Monday, September 3, 2012

The Great Game Of The Season

The Great Game

Of the season, that is, to the people of St. Louis, will come off, weather permitting, next Thursday afternoon, when the nine that Chicago has been boasting of all the winter will play our Brown Stockings on the Grand Avenue park.

We can tell after the game is over as well as any one else which side wins the game, but predictions as to the probable result would be idle.  We can only express our confidence in the nine selected to represent us in the contest.  Their splendid physical condition, steady earnest play and mutual reliance one upon the other are qualities that if persevered in, will prove triumphant over stronger nines than our sister city has got together.

Persons desiring to avoid the rustle at the gates can purchase tickets at the base ball headquarters for any of the championship games the coming week.
-St. Louis Republican, May 2, 1875

Remember that this piece appeared in the Republican prior to the game between the Brown Stockings and the Reds.  I understand the build-up that went on in the off-season and the back and forth that was going on between the St. Louis and Chicago papers, as well as everyone's desire to see a St. Louis club beat the Chicagos.  But, come on.  You had the first league game in St. Louis history coming up in a couple of days and it pitted two St. Louis clubs against each other.  That wasn't the great game of the season (to date)?

Now obviously it wasn't and there really wasn't a comparison between the Reds and Brown Stockings.  But I didn't think that was recognized in St. Louis prior to May 4, 1875.  I might be wrong about that and it what is obvious in retrospect may have been obvious to the baseball fraternity of St. Louis at the beginning of the 1875 season.

In the end, the Republican is absolutely correct in saying that the first Brown Stocking/Chicago game was the game of the season.  Not only that, it's one of the most significant games in St. Louis baseball history.  As far as 19th century St. Louis baseball games are concerned, it might be the important game ever played by a St. Louis club.  If not, it ranks right up there with the $15,000 slide game and a couple of the games that the Empire Club played in 1865.

And now I have a new idea for a series of posts.  The only question is should I limit the list of the most significant 19th century baseball games to ten or go all out and put together a top twenty-five?  I can do ten off the top of my head so I'm thinking I'll have to do a top twenty-five.

But I digress.  The point here is that with the Reds/Brown Stockings tilt just a couple of days away, they're looking past that to the Brown Stocking/Chicago game.  And that's kind of fascinating.   


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