Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Base Ball Pioneers 1850-1870

Base Ball Pioneers 1850-1870 is now available for pre-order at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  The latest information that I have is that it will ship around the first week of April, with the possibility that it may come out a few weeks earlier than that.  I haven't gotten my hands on it yet but it's going to be a great book and I encourage you to pick up a copy.

I was lucky to have played a small part in the project and wrote the chapter on the St. Louis pioneer era.  In the chapter, I covered the history of the Cyclone, Morning Star, Empire and Union Clubs as well writing brief biographies of the members of each club.  We had some great editors working on the book and I think that the chapter turned out really well.  While regular readers of this site will be familiar with some of the information that I present, there is a great deal of new research that I included.  If you're interested in 19th century St. Louis baseball history, I don't think you'll find a better overview of the St. Louis pioneer era anywhere in print.    

I'm really looking forward to reading what everybody else has written and can't wait to get my hands on a copy.  I have no doubt that anyone who enjoys reading about the history of 19th century baseball will enjoy it as well.  As we get closer to the publication date, I'll have more information and hopefully an interview or two with some of the other contributors.  But I advise you to pre-order your copy today while supplies last.   

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Church Or Base Ball?

The season of the year is here when St. Louis citizens on Sunday toss up a penny to decide if they will take in church or the base ball match.  A great many of them have provided themselves with pennies with heads on both sides.--[Philadelphia Call.  Some St. Louisans attend church in the morning and base ball in the afternoon.]
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, May 19, 1884

Monday, November 28, 2011

The 1884 Maroons: Administering Another Drubbing

The St. Louis Unions, on yesterday afternoon, gave another exhibition of heavy batting, and administered a third drubbing to the Baltimore Club, beating them by a score of 16 to 8, and earning one-half of their runs, while the visitors earned but one-tally.  The Baltimore nine was weakened by the absence of Fusselbach, who was unwell, and Seery was sent behing the bat to support W. Sweeney, O'Brien taking left, J. Sweeny center, and Henry Oberbeck, of this city, right.  The local battery were Werden and Brennan, Dickerson covering third base, Quinn left field, and the others in their usual position.  The game was loosely played, eleven errors being charged to each side.  These, however, included two wild pitches each by Werden and Sweeny, the Union Association rules requiring that they be scored in the error column.  The visitors made but seven hits...Nineteen hits and a total of twenty-seven bases were made by the local sluggers.  Rowe and Shafer scored three-baggers, and Rowe, Brennan, Whitehead and Werden two-baggers.  Out of six times at the bat, Brennan secured five hits.  Shafer ranked next with four hits...Dunlap made two great one-handed stops of high throws by Brennan.  Over 8,000 persons were present, the grand stand crowd being very large, and including many prominent citizens.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, May 18, 1884

I have to say that I'm a bit disappointed in the Maroons' attendance.  They had a nice crowd for this Sunday game but, generally, they weren't drawing all that well.  They were doing okay but I expected them to draw much better than this.  While I haven't looked all that close at the numbers, I'm pretty sure that the Browns were drawing bigger crowds.  I didn't expect that.

Speaking of disappointing:  What Did Dunlap Do?  Nothing.  But he didn't make an error and made a couple of nice plays on wild throws by Brennan.  So there's that.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Worst First Baseman Ever

The Murphy and Somerville nines, both of the St. Louis News Company, had a game on their own grounds near Cote Brilliante yesterday afternoon.  The Somervilles won by a score of 113 to 8.  Carroll and Denning and Johnson and Scherer were the batteries.  A feature of the game was the brilliant playing of John Jennings, "Magoogin," at first base.  He failed to stop a single ball. 
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, May 18, 1884

Okay, I'm guessing he didn't play the entire game at first base.  There's no way they would keep him there if he couldn't handle a single ball.  But I'm guessing his play had something to do with Somerville scoring 113 runs.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Deasley's Punishment

Tom Deasley, catcher for the St. Louis Base Ball Team, stood trial in the Police Court this morning upon the charge of assaulting Miss Anna Kerr, while on a tear Tuesday night.  He had previously been fined $10 and costs for drunkenness, and the evidence in the case led the Mayor to impose an additional penalty of $10 and costs for the assault.  Deasley will have cause to remember his visit to Indianapolis. 
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, May 17, 1884

Friday, November 25, 2011

The 1884 Maroons: Ridiculous

The second game between the St. Louis and Baltimore Union Association teams was played yesterday afternoon in the presence of about 2,000 persons.  As an exhibition of terrific hitting on the part of the home team it was a great success, but as a contest it was too one-sided to be in any degree exciting.  With Gleason on the hospital list the local nine pounded the first pitcher that opposed them out of his position in the third inning, and in the rest of the game hammered Robinson until their aggregate of singles amounted to 27, and their total bases to 38.  Dunlap, Shafer, Quinn and Whitehead each made four hits, Dunlap, Dickerson, Rowe and Baker each made one double, Shafer and Taylor each made two, and Shafer scored one three-bagger.  Ten runs were earned, and by energetic base-running every error of the visitors was made so costly that the total was swelled to 20.  The visitors made nine hits, Robinson scoring a two-bagger and Levis a three-bagger.  
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, May 16, 1884

Cutting straight to the chase:  What Did Dunlap Do?  Fred just went four for six with a double.  I think it was his best day at the plate since he went five for five on May 1st against Altoona.  For the season, if my math is correct, Dunlap was 29 for 58, good for an even .500 batting average.  The amazing thing is that I couldn't say for sure that he was leading the team in hitting.  Bollicky Bill Taylor was hitting the snot out of the ball and was probably the best hitter on the team through their first fifteen games.  He was certainly hitting for more power than Dunlap.

But the whole team was just crushing UA pitching.  This was the ninth time in fifteen games that the Maroons scored in double figures and the second time that they scored at least twenty runs.  Their run differential at this point in the season was +131.  That's ridiculous.  They were 16-0 and winning by an average of eight runs a game.

I should point out that Dunlap also had two errors in this game and that the team had ten total errors.  If there was a weakness in this Maroons club, comparing them to other UA clubs, it was their defense.  The Globe certainly believed that Washington and Baltimore were both better defensively than the Maroons.  Looking at the first couple of weeks of the season, I'm certainly not impressed with their glove-work.              

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The 1884 Maroons: Exclamations Of Disapprobation

The St. Louis Unions won another victory yesterday, the Baltimore Unions contributing the trophy.  Heavy batting decided the contest, the visitors outplaying the home nine in the field, but being unable to offset their terrific work with the willow.  The day was a lovely one and the attendance was about 2,500, the capacious grand stand containing a good part of the gathering.  The Baltimore battery were J. Sweeny and Fusselbach, and, notwithstanding that Sweeny was hit for fourteen bases, their work commanded the admiration of the spectators.  For the local nine Hodnett pitched up to the close of the ninth inning, with Brennan as his support.  In eight innings only four hits were scored off Hodnett's delivery, but, when in the ninth inning, Robinson and J. Sweeny, the first two Baltimores at the bat, both made two-baggers, Capt. Dunlap immediately substituted Taylor, Rowe coming in to cover first and Hodnett taking center field.  The crowd, which appeared to desire the defeat of the St. Louis nine, did not take kindly to the change, and it was greeted with exclamations of disapprobation and hisses. 
Taking No Chances. 
Dunlap was quite surprised at its reception but said he did not care, as he believed he did right in protecting his club's chances for the game.  Hodnett, he said, had pitched splendidly, but it was possible the Baltimore batsmen might have become accustomed to his delivery, and a change at that stage was the safest thing to do.  When the first batsman that faced Taylor made a safe hit the crowd cheered frantically.  Brennan was off in his throwing to second, and three times sent the ball wild to Dunlap.  He also misjudged a foul fly, but it was an excusable error, the sun being in his eyes.  Whitehead and Hodnett likewise misjudged fly balls from the same causes.  The features of the game were brilliant catches by O'Brien and Shafer and a grand one-handed stop of a liner by Robinson.  O'Brien's catch was the best seen in St. Louis this season.  In the seventh inning Rowe raised a long high one out to center.  O'Brien turned and ran with the ball, and while running at full speed, to the astonishment of all beholders, succeeded in capturing it.  Many of the spectators did not know that he had secured the ball until he turned and threw it to Phelan, whose assist to Lewis doubled up Gleason.  Shafer, with his back toward the diamond, nipped a liner that O'Brien sent out to right, Gleason led at the bat, scoring three hits, one of them a two-bagger.  On the latter he, unfortunately stopped short at second, turning his right ankle so that it swelled up alarmingly, and bids fair to keep him off the field for some time.  Taylor made a three-bagger, and Fusselbach, Robinson and J. Sweeny, of the visitors, two-baggers.  Umpire Sullivan, who has a voice that suits a crowd, gave good satisfaction.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, May 15, 1884

The Maroons were 14-0 after this game but this was really the first game where the decision was in doubt.  Their seven runs was tied for the fewest runs they had scored in a game so far in the season and the five they gave up was the second most they had surrendered as of yet.  It was a 3-2 game going into the fifth and a 5-3 game after seven.  The Maroons scored two in the eighth but Baltimore answered back with two of their own in the ninth.  The game was tight enough for Dunlap to make a pitching change, the club's first of the season, after Baltimore opened the ninth with two doubles.  St. Louis won by two but it appears that the home crowd was cheering for the visitors by the end of the game.  It seems likely that the Maroons' fans were getting a bit tired of watching their club beat up on inferior opposition and was looking for someone to give them a game.  When Baltimore did just that, the fans cheered them on.

As to Captain Hook, What Did Dunlap Do?  Besides riling up the home crowd by making a pitching change, Dunlap went his usual two for five.  He was a machine.    

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


In The Background of Professional Baseball in St. Louis, published in the Missouri Historical Society Bulletin of October 1850, Anthony Lampe makes a significant claim.  He writes that "The year 1868 held promise of being a great season.  Certain important changes had taken place since 1867.  The Union Ball Players now had no occupation other than playing baseball, though they were still not referred to as professionals."  While Lampe does not cite his source for this claim, it most likely came from the Missouri Republican, whose contemporary accounts of St. Louis baseball activity in the 1860s represent his primary source for the article.

I've claimed for sometime that St. Louis baseball players were being payed by the late 1860s.  This stands in contrast to most descriptions of the St. Louis pioneer era, which described the city as a bastion of pure amateurism.  My claim was, up to this point, entirely based on circumstantial evidence with little contemporary source material to support it.

The most important fact that led me to conclude that St. Louis players were being paid in the late 1860s was the establishment of the Union Grounds, the first enclosed ballpark in St. Louis and the first to which admission was charged.  Lampe dates this to the beginning of 1868 while Edmund Tobias, writing in 1895, stated that the new ballpark opened in May of 1867.  Regardless of whether it opened in 1867 or 1868, the fact that the Union Club was charging for admission to their games is sufficient evidence to support the idea that they were paying their players.  The general thinking among 19th century baseball historians is that enclosed ballparks and admission charges were an indication that players were being paid.  Where you find enclosed ballparks and admission charges, you find payers being paid.

There is other evidence that supports the idea that players in St. Louis were getting paid in the late 1860s.  The relationship between the Empire Club and the St. Louis Fire Department implies that Empire Club players were being compensated for their play with jobs.  Some of the player movement in the late 1860s, specifically Tom Oran's movement from the Unions to the Empires and, later, to the Red Stockings, is very suspicious and can be explained if one assumes monetary enticement.  There were also some hints in the national sporting press that implied that the top St. Louis clubs were paying their players.  Add all of this to the fact that the top clubs were charging money to see their teams play and a picture emerges of a culture of paying players that fits with what was happening nationally.

While the weight of evidence supports the idea that pioneer players in St. Louis were being paid, one must point out that when you see claims of St. Louis amateurism during this era, the word "amateur" does not mean what it means today.  Today, an amateur club is one that does not pay their players.  During the pioneer era, however, it implies that the club was not competing for the national baseball championship.  A club that did not pay their players but competed for the national championship was a "professional" club while a club that paid their players but did not compete for the national championship was an "amateur" club.  In that sense, St. Louis baseball clubs were all amateur clubs until 1875, when the Brown Stockings and Red Stockings joined the NA.

Over time this distinction was lost and, I believe, that has confused the issue when it comes to what was happening in St. Louis as far as player compensation is concerned.  The idea that St. Louis clubs were not compensating their players may have arisen from the fact that they were described as amateurs because the clubs were not competing nationally.  Modern historians may have picked up on the word "amateur" and given it a meaning that it did not originally have.  Complicating the issue is the fact that Tobias and Al Spink also made claims that the players were not being compensated prior to 1875.

Regardless of the work of Tobias, Spink and modern historians like William Ryczek and Jon David Cash, the weight of the evidence supports the idea that St. Louis baseball players were being paid by 1867 or 1868.  Lampe, who should be considered a significant figure among baseball historians of the 20th century, believed that to be true and, while he doesn't present the evidence for his assertion, it's significant that he ties baseball professionalism in St. Louis to the opening of the Union Grounds.  It's entirely possible that I find this significant because it appears that Lampe supports my thinking but it can't be denied that he is the first source that I've discovered that explicitly stated that St. Louis players were being paid during the pioneer era.

In the end, we don't need Lampe to establish the idea that the pioneer players in St. Louis were being paid.  I believe that the weight of the evidence, while circumstantial, is strong enough to support this on its own.  But Lampe is a very creditable historian and his piece in the October 1850 Bulletin is a significant, if largely forgotten, historical work.  I'd like to run down his sources and find that contemporary source that led him to make his claim but I don't believe it's absolutely necessary.  Lampe's claim can be added to the rest of the evidence and only strengthens the idea that St. Louis baseball players were being paid in the late 1860s.

Note:  I've doing a bit of research on Lampe and I've discovered that he was an expert on the 19th century St. Louis Fire Department, dating back to the antebellum era.  I've pointed out that there was a relationship between the Empire Club and the StLFD that implies that the players were being compensated and, given Lampe's interest in both St. Louis pioneer-era baseball and the 19th century StLFD, I find it hard to believe that he wasn't aware of this connection.  To me, this lends a great deal of credence to Lampe's claim.  I have a feeling that the man saw the same evidence that I saw and came to the same conclusion.    

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Empire-Union Series Of 1867, Part Three

Fans of the Union Club celebrate the team's victory over the Empires.
No.  Wait.  That can't be right.  Let's try this again...

Never mind.  

Continuing our excerpts from Anthony Lampe's The Background Of Professional Baseball In St. Louis, published in the Missouri Historical Society Bulletin, October 1950:

The second game of the championship series between the Union and Empire Clubs was played on July tenth.  The Union Club again won, this time by the narrow margin of thirty-four to thirty-two, thus taking the championship from the Empires, who had held it for six years.  The newly crowned champions celebrated their victory with an evening of merrymaking, reported in the Missouri Republican [July 11, 1867] as follows: 
The great victory...naturally enough caused no small elation and enthusiasm among the members of the organization.  Their joy, however, was not manifested in any unseemly or intemperate manner toward their conquered foes, but in an inoffensive, harmless way.  In one respect it assumed a most agreeable development.   
Between eleven and twelve o'clock last night a large party of the victorious knights assembled in front of the REPUBLICAN office, having a fine band of music in attendance, and we were soon apprised of their presence by the sweet strains of music floating up through the still air of night in most agreeable melody... 
The party were in exuberant spirits, and full of fun and frolic, and somewhat inclined to be a little boisterous, which however, under the circumstances, might be expected.  As the party dispersed three cheers were given for the REPUBLICAN office, and then, with generous spirit, for the Empire Club.

The Union Base Ball Club March was published to celebrate the Unions' great victory.  The cover of the sheet music, pictured above, is the only known contemporary picture of the Union Club nine.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Empire-Union Series Of 1867, Part Two

Again, this comes from Anthony Lampe's The Background Of Professional Baseball In St. Louis, published in the Missouri Historical Society Bulletin, October 1850:

Everybody in St. Louis was in favor of the game except "Old Man Weather," and he proved to be an efficient stumbling block.  A shower in the early innings caused the game to be postponed until July first.  Spectator interest was not dampened, however, and a large crowd was on hand when game time arrived on July 1, 1867.  A newspaper account [from The Missouri Republican, July 2, 1867] described the event, with particular attention to the ladies: 
Baseball is now generally conceded to be our national game, although it is of comparatively recent origin.  From the infant of a few years ago it has risen to the proportions of a giant, and strides through the country gathering new followers at every point.  That which in the earlier days of most of us was deemed a childish pastime has become a game that requires skill, manliness and strength.A few gentlemen, whom we need not particularize, have within the last two or three years devoted almost their entire time and energies to the advancement of the baseball game in St. Louis, and their success has been most cheering.  Numerous clubs have sprung up here, some of which might not hesitate to throw down the gauntlet to any in the Northwest. 
A few weeks ago a challenge was given by the Union and accepted by the Empire Club to meet in a friendly contest for the championship--the game to be best two in three.  A meeting occurred last week as our readers will remember on the grounds of the old Veto Club, but was interrupted by the rain, and many visitors present were deprived of witnessing the anticipated match.  Yesterday the elements were more propitious, and the first trial was completed, resulting in an overwhelming victory for the Union Club, which, in nine innings scored 49, while the Empire scored but 29.  The almost insufferable state of the weather, and the unfortunate health in which two or three players were said to be, doubtless caused the game to be played with less brilliance than it would otherwise have been.  Still, however, there were some very fine exhibitions of skill on both sides, as the scores will show.  There was some splendid batting by both nines, particularly the Union; while the members of the Empire seemed to be more expert in fielding.  A number of plays were made by the members of either club which have rarely been surpassed. 
Apparently about two thousand spectators were on the ground, including quite a large number of ladies.  For the most part order prevailed.  Young America, as is usual on such occasions, manifested his displeasure at intervals, by hoots and groans when something transpired that did not exactly meet his imperial favor.  It is to be regretted, that it is not within the bounds of possibility, to repress these disagreeable demonstrations in the midst of outdoor sports.  We learn that large sums of money changed hands among the spectators on the issue of this contest...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Empire-Union Series Of 1867, Part One

The following comes from Anthony Lampe's The Background Of Professional Baseball In St. Louis, published in the Missouri Historical Society Bulletin of October 1950:

In 1867 the city championship took on a new aspect when the Empire Club, city champions for the past six years, were challenged early in June by the Union Club.  Early in the season the newspapers began preparing the public for the coming matches.  On June 14, 1867, the following article appeared [in The Missouri Republican]:
The Union Club having challenged the Empire to a home and home match for the St. Louis Championship, the first of the games will be played Wednesday, the 26th inst., 2 P.M., on the Veto grounds, near the machine shop of the Pacific R.R. Co.  The Empire Club has successfully defended the championship for the past six years, the Union being the only St. Louis Club that has gained a victory over them in that time; the latter having won one in a series of thee games played between these rival clubs.  As both nines are in active training and confident of victory, a close and exciting contest may be expected.

Lampe goes on to write that "By June twenty-sixth the people of St. Louis were referring to the game as the championship not only of St. Louis but of Missouri."  He quotes The Missouri Republican of June 22, 1867:

The grand match of baseball for the championship of Missouri will be played to-day on the old Veto grounds, north of the Pacific Railroad Machine Shop.  The match is to commence this afternoon at two o'clock, between the Union and Empire Clubs, the latter having won the distinguished honor of being the championship club of the Northwest.  The contest will doubtless call out a crowd of spectators, including the ladies.

The most interesting thing of note here is that we now have a contemporary source that backs up the idea that the Empires were the St. Louis champions from 1861-1866.  The Tobias source notes that they were champions in 1865 and 1866 and implies that they were the champions through the war years but there was never any hard evidence to support that.  I really didn't have any doubts about it but, in the end, it was just an educated guess.  Now, thanks to Lampe, we have the Republican's account from 1867 stating it as a fact.  

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Pleasure Of Your Company

The pleasure of your company is respectfully solicited to attend the Third Anniversary Ball, to be given by the members of the Empire Base Ball Club, at the Turners Hall, on Tuesday Evening, December 16, 1862.
-The Background of Professional Baseball in St. Louis

The October 1950 issue of the Missouri Historical Society Bulletin contains a great article about the early years of baseball in St. Louis, written by Anthony Lampe.  The above quote is taken from the Lampe article and comes from one of the actual invitations to the Empire Club Ball that is in the Missouri Historical Society's collection.  Last summer, when digging through some of the archives at the Missouri Historical Society, I came across that invitation and held it in my hands.  It was a really neat experience.

I've been meaning to post some stuff from Lampe's article for some time now and I guess there's no time like the present.  


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tom Deasley Has A Way With The Ladies

Tom Deasley, the catcher of the St. Louis Ball Club, made a very bad break [in Indianapolis] to-day, as a result of which he was arrested and taken to the Station house.  In going towards Bates House he met two ladies, when he accosted, and grasped one by arm; they ran hurriedly away and took refuge in a millinery store, where he followed them.  He was arrested, as stated, for drunkenness and insulting ladies.  Manager Williams put up bail for his appearance in court to-morrow.  
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, May 14, 1884

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Beneath The Dignity Of The Courts

Last Saturday representatives of the St. Louis Athletic Association made an application to the Superior Court of Hamilton County for an injunction forbidding Tony J. Mullane, of the Toledo Club, from playing base ball with the Toledo Club, on the ground of a violation of contract with the plaintiffs.  A temporary restraining order was granted till yesterday, when, upon a hearing, the Superior Court granted an injunction.  The defendants to-day carried the matter before Judge Baxter, of the United States Circuit Court, on a motion to dissolve the injunction.  The injunctions have been taken out by the St. Louis Club in the State Courts at St. Louis and Cincinnati.  The motion to dissolve the injunction against him here was taken before Judge Baxter, on the ground that the petition of the St. Louis Club failed to state facts sufficient to entitle the complainant to the relief prayed for.  Judge Baxter heard the arguments of counsel in his private office.  He said that he would dissolve the injunction, would give Mullane leave to withdraw from the contract between him and the St. Louis Club, and ordered that this be made a part of the record in the case.  Judge Baxter daid he would further give him leave to answer hereafter.  In announcing his decision the Judge said he did not think the time of the courts could be occupied by baseball matters.  Ball-playing was nothing which benefited the public in any way.  It was not a business of any kind, but it was merely a sport, which was beneath the dignity of the courts to notice.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, May 14, 1884

While I'm not an expert on the subject, I have to imagine that the unique position that Major League Baseball occupies as a legal entity is a result of the attitude expressed by Judge Baxter in 1884.  It was sport, rather than business, and it was not a public-benefit.  That sort of reasoning, I believe, underpins all of the major legal decisions that involved baseball in the 20th century.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The 1884 Maroons: Pounding The Ball All Over The Field

The St. Louis Unions won another victory from the Nationals, of Washington, yesterday, in a contest terminated by rain at the end of five innings.  The visitors played a poor fielding game, but at the bat they made a better showing.  The home team, as usual started in pounding the ball all over the field, and took all the vim out of their opponents.  In the first inning a three-base hit by Gleason and a single by Rowe, sided by errors of the Nationals scored three runs.  In the second hits by Rowe, Dunlap and Taylor assisted by wild throws added four more to the score.  In the third singles by Dunlap, Baker and Brennan, and wretched fielding by the opposing nine gave them three more.  A fine drive for three bases to the right field fence by Rowe, followed by Taylor's long hit to the left field fence, added another in the fourth, making a total of eleven.  The visitors scored two in the third, three in the fourth, and one in the fifth by hits of Wise, Evers, Moore, and McLaughlin.  Taylor pitched a fine game while Baker supported in fine style.  For the visitors Lockwood pitched, McKenna being his support.  There were about 1,500 people in attendance.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, May 12, 1884

Thirteen straight wins.  And the team was just battering that left-field fence.

What Did Dunlap Do?  The T-800 was two for three with a couple of runs scored.  Like a machine.

It should also be noted that while the Maroons drew 1,500 fans to their game, the Browns drew what the Globe described as the biggest baseball crowd of the season to their game against Columbus.  The crowd at Sportsman's Park was estimated at around 12,000.  It looks like, at that point in the season, Von der Ahe and the Browns were winning their fight against the upstart Maroons.  It remains to be seen how the Maroons would draw the rest of the season but to get only 1,500 on a Sunday in St. Louis was pretty weak.    

Monday, November 14, 2011

The 1884 Maroons: The Nationals Put On A Show In the Field, Lose By Four

The Nationals, of Washington, played a beautiful fielding game yesterday, and but for the terrific batting of the St. Louis boys they would have easily won the ball.  The fourteen clean hits for twenty bases does not really represent the batting of the home team.  Three times Gleason drove the ball to the far outfield and three times splendid catches were scored on his hits.  In one inning Dickerson reached first on a clean hit and then Gleason drove the ball to far center.  Wise ran out, caught the ball in one hand and then threw to Baker in time to double up Dickerson at first.  Taylor clipped one to far center, and Wise gathered it in and then threw on the line in to Voss.  The latter threw to McKenna to head Rowe at the plate.  Rowe reached the plate with the ball and knocked it out of McKenna's hands.  Thus another double play was scored.  In the last inning Baker took a foul tip hot from the bat and doubled up a man at first.  Besides these Voss, Baker and Lockwood scored another double play, making the fourth in the game.  These performances illustrate their splendid fielding.  But the batting of the home team would have won against any odds.  Once Dunlap hit the ball fairly at Voss, and the latter had just time to put up his hands and save himself.  As it was the ball nearly knocked him down.  For the home team the playing was done by Dickersona and Dunlap.  The former made four running catches, and his quick fielding in of long hits along the left line prevented the visitors from scoring double instead of single hits.  Hodnett pitched a fine game, and Sullivan caught in his old time style.  Whitehead, at short, played neatly and gracefully, and gives promise of making one of the best of short fielders.  Dan Devinney umpired satisfactorily.  
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, May 11, 1884

That really does sound like some nice fielding by the Nationals.  But they still lost by four.  All of their great work in the field merely saved them from losing by seven or more.

The Maroons were 12-0 and still looking for a team that could challenge them.

What Did Dunlap Do?  Yawn.  Just another two for five with a run scored.  The man was like a machine.  Two for five, two for five, two for five.  I compared him earlier to a barbarian horde overwhelming his opponents but he seems to be more like the Terminator: a cold-blooded, never-stopping two for five machine.  And now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure that the design for the T-800 was based on the King of Second Basemen.

Fred Dunlap

Sunday, November 13, 2011

We Stole A Couple Of Players From Buffalo Bill

Genins and Hutchinson, who arrived with the "Wild West," were engaged for the Papins, and will settle down to a civilized life on the ball field.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, May 11, 1884

I can't explain why I'm so interested in the idea of the Wild West Show playing in St. Louis but it fascinates me.  And I love the idea of a couple of guys from the show quitting to play baseball.  If we could figure out who Genins and Hutchinson were, it would make for a nice, little article.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Mullane Enjoined In Cincinnati

President Lucas, of the Union Club, received a telegram last night from his attorney, Newton Crane, who had followed Mullane to Cincinnati, announcing an order enjoining that pitcher from playing with any club but the Union club of this city had been issued by one of the Cincinnati courts.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, May 10, 1884

Friday, November 11, 2011

The 1884 Maroons: The Terrific Batting Of The Home Club

The second game between the St. Louis Unions and the Nationals, of Washington,attracted a small attendance.  As in the opening game, the terrific batting of the home club overwhelmed the visitors, who were defeated by a score of 12 to 4.  Wise and Phil Baker were the Nationals' opening battery.  In the seventh inning Voss took Wise's place, but the change had little effect.  A total of 16 base hits shows the manner in which they were pounded.  The feature of the game was a home run by Taylor, who raised the ball ten feet over the screen.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, May 10, 1884

After this win, the Maroons were 11-0, hadn't scored less than seven runs in a game and hadn't won a game by less than five runs.  As I wrote before, the UA clubs weren't putting up much of a fight against them.

An interesting point about the attendance.  The Globe notes that they drew a small crowd and the Browns played a game the same day, drawing a reported 5,000 people.  I'm wondering how quickly the folks in St. Louis caught on to the lack of competitive balance in the UA and if that would effect the attendance.  It's something to keep an eye on.

And we had another home run over the fence in left field, again supporting the idea that Union Park was a bit of a bandbox.

But, more importantly, What Did Dunlap Do?  Just his normal two for five with a double.  While he didn't score any runs, he did turn two double plays.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Nice Picture Of Lip Pike

Lipman Emmanuel Pike

I found this picture of Lip Pike over at John Thorn's website and thought I'd share it with all of you.  I like Thorn's site and recommend that you take a look at it, if you haven't already.  He's been posting articles from Base Ball: A Journal of the Early Game, which are excellent and informative.  It's good stuff.  

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Our Old Friend Dan Devinney

In Hooper's umpiring in yesterday's game at the Union Park his voice could not be heard in the stand, to the great dissatisfaction of the spectators.  As a result Hooper retired, and his place will be filled to-day by Dan DeVinney, who received his commission as a Union Association Umpire last night.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, May 9, 1884

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The 1884 Maroons: Amid Uproarious Laughter

The National Club, of Washington, were introduced to the St. Louis Unions yesterday afternoon at the Union Grounds, and received an unusually warm reception.  Indeed, the local ball tossers were quite energetic in their attentions and made the occasion uncomfortably hot for the visitors.  The meeting was witnessed by an attendance of about 2,000, including a number of ladies.  It was not an exciting event, but was amusing.  The Nationals presented Lockwood and McKinney, and for the first four innings made a very respectable showing, the score at the end of the fourth inning being 3 to 0 in favor of the home team.  Up to that point Lockwood's work was excellent, only two hits having been made off him, while he had retired four batsmen on strikes, Dunlap's two chances at the plate availing nothing before his puzzling delivery. 
Knocking Out A Pitcher. 
In the fifth inning, however, he went to pieces, and in addition to being hammered for seven safe hits, three of them two-baggers, he made a wild pitch and gave three men bases on balls.  Errors by Kinney and McLaughlin further assisted the Unions, who realized ten runs from the inning.  Kinney's error was a ludicrous one.  He had just put out Brennan on an assist from Lockwood, when he was called on to throw to third to head off Rowe, who was running from second.  In an effort to throw, the ball slipped out of his fingers and over toward the west wing of the grand stand, just where no fielder had a chance to intercept it.  Rowe ran home amid uproarious laughter.  In the seventh inning Lockwood was hit so hard that the battery was changed, Wise going to the box and Baker behind the bat.  The inning yielded 8 more runs for the home team.  They made 1 more in the eighth inning, making their total 22, and did not go to the bat in the ninth.  Ten base hits were scored by the visitors off Hodnett, but they failed to obtain a run until the last inning, when they scored 2.  Brennan was not up to his usual mark behind the bat.  Jack Gleason failed on two foul flies, misjudged on account of the sun being in his eyes.  The battery of the Unions was simply terrific, and it is doubtful if there is a heavier hitting nine in the country.  
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, May 9, 1884

So, seriously, there were twenty-four runs scored in this game and it only took two hours to play it.  I'm not the kind of guy who complains about the length of baseball games but how long do you think it would take them to play a twenty-four run game these days?  Five hours?

And the Maroons were up 22-0 in this game?  Is anybody going to give them a fight?

But What Did Dunlap Do?  He went two for six with a double and two runs scored.  Not too bad, although it does appear that he and the club had some trouble in the early innings figuring Lockwood out.    

Monday, November 7, 2011

Jake Beckley's Obit

Jake Beckley

Jacob P. Beckley, 51 years old, died late this afternoon at his home, 1306 Bellefontaine Avenue.  Mr. Beckley came to Kansas City in 1907 from St. Louis, and for two seasons was first baseman for the Kansas City Blues.  During the season of 1909 he managed this baseball team, but was transferred to the Hannibal, Mo., team in 1910. 
Beckley was deputy constable of the Seventh District Court for the last two terms.  He had been ill since the first of the year.  Death was due to heart disease.  Besides the widow, Mr. Beckley is survived by his mother, Mrs. Barney Beckley, a sister, Mrs. A.G. Baird, both of Hannibal, Mo., and a sister, Mrs. George Miller of Monett, Mo. 
Burial will be at Hannibal. 
-Kansas City Star, June 26, 1918

Beckley played with the St. Louis Whites in 1888 and the St. Louis Cardinals from 1904-1907.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Fleet Walker In St. Louis

Toledo, without Tony Mullane, played the Browns on May 6, in the second game of the series.  The Globe noted something unique about the game:

About 600 persons witnessed the game, which was interesting and at times remarkably brilliant...Among the spectators there were quite a number of colored individuals, attracted by the announcement that Walker, the colored catcher, would appear behind the bat for the visitors.  They were enthusiastic over Walker, and manifested decided partiality for his club.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, May 7, 1884

While the Browns won the game 6-3, I think this game may have deeper significance.  To the best of my knowledge, I think Fleet Walker's appearance for Toledo represents the first time that an African-American played in a major league baseball game in St. Louis.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Something I Missed About Mullane

While we're talking about the Apollo of the Box.

On Sunday, May 4, 1884, Toledo came to St. Louis and played the Browns, in the first of a three game series:

There was an old-time crowd at Sportsmen's Park yesterday afternoon, fully 10,000 people assembling to witness the first game between the Toledo and St. Louis Clubs.  Notwithstanding the rainfall of Saturday and yesterday morning the diamond was perfectly dry and in superb condition.  The game was a rapid one, marked by weak batting and sharp fielding.  Only five hits were scored on both sides, the visitors making one and the home team four.  Mullane played left field for five innings and finished the game at third base.  When he went to the plate the first time he was greeted with light applause and a storm of hisses.  When he was retired on three strikes there was loud applause.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, May 5, 1884

Mullane got Toledo's only hit and the Browns won the game 4-0.

I was wondering why Lucas didn't get the injunction against Mullane prior to Toledo's first game in St. Louis and the probable answer is because it was a Sunday game and the courts weren't open.  Maybe, since he could have gotten the injunction on Friday, Lucas had decided to let the whole thing slide but the site of 10,000 people packing Sportsman's Park on a rainy Sunday changed his mind.  

Friday, November 4, 2011

David Ball

I'm absolutely devastated to hear about the passing of my friend, David.  I was looking forward to talking to him this week about one of his favorite subjects, the Mullane case, which had come up again in my coverage of the Maroons' 1884 season.  There is no doubt that he would have had something interesting and informative to add to what I had found.

In the most recent edition of SABR Notes, they published David's obituary:

David Ball, 60, a member of the Hoyt-Allen Chapter in Cincinnati, died peacefully in his sleep of heart failure on October 26. Ball was born in New York City, where his passion for baseball developed at an early age while attending games with his father. He worked at the Classics Library at the University of Cincinnati after receiving an undergraduate degree in philosophy and both a master's degree and a Ph.D. in Ancient History from Cincinnati. Ball was recognized as the foremost authority on nineteenth-century baseball transactions and was also a leading authority on nineteenth-century Cincinnati and Indianapolis major league teams. An author who combined depth and sensitivity with a wry wit, he wrote numerous player and owner biographical sketches and was the book editor of Base Ball at the time of his death. Ball's most recently published works were his contributions to the business of baseball and player transactions as well as many biographical sketches in MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PROFILES: 1871-1900, vols. 1 & 2, published in 2011 by the University of Nebraska Press. In addition, he was a major contributor to the forthcoming book The Rank and File of 19th Century Major League Baseball: Biographies of 1,081 Players, Owners, Managers and Umpires, to be published by McFarland in 2012. Ball's closest surviving relative was his sister, Sandra Ball. An online guestbook through which condolences may be expressed to the family has been posted at

When I first started researching and writing about 19th century baseball in St. Louis, David was one of the first members of the 19th century research community to reach out to me and encourage my efforts.  I'll never forget his kindness.  He was a brilliant man who took a novice under his wing and gently helped to get him on the right path.  While I can never repay David for the help and encouragement that he offered me, one of the reasons that I've always tried to help others in the community and those who come to me with questions and requests is because of the way that David treated me when I was first starting out.  For me, David was one of the main reasons why I consider the 19th century research community to be a true community.  He made it seem like a group of peers and friends working together on a grand project.

Last year, David sent me a chapter of the book he was working on and asked me to take a look at it, fact check it and offer any thoughts.  I jumped at the opportunity because I just wanted to see what he was working on.  Of course, it was great and I told him that he needed to write faster and finish the thing because this was a book I wanted to read.  Sadly, that book will never be finished and we're to be denied David's opus on 19th century player transactions.

We've lost so much with his passing.  As his obituary noted, he was without a doubt the leading expert on 19th century player transactions and 19th century baseball in Cincinnati.  Whenever someone ever came to me with a question about 19th century baseball that touched on Cincinnati, I always referred them to David.  And I have no doubt that he was as helpful and generous with them as he always was with me.  David was also very active online and there are several 19th century baseball websites, including this one, that will feel his loss.  He was always a quiet, respected voice amidst the angry storm of the internet who simply enjoyed sharing his knowledge of baseball.

My heartfelt condolences go out to his family and friends.  I'm so very sorry for your loss and all of you, and David, will be in my prayers.          

I Am Not As Bad As I Have Been Painted

Tony Mullane was interviewed last night by a Globe-Democrat reporter, to whom he said: "I have not much to say, except that I am sorry I didn't stick to Lucas.  I am not as bad as I have been painted by some people, for I have not beaten anybody out of a cent, and only signed with the Toledo Club because it appeared the best thing I could do for my own protection.  I was reserved by Von der Ahe, and if I didn't get my release I would be expelled, and, as I expected to be able to play ball for four or five years yet, I ddin't want to be expelled."
"You know that Mr. Von der Ahe announced that he would not enforce the reserve rule against his players, and did you not think that he would give you your release if you asked for it?"
"Oh, no; he wouldn't have released me after I had signed with Lucas.  I was informed that he wouldn't expel me either, but that the Association would take up the case and expel me, so you see it would have been all the same.  I know now that I made a mistake in not sticking to Lucas, and I am sorry I left him." 
His Toledo Contract. 
Taking a large pocket-book from an inside breast-pocket, he continued: "It has been stated that I left him because I got more money than he had agreed to pay me.  Now, that is not so; and I want to show my contract to you at satisfy you that I signed with Toledo for just the same money.  There it is (taking the document from his pocket-book and opening it), and that line reads, as you can see, 'Twenty-five hundred dollars,' just what I signed with Lucas for.  The only extra inducement in my contract is an agreement that I will not be reserved next fall."
"What are you going to do with the injunction?"
"I am not going to do anything with it.  The club will take care of it.  They claim it won't hold, and, anyhow, it can only stop me from playing here.  Mr. Brown, the club's attorney, is here now, and will file an answer in the morning, just as soon as he can see the papers filed by Lucas.  Mr. Rodgers, Vice President of the club, started with him from Toledo on that Wabash train that was wrecked, and had a leg broken and an ankle dislocated, and was sent back home.  The Decatur doctors say it will be four months before he will be able to get around."
"It is reported that Mr. Lucas intends to follow the case to the last resort, not only here, but elsewhere." 
"Well, I have nothing to do with the case.  The club must take care of it.  I am sorry that there is any trouble, and regret that I left Lucas, but I was advised to do it, and thought I was acting on good advice.  I see now that I was mistaken, and that's all I can say."
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, May 8, 1884

What a great article.  My favorite moment might be when Mullane whips out his contract to show it to the reporter.  I would imagine, if this article is truthful, that this is probably the most accurate salary information we have from 1884.

Another great moment is there at the end when Mullane says "I have nothing to do with the case."  Really?  Nothing?  You have nothing at all to do with this?  It's good that he notes his regrets about jumping the contract and I kind of get his point.  But, in the end, this was a mess that Mullane made.  If he had honored his contract with Lucas, or if he had simply resigned with the Browns, none of this would have happened.

But you just have to love Tony Mullane.  The guy was something else.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Growing Necessity For The Enforcement Of Personal Contracts

On application of Pattison & Crane, attorneys for Henry V. Lucas, Judge Horner, sitting in Court Room No. 4, on yesterday issued a temporary order of injunction restraining Tony Mullane from playing base ball with the Toledo Club or any club other than the St. Louis Unions, and directing him to show cause, if any, why the order should not be made permanent.  In support of the motion, Newton Crane presented the contract entered into between the defendant and the Union Club.  Thomas J. Cornelius appeared "accidentally," as he said, for the defendant, and opposed the motion on the ground that he could satisfy the Court that no contract existed between the parties, and also that the order, if granted would inflict a hardship upon the Toledo Club, who were innocent parties. 
The Decision. 
After hearing the arguments the Judge remarked that there was a growing necessity for the enforcement of personal contracts.  A contract for personal service should be just as obligatory as a contract for the delivery of a quantity of wheat, and where there were no means for punishing a person who violated a personal contract, there should be some means to compel him to fulfill his obligations.  As far as the allegation that the Toledo Club would suffer a hardship if a restraining order were issued; if, as alleged by the plaintiff, they had engaged a person whom they knew to have been under contract to other parties they had no right to complain.  He would, however, demand a bond sufficiently large to protect the defendant from harm.  He then granted the order and placed the bond at $5,000.  Henry V. Lucas and Fred W. Espenscheid signed the bond, and the order was handed to Deputy Sheriff Al Collins for service.  After a trip to Sportsman's Park and return Collins came across Mullane about 1 o'clock, in front of the Leclede, and proceeded to read him the order.  When he had finished Mullane remarked: "I suppose that settles it, and I can't play?"  "That settles it for a certainty," replied Collins.  "Well, that will give me a rest for a day or two."  The hearing of the question of making the order permanent will probably occur on Wednesday morning. 
Future Action. 
In reply to questions asked by a Globe-Democrat reporter, Mr. Crane said he could not say anything relative to future action, except that if the decision of the Court was against his side they would, of course, bow to its majesty.  His firm had, however, taken the case from Mr. Lucas with instructions to press it to the last legal recourse, and, while treating it strictly as a law case, they will, if necessary, exhaust every process which can subserve their client's rights.  What will be done in the future depends in a great measure upon the result of the pending proceedings. 
Position of the Toledo Club. 
Another lawyer, in speaking of the case, said that he had reason to believe that Mr. Lucas would institute a suit for damages against the Toledo Club for inducing Mullane to break his contract with the Union Club.  This could be done under the law of master and servant, and Lucas could go into court with a good claim for actual as well as exemplary, or plenary, damages.  If Judge Horner permanently enjoins Mullane from playing with any other club than the Unions, and the Toledo Club still continues to harbor him, almost any lawyer would be glad to take a case against them on a contingent fee, providing, of course, that the members of the club are responsible in a financial sense.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, May 6, 1884

Ah, the Mullane case.  Can't ever get enough of it.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Where In The World Was Fred Dunlap?

So Dunlap missed two games in Altoona.  The Globe reported that he was in Philadelphia on personal business but the Cleveland Herald has a more interesting take on all of this:

There is a pretty well defined trail behind Mr. Fred Dunlap, the man who breaks promises.  His mission East is understood to be for the purpose of meeting Bushong and making a last effort to induce him to break faith with the Cleveland Club.  But it is a pretty hard job, as the man of the double tongue will find.
-Cleveland Herald, May 7, 1884

Bushong, during the time Dunlap was gone from the Maroons, was in Providence and, then, Boston, playing with Cleveland.  Dunlap was gone for basically four days.  Was it possible for him to travel from Altoona to Providence or Boston on the evening of April 30, meet with Bushong and then get back to Altoona for a game on May 5?  I imagine that it was and I also image that the trip would have taken him through Philadelphia.

The rumors about Dunlap's trip most have reached St. Louis because on May 7, the Globe reported more details about the second baseman's activities:

Dunlap left the St. Louis Union on Friday night to visit his brother in Philadelphia, and rejoined the team on Monday morning.  There was no truth in the rumor that he went to secure players for his team.

I don't know.  I wouldn't put it past Dunlap to say he's taking a few days off to go visit his brother but the club was only a week into the season, he was the captain and he was getting paid a lot of money to show up for work.  If what the Globe reported is true, that couldn't have went over well with the Maroons, unless there was something rather serious going on with the brother.

However, I'm more inclined to believe the Globe's report for one simple reason: Lucas would not have signed Bushong unless Cleveland released him.  And there was no way that Cleveland was going to release Bushong so that he could sign with the Maroons.  In fact, Lucas reiterated this point in the May 7, 1884 edition of the Globe:

President Lucas, of the Union Club, has recently received applications for engagements from members of American Association nines.  His reply to each has been: "Get your release and then we will talk business."

Lucas, to the detriment of his new league, did not attempt to sign players who were under contract with AA or NL clubs.  Bushong had a contract with Cleveland.  Therefore, I don't believe that Lucas was going after Bushong and using Dunlap as an intermediary.      

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The 1884 Maroons: The Best Behaved Club To Ever Appear In Altoona

The St. Louis and Altoona clubs played their fourth game [in Altoona] to-day before 1,000 people.  The home club was strengthened at third by Cross, from St. Louis, he playing a very good game.  The Altoona Club played magnificently in the field, having but two errors and arousing, at times, the audience to a high pitch of excitement over wonderful stops.  But, despite all this, the St. Louis Club made run after run until they had piled up 12, earning 8 of them, and this is in the face of the greatest fielding the Altoona Club has ever shown.  The St. Louis Club left for home this evening.  The city of Altoona will bear testimony to the fact that the St. Louis nine is the best disciplined and best behaved club that has ever appeared here.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, May 6, 1884

The Maroons went 8-0 against Altoona and outscored them 92-19.  Cross, by the way, did play well in his two games with Altoona, going four for seven with a double, two walks and a run scored.  But he still wasn't the answer to Altoona's problems, at least not when it came to the Maroons.

And Dunlap was back, which leads to two questions.  First, What Did Dunlap Do?  The King of Second Basemen had two hits and three runs scored in his return to the Maroons.

But the second and more important question is where was he?  More on that tomorrow.