Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: How They Stand

Here's a quick look at the standings, as published in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat on June 22, 1884:

The Maroons, according to Baseball Reference, had a 10.5 game lead after their 6-4 victory over Chicago.  That's the smallest lead they'd have the rest of the season.    

Monday, January 30, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: Driven Out

Dunlap, Dave Rowe and Shafer have driven Ted Sullivan out of the St. Louis Unions, and as he is on the black list his lot is not a happy one.
-Cleveland Herald, June 18, 1884


You kind of have to take anything the Herald says about the UA or Dunlap with a grain of salt.  But this is the best piece of evidence we have about what went down between Sullivan and his players.

Regardless, Sullivan would land on his feet and be back in baseball, with the Kansas City Unions, in July.  And thinking about that fact, that Sullivan would get another job in Lucas' UA, leads me to believe that it really was the players, rather than Sullivan, who instigated the whole thing.  

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: Manager With .903 Winning Percentage Gets Fired

Ted Sullivan was released from the management of the St. Louis Unions last night.  Ill-feeling between Sullivan and some of the players had existed for some time.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 14, 1884

And there it is, short and sweet.  I just missed it when looking at the Maroons' June 13th game against Cincinnati.  Anybody want to speculate about which players had "ill-feelings" towards Sullivan?

*Cough*  Dunlap  *Cough*

Not that Sullivan was a saint or anything, as we'll see later, but how does the manager get fired when the club is 28-3?  I have to image that it would have something to do with the highest paid player in all of baseball going to the owner and saying something along the lines of "It's him or me."  But thinking about it a little bit, I can also imagine Sullivan going to Lucas and saying something similar about Dunlap.  Those two guys were serious pieces of work and it's impossible to say who was the bigger a**hole.  At the moment, I'm leaning slightly towards the idea that Sullivan got himself fired but, really, it's a pick 'em.

Honestly, I feel kind of bad for Henry Lucas.  He was just a guy who loved the game and had the resources to start his own team and league.  That's a noble thing.  But he made some bad decisions and got saddled with these two j*rk-*ffs.            

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: The Beautiful Plays With Which The Game Abounded

By clever work with the bat and backing their batting up with brilliant fielding the St. Louis Unions gained another victory from the Chicago Unions yesterday.  Up to the eighth inning the game was one of the prettiest contests that has taken place upon the Union grounds.  The visitors were blanked until the eighth inning when they scored one run on a two-base hit by Daily and Gleason's low throw to first.  In the ninth they secured three earned runs, on a home run by Gross, who drove the ball over the fence, a two-base hit by Kreig and singles by McLaughlin and Leary.  For the home team in the third inning a single by Dunlap, aided by an error of Leary's, scored one run.  In the seventh a single by Whitehead, aided by a wild throw, let in another run.  In the eighth two-basers by Dunlap and Taylor, singles by Dickerson and Quinn increased their total to 4 runs.  Hodnett pitched a remarkable game for the home team, holding the giants down to four hits up till the eighth inning when they got on to his twirling so hard that in the middle of the inning Dunlap deemed it best to substitute Taylor.  His support by Brennan was excellent, not a passed ball being charged against him.  Daily and Krieg, who formed the visiting battery, played a creditable game.  The fielding honors were carried off by Dickerson and Rowe, each of whom made catches that electrified the spectators.  The attendance was about 2,500, and the crowd manifested keen enjoyment of the beautiful plays with which the game abounded.  Many of the spectators declared that it was the prettiest game they had ever witnessed.  Dunlap was fined $10 by Sullivan for failing to run back from second after he had been put out.  Dunlap was ordered to hurry up, but disregarded the order, whereupon the fine was imposed.  Dunlap, who is now manager and captain of the nine, should set a better example to his men.  His great ability as a ball player is conceded by all, but he must learn and impress upon his team that respect for umpires and gentlemanly deportment on the field are essential elements of success on St. Louis ball fields.  
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 22, 1884

I am, of course, amused by Dunlap's lack of gentlemanly deportment but this article raises a question I've been meaning to address for awhile.  The Globe writes that Dunlap was "now manager and captain of the nine" but I didn't see anything about Ted Sullivan leaving the club.  In fact, going through the season day by day, I haven't seen any mention of Sullivan at all.  There was plenty of talk about Sullivan during the off-season but once the season started, it was like he wasn't a part of the club.

We know that Sullivan was the manager of the club to start the season and Baseball Reference has him managing the club for the first thirty-one games.  The Maroons' thirty-first game was played on June 13th, a 16-11 win over Cincinnati at home.  They then left for a four game set against the Outlaw Reds in Cincinnati.  So it appears that Dunlap took over as manager starting with the trip to Cincinnati.  But the Globe doesn't mention this until June 22nd?

I think I obviously missed something and I'm going to go back and see if I can find any references to Sullivan leaving the club.  I'd like to know how and why all of this went down.              

Friday, January 27, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: That's Just Dunlap Being Dunlap

The St. Louis Unions and Chicago Unions played the first game of the second home series yesterday afternoon at Union Park.  The attendance was about 2,000.  Daly and Gross were the visitors' battery and Taylor and Baker were in the points for the home team.  Daly struck out thirteen men and Taylor six.  Dunlap led off with home run, sending the ball over the fence at left center, making the longest hit that has been made on the grounds.  The home nine played an errorless game, and the visitors, who made but seven scattering hits, were blanked.  It was a quick game.  On one occasion, when Umpire Sullivan called a strike on Dunlap, the latter turned and scowled at him.  Sullivan very quickly ordered him to look the other way or he would fine him $25. A few more such umpires as Sullivan would be a benefit to the Union Association, and particularly to the home club.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 21, 1884

That's an eventful game for Dunlap.  Essentially wins the game with a monster, lead-off home run and then later gets into a bit of a row with the umpire.  That's Dunlap in a nutshell.  If he had refused to play the game unless he got a raise and then did all that, it would have been the perfect summation of Dunlap's baseball life.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tom Oran During The Civil War

A match game of Base Ball was played yesterday afternoon, on Gamble's Lawn, between the Commercial, Jr., and Cyclone clubs...
-Missouri Republican, June 2, 1863

This is pretty neat.  I think that the earliest we had traced Oran's baseball career was to 1867, when he was playing with the Olympics.  But now we know that Oran, who around 16 years old in 1863, was not only in St. Louis during the Civil War but he was also playing baseball.

Oran, of course, was the first Native American to play in the major leagues.

Also, it should be noted that this Cyclone Club was not the same club that was founded by Merritt Griswold in 1859.  That club broke up sometime in 1861.  

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Speaking Of Match Games During The Civil War...

A match game of base ball came off yesterday on the old Commercial grounds, between the Baltic (second nine) and the Independent Base Ball Clubs, which resulted in the defeat of the latter.
-Missouri Democrat, June 5, 1863

Two days before this game was played, Robert E. Lee launched his second invasion of the North and was heading for Pennsylvania.

Of note here, besides the fact that this was a rare match game played in St. Louis during the Civil War between two senior clubs, is that Shepard Barclay was pitching and captaining the Baltic Club.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

For The Championship

The game of Base Ball played at Gamble Lawn yesterday, between the Union and Empire Base Ball Clubs, resulted in the complete victory of the former.  The score was as follows: [Union 53, Empire 15.]
The game was played for the Championship.
-Missouri Republican, May 15, 1862

Just for a bit of context, while this game was being played Stonewall Jackson was routing Union forces in the Shenandoah Valley and McClellan had already landed his forces in Virginia and was (slowly) marching on Richmond.  The Civil War was in full swing.

What interests me here is the reference that the game was "played for the Championship."  Most likely this was one of a series of games between the Empires and Unions for the championship rather than a winner-take-all championship game.  There appears to have been a championship series between the clubs in 1861 and I doubt that they would have changed the format so radically in 1862.

I should also mention that this is one of the few match games I'm aware of that was played between two senior clubs in St. Louis during 1862.  There was plenty of baseball going on during the war but match games between senior clubs still appears to have been a rare occurrence.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Griswold Resigns The Presidency Of The Cyclone Club

The game of base ball now so popular in this as in Eastern cities, was ushered in yesterday afternoon, by the Cyclone Base Ball Club, on their old grounds in Lafayette Park, on which occasion they had the pleasure of having united with them in the game, representatives of the Morning Star, Empire and Commercial Clubs.  As was the case last season, a jolly time was had, especially when a member in his eager endeavors to catch the ball would step into some sunken hole, (left to ornament the park,) thereby changing his movement into that of the Zouave drill, or more properly speaking, lofty tumbling of a gymnast.  But we are happy to say this is soon to be remedied, as the clubs have petitioned the Common Council for the privilege of leveling the same at their own expense, which petition has been referred to the Park commissioners, and only awaits their action, when the improvements will be immediately commenced, provided the Commissioners do not delay the matter until it is too late in the season for starting the grass on places that are to be filled.  We notice the Club is composed of the same members as last year, but a slight change has been made in the officers, caused by Mr. M.W. Griswold resigning the Presidency, which is now filled by the promotion of the Vice President, Mr. Leonard Matthews, and the election of Mr. Benteen as Vice President, Mr. M.W. Alexander, Secretary, Mr. F.L. Garesche, Treasurer, and Messrs. Wm. Matthews, J. Riggin, Jr. and E. Bredell, Jr., Trustees.  The Cyclones play every Wednesday and Saturday afternoon.
-Missouri Republican, March 7, 1861

There is some very important information in this brief article from the Republican.  The mention of Lafayette Park as the Cyclones' "old grounds" should lay to rest any debate about whether or not they were playing in the park prior to 1861.  Now that debate was mostly (or only) taking place in my own mind but I'm back to being comfortable in stating that the Cyclones played at Lafayette Park in 1859 and 1860.

More important is the reference to Griswold resigning the presidency of the club prior to March 1861.  There are a couple of secondary sources that state that Leonard Matthews was the club's first president and I always found that to be odd.  I always wondered why Griswold wouldn't have been elected president.  He basically formed the club and introduced the New York game to St. Louis.  Why wouldn't he have been president of the Cyclones?  Now, in any club and election, there is politics involved and I just figured Matthews was a more popular figure among the club members.  But this article implies that Griswold was president in 1860 and that leads me to question whether or not he was president in 1859.  That would make more sense than Matthews being president and Matthews election to the club presidency in 1861 would explain the references in the secondary sources, which date to the mid-1890s at the earliest.  Matthews was remembered as being the president because he was the last president.   

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: A Tough Loss

About 800 people were present at the game to-day, the last of the series of four played here between the Cincinnati Unions and the St. Louis Unions.  It was the hottest day of the season.  The sun blazing out of a clear sky with the mercury at [eighty-two degrees.]  The Cincinnatis had for their manager a new man, Sam Crane, and to this they are tonight ascribing success.  They were first at bat.  Harbidge went out on a fly.  Then Powell got a base on balls, and afterward reached second on a wild throw, made by Baker for the purpose of catching him napping.  Hawes then sent a single to left, giving Powell time to score.  Hawes made first on his own hit and right away got to second on Dunlap's muff of Dickerson's assist.  Then Sylvester flew out to Dickerson and Dunlap took in Jones' grounder and threw him out at first.  After that it was an even tug through five innings, during which each club had players on bases, but neither proved able to send a man around.  In the seventh inning Sylvester opened with a good three-baser to left, and got home on a failure by Brennan, after the ball had been fielded to him, to get it to the catcher.  Jones then got a base on balls.  Crane followed on his grounder to Dunlap, and got his first while Dunlap threw in to head off Sylvester.  Burns sent off a grounder, which, by Dunlap's assist, was fielded in and availed to capture Jones at the home plate.  Then Crane undertook to steal home, but got taken in.  Barber in the eighth started with a three-bagger and came in on Harbidge's out.  Powell made a base hit and was followed by Hawes with a two-baser, but Jones and Sylvester were unable to bring them home.  Whitehead sent a grounder to Jones who fumbled it, which with Schwartz's low ball, gave Whitehead second.  Dunlap, after Hodnett had struck out, sent a sky-scraper to center for a home run, making the only two runs for the visitors.  Dickerson then hit safely, after which Rowe forced him out at second on a grounder.  In the ninth inning two hits by the Cincinnatis and four errors by the visitors gave the home club three runs, while the visitors proved an easy prey in the last half of the inning.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 20, 1884

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: Most Unmercifully

To-day the St. Louis Union Club walked over the Cincinnati Unions most unmercifully, but so gracefully as to elicit admiration from the 750 spectators who witnessed the feat.  The home club batted hard, as is shown by Dickerson and Rowe, the left and middle fielders of the visitors, being credited with nine put-outs, of which all but two were difficult ones.  But it was by splendid playing at the bat and in the field that the visitors won their victory.  With such batting as that of to-day by the Cincinnatis at least a half score of their hits that counted for naught would have been safe hits against any other antagonists.  Dunlap took in seven hits, of which five appeared safe for one base, and Whitehead made a long running catch, which before accomplished the feat seemed impossible.  Both clubs had good catchers, but the visitors were the better equipped with their pitcher. At all events, they hit Bradley more easily than the Cincinnatis hit Hodnett.  Brennan showed brilliantly in throwing to bases.  Hawes, of the Cincinnati Club, won applause by a over-handed running catch.  
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 18, 1884

Friday, January 20, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: At Least The Game Was Short

The weather to-day was a little warmer than that of yesterday, but still was favorable for good playing.  As to the grounds, their condition was very greatly improved.  About 1,000 people turned out to see the sport.  The contest was close, but it lacked spirit, and was therefore devoid of brilliant features.  There were no earned runs, no two-base or three-base hits, and not a home run.  On the other hand, there were neither wild pitches nor passed balls.  After entering upon the play both sides were speedily retired through the first two innings.  It was in the third inning that the only run in the first seven innings was made.  Whitehead had been put out of the way and Hodnett was given his base on calls.  Then a hit by Dunlap gave him second, and after that he got home on Dickerson's single and Burnes' interference with an assist to him from Harbidge.  After the third the retirements on both sides were rapid until the eighth inning, when a base on calls, a fumble by Rowell, Dickersons out, Rowe's sacrifice and Taylor's single secured two more.  In the ninth inning the St. Louis Club brought up their score to four on a fumble by Jones, a single and Sylvester's juggle.  The home club made their solitary run in the ninth on Whitehead's wild throw, Burnes' out and Powell's single.  Both nines fielded rather loosely.  Quinn and Dunlap made the only double play of the game.  Four men were struck out by Taylor and five by Burnes.  The game was short, only one hour and forty minutes.  Holland's umpiring gave general satisfaction.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 17, 1884

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: Hotly Contested From Beginning To End

Four thousand people saw a most exciting game at the Union Park in [Cincinnati] to-day between the St. Louis and Cincinnati nines.  It was hotly contested from beginning to end, and not until the very last man was out was the result a settled thing.  Both nines fielded magnificently.  Several running catches were effected by both teams, one by Rowe saving at least three runs.  The local nine clearly outbatted their opponents, but lost a victory through very sluggish base running, they having twelve men left on bases.  Taylor was quite effective for four innings, but after that he was pretty badly thumped.  Bradley pitched wonderfully strong, and Taylor was the only Missourian who could gauge his delivery successfully, he securing two three-base hits.  Harbidge and Burns did the best batting for the local nine.  The visitors began the fun in the first inning.  After Dunlap had flied out, Jones allowed Shafer his first by a poor throw.  Dickerson then flew out, while Rowe and Taylor followed with three-baggers and Baker a single, all of which netted three runs.  Neither side did anything more until the sixth.  Then Crane reached third on a bad throw by Brennan, Dunlap juggled Bradley's grounder, and a three-baser by Harbidge sent them home.  The latter could have easily scored a home run, but he was foolishly held at third by Barber.  Each gained a run in the seventh.  The visitors made theirs on a muffed fly by Burns, a fumble by Jones and a poor throw by Kelly, which, although it caught a man, should have kept Quinn from crossing the plate.  Jones tallied for the home nine on his single, a wild pitch and Crane's baser.  Taylor's three-baser and a single earned the only run in the contest.  The Cincinnatis had two men on bases in the last inning, with nobody out, but could not get them home.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 16, 1884

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Trick McSorley Released By The Browns

Trick McSorley, the substitute player of the Brown Stockings, was released yesterday [June 4] by President Von der Ahe to the Memphis Club, where he will play short or third, and will probably manage the team.
-Sporting Life, June 9, 1886

McSorley's last game in the big leagues was May 6, 1886, against Pittsburgh.  He went 0-3 in his final game in with the Browns.

But this post is really just an excuse to show off this picture that was given to me by Lynn McSorley, the granddaughter of Trick McSorley.  I got to meet Lynn this weekend at the Cardinals' Winter Warm-Up and she was kind enough to give me all the files she had on her grandfather.  I can't tell you how great it was to meet Lynn and talk to her about her grandfather, who is one of my favorite 19th century ballplayers, as well as her and her family's efforts in researching his baseball career.  I'm honestly humbled and honored that she entrusted me with all the information that they had put together over the years.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Touch That Plug And I'll Break Your Heads

Henry Clay Sexton

On Sept. 14, 1857, Henry Clay Sexton became St. Louis' first fire chief (formally, "chief engineer") at an annual salary of $1,000.  He had 30 employees and three steam engines.  Sexton got the job after the Mound Volunteer Fire Company, where he was chief, sold its engine and house at North Broadway and Brooklyn Street to the city for $250. 
Some volunteer companies refused to quit.  In August 1858, Sexton personally defended a plug with a heavy wrench, telling his covetous competitors, "Touch that plug and I'll break your heads."
-St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 12, 2010

This is from a nice article about the beginnings of the St. Louis Fire Department that's online at the Post's website.

Sexton, of course, was a prominent figure during the pioneer baseball era in St. Louis.  He was a member and long-time president of the Empire Club and I believe he was instrumental in developing the relationship between the StLFD and the Empires.  That relationship was most likely used as a way to compensate members of the Empires' first nine, who often were employed by the fire department.

Tip o' the hat to Steve Pona, who sent me the link to the article.  

Monday, January 16, 2012

Now That's A Great Nickname

The St. Jacob's Hard Hitters and the Highland Invincibles crossed bats [in Highland, Illinois] today.  But eight innings were played on account of the rain.  The score stood 20 to 13 in favor of the Invincibles.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 16, 1884

How can you not love a club named the Highland Invincibles?  That is just a fantastic name for a baseball club. And the Hard Hitters isn't too shabby either.  Who wouldn't want to watch a game between the Invincibles and the Hard Hitters?  

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Clifford Virgil Matteson

C.V. Matteson

[Clifford Virgil] Matteson was born in Seville in 1861, one of seven children.  His mother, Mary, was a Hulbert, one of the pioneer families of Westfield Township.  Their home sheltered runaway slaves, and for this the Hulberts faced much derision from neighbors and fellow church members. 
Matteson's father, Horace, was a schoolteacher who boarded with the Hulberts...Horace later worked for Ohio Farmers Insurance, now Westfield Group, and reportedly wrote one of the company's first policies in 1848.  He eventually operated a dry goods store in Seville, which C.V. took over. 
Matteson's sister, also Mary, traveled the world with her husband, Hollis, in his work for the YMCA.  Her letters and memoirs are on file in the Harvard University library.  She noted her brother was a gifted storyteller--and marksman.  He was said to have owned the Medina County record for clay pigeon shooting, once hitting 50 of 50. 
His eye for the strike zone probably wowed them on the local baseball circuit, where town rivalries were taken very seriously.  Big-league competition is a different matter.  In his first and last game, Matteson allowed nine hits, three walks and struck out three.  After pitching six innings, he finished the game in center field.  He went 0-4 in the batter's box that day... 
How a 22-year-old kid from Seville was handed the baseball on that day 125 years ago this summer is a mystery.  Maybe an upstart team in an upstart league was a small-town player's only shot. 
He went on to a short stint in the minors in 1886 with the Augusta (Georgia) Browns.  Matteson was 1-1 on the mound and 1-10 at the plate.  Sometime after that, he must have come home to Seville to join his dad at the store and start a family.  He was active in civic groups and loved to hunt and fish. 
Matteson was serving his second term as village mayor when he died in 1931 at age 70.  His wife passed away a few years before.   
He had attended "an entertainment" in the town hall, put on as a fire department fundraiser.  The newspaper report said he ate a late dinner, laughed with friends and family over the jokes in the firemen's show, and died early the next morning of "acute indigestion..." 
Of his early life as a young man, the obituary said only that Matteson's "early days were marked by his activity as a baseball player" and he "retained his interest in the national pastime to the end."
-The Medina (Ohio) Gazette, July 15, 2009

The above comes from an article written by John Gladden and the photo comes from Gladden's blog.  Gladden did an outstanding job of putting the story together so I encourage you to head over to his site or the online version of the Gazette and read the whole thing.

SABR's Biographical Committee had a short piece on Matteson in their March/April 1998 newsletter.  Come to find out, Richard Malatzky, one of the editors of Base Ball Pioneers, 1850-1870, was the one who figured out who Matteson was and found all of his biographical information.  That might not sound like much but when all you have to go on is a name and the name is wrong (Matteson was originally identified as C.V. Matterson), it took a great deal of research to figure everything out.

My hat's off to both John and Richard for their great work in putting together all of this information.

Matteson's grave

There is an entry for Matteson at Find A Grave that was put together by Carol Tessein.  Interestingly, while all references and records I've seen refer to Matteson as Clifford Virgil Matteson, his gravestone identifies him as Virgil Clifford Matteson.  

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: All To Pieces

There were 1,500 people present to witness the St. Louis Unions defeat the Cincinnati Unions for the third time this week.  The visitors presented Bradley and Kelly as their battery, while for the home team Matteson, their new pitcher, and Brennan filled the points.  Until the fourth inning Bradley did the twirling, but being hit hard, gave way to Sylvester, who held the home batters down.  Matteson, the new St. Louis pitcher, was hit very hard by the visitors, and it was found prudent to put in Taylor, Baker coming in to support him.  The game was an uninteresting one, as the Cincinnati boys went all to pieces, making some very costly errors, their batting being much heavier than in previous games.  The hoe team batting was heavy, while their fielding game was not up to the regular standard.  The main feature of the game was Taylor's fine drive over the left field fence for a home run, and Burns' line drive out in right field, the ball going clear to fence, among the buggies, and on which he came home with ease. 
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 14, 1884

This was Clifford Matteson's first and only big league game and he didn't exactly cover himself with glory.  I'll have more on Matteson tomorrow.  

Friday, January 13, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: The Contest Was Close And Interesting

The St. Louis and Cincinnati Unions came together yesterday for the third time this week in the presence of about 2,000 spectators.  The contest was a close and interesting one.  The batting on both sides was somewhat weak, the home team only securing four safe hits from Burns, who pitched with marked effectiveness, striking out nine men, while his support by Schwartz was excellent.  The home team had Taylor again in the box, and, although pitching two successive games, the visitors only secured six hits off his delivery.  Harbidge scored three hits of the six, including a two-bagger.  The visitors obtained their runs in the first inning on a two-baser by Harbidge and a single by Sylvester, with the aid of a wild pitch by Taylor.  The home team got three runs in the sixth on hits by Dunlap and Rowe and a costly error by Crane, who let the ball hit his foot and bound away out to right field.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 13, 1884

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: Bradley Shuts Down The Maroons

There was 3,500 people out to witness yesterday's game, which was one of the prettiest seen on any diamond in St. Louis this season.  Bradley pitched a wonderful game for the visitors, and was supported by Kelly in excellent style, while the fielding of the whole nine was perfect, not an error being charged against them.  The home team presented Taylor and Baker, who did creditable work throughout.  Their support in the field, however, was not up to their regular standard.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 12, 1884

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: George Washington Bradley Tomorrow

The St. Louis and Cincinnati Unions played an inning and a half yesterday afternoon and were compelled to stop by rain.  In the first inning each side scored two.  In the second the St. Louis side were blanked.  When the game was called the visitors had three men on base and O'Leary at the bat... 
George Washington Bradley tomorrow.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 10, 1884

Bradley, the hero of 1876, still must have been very popular in St. Louis.  The Globe had mentioned the fact that he was in town with Cincinnati for several days running.  The last sentence I quote above is a culmination of their attempt to drum up excitement over his return to St. Louis.

Bradley.  Baseball.  Tomorrow (tomorrow, tomorrow...).

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: George Washington Bradley, Umpire

The game yesterday afternoon was not a championship contest, as announced.  Holland, the umpire who should have officiated, missed a train in Cincinnati, and failed to arrive.  Manager Dan O'Leary, of the Cincinnati Unions, promptly took advantage of the situation, and produced his book containing the rules to establish that under the circumstances only an exhibition game could be played.  After this point had been argued at length it was finally conceded by Manager Sullivan and Capt. Dunlap, of the St. Louis nine, who presented William Bowman as a competent man to umpire the game.  Not knowing Bowman, O'Leary declined to accept him.  Then Dunlap, who had noticed that Bradley, of the Cincinnati team, who occupied a seat in the grand stand, had been giving points to O'Leary, concluded to call on him to act.  Bradley, realizing how embarrassing the position would be for him, protested at length, but finally yielded when the patience of the crowd had nearly been exhausted.  Donning a St. Louis Union cap, he took his stand, and to the merriment of the crowd called the first ball delivered to Dunlap a strike.  He proved a very accurate and impartial judge, and his decisions were generally highly commended...The game was a very remarkable one.  With 12 hits and a total of 18 bases, the Cincinnati team earned 5 runs, all they made, and with 4 hits and a total of 7 bases the home nine did not earn a run but scored eight through errors on the part of the visitors.  Holland will be on hand to-day, a telegram announcing that he was on a train from Cincinnati having been received last night.  
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 8, 1884

It's kind of odd that Lucas didn't have a couple of local guys on the payroll to umpire St. Louis games.  Regardless, the crowd must have had a great time watching Bradley, a local favorite, umping the game.  

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Great Piece Of Advertising

This is just a fantastic piece of baseball-related advertising from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 6, 1884:

Click on the thing to get a good look at it and see how big it was.  Also of note is that the owner of the Simons Hardware Company was E.C. Simons, a pioneer-era St. Louis baseball player who was a member of both the Commercials and the Unions.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Consulting With President Lucas

Mr. A.V. McKim, manager of the Kansas City Union Base Ball Club, was in the city yesterday, consulting with President Lucas and engaging players.  Among those signed for the new club are Wheeler and Hickman, formerly of the St. Louis Reserves; Berry, Shafer, and Harris, formerly of the Altoonas, and Chatterton and Fisher, of the Lynn, Mass., club.  By to-night Mr. McKim expects to have eight more men under contract.  Harry Wheeler will captain the team.  The opening game will be played next Saturday and Sunday, with the Chicago Unions.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 5, 1884

It's interesting to see Lucas' involvement with other clubs.  We've seen it in the past, as Lucas was involved in helping clubs fill their roster at the beginning of the season.  Now, as clubs begin to unravel, we're seeing it again.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: The Superior Work Of The St. Louis Unions

Costly errors at critical points, inability to bat Taylor's pitching, and the superior work of the St. Louis Unions, both in the field and at the bat, caused the home nine the most disastrous defeat they have ever known.  Gross, the famous catcher, who made such a brilliant record with the Philadelphia League team last year, appeared with the Chicagos for the first time, and, while showing lack of recent practice, held his reputation as a steady player and good batsman.  McLaughlin, the new second baseman of the Chicagos, also made his first appearance.  His work was neat at points but two inexcusable errors dampened the favor with which the audience seemed disposed to regard him.  Daly's pitching was as remarkable as ever, even the hard hitters of the St. Louis nine being unable to do any effective work against him.  For the visitors Dunlap's work at second and Baker's as catcher were superb, the latter being particularly praiseworthy for his support of Taylor's difficult pitching.  Shafer distinguished himself in right by taking three difficult catches.  
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 4, 1884

After losing two of their last six, the Maroons got back to their winning ways.  As to the question of What Did Dunlap Do?  I looks like nothing but I'm going to retire this gimmick because I've gotten a bit tired of it.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Schedule Changes

A change was made yesterday in the Union Association schedule, so that the games the St. Louis Unions were to have played the Cincinnatis here on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday next will be played on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday next.  The change is made so as not to clash with the opening dates of the St. Louis Jockey Club.
-St.  Louis Globe-Democrat, June 4, 1884

One day I'm going to have to write something about how popular horse racing was in St. Louis.  It goes back to the founding of the city and the first French settlers in the city.  Those folks loved their horse racing and the tradition carried on throughout the 19th century.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Lucas Sets Up The Cowboys

President Lucas, of the Union Base Ball Association, arrived home last night at 9:20, after a week's visit to Altoona, where he wound up the affairs of the local club, and arranged for the transfer of the best talent in the team to Kansas City.  He says he will meet the officers of the Kansas City Club in this city on Wednesday to complete the transfer, and one week later the Kansas City Club will be in the field with a strong team.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 3, 1884

The Kansas City Unions were the first major league club in KC history and it appears that the club was profitable.  They were not, however, a good team, finishing 16-63.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Known Unknowns

John W. O'Connell...and J.D. Fitzgibbon...say the game was brought here by men who had played baseball in the East, but that the first game ever played here took place in what was then Northwest St. Louis and on the ground now occupied by Carr Square Park.
-The National Game

I can't tell you how many times I've read the above sentence but last night, as I looked at it again, it held new meaning for me.

With the discovery of new primary source material from the Missouri Republican, I've begun to re-evaluate some of the things I believe about the origins of the game in St. Louis and how the game developed in the city from 1859 to 1865.  I've found evidence that conflicts with some of the more important secondary sources and evidence that conflicts with some of the conclusions I've reach after years of research.  I think it's important for me to remember that there are a lot of things that I don't know with any degree of certainty about baseball in St. Louis in the antebellum and Civil War eras.  All I can do is gather all the evidence that I can, weigh that evidence and try to reach logical conclusions.

One of the things that I believed, up until the last week or so, was that the first baseball game was played by the Cyclone Club at Lafayette Park sometime during the summer of 1859.  The weight of the evidence that I had seen supported that idea.  Now, after looking through the Republican, I can say that there is evidence to suggest that the first game wasn't played at Lafayette Park.  O'Connell and Fitzgibbons, two pioneer era players, stated to Al Spink that the first game was played at Carr Park and that testimony is very important.  Why did I dismiss it?

Carr Park was the playing grounds of the Morning Star Club, who we believe were playing town ball at the park as early as 1857.  Richard Perry, a member of the Morning Stars, stated in 1887 that his club was the first to play baseball in St. Louis.  Interestingly, the earliest reference I have to a St. Louis baseball club comes from the St. Louis Daily Bulletin of June 6, 1860, and mentions the organization of the Morning Stars.  The Protoball Chronology has a reference to an unnamed club in September of 1859, that is neither the Cyclones nor the Morning Stars.  I have some problems with the sourcing of that reference but it comes from Craig Waff and therefore should be taken seriously.

My point is that if we just relied on the primary source material, we'd have to argue that either the Morning Stars or Waff's unnamed club was the first baseball team in St. Louis, rather than the Cyclones.  I've yet to find a reference to the Cyclone Club prior to August 1860 and believe me when I tell you that I've looked.  That doesn't mean that the evidence to support my conclusions doesn't exist or that I've exhausted every source but it does mean that I don't have a lot of evidence to support my conclusions other than some secondary sources and logic.  And now I'm finding primary source evidence that is poking holes in my logic.

Another thing: I believe that town ball was played in St. Louis in the 1840s, at the latest.  I have absolutely no primary source evidence of that.  The earliest town ball reference I have for St. Louis comes from 1860.  There are insinuations in the contemporary press and exertions in the secondary sources that support or imply that town ball was played much earlier.  Also, I have plenty of evidence to support the idea that town ball was played in the region as early as the 1820s, so it's not a great leap to believe that it was played in St. Louis at the same time.  But I can't prove it.

And there, as they say, is the rub.  There's a lot of stuff that I believe about the origins and development of the game in St. Louis that I can't prove.  I can argue for a certain conclusion and show you all the evidence that I have that leads me to reach such a conclusion but argument is not proof.  I can argue that O'Connell and Fitzgibbons, when they said baseball was first played at Carr Park, were talking about town ball and the Morning Star Club but I can't prove that.  Somebody else can look at their statement and conclude that they were talking about the New York game.  That argument would be just as valid as mine.  

What I have to accept is the fact that this is a process.  I can sit down right now and write a three volume history of 19th century baseball in St. Louis but the first volume would be out of date by the time I finished writing it.  The research is ongoing and continuing to bear fruit.  It doesn't matter to me that new evidence changes what I believe because my goal is to find the truth.  I will change my beliefs and conclusions to fit the facts that I discover, regardless of whether or not those changes conflict with previously held beliefs and conclusions.  My commitment is to the truth rather than to my own ego or to any historical school of thought.

Our understanding of what was happening in St. Louis during the pioneer era is much, much greater than it was just two years ago.  I've discovered all kinds of primary source evidence over the last few years that have really shed light on the subject and have enabled us to work with facts rather than supposition.  If I was writing the St. Louis chapter of the Base Ball Pioneer book today, it would be a bit different than the one I submitted two years ago.  And I think it would be different again if I was writing it two years from now.  The research is ongoing and my shifting of the evidence never stops.

In the end, I have to continuously remember what I know and what I know I don't know.  I have to remember that there is fact and there is supposition.  At the moment fact and truth are destroying some of my suppositions and assumptions.  And that is a good thing.  Does it mean that I have to go back and rewrite a bunch of stuff that I thought I was finished with?  Yes, it does.  But that's okay because I'm just trying to get the thing right.        

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Interesting To Many Of Our Citizens

There will be a friendly match of Base Ball between the Commercial and Cyclone Base Ball Clubs, on Wednesday, September 4th, at 4 o'clock, P.M., on the Empire's Ground.  The game will be according to the United States Convention rules, now so extensively played in all our principal cities, and will undoubtedly be very interesting to many of our citizens who have never seen the game.  Were there a suitable ground in some of our public parks, it would be much more agreeable to lady spectators, and it is to be hoped our Common Council, or Park Commissioners, will give this their early attention.  Players will take the market street cars at a quarter after three o'clock and go to Twenty fourth or Twenty sixth street, thence south five blocks.
-Missouri Republican, August 26, 1860

Why wasn't this game played at Lafayette Park?  If the Cyclones had been playing at the park since their inception, one would think that the game would have been played on their grounds.  Why did they play it on the Empires' ground?

As I talked about last week, there's the very real possibility that Lafayette Park was not used as a baseball grounds until 1861 and I think this supports that idea.  The Republican writes about the need for a suitable baseball grounds in the public parks and, if the Lafayette Grounds existed in 1860, wouldn't that have been suitable for the lady spectators?

At this point, I'm not sure what to think.      

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Empire/Commercials Match From 1860

The match game of Base Ball between the Commercial and Empire Club, resulted in favor of the Commercial.  Owing to the late hour at which the game was commenced, only five innings could be played, on which the game was decided.
-Missouri Republican, October 10, 1860

According to the St. Louis Daily Bulletin, this game was played on October 7, 1860.  Note that Merritt Griswold was the umpire.  

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

The best photo of 2011

I hope everyone has a great 2012.  May it be better than 2011.  For us Cardinals fans, it can't get any better but I guess we can always hope.

We want the Cup!

And I promise that sometime in 2012, I will finish the series on the 1884 Maroons.