Thursday, July 19, 2012

Quincy's Big League Aspirations

Manager Brackett, R.T. Scheckells and J.T Smith, Directors of the Quincy Club of the Northwestern League, met at the office of President Lucas yesterday afternoon and asked for admission to the Union Association  Mr. Brackett said his club when they left the Northwestern League were in the lead in the race for the pennant, and he claimed they could hold their own with any club in the Union Association.  He offered to pit his club against the Unions to-day and his offer was accepted...

The manager of the Quincy Club claims to have two pitchers, either one of whom is the equal of Foutz, a catcher who is superior to Baldwin, and the best first baseman in the country...

This afternoon the St. Louis Unions will play a game with the Quincy Club, which recently resigned from the Northwestern League.  The game will be called at 4 o'clock...
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 14, 1884

A little background on this rather interesting twist to the 1884 season:  According to the Quincy Daily Whig (August 10, 1884), at a meeting of the Northwestern League in Chicago, on August 9, Grand Rapids and Muskegon were dropped from the league and the remaining clubs, which included Quincy, had to put up a $500 bond as a guarantee that they would finish out the season.  The Whig wrote that the "announcement of the reorganization of the Northwestern league was received here with a great deal of dissatisfaction and disgust.  It is impossible for clubs to travel the distances required and have anything left out of the receipts of the games.  It is not probable now that the Quincy club will consent to the arrangement and especially to giving the bond of $500 to play to the end of the season. Manager Brackett favors uniting with the Union association, believing this is the best thing that can be done under the circumstances."  By August 13, Quincy had dropped out and the Northwestern League was falling apart. The Quincy Daily Journal, of August 14, 1884, wrote that the league was "about done for.  Only four clubs of the twelve which composed the league at the opening of the season are left, viz. Milwaukee, St. Paul, Saginaw and Minneapolis.  Since the resignation of W.D. Whitmore, the league is without a president, and it now looks as if there will be no Northwestern league after a few days."  While the Northwestern League picked up a few clubs and survived, they did so without Quincy.

But it is absolutely amazing that the management of the Quincy club decided that their best move, after dropping out of the Northwestern League, was to try and join the UA.  It's extraordinarily amazing that they thought such a move was possible.  I think this says a lot about the UA.  I think it speaks to how the league was perceived and the quality of baseball that was being played in the league.  Because regardless of what the managers of the Quincy club said, they were not the best team in the NWL.  To the best of my knowledge, the Grand Rapids club had a healthy lead when they dropped out, were forced out or ran out of money (however it happened).  But Quincy management thought that they could drop out of the NWL and talk their way into the UA - in August, with the season mostly over, and after the UA had already poached a couple of their best players.  It's crazy.

So I guess the Quincys' game against the Maroons was a bit of an audition.  I guess Lucas wanted to see if they were crappy enough to fit in with the other crappy clubs in his crappy league.     

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