Thursday, August 30, 2012

At The Missouri Gymnasium

At about 10 o'clock the members of the St. Louis professional base ball club make their appearance and for an hour or two try to work off some of their superfluous fat which has accumulated upon them since last season.  They are a healthy looking set of young men, full of fun but decidedly more fond of ball-tossing than dumb-bell brandishing.  In the afternoon they frequently come around again and indulge in more jostling of iron weights. 
-St. Louis Republican, March 19, 1875

Off-season weight training goes back to at least 1872 and, depending on your definition, you might be able to trace it back to Jim Creighton.  One point that Peter Morris made in A Game of Inches was that this kind of off-season training was expensive and, therefore, rare unless all the players lived in the city in which they were playing.  The Brown Stockings had to have been paying for their players to come to town early and train.  Knowing these guys as I do, I can say that there was no way they were coming in voluntarily.  So the St. Louis Base Ball Club was spending a great deal of money that they didn't have to spend in order to try and put a first-class team on the field. 

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