Friday, September 30, 2011

The Price Brothers

After I put up this post about the Metropolitans the other day, I received an email from Dwayne Isgrig.  The post mentioned that A. Price and D. Price played for the Metropolitans and Dwayne, with an attention to detail that normally escapes me, noted that there was a gentleman named Price who played for the Pinchbacks of New Orleans in 1888.  This caused me to look into the matter a bit further and I discovered that Asa Price and  David Price were living together in a boarding house in St. Louis in 1880.  It was evident from the census data that I found that the two were brothers.

I did a bit more digging and a search lead me back to my own website (which it often does) and this comment from James Brunson:

Asa "Acie" Price the coacher for Walter L. Cohen's Pinchbacks came from St. Louis. In 1885, Acie and his brother, David, served as the St. Louis Eclipse Club battery. That same year, the Black Stockings and Eclipse Club put together a team that traveled to New Orleans and played all the local colored teams. Following this road tour, David Price returned to St. Louis and Acie stayed in New Orleans and played for Cohen.

In 1889 Price died of yellow fever and was buried in New Orleans. Only 23 years old, he was buried [in his] baseball uniform.

The information that I found in the census data stated that the Price brothers were born in Kentucky, David around 1863 and Asa around 1865.  It appears that they were working in some kind of mill, although I found it difficult to read their occupation information.

The Price brothers are also mentioned in Brunson's excellent piece on Henry Bridgewater and the Black Stockings:

Throughout the season [of 1884], the Black Stockings faced many challengers, including the Eclipse Club, its chief competitor for the title colored champion.  In late August, these colored clubs battled for the championship.  Managed by Charles Brooks, the Eclipse Club included the celebrated battery of Acie Price and Dave Price.  They beat Bridgewater's nine three straight games, the final contest witnessed by 2,000 spectators....

He also mentions that David Price played for Bridgewater's Black Stockings in 1887.

I have to thank Dwayne and James because, without them, I never would have seen how all of this information fit together.  I may not have a lot of readers but the ones I have are pretty smart.   

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The St. Louis Baseball Historical Society Presents: The Merritt W. Griswold Championship Trophy Ball

The St. Louis Baseball Historical Society, in conjunction with some of the vintage baseball clubs in the area, has a great event taking place this weekend:


St. Louis, MO - On Saturday, October 1, 2011, a base ball tradition that dates back to 1860 will be revived by the Saint Louis Baseball Historical Society with the presentation of “The ‘Merritt W. Griswold Championship Trophy Ball’ to the champion club of regional vintage base ball nines.

“The new championship trophy ball is named after a man who should be recognized as one of the most significant figures in St. Louis baseball history,” stated 19th century baseball historian and author Jeff Kittel. “Griswold was a true base ball player, evangelist, teacher and organizer. He was the first to introduce the “New York” rules of base ball to St. Louis and personally taught players the intricacies of the new game. Moreover, he helped develop the structure under which amateur teams organized and competed.”

The new “Merritt W. Griswold Championship Trophy Ball” is a re-creation of the original gold trophy ball he commissioned in 1860 to commemorate the very first competitive match between two athletic clubs in St. Louis; a game that Griswold organized. The game was played on July 9, 1860 between the Morning Star Club and The Empire Club. The Morning Star defeated the Empires by a score of 50-24 on a field just west of the Old Fairgrounds. (Note: It is not yet known if the original gold championship trophy ball had a formal name. The original trophy ball was last seen in the mid-1880’s.)

“We’re bringing a significant piece of St. Louis base ball history back to life,” stated Kittel. “The original gold championship ball was a coveted trophy awarded to the club that won the city championship. And the club that held the gilded ball was recognized as not only the best club in the city but also the best club in the state of Missouri and, often, the champion base ball club of the West.” Kittel added, “This trophy grew to become the symbol of base ball excellence in the American Heartland and the most treasured award a St. Louis base ball club could possess.”

The original gold trophy ball, commissioned by Griswold, was engraved noting the date, the teams and the score. The new ball will feature the exact same engraving.

July 9, 1860 
Morning Star 50
Empire 24

“On the surface, the gilded ball symbolized the championship of St. Louis baseball,” stated Steve Pona, founder of the Saint Louis Baseball Historical Society. “But the ball was also representative of the pioneering spirit of the men who laid the foundation for what would become one of the country’s great baseball towns. Without the passion and dedication of these men, our community would be a much different place.” Pona continued, “It feels right to bring the memory of Griswold and his peers, as well as this piece of our history, back to life.”

Vintage base ball is played by the rules and customs of the game in 1860. There are four teams that compete locally and many teams, regionally. The schedule of play runs from March to October with each team playing an estimated 35 game schedule.

“The entire St. Louis Vintage Base Ball community is excited about the revival of the tradition of awarding the championship gold ball to St. Louis’ top club,” stated Ted “Doc” Yemm co-founder of the St. Louis Perfectos. “There couldn’t be a more deserving person for this honor than Merritt Griswold.”

Merritt Griswold Biography:

• Born in New York City in 1835
• Played baseball with the Putnam Club of Brooklyn in 1857 and the Hiawatha Club of Brooklyn in 1858 and 1859
• Moved to St. Louis in 1859
• Worked for the Missouri Glass Company
• With Edward Bredell, Jr., founded the Cyclone Base Ball Club of St. Louis in late Spring 1859 and served as the club’s field captain
• Discovered a town ball club, the Morning Stars, in St. Louis and taught them the rules of the New
York game of base ball, leading to the establishment of the Morning Stars as a base ball club
• Published the rules of the New York game in the Missouri Democrat on April 26,1860, leading to
the creation of multiple new base ball clubs in St. Louis
• Played in the game between the Cyclones and the Morning Stars on July 9, 1860, the first
competitive match game played in St. Louis history
• Ordered the ball that was used in the first game from a company in New York
• Served as an umpire for St. Louis games until he moved back East during the Civil War
• Served as an officer with the 3rd Regiment of the United States Reserve Corp, the “Home Guards,” from May, 1861 until August, 1861 and his unit was involved in the capture of Camp Jackson in May, 1861
• Was an engineer who was awarded multiple patents
• After leaving St. Louis, he lived most of his life in Englewood, New Jersey
• Died on March 24, 1915
• In 1910, Griswold wrote a letter to Al Spink, the founder of The Sporting News and author of The National Game, within which he laid out the early history of base ball in St. Louis and his involvement in the establishment of the game in the city. The letter was published in the second edition of The National Game and is one of the most important documents in St. Louis baseball history.

The schedule for the games Saturday is as follows:


‘Merritt W. Griswold Championship Trophy Ball’
To Be Awarded for First Time Since 1876

Location: Emmeneger Park, Kirkwood, MO

    9:00 - Brown Stockings vs Unions
    10:30 - Cyclones vs Perfectos
    12:00 - Perfectos vs Unions
    1:30 - Brown Stockings vs Cyclones
    3:00 - Cyclones vs Unions
    4:30 - Perfectos vs Brown Stockings
    6PM - Merritt W. Griswold Championship Trophy Ball Presentation

I sadly am going to unable to attend (damn you, real life) but it's going to be a great event and I hope you can get out to Emmeneger Park to catch the festivities.  This is something that we've been working on for some time and it's great to see it come to fruition.  Good luck to all the clubs involved. 

The 1884 Maroons: The Opening Day Line-Up And A Poorly Crafted Sentence

William Spink

The opening championship game of the season in St. Louis will be that which is to be played at the Union Grounds, commencing at 3:30 to-day, the Chicago and St. Louis Clubs of the Union Association being the competitors.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 19, 1884

The Maroons line-up was announced as Brennan, catcher; Hodnett, pitcher; Taylor, first; Dunlap, second; Gleason, third; Whitehead, short; Dickerson, left; Rowe, center; and Shafer, right.

One other point that I've been meaning to make for awhile is that the Globe really missed William Spink.  The quality of the writing on the sports page declined noticeably after he left the paper in 1883.  The sentence that I quote at the top of this post would never have made it into the paper if Spink had still been the sports editor.

I'm a great admirerer of the elder Spink and believe that he has never gotten his due as a pioneer of baseball jouranlism.  His work in 1877, when he wrote several great expository pieces about the scandals surrounding the Brown Stockings, was particularly outstanding.  He was the first great St. Louis baseball writer and was a much better writer, and journalist,  than his better known brother.  

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The 1884 Maroons: Advertising

I posted something awhile back about how the Browns were going to increase their advertising presence during the 1884 season.  This, of course, was a response to the excitement that surrounded the creation of the Maroons.  One of the more interesting story lines of the season will be how Von der Ahe responds to Lucas' challenge to the Browns' status as the top professional club in St. Louis and I expect to see a bit of an advertising war in the classified pages of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat.

The above ads, published in the Globe on April 19, 1884, is an example of this.  The two ads appeared, one just below the other, in the same column.  The Maroons' ad is a bit bigger and I can say from experience that it grabbed the eye better than the Browns ad did.

I have an even better example of St. Louis baseball advertising from 1884 coming up in a day or so.  

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Request Of The Mercantile Public

Mr. Lucas on yesterday received a communication purporting to represent the views of the mercantile public and requesting that next Saturday's game be called at 4 o'clock.  That hour would be too late for this early in the season, but the time of calling the game will be changed from 3 to 3:30.  Latter on 4 o'clock will be the regular hour of calling the game.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 17, 1884

Yeah, you have to hate it when work interferes with your ability to go see a baseball game.

One other Maroons related note:  The club had a practice game scheduled for the 17th against a team called the  Ramsey Mohawks but it was cancelled for unknown reasons.  Their next game would be the season opener.  

Monday, September 26, 2011

The 1884 Maroons: A Good, Honest Fight

Until after 1 o'clock yesterday it was a matter of uncertainty whether the game announced to take place at the St. Louis Athletic Grounds between the Union and Prickly Ash nine would be played or not.  There were puddles on the ground, but a wet spot behind second base was planked and carpeted and the gates were thrown open a little before 2 o'clock.  Before they were opened fully 500 persons went away, thinking there would be no game.  Nevertheless, when play was called a gathering of nearly, if not quite, 5,000 occupied seats in the stands and positions around the field.  The pitchers had difficult work from the start, and it was impossible for them to do themselves justice, owing to the moisture and mud that gathered on the ball whenever it struck the ground.  Three balls were used in the game.  One went over the fence on a foul hit and was carried off by a young hoodlum.  Some time afterward another ball was hit over the fence and a chap about 26 years old undertook to run off with it.  Delegate Sullivan, who happened to be near by, gave chase to the young thief and fired a couple of blank cartridges after him.  The boy ran into the brickyard north of the grounds and then dropped on his knees, held him his hands, and trembling with fear, cried out:  "Oh!  don't shoot, mister!  Here's the ball.  Oh!  don't shoot; please don't!"
The Game. 
The Prickly Ash team proved themselves worthy the name of local champions, and it was only after a good, honest fight that the professionals won the ball.  In the P.A. B. ranks there are several old-time local players who occasionally play ball in a manner that would honor distinguished professionals.  That they have some reputation was proved by the crowd that assembled to witness their contest, and that they have many friends was also established by the shouts that went up when, in the final inning, their chances for victory were steadily increasing.  For the first six innings the fight was a pretty one, each side scoring a single.  In the first half of the seventh the professionals commenced to drive the ball about and five runs crossed the plate before the local cracks had recovered themselves.  In the Unions half of the ninth inning Dickerson drove the ball too far right and Carey went out and made a grand catch, and then made a beautiful throw to first, cutting off Dunlap, who had started for second when the hit appeared a safe one.  The double play was the feature of the game, and created great enthusiasm.  The city champions went to the bat in their last half feeling very happy indeed.  Werden, who had been sending the sphere very fast, now slackened his pace, for the ball was heavy and hard to handle.  As a result, he pitched wild, and one man walked to first, while another struck at three wild pitches, the last ball getting away from Brennan.  After these two had reached first there came a hit or two and aided by errors on the part of the infield the local champions got in six runs. At this juncture the excitement was something wonderful, the friends of the nine at the bat fairly screaming with delight as the last runs were tallied.  It wanted but a single run to tie and there was a man on second and two out.  Decker who was at the bat drove the ball hard toward third base, and another shout went up.  Jack Gleason, however, dove after the ball, gathered it cleanly, ending the struggle by cutting Decker off at first.  The play on both sides from first to last was spirited and interesting  The lion of the day was young Brennan who faced Werden's terrific pitching, he catching in great style, although all through the ball was wet and heavy and very difficult to handle.  Besides that he batted splendidly.  Dickerson and Shaeffer also did good work with the stick.  For the P.A.'s Peterson's work at third, Walsh's play at short, Decker's catching and the outfielding of Cunningham, Rodemacher and Carey were the best features.  
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 14, 1884

I'm going to guess and say that, after this game, the Maroons didn't have any more problems with people trying to run off with foul balls.

But the more important thing here is What Did Dunlap Do?

Well, he didn't do much.  Hitless in four at-bats, he did reach base twice (probably on a walk and an error).  He also got doubled up at second and it looks like he had three errors.  Not a great day for teh Fred.  And, yes, I think I will be referring to Dunlap from now on as teh Fred or, even better, Teh Fred (with an exclamation point).  

Teh Fred!

Sunday, September 25, 2011


It would take me several thousand words to express what I want to say about R.E.M., so I'm not going to try.  For a good solid decade, they were my favorite band and now they're no more.  Time, still and always, is undefeated.  

These Days

Wolves, Lower

Shaking Through

Radio Free Europe

Orange Crush

The Age Is Hopelessly Prosaic

There has long been ground to fear that the age is hopelessly prosaic.  Knights in armor are things of the past, and it was believed with reason that we should never look upon their like again in the flesh.  But there is at least an indication that this is not strictly true.  The game of base ball is taking on the characteristics of the tournament.  It only requires a catcher of a first-class nine with his armor on (face and body protectors) to be placed on a horse to reproduce the mounted knight.  A combination of base ball and polo would bring the parallel still nearer.  As the deadly character of base all increases, everybody connected with it will wear armor, and the spectators will be thrilled occasionally as of old by an occasional killing.  Thus does history repeat itself.  
-St. Louis Globe-Democrats, April 13, 1884

This really has nothing to do with anything but I just liked the lead so I thought I'd post it.

The Metropolitans

The Metropolitan Base Ball Club (colored) have organized for the season with the following members: G. Fuqua, 1b.; H. Huchanan, 2b.; H. Dickson, 3b.; S. Nash, s.s.; J. Velar, l.f.; W. Cable, c.f.; A. Martin, r.f.; A. Price, p.; D. Price, c.; T. Iverson, sub.  All challenges should be addressed to D. Price, 2319 Papin street.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 13, 1884

I had never heard of the Metropolitans before so I was excited to see this.  With the popularity of baseball in St. Louis on the increase in 1884, I expect to see an increase in the coverage of black baseball in the Globe.  At least that's what I'm hoping for.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Blong's Release

Joe Blong, of the Unions, who has been suffering from a sore shoulder, asked for his release yesterday, and was given it.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 13, 1884

And thus endeth the baseball career of Joseph Myles Blong.  I think.  By 1886, he was working full-time as a clerk for the government and it doesn't appear that he was playing ball.  But it wouldn't surprise me if Blong was kicking around on some amateur club in St. Louis in the mid to late 1880s.  He didn't turn 31 until September of 1884 so he was still a relatively young man.  But as far as major league baseball was concerned, this was the end for Joe Blong.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Protective Screen At The Union Grounds

A large wire screen has been hung in front of the grand stand at the Union Grounds in such a way that spectators in the reserved portion are safe from foul tips flying in that direction.  
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 12, 1884

According to Peter Morris, in Game of Inches, the protective screen dates back to the late 1870s and were certainly being used by 1879.  He writes that the screens, which were not particularly popular, evolved from wooden backstops that were being used as early as 1867.

I can understand how the fans might have felt when they first saw the screen.  A few years ago, a young girl was tragically killed when she was struck by a puck while attending, if I remember correctly, a Columbus Blue Jackets game.  By the following year, the NHL mandated screens at each end of the ice, running from corner to corner and protecting fans sitting behind the goals.  When I first saw them live, I hated them and found them distracting.  I understood why they were there and that they were needed but I didn't like them.  Now, like the screen behind home plate, I don't even notice them.

I looked it up and the young fan's name was Brittanie Cecil.  I wanted to mention that because her story was heartbreaking.  She attended a game on March 16, 2002 with her father, who took her to the game as a birthday present.  She was thirteen years old.  As someone who loves hockey, that story, to this day, just breaks my heart.  

You may or may not like the screens that protect fans at baseball and hockey games but they're there for a reason.  We don't want anything like what happened to Brittanie Cecil to ever happen again.          

Thursday, September 22, 2011

An Obsession With Chairs

The folding chairs for the grand stand at the Union Grounds will be placed in position this afternoon, but not in time to accommodate those who attend the game.
By next Saturday afternoon, when the Unions play their opening championship game with the Chicagos, all of the opera chairs in the grand stand will be in place...
As the folding chairs in the grand stand are not all in place there will be no reserved seats sold for to-day's game at the Union Grounds, and 25 cents all around will again be the admission fee.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 12, 1884

The Globe was obsessed with these chairs.  There were almost daily updates about the status of the chairs at the Union Grounds.  The chairs are here.  Some were placed in.  They're going to put them in tomorrow.  No chairs today but there will be chairs tomorrow.  Absolutely, there will be chairs by the first championship game.    

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The 1884 Maroons: Busch Buys Out Wainwright

Mr. Adolphus Busch, of the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company, has bought the interest originally held by Mr. Ellis Wainwright in the St. Louis Athletic Association.  Mr. Wainwright is therefore no longer in any way connected with the Union Club.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 11, 1884

Wainwright was one of the original investors in Lucas' plan and the entire enterprise, in its earliest days, was often referred to as the Lucas/Wainwright combination.  Much was made in the press of Wainwright and Busch's beer money backing the league and it's a bit of a surprise to see that Wainwright, as an investor in the club, didn't even make it to opening day.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How To Play Ball

"I'm no speech maker," said Nicols, the little right fielder, addressing a number of little boys who had named a club after him, "but if you like I'll give you a pointer or two, and you can take 'em or leave 'em, just as you like. First, when you go to bat don't sneak up there but pick up your club determined like and look at the pitcher as you'd look at a mosquito which you had the dead wood on.  Then when he curls the ball away up around your left ear just duck your head, look mad, and whisper, 'Oh, you sucker, you know better than to give me a good ball.'  That's what you call workin' a pitcher-makin' him mad as a bull-so mad that he'll put the ball just where you say he can't put it, but where you know he's going to put it, and when he puts it there smash her right in the eye.  Then when you've smashed her don't stop to admire the smash, but make for first as though the devil was trying to catch hold of your coat tails.  When you reach first don't stop unless you hear the captain yell: 'Hole yer first; hole it!'  If he yells 'Hole it,' obey orders.  Don't think you know more than him, because if you get to thinkin' that way your head will begin to swell, and all the ice in St. Louis won't take down the swellin'.  If you only reach first, place your arms akimbo and look at the pitcher as though you had got there by a fluke and was goin' to hold to her if it was the last act.  If you're a runner, and not one of those tired cusses that crawl when they think they're flyin', make for your second the moment he pitches the ball, and when you get near the bag, grab hold of it and come up smilin' at the umpire, as though you meant to say, 'Oh, I beat the ball about a foot, and he never touched me anyhow!'  If you work it right, the umpire will sing out, 'Hole yer second!'  But, fellers, if you can't run when you reach first, stay there, and thank God you have got that far.  Don't try to make second, for if you do the catcher will make a blooming gillie out of you.  But make out that you are a dandy on the run, and bob up and down like a bear dancing on a red-hot stove.  That kind of business works up the pitcher, and he'll try to catch you nappin', but instead he'll fire the ball away over the first baseman's head.  Then if you can run a little bit you can get all the way round.  But take care that he don't catch you nappin'.  If he does that the captain will call you a bum base runner and you'll feel like clubbin' the life out of yourself."-[St. Louis Critic.]
-Cleveland Herald, April 10, 1884

It's like something out of Mark Twain, isn't it?

Monday, September 19, 2011

The 1884 Maroons: Men Like These

In the Union team there are six of the strongest batsmen in the country.  Dunlap led the Clevelands in batting Dickerson and Taylor were about the heaviest hitters in the Allegheny team; Rowe was the hardest hitter in the Baltimore nine; Jack Gleason could hit the ball harder than any man in the Louisville Club, while Shaeffer, next to Brouthers, was as good a batsman as there was in the Buffalo team.  Men like these make the leather fly no matter what the quality of the pitcher.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 10, 1884

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Stout Denial

Tony Mullane is at Toledo and stoutly denies that he had any intention of jumping Toledo to again sign with Lucas.  He says Lucas telegraphed him, offering a two years' contract at $3,000 per year, first year's salary in advance, but that he declined.  Manager Merton bears Mullane out in his denial, and he adds that the Toledo directors have every confidence in him.  These two friends will be convinced along with the people of Toledo if much denying is done.
-Cleveland Herald, April 10, 1884

I have two points.

First, given this article and what would happen in the future, it's safe to say that Lucas was still looking to upgrade his club's pitching.  I think that Lucas had a plan as to how he was going to build his club and that plan revolved around signing Mullane and Dunlap.  Losing Mullane was a serious setback.

My second point is really a question and one that, given my own limitations as a writer, I probably shouldn't bring up.  But I will anyway.  Is a stout denial a stronger repudiation of a statement than a regular denial?  Can something, once negated, be negated more?  

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The 1884 Maroons: No Charge

Every afternoon this week, the St. Louis Unions will play practice games at the Union grounds, having for their opponents the Union Reserves, who will be assisted by an outsider or two.  Experience has proven that the players practice better before a crowd than when not watched, and consequently these games will be open to the public and there will be no charge at the gates.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 8, 1884

Friday, September 16, 2011

How Jack Brennan Came To Be Called Jack Brennan

In the post yesterday about Jack Brennan, I had a bit of a throwaway line about not knowing why Jack Brennan, who, according to B-Ref, was born John Gottlieb Dorn, was actually called Jack Brennan.  Well, I got an email from David Ball mentioning that there was an entry on Brennan in Major League Baseball Profiles and it mentioned how Brennan came to be called Brennan.  David, as usual, was correct:

Reportedly, after catching amateur games in the early 1880s he would tour St. Louis taverns, endlessly singing the song "Brennan on the Moor."  Eventually, he became known as Brennan himself.  The story is no doubt somewhat apocryphal, as is the version that he clandestinely assumed the identity of John Brennan, a boy who lived down the street from him, and to further baffle his pursuers he was listed for well over a century in baseball reference works as James Augustus Brennan, who proved to be a different man entirely.  The first intimation that something odd was afoot with Brennan came when he and Perry Werden appeared in the TSN offices one day in the spring of 1890 and Werden informed TSN that Brennan's real name was John Gottleib Dorn, leading Brennan to counter that Werden was really Patrick Ward.  
-Major League Baseball Profiles, 1871-1900, Volume 2

The entry on Brennan, which was written by Peter Morris and David Nemec, lists Brennan's actual name as John Gottleib Doering Jr., which is an even better name than John Gottlieb Dorn.  It also mentions that Brennan, during the 1890s, worked winters at a gambling hall in Madison, Illinois, which is about thirty blocks from where I'm currently sitting.

And, yes, this is really nothing more than a shameless plug for the book.    


Thursday, September 15, 2011

The 1884 Maroons: Still Putting The Team Together

The St. Louis Union Club have signed young Brennan, who caught Hodnet so well in Sunday's game.  Brennan is the youngest player on the Union team, and one of the most promising.  He caught last year on the local Grand Avenue and Liberty teams, Werden being his pitcher.  He also went to Chillicothe, Mo., with Werden, and played quite a good game up there.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 8, 1884

Jack  Brennan was actually born John Gottlieb Dorn.  I have no idea why he changed his name unless it was because he wanted to hide his professional baseball activities.

Brennan appears to have played an important role on the Maroons as a utility guy and first guy off the bench.  He played in 56 games and appeared at catcher, third base, short and in the outfield.  He went on to have about as successful career as a utility guy who can't hit can have, playing five seasons in the majors and continuing his professional career into his thirties.

There's a couple of good Jack Brennan stories here and here, if you're interested.  

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

TGOG's Fourth Anniversary

On this date, four years ago, I published the first post here at TGOG.  Sixteen hundred odd posts later, I'm still here.  As always, I have to thank all the folks who visit the site.  Your comments and emails are, without a doubt, the best part of doing this.  It's been a real blessing in my life to get to know some of you and I'm humbled by the fact that there are people out there who care about what I'm doing here in my little corner of the interwebs.  Thank you.

And without further ado, let's have some videos:

TGOG's Fourth Anniversary is proudly brought to you by Slade, the Undertones and the MC5.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

An Eighteen Foot High Fence

Yesterday a wire screen was put in place on the top of the cast fence of the Union grounds.  The screen is six feet high, the top being eighteen feet above the ground.  There are few players in any of the associations possessing the muscle enough to drive a ball over the top of this screen.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 8, 1884

What a great little detail.  The Union Grounds had a six foot high wire fence added to the top of the outfield wall.  You have to love stuff like that.

There was a lot of talk that the grounds were too small and it appears that, by this, they meant that the outfield walls were too close.  It appears that Lucas solution to this perceived problem was to make the outfield fence eighteen feet high.

Was the park really too small?  I don't know the answer to that right now but I suspect I'll figure it out as I go through the Maroons' games on a day to day basis.  B-Ref has the Union Grounds as a hitter's park in 1884 but as fairly neutral during the three years the Maroons played there.  There's probably a way to check the home/road splits but I haven't figured it out.

I did find the home run log at B-Ref.  Dunlap hit six home runs at home and seven on the road.  Jack Gleason hit two at home and two on the road.  Dave Rowe hit all four of his home runs on the road but Henry Boyle hit all three of his at home.  I'm not sure what that all really means.  The Maroons only hit 32 home runs as a team but they had four guys with over 30 doubles and another with 21.  Rowe hit 11 triples, Orator Shafer hit ten and Dunlap hit 8.  The club hit 41 triples and 259 doubles but only 32 home runs.

I would think that, if they played in a small park, the club would have more home runs and fewer doubles and triples.  Maybe they were just whacking balls off that eighteen foot high fence all day.  But right now, I'm leaning to the idea that the Union Grounds really wasn't that small a park.  We'll see.    

Monday, September 12, 2011

The 1884 Maroons: We Probably Need To Add More Seats

Workmen commenced building a tier of open seats at the south end of the grand stand at the Union grounds yesterday.  When they are completed the Unions grounds will have as great seating capacity as any in the country.  
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 8, 1884

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The 1884 Maroons: The Practice Schedule

The practice games at Union grounds will be called at 2:30 sharp, and play no matter what the number of innings will be carried on until 5 o'clock.  
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 8, 1884

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I Didn't Earn It But I Get It

John Clapp

Shaffer told a Cleveland gentleman last week that he received $2,300 a year in St. Louis.  "I didn't earn it," said the Orator, "but I get it, and everything goes."  Dunlap told the same party that he held spite against Cleveland since John Clapp played here, for an alleged slight, and that he was playing Appleton for his release.
-Cleveland Herald, April 8, 1884

That's a great line by Shaffer but I think the more interesting thing is the information about the root of Dunlap's unhappiness in Cleveland.  I always assumed, this being Dunlap, that the problem was money and Dunlap was unhappy about his salary.  A lot of the evidence does point that way.  But this being Dunlap, nothing is ever that simple.

Clapp spent one season with Cleveland, in 1881, which was Dunlap's second year with the club.  Dunlap had a great season that year.  He was easily the best player on the club and was the best second baseman in the league.  But Cleveland had a disappointing year.  After finishing third in 1880, they finished seventh in 1881, with a record of 36-48.  Jim McCormick had been the captain of the club the previous two seasons but, for some reason, it looks like he was replaced by our old friend Mike McGeary to begin the 1881 season.  McGeary was quickly replaced by John Clapp, his former teammate on the 1876 and 1877 Brown Stockings.

So, if this source is to be believed, Dunlap's unhappiness in Cleveland dates back to 1881, when he had some kind of problem with his manager, John Clapp.  This being Dunlap, it looks like he carried that grudge, whatever it might have been, for several years.  While money was a factor in Dunlap's decision to leave Cleveland, it also appears that he was unhappy with Cleveland management in some way that had nothing to do with how much he was paid.  Dunlap said several times during the 1883/1884 off-season that he was unhappy with the way he was treated by Cleveland management and I always translated that as him wanting more money.  But it looks like he was being sincere in his statements and whatever happened between him and Clapp had a lasting impact on Dunlap's opinion of Cleveland management.    

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Busy Day

April 6, 1884 was a busy baseball day in St. Louis.

Besides the Maroons' first game, the Browns played their reserve club at Sportsman's Park, the Western Brass Manufacturing Company club played an amateur club from East St. Louis, the East St. Louis Club played the Belleville Standards at National Park in East St. Louis, the Papins played the Eclipse, the Ely-Walker's Packing-room nine played the Ely-Walker's Porters, the Kemper Grocery nine played the Southerns, the Prickly Ash played the St. Gothards, the Jolly Knights played the Martin Neiser "Ice-water nine," the CBC club played a club made up of college students at the Compton Avenue Grounds, and the Western Railroad nine played the Missouri Pacific Railroad nine, also at Compton Avenue.

The Globe-Democrat noted that the Browns had 5,000 people at their game and the doubleheader at the Compton Avenue Grounds drew 500 fans.  They also mentioned, of course, that the Maroons had around 10,000 people at the Union Grounds.  The Cleveland Herald, on April 9, stated that "[in] St. Louis last Sunday 20,000 people took part in base ball either as players or spectators of the many games played on that day."  They also noted the attendance at the Maroons' game, which must have truly galled them.

The 1884 St. Louis baseball season was in full swing.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The 1884 Maroons: The Long-Talked Of Opening

The long-talked of opening of the Union Grounds took place yesterday afternoon, and the promoters of the new enterprise felt considerably surprised, as well as highly flattered, at the compliment paid them by the gathering together of a crowd which in size resembled the gatherings of a year ago when the base ball fever was at its height, and when the Grand Avenue Grounds were taxed even beyond their capacity.  The immense grand stand which can seat 8,000 persons was full to the brim, while crowds stood around the fences and hundreds viewed the game from the open seats.  There were at a low estimate 10,000 persons inside the grounds, while a thousand or two more viewed the game from house-tops or other available elevations.  The new team, when it appeared, was heartily cheered, and as the players neared the grand stand they were obliged to tip their hats again and again.  The crowd had in mind perhaps the manly action of Dunlap, Shaeffer, Rowe and Gleason, the players who had broken the reserve rule and got blacklisted in consequence, but who had stood by their contracts like men.  The Unions were in their new uniforms, and looked very neat and handsome, and considering the fact that they had but little time for practice, they made
An Excellent Showing,
both at the [bat] and in the field.  Dunlap especially loomed up as a batsman, and although Hodnett was pitching well, he hit him for four double baggers and a single out of six times at bat.  Shaeffer was unlucky in his hitting, and never once got a good crack at the ball.  Once, however, he hit to the short fielder, and then by most wonderful running beat the ball to first.  By this good sprinting he earned a base hit.  Dickerson surprised the crowd by dropping an easy fly, and then regained his lost ground by running away out and making one of the prettiest catches on record.  Taylor played first well.  Gleason at third made a bad throw home, letting in the only two runs scored by the Reserves, but his play in the position before and after that error was never excelled.  He handled every hot ball sent him, and his throwing over to first was simply perfection.  Five assists and four put-outs constitute a good enough record for any third baseman.  Roche at short field seemed backward in his work and to appreciate the fact that he was a newcomer.  As a result Gleason was allowed to do the bulk of the work coming his way.  This is not a bad fault, however, and Roche will remedy the defect if the opinion formed of him in his practice games is borne out.
The Battery.
Tom Sullivan, who did the catching, was suffering from a lame arm and was not able to do himself justice, but Tom, although facing Werden for the first time, handled the hot shot well and worked his partner so well that not one of the Reserves was allowed to take first on balls.  At center field Dave Rowe, unlike Roche, was too ambitious if anything.  Dave covered a wide tract on ground and ran after everything that came his way, like a sprinter in the first ten yards of a hundred.  But at the bat Rowe, like Dunlap, made the leather fly, all of his hits being clean ones and right from the shoulder.  His hit to center was the longest of the game.  For the Reserves young Quinn, of Dubuque, was the brightest star.  He covered first like a veteran, taking everything that came his way and handling high and low balls with equal skill.  Whitehead had a lame arm and was unable to take his place behind the bat.  Brennan filled the position and proved himsefl one fo the very best of the local players.  He also batted well.  Cross, at short, also did good work.  Blong, Baker and Tracy did well in the field and Berry, at second, cleanly handled every ball sent his way.  Hodnett pitched splendidly and promises to do even better as the season progresses.  Of the game itself there is no need of elaboration.  There was no stake up, no championship involved, and so, although nearly all did well, there was not that spirit put into the game after the first five innings that there would have been had there been some goal in view.  The claim that the grounds were not large enough, which was made by some well-wishers of the club, was scarcely borne out yesterday, not a fair ball being knocked over anyone of the fences.  By Sunday next the opera chairs for the grand stand will be in place, and the reserved portion will be reserved in fact, other improvements will be made during the week, and the drawbacks of yesterday, if there were any, will be remedied.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 7, 1884

Long-talked of, indeed.  It's good to leave behind the baseball politics and the machinations of the off-season and finally get to the game on the field.

While the off-season was fascinating and it was important to cover the creation of the UA and the Maroons, this little project is, for me, all about following Fred Dunlap through his magnificent 1884 season.  In 1883, Dunlap was, arguably, the best player in the game and I don't think that there is any doubt that he was the best second baseman in all of baseball.  He was about to turn twenty-five years old, was at the peak of his talents and would just tear up the UA in 1884.  It's going to be fun to see that on a day to day basis.

So without further ado, let's introduce a new feature here at TGOG:

What Did Dunlap Do?

What did Dunlap do on April 6, 1884, in his first game with the Maroons?  He simply went five for six with four doubles and two runs scored.  Not a bad start.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

On The Eve Of The 1884 Maroons First Game

It was over six months ago that I started covering the Maroons' 1884 season and I find it almost impossible to believe that I'm just now finishing the period leading up to the season.  I didn't realize, going into this project, how interesting and significant that period between October 1883 and April 1884 was and how much was going on during that off-season.  I should have realized what I was getting myself into but, as usual, didn't think the thing through before I started.  In the end, this has really turned into two projects.  The first was going through the 1883/1884 off-season from the perspective of the organization of the Union Association and the Maroons.  That project is now, thankfully and mercifully, at an end.  The second, which will begin tomorrow, is a day-by-day look at the 1884 Maroons.  That's the project I promised you six months ago.

But it absolutely was not six months wasted.  The 1883/1884 off-season was fascinating and has to be one of the more interesting off-seasons in the history of baseball.  As usual, I tried to stay focused on the St. Louis perspective but the actions that Lucas was taking had national ramifications.  The formation of the Union Association was a direct challenge to the national baseball establishment and it was seen as such at the time.  Lucas' new league was a threat to the NL and AA's monopoly on the best professional baseball talent and it was this monopoly that defined the established leagues as the "major leagues."  If Lucas had succeeded, the best case scenario for the established leagues would have been that the UA would have established itself as the third "major" league and seized an equal share of the professional baseball market.  The worst case scenario would have been the collapse of one of the established leagues, most likely the AA, with the UA taking its place.

The struggle between the UA and the NL/AA was about a monopoly fighting to preserve its markets and profitability in the face of a bold challenger.  It's a story that is much bigger than that of the establishment of the first national championship baseball club in St. Louis history.  It's a story that's bigger than that of Henry Lucas, the millionaire baseball fan.  It's a story that's even bigger than Fred Dunlap's great season.  In many ways, I believe that the greatest historical significance of the UA lies in the fact that we can mark the beginning of the Players' Revolt to Lucas' rejection of the reserve rule and his league's signing of players who had been reserved by the establish leagues.  Men like Henry Lucas and Fred Dunlap should stand beside John Ward and Curt Flood and Marvin Miller as heroes in the players' fight for economic freedom.

While in hindsight, the UA's rejection of the reserve rule seems like a normal, practical decision, it was, in fact, a radical step.  It was a decision that broke the conventional wisdom of what the relationship between management and player was and established a new vision of what that relationship could be.  It was a bold decision and Lucas should be remembered for attempting to reorder the relationship between player and management.  Dunlap and the other players who signed with UA teams should also be remembered for taking a step that was every bit as courageous as the one Flood took eighty-five years later.

Lucas' rejection of the reserve rule and the UA's attempt to sign reserved players were the most dramatic events of the off-season.  Lucas consistently stated that he viewed the reserve rule as unfair and talked about it in moral or philosophical terms.  It appears that he believed the rule to be immoral and that a baseball player had the same rights as any other free man to engage in free commerce and sell his labor how he saw fit.  His stated intention was to kill the reserve rule and free the ballplayer from the shackles of economic slavery.

Now that was how he presented his argument in the press and I believe that Lucas was sincere in his beliefs.  However, there was also a practical element to all of this.  The UA needed ballplayers to stock its clubs and the established leagues had most of the good ones.  It certainly had all the good ones who could draw a crowd.  To succeed, the UA not only needed players but it needed good ones who could sell tickets.  While there was a moral element to disregarding the reserve rule, it was also the best way to get good players, to get press, to raise public awareness about the new league and, therefore, to sell tickets and make money.  There can be no doubt that the UA had a pecuniary interest in disregarding the reserve rule.

Regardless of Lucas' intentions, what I find most interesting about the off-season was that he failed, for the most part, in rallying the players to the UA banner.  For all the talk of destroying the reserve rule and bringing economic freedom to the players, Lucas was only able to sign six players who had been reserved by the established clubs.  While every big name baseball player was, at some point in the off-season, rumored to be signing with the outlaw league, Lucas, in the end, wasn't even able to sign enough guys to stock one club.  Compare that to the success of the Players' League, just six years later, which was able to sign the biggest stars in the game.  The only true star that Lucas was able to sign was Dunlap.  Lucas simply failed, in 1883/1884, in landing the talent that he needed to stock his new league.

One of the reasons for this failure was that Lucas ignored several avenues of player acquisition.  While the UA ignored the reserve rule, it did not engage in a wholesale raid on the established leagues.  Lucas stated that the league would respect all contracts that had already been signed and would not attempt to steal a signed player.  This immediately limited the number of players that Lucas was able to target in the 1883/1884 off-season.  Once a player signed with their League or AA club, that player was no longer pursued by Lucas.  The established leagues were able to limit the players available to the UA simply by signing their players.  Lucas also appeared to ignore the lower-level leagues.  While someone like Von der Ahe was exploring the Northwestern League for talent and would have great success developing young talent in the 1880s, Lucas never pursued that avenue of player procurement and it seems that he was entirely focused on signing "major league" players for his new league.  Given the goals that he had set for himself and the UA, that's understandable.  However, given the dearth of talent in the new league and the fact that there was substantial baseball talent outside of the major league structure, there's no doubt that Lucas, by attempting to make a big splash with player signings in 1883/1884, missed out on numerous good players.  If Lucas had taken the longer view and been willing to develop the UA over a period of years, he could have stocked his club with any number of young players and grown his own stars, rather than attempting to poach stars from the established league.

The most interesting avenue of player acquisition that Lucas ignored in the 1883/1884 off-season was the signing of black players.  There is no doubt that there were an extraordinary number of outstanding black players during this period and, if he had had the vision, Lucas could have signed several of these players to help stock the UA clubs and raise the overall talent level of the league.  In St. Louis, Lucas certainly would have been aware of the Black Stockings and the outstanding players that they had on their club.  Their were black players in organized baseball during this era, playing in the Northwestern League, the International League and the Eastern League.  These players could have been brought into the UA but were not.  It's unknown what Lucas' opinion of race relations were and if this was something that he ever considered but for a man who took such a classically liberal view of economic justice, it's not a stretch to imagine him having a similar view regarding racial justice.  Lucas' failure to integrate the UA, whether a failure of imagination, character, or courage, is one of the great missed opportunities in baseball history.

While there is no doubt that Lucas failed in his attempt to procure sufficient talent for his new league, it was not entirely his fault.  The established leagues quickly recognized the threat that the UA posed and took action to defend themselves.  The Day Resolution was adopted in December of 1883 and any player who signed with the new league was threatened with the blacklist.  With the very real possibility that the UA would not even see the field in 1884 or not make it through the season, this was a serious deterrent to players who were considering signing with Lucas' new league.  Also, players who had signed with the new league were subjected to an organized effort to bring them back into the fold of organized baseball.  Several players, such as Tony Mullane, jumped back to the established league after signing a contract with the UA.  The baseball establishment also had significant allies in the press who spread stories about the instability of the new league and preached its immanent demise.  The anti-UA press, I believe, played a role in creating an environment that discouraged players from signing with Union clubs.

The battles between the anti-UA and pro-UA factions in the sporting press are fascinating and extraordinarily entertaining to read.  In my coverage of the off-season, I focused mostly on articles from the pro-UA St. Louis Globe-Democrat and the anti-UA Cleveland Herald.  The Cleveland paper had an interesting perspective on the off-season battles because, of course, their local club was in the process of losing Dunlap to Lucas' Maroons.  It was obvious to me that the sporting editors of each paper were reading each other's work and there was often a point/counter-point debate going on between the two papers, each defending their particular editorial position.  I enjoyed reading the anti-UA press because it not only offered argument in opposition to my own feelings about the UA but also because I believe that, in the anti-UA press, you were hearing the voice of the baseball establishment railing against Lucas' outlaws.  I obviously have a pro-UA bias and I hope that including the voices of the anti-UA press helped balance that to some extent.

As I said earlier, this was one of the most interesting off-seasons in the history of baseball and there was just an amazing amount of information to pass along.  I quickly realized that I had to focus on the development of the Maroons and let most everything else fall by the wayside.  I don't think I mentioned the Day Resolution once in the last six months.  I don't think I spent much time, if any, on the organization of the other clubs in the UA.  I really wanted to trace the development of the UA as a whole and the development of the Maroons within that context but was simply unable to do so.  Periodically, I tried to include articles that spoke generally about what was going on but to really do justice to this period would have taken me another six months.  In the end, the focus of this website is St. Louis baseball history and as much as I'd love to give you a comprehensive look at the history of the UA, I had to limit my focus to what Lucas was doing to build his club in St. Louis.  There is a lot of interesting stuff out there about, for instance, the Boston UA club and it was fun to read but, in the end, I just don't have the time to pass all of that along or fit it within the context of what Lucas was doing from October 1883 to April 1884.  I see that as a bit of a failure but the perfect is the enemy of the good and I have the Maroons' entire 1884 season to get to.

So it's time to put baseball politics and business aside and get to the good stuff on the field.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Gate Money Must Do It All

Patrons and admirers of base ball as a sport are watching with interest the struggle against a full field of the new Union association, which, backed at first by a big St. Louis brewing concern, has spread into eight cities, including Philadelphia, and propose to fight its way to recognition.

A Record representative asked a gentleman thoroughly familiar with the course of the various associations, although not connected with any of them, what he thought of the chances of the Lucas combination.

"Well," was the reply, "unless the Union association is stronger than it appears to be I think it will have a hard time too keep afloat. There never has been such a war waged since the game began as that of the league and American association against the new organization. The fight is carried on in a strictly business fashion. Every body of clubs throughout the country that lays claim to any sort of organization has signed the 'national agreement.' The state base ball associations of Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, the Northwestern league, the Eastern league, the Oil and Iron league, with others less notable, are all enlisted with the two leading organizations against the Union association. Its clubs will be the Ishmaelites of the craft. Any club playing them is, by the terms of the national agreement, debarred from playing with any club that is party to that agreement. Neither college clubs nor amateur clubs will play them, for if they did they could never play with any other clubs. I don't see how this 'freeze out' is to be presented. Practically, the new association will be confined to the games of its regular schedule. Half of these, or fifty-six, are played at home, and the other fifty-six abroad. The outside games are played under a small guarantee, which barely covers traveling expenses, so that the games on which each club must rely for support are the fifty-six home games. The season is seven months-that's an average of eight games per month. I suppose the salary list of the Keystone club is from $1,400 to $1,600 a month, and other expenses will run the cost of the venture close up to $2,000 a month. The guarantee to visiting clubs, $75, has got to be paid besides. So you see the games of the Keystone club here in Philadelphia must average receipts of $325 per game to bring the club out even at the end of the season, without a dollar of profit. That is, there must be an average attendance of over 1000 for each game. On some few days, like the Fourth of July, there will be large crowds, but I don't see how they are going to keep the average up to such a high figure."

"Amateur clubs might help them out. Games have been announced, you know, between Union association clubs here and elsewhere and amateur clubs."

"Yes, but when the amateurs understand the penalty of playing such a game they'll back out very quickly. I know two that have done so already. One is a college club and another the leading Philadelphia amateur club. The game isn't like it was seven years ago, when the National association was formed. There is nobody to put up money for deficiencies. Every club must pay its way, and generally does so. There is no body of local directors to put their hands in their pockets and pay salaries as there was then. The gate money must do it all. The old National association had plenty of help from lovers of the game, but it failed, because enough games could not be arranged to make the business pay. That's the great trouble with the Union association. If there is going to be a base ball craze this year they will float along all right, but if the public gets more than enough the latest comer will be the first to be neglected.
-Rocky Mountain News, April 7, 1884

Monday, September 5, 2011

At Long Last

The long talked of opening of the St. Louis Athletic Association grounds will take place this afternoon when the new Union Base Ball Club will make its inaugural appearance, opposed to a team picked from the reserve force and the Lucas Amateurs. Yesterday afternoon the Unions played a practice game, and the way they made the leather fly opened the eyes of the thousand spectators who had taken the pains to visit the new grounds. In to-day's game the Unions will wear for the first time their regular uniform, the suits of which are made of white flannel trimmed with maroon, while the caps, belts and stockings are all maroon...Dan Devinney will umpire the game, which will be called at 3 o'clock sharp...
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 6, 1884

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Very Attractive And Handsome

Quite a scene was enacted at the Directors' headquarters at Sportsman's Park yesterday, as President Von der Ahe displayed the magnificent new uniforms of the St. Louis and Reserve players...Those of the St. Louis players are beauties. They are of the purest white flannel, the shirts being of a soft, smooth texture, with the "St. Louis Browns" in brown cashmere handsomely woven across the center. Pretty silkcord lacings are used, giving the shirts a very attractive and handsome appearance. The breeches are of the blouse pattern, and look elegant on the players. The stockings are a beautiful brown, while the belt if of a fine brocaded silk woven material. Each player receives two suits, with each one of which goes a pair of garters and a pretty necktie. The caps have two brown stripes around them...
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 6, 1884

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Whole Truth Of The Story

In an interview with a Boston Herald reporter President W.P. Appleton, of the New York League Club, tells of his proposition to Dunlap, of the St. Louis Union Club. He says: "This is the whole truth of the story: After Dunlap had signed to play with the St. Louis Union Club, and had repeatedly told the Clevelands that he would not go back to them, that club continued to write him letters at the rate of three a week. Dunlap soon tired of the correspondence and remained silent until a registered letter was sent to him. He felt bound to answer this, and informed the club that he would not play for $2,100, but that he would consent to sign for not less than $2,800, as he considered that he was fully worth that figure. Then Dunlap signed with the St. Louis Union for two years. He will receive $3,500 the first and $4,000 the second year. He will receive his pay after he has once entered upon his contract, in twenty four equal payments, and, should he die after its inception, the money will be paid to his heirs or representatives. While in Philadelphia a short time ago I met Dunlap, and remarked to him: 'I see you have signed to play in St. Louis: hadn't you better wait a year and see how the new association will prosper? Haven't you made a mistake? 'No,' said Dunlap, 'I am going to play there. I was not treated well in Cleveland. I have been there five or six years and am tired of it. I am going to St. Louis.' 'I think you are making a mistake,' I said. 'Perhaps so,' he replied. 'I would play in New York though, if I got the chance; but as far as going back to Cleveland is concerned, I would not break my St. Louis contract to go there under any circumstances.' I saw at once that he could not be secured by Cleveland, and also that there was a good chance of saving him for the League provided I could secure his release from Cleveland. I at once communicated with Mr. Howe, the vice president of that club, and saw him personally. I went so far as to offer him $1,000 for Dunlap's release. He would not listen to any proposition, but said he would rather let me have the whole of his nine than let me have Dunlap. The Cleveland undoubtedly thought and still thinks that Dunlap will weaken. He will not and the Cleveland might as well let us have him. Dunlap will play in St. Louis if he lives."

The above was shown to Vice President Howe, of the Cleveland Club, yesterday. He said: "My only object in noticing the article referred to the would be to correct a false impression that Dunlap was not treated well by Cleveland. His letters to us, now on file, state the contrary, and he was repeatedly expressed himself to members of the club as being perfectly satisfied. Mr. Appleton's statement that Dunlap repeatedly told the Cleveland Club that he would not go back is, to use a mild term, incorrect, as well as the statement that he (Dunlap) was receiving letters from us at the rate of three a week. Appleton must refer to the letters he wrote us for Dunlap's release. They were numerous. He intimated in one letter that without Dunlap the New York Club could not succeed. This is not very complimentary to such players as Ewing, Ward and Connors. Mr. Appleton says he saw me personally. The only time I ever saw Appleton, that I can remember, was about eighteen months ago, and I don't think I should know him if I were to meet him.

"Yer, Mr. Appleton states one truth. He did offer us $1,000 for Dunlap about the middle of March, and within a week withdrew his offer. If we made any mistake it was in not accepting the offer. Dunlap would have gone to St. Louis all the same and Appleton would have been out $1,000. I say Appleton, as Mr. Day, the president of the New York Club, told me a short time since that he ignored the whole matter and urged Mr. Appleton not to do as he had done, knowing full well it was contrary to the League laws. My impression is that Appleton's offer to Dunlap had more to do in preventing his return to Cleveland than anything else. Yes, the correspondence is at your command at any time."

The letters were read by the base ball editor of the Herald and sustain Mr. Howe in every particular. They are bullying in tone and show Appleton to be a man of but little breeding.
-Cleveland Herald, April 6, 1884

Friday, September 2, 2011

For The Benefit Of The Patrons

The Jefferson avenue line put in a switch at the Union Grounds yesterday, and they will have a lot of cars always ready to carry away the crowd at the conclusion of a game. The Cass Avenue Line will also run out a lot of extras, but they will do their switching at the stables. Superintendent Clevelend is getting up a new time card for the benefit of the patrons of the Union Grounds, and it will go into effect on May 1 when the new cars of this line will also be placed on the road.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 5, 1884

I find this whole story about the street cars fascinating. To me it helps convey the atmosphere and sense of excitement that I found in the Globe's coverage of the Maroons in the days leading up to their first game. You already have nice crowds coming out to see the club practice and they have to deal with the practical problem of how they're going to get these big crowds, that are anticipated, physically to the grounds, in and out of the park, and then back home. It these small little details about adding extra cars and having four entrances and they're still working on the field and Dunlap is going to hit leadoff and THE GAME IS TOMORROW that creates this extraordinary picture of a brief moment in St. Louis history. The sense of anticipation, in the Globe's coverage, is palpable.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Who Knew That Rowe Had Enemies?

Enemies of Dave Rowe who claimed that he was a disorganizer and a bad man to have in a team, should see him at the Union Grounds where with both manager and players he is one of the most popular of men. There are no better batsmen in the country than Dave, while as a fielder he has few if any superiors, and these things will make him a most valuable man in the club team.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 5, 1884