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.   

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