Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Brown Stockings Almost Moved To Washington Square

It may be news to the public to know that negotiations were once on foot to secure Washington Square for a base ball park.  Just before the disclosures at Louisville that resulted in the expulsion of Devlin and others who had been engaged to play in St. Louis the following season from the National League, the local base ball organization had taken steps in the direction indicated.  Records were overhauled, and it was discovered that the square could be leased by the city if the consent of the heirs of the donor was obtained.  One of these, Mr. J.B.C. Lucas, was at the time President of the St. Louis Base Ball Association.  The expulsion of Devlin and his associates led to the disbanding of the club, and the movement to secure Washington Park was therefore abandoned.  
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, January 31, 1883

What was once Washington Square Park is now the currant location of St. Louis City Hall, on Market Street.  While it's fascinating to think about the Brown Stockings abandoning the Grand Avenue Grounds and playing in a ballpark downtown, the more interesting thing here is the way the article whitewashes Brown Stockings' history.  There is no mention of crooked St. Louis ballplayers, thrown games or financial loses and the entire reason for the club disbanding is laid at the feet of Devlin and the Louisville scandal.  It's pretty amazing to see such historical revisionism less than a decade after the events took place.  

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