? I think that the next round of signings will show that he had but I just don't know what to make of this Gallagher thing.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The 1884 Maroons: The First Players To Break The Rule

Tony Mullane, of the St. Louis Base-ball Club, and Jack Gleason, of the Louisville Eclipse, have broken the reserve rule, left their respective clubs, and signed with the new St. Louis organization, which is to form a part of the new Union Association. They are the first players to break the rule. Mullane was offered $1,950 for next season's play in the St. Louis Club, but refused that offer to go with the new St. Louis Club at a salary of $2,500, of which $600 is paid him in advance. The new organization offers Deasley, of the St. Louis Club, $3,000 for next season's work. He says he will accept the offer unless paid $2,500 by the older organization, which has placed him on the reserve list. The new St. Louis Club will to-morrow sign with Dickerson and Taylor, late of the Alleghenys. Gleason says the reason he broke the reserve rule with Louisville is that the Directors of that club wanted to reserve him at a salary of $1,000 for the season.
-New York Times, November 8, 1883

Neither Tony Mullane nor Pat Deasley played for the 1884 Maroons for reasons that I'm sure will become clear over the course of this exercise. Jack Gleason, Buttercup Dickerson and Billy Taylor, however, did play for the club.

Rumors about which players would join the Maroons were flying around fast and furious in October and November. Ted Sullivan was organizing a club for a Southern tour and I'm sure that all the players he was approaching about joining that enterprise were all rumored to be joining the Maroons. And Sullivan probably was trying to talk all of them into joining the new club. The club he put together had Buck Ewing, Jumbo McGinnis, Charlie Comiskey, Brother Bill Gleason, Tony Mullane, Jack Gleason, Old Hoss Radbourne, Joe Quest and Cliff Carroll. I don't know what it would have cost Lucas to sign all of those guys but it would have been a darn good team. Of course, the team he did put together finished 94-19 so he didn't really need all them.

But just imagine Radbourne pitching in the UA in 1884. If there's one thing I want you to take away from this post, that's it-the image of Charlie Radbourne pitching in the UA in 1884.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The 1884 Maroons: A Description Of The New Ballpark

The officers of the new Union club [in St. Louis] are endeavoring to get Gleason, Deasley, and Mullane, of the St. Louis Club, to ignore the reserve rule and go over to them. The stock of the new club has nearly all been subscribed for. The grounds are centrally situated. The grand stand will extend in a partial curve around the longest corner of the grounds, which is in the north-west. The arrangement is very similar to that of the athletic grounds in Philadelphia, and that grand entrance is at the same corner, in the centre of the curved row of seats. The corners of the diamond will be so placed that the catcher's position will be toward the north-west, the pitcher's toward the south-east, the other points to correspond.
-New York Times, November 4, 1883

It was also mentioned in this article that Sullivan was the manager of the new St. Louis club. So either the Times was jumping to conclusions or Sullivan had worked out this situation with the Richmond ball club.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The 1884 Maroons: A New Athletic Club

Articles of incorporation of the St. Louis Athletic Association were filed in the office of the Recorder of Deeds yesterday. The capital stock of the Association is $15,000, divided in 600 shares of $25 each, held by the following parties: H.V. Lucas, 200, Theodore Benoist, 50, and Fred F. Epenschied, 350. The object of the association is stated to be to develop athletic sports. It is said the association proposes to start a base ball park.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, November 3, 1883

I think we've seen some rather interesting stuff so far as we begin our look at the 1884 Maroons and at some point, when the plans for the club and the UA solidify, I'll stop and go over all of that. But this is interesting for a few reasons. First, there's the matter of that photograph in the Spalding Collection of the 1886 Maroons. It just happens to be labeled as being a photo of the St. Louis Athletic Association and this article in the Globe tells us why that is. The St. Louis Athletic Association was Lucas' answer to the Sportsmans' Park and Club Association.

The other interesting thing here is that Lucas didn't own the majority of shares in the St. Louis Athletic Association, at least at the time it was incorporated. We'll see if that changes in the future. At the time of incorporation, the majority shareholder was Fred Epenschied, who I believe was Lucas' brother-in-law. After Lucas resigned as president of the Maroons in August of 1886, Epenschied took over his interest in the club. I also know of other investors, such as Ellis Wainwright and Adolphus Busch, but that's getting ahead of the story and we'll just see how this all works out.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The 1884 Maroons: Ted Sullivan

T.P. Sullivan, the former Manager of the St. Louis Club, has been in the city for three days, having been called here on business connected with the new ball club, the management of which has been offered to him. Whether he will accept or not depends upon the officers of the Virginia Club, of Richmond, Va. Some time ago he promised those parties that he would look after their nine next season, and if they insist upon holding him to his word he will not break faith with them. He has had a much more liberal offer to take hold of the new club to be formed in this city than the Richmond Club can afford to pay, and because he wishes to do the best he can for himself, and also has great confidence in the future of the projected organization, he is anxious to obtain a release from his Richmond engagement and locate here. When asked about the probable action of the new club in securing players, he said:

"It will have a first-class nine. There is no doubt about that. Plenty of good talent has already expressed a desire to join it. I expect it will be a member of the Union Association. If Sunday games here will be allowed by that association, the new club will certainly be a member of it. The Union Association will be independent of the League and American Associations, and will have its own championship, just as they do. Contracts with them will be respected by it, but their eleven men reserve rule will not. That rule is a dead letter and can not be enforced. It will not hold in law, and any club that would attempt to injure a player by enforcing it would be liable for damages. Restrictive contracts have regularly been decided against the policy of the law, and therefore null and void, and the reserve rule, which endeavors to prevent players from commanding their full value in open market, is so much in excess of a restrictive contract, and so unjust and oppressive it its intent, that no court in America would permit its operation. The talk about enforcing it is pure bluffing, that will cease as soon as it is discovered that ball players understand their legal rights."
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 29, 1883

Friday, April 1, 2011

The 1884 Maroons: An Independent Concern?

Nothing of special interest relative to the projected local base ball organization has been developed in the last two days. It has been asserted in print that the new club has made application for membership in the Union Association. Such is not the case, however. Correspondence has been exchanged between Henry Lucas and officers of that body, but no application for membership has been made. In his last letter to the Secretary Mr. Lucas stated that if the rules and regulations of the Union Association are satisfactory an application for membership will probably be made. That is as far as the matter has gone. If the rules of the Union Association do not harmonize with the views of the management of the new club it will be run next season as an independent concern.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 28, 1883