Saturday, February 4, 2012

The St. Louis Cricket Club

There was an exciting match at Cricket yesterday between the married men of the St. Louis Club on one side, and the single men on the other.  Gamble's Addition was the ground chosen, and there was quite a crowd of spectators.  Much interest was manifested by the bystanders throughout.  The single men, after a well contested battle, won a score of six more than the married men.
-Daily Missouri Republican, May 28, 1859

Cricket Match Between The Two First Elevens Of The St. Louis Club.-The long expected match between the two first Elevens of the St. Louis Club, came off yesterday in presence of a large number of friends of the Club and lovers of the game. 
-Daily Missouri Republican, May 28, 1859

We can date the playing of cricket in St. Louis to the mid-1850s, so these matches are not, in and of themselves, that significant.  The significant thing is that playing in both matches, as members of the St. Louis Cricket Club, were James Yule, James Reynolds and David Duffy, all original members of the Empire Club.  It's interesting that we can now say that two of the earliest baseball clubs in St. Louis had their origins in other bat and ball games.  The Morning Star Club was originally a town ball club and part of the original core of the Empire Club played on a cricket club together.

I've always argued that the tradition of various bat and ball games in St. Louis provided an infrastructure that the New York game used to help establish itself.  There were clubs, grounds and a tradition of playing bat and ball games among adults in St. Louis prior to the advent of the New York game in the city in 1859.  The new game latched onto these traditions and the community of ballplayers gravitated to the new game.  The traditions that surrounded the playing of town ball and cricket in St. Louis made it easier for the new game to be accepted and grow in St. Louis.  I think that the fact that some of the original Empire Club members were cricketers supports that argument.

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