Monday, May 14, 2012
The Union Base Ball club has now commenced its regular playing season. The practicing days are Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, in the afternoon, and Saturdays at 10 o'clock. The following are its officers: F.C. Billion, President; W.E. Greenleaf, Vice President; R.P. Renick, Treasurer; J.P. Carr, Secretary' S.D. Barlow, Jr., Jos. H. Holliday, Jos. C. Cabanne, Directors; E.F. Finney, W.E. Greenleaf, Field Captains.-Missouri Republican, April 8, 1862
The study of history is always an ongoing process. You can never know enough about a given subject and you can never know everything that there is to know. One must take the best evidence available at any given moment and reach conclusions based upon that but, at the same time, one must always be looking for more evidence.
When I wrote the St. Louis chapter for the Base Ball Pioneers book, my knowledge of what was happening in St. Louis during the Civil War was limited and I've been lucky enough, since then, to find more and better sources that have helped me flesh out my understanding of what was happening in the St. Louis baseball world at that time. This article about the Unions organizing for the 1862 season is an example of that.
My previous belief, based upon secondary sources, was that the Unions disbanded during the war, only to reorganize after the conflict was over. That belief was wrong and I have plenty of evidence now to show that the Unions were active during the war. I believe that is a significant fact.
In general, we need to reevaluate what was happening in Civil War St. Louis. The old idea that there was little baseball being played is wrong and there is enough evidence to support the idea that there was an active baseball scene in St. Louis during the war. A lot of the clubs playing at the time were junior nines but there were also plenty of adult nines playing baseball throughout the war years. I still believe that the war had a detrimental effect on St. Louis baseball but not to the extent that I previously believed. There was plenty of baseball being played in St. Louis during the Civil War and the war did not kill the young baseball scene that started in 1859.
At some point, I hope to post a long piece on baseball in St. Louis during the war and flesh out my thinking. But the research is still ongoing.