Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Game Not Played

The game of base ball advertised to take place yesterday afternoon, at the Grand Avenue park, between the Chicago White Stockings and Philadelphias, did not come off, as neither club put in its appearance.  At least twenty thousand people visited the grounds, thinking that they would enjoy a treat, but they were doomed to be disappointed.  As to who is to blame, our reporter gained the following from a reliable source: Mr. Williams, secretary of the reds of this city, has been correspounding with the Chicagos for some time, in regard to getting up a game, and at last succeeded so far that he turned the game over to Mr. Solari of the Grand Avenue park, thinking it would be an advantage to the club in drawing a large crowd, on account of its proximity to the Fair grounds.  Then Mr. Thos. Bryan, corresponding secretary of the Empires, received from the Philadelphia club, October 1st, a communication stating that the Chicagos and Philadelphias would play a game in this city on October 8th, and that the Philadelphias, after playing a return game in Chicago, would come back and play two games on Sunday, the 11th of October, one in the morning with the Nationals, if so arranged, and the other with the Empires in the afternoon.  Mr.  Bryan answered the telegram, and told them to come on, as all the arrangements were being made, and the games were advertised.  Then came Mr. Williams on the morning of October 8th, the day the game was to come off, and told Mr. Solari of the park that he had received a dispatch from Chicago, signed jointly by the managers of the Chicago and Philadelphia clubs, that it would not be possible for them to play in St. Louis, and that they would write and give the cause.  Lastly a dispatch was received at 3:10 P.M., yesterday, by Mr. Solari, signed Jim Woods, stating the Philadlephias refused to play in St. Louis.

To make some amends, there was an impromptu game gotten up between the Empires and a picked nine, to amuse the vast assemblage, who were better satisfied than might have been expected under the circumstances.
-St. Louis Republican, October 9, 1874

What's of interest here is the fact that this game was being advertised as the first game played in St. Louis between two professional clubs and it certainly would have been the first game played between two openly professional teams.  Also, the reason given for moving the game from the Compton Avenue Grounds to the Grand Avenue Grounds is interesting and it's the first contemporary reference I've ever seen suggesting why the Grand Avenue Grounds was considered a better park than the Compton Avenue Grounds.

Regardless, it's kind of odd that this game wasn't played.  Chicago played a lot of games in St. Louis in 1874 and it's kind of surprising that they weren't able to get Philadelphia to go along with playing it.  There's probably something else going on here that we don't know because the reason given for not playing the game is not very satisfying.  

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