Wednesday, October 31, 2012

An 1884 Triple-Header At The Compton Avenue Grounds

There will be three games at the Compton Avenue Park to-day.  The Wainwrights and Mound Social Clubs' nines will occupy the diamond at 9:30 a.m.; at 1:30 p.m. the Spikers and Excelsiors will cross bats, and at 4 o'clock the Athletics and Compton Browns (colored nines) will meet.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 7, 1884

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: A Bare Bones Report

And that's all we have from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, in their September 7, 1884 issue, regarding the Maroons game in Wilmington.  Even the Globe has lost interest in the Maroons.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: Something Remarkable

The Baltimore Unions were again beaten at Union Park to-day by the crack St. Louisans.  The game was a good one, barring the errors of the home team, and it is owing to them that they were defeated.  Lee, for the home club, pitched a good game, and not a double hit was made by the visitors during the entire game.  Robinson caught fairly, but was very wild in throwing to the bases.  Two of his errors gave the St. Louis two runs.  The batting of the home club was the surprising feature.  Seery, Fusselbach and Robinson very seldom play a game without a hit, but for Lee and Levis to get double-baggers and Sweeney and Say singles was something remarkable.  Say's hit surprised him to such an extent that he attempted to run from second to home on a passed ball without going near third base, so anxious was he to get a run.  Shaefer, the new man from Kansas City, proved a dismal failure, judging from his work to-day.  He may, however, improve.  In the seventh inning the home team got 5 runs, which tied the score.  Then the St. Louis Club put in Boyle to pitch.  Boyle pitches a swift, straight ball, which is sometimes a little wild.  The batters are afraid of him throughout the Association, and many games have been saved by him.  Jennings umpired a fair game, contrary to the opinion of the St. Louis Club.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 6, 1884

I don't know who was filing these game reports from Baltimore but I like him. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Parisian Bob, Engage!

The St. Louis Club has engaged Kinzle, second baseman, and Carruthers, change pitcher, of the disbanded Minneapolis team, and Lavin of the Saginaws.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 6, 1884

Parisian Bob, engage! is kind of like Giant Robot, attack!  And I'll leave it up to you to figure out what I'm talking about.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Black Stockings Vs. Callender's Minstrels

The Black Sox will play the Callender Minstrel Club this afternoon at Sportsman's Park.  Before the game Callender's Minstrel band will give a grand concert.  Game will be called at 3:30 p.m.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 4, 1884

I gave you the ad for this game the other day and post this only because the Globe gave the starting nine for both the Black Stockings and Callender's Minstrels. 

For the Black Stockings: Johnson, pitcher; Hope, catcher; Rogers, first base; Jones, second base; Canter, short; Bracy, third base; Gardner, right field; Sutton, center field; Chouvau, left field.

For Callender's Minstrels: Adams, pitcher; Waters, catcher; Williams, first; Girard, second; Freeman, short; Smith, third; Wolf, right; Brown, center; Hawskins, left. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Personal Attention Of Mr. Von Der Ahe

Manager James A. Williams has severed his connection with the St. Louis Base Ball Club, having tendered his resignation yesterday, the same having been accepted by the Directory.  There is no bad feeling or any but the kindliest sentiments between Mr. Williams and his late associates, but the club affairs required the personal attention and disciplining of Mr. Von der Ahe, who will strain every nerve to brace them up once more into winning form.  
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 5, 1884

I have no doubt that the club got the personal attention of Mr. Von der Ahe and that was one of the main reasons Mr. Williams resigned.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I Would Be Remiss If I Didn't Pass This Along

The game between the Cincinnati Union and Wilmington Clubs was brought to a close in the middle of the fourth inning, when Umpire Dutton was struck in the mouth by a foul ball and seriously - it was at first thought fatally - injured.  The score stood 5 to 3 in favor of Cincinnati.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 5, 1884

I don't know why but I'm rather fascinated by 19th century umpire injuries.  And only slightly amused.  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: Dull And Stupid

The Baltimore Unions played a miserable game with the St. Louis Club at Union Park this afternoon.  W. Sweeney was put in the pitcher's box and in the first inning eleven men went to the bat.  Eight base hits were made and seven runs scored.  The home team could do nothing with Sweeney's puzzling delivery and failed to score in their part of the first inning.  In the second inning Robinson was put in the box.  He managed with the assistance of fielding errors to give the St. Louis boys eight runs in the last eight innings.  After the first inning the home team were broken up, and the visitors played a loose game, making it dull and stupid for the spectators.  Graham's catching in left field was a feature.  Say made his usual error, and Cuthbert, in center field, got three by letting balls pass by him.  Rowe, Dunlap, Sweeney and Quinn did the fielding for the visitors, and all hands did the batting.  
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 5, 1884

Baltimore would have been better off going with the whole "We're not feeling well today and can't play" thing they pulled the day before.

On the bright side, "Say made his usual error" might be my all-time favorite piece of baseball writing.  It's just brilliant.     

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: What Kind Of League Was This?

There was no Union game at Baltimore yesterday on account of the illness of two of the Baltimore Union nine.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 4, 1884

Really?  You have a couple of guys sick so you cancel the game?  You couldn't find two half-way decent baseball players in all of Baltimore?  You either find a couple of players or you forfeit the game.  That's how things are done in a major professional baseball league. 

I had an open mind about this at one point but there is no way to look at the evidence and come to any other conclusion except that the UA was not a major league.  And, really, it was a bit of a joke.   

Monday, October 22, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: A Peculiar One

After a hard struggle, the St. Louis team won from the Baltimores another game at Union Park to-day.  The game was a peculiar one, and twice it was in the hands of the home club, but somehow it slipped from their grasp, and at the end of the tenth inning the score was 5 to 6 in favor of the St. Louis.  In the first inning, the visitors first went to bat, and through good fielding by the home team they were retired with nothing.  In the same inning, the Baltimores were more successful.  Seery led off with a single, followed by singles by Lee and Robinson, a passed ball by Brennan gave the home team 2 runs.  The St. Louis club was blanked up to the eighth inning, and it looked as if they would be shut out, but luck changed and in the eighth inning they scored 4 earned runs, and as the home team got a run in the fourth and fifth innings the score was tied.  In blanking the visitors the home team did some good fielding, and it alone prevented the visitors from running up a big score.  The ninth and tenth innings were regular nip-and-tuck fights.  The crack team went to the bat and secured one run.  In the latter half of the inning the Baltimores also got a run, again tieing the score.  In the tenth inning Gleason got a base hit and got third on a single by Boyle.  two men were then put out, but a wild pitch by Sweeny allowed Gleason to score.  For the Baltimores Seery led off with a single and Lee followed by striking to short, and both men were put out on a good double-play.  Robinson secured a single hit, but was put out while stealing second.  The home team had every opportunity to win the game.  The errors made by the visitors were very costly, and the umpire also gave the home team the benefit of three close decisions.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 3, 1884

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: It Was Close Until The Fifth

The Baltimore and St. Louis Unions played a close game [in Baltimore] to-day up to the fifth inning, when the visitors by heavy batting forged ahead.  The lead thus gained was never recovered, and a score of 6 to 2 rewarded the prowess of the St. Louis boys.  The visitors' streak of batting, which brought them in 2 runs in the fifth inning, continued during the sixth inning and yielded them 3 more.  In the eighth inning the Baltimores secured a run on Say's single and Dolan's wild throw.  The pitching of Sweeny of the St. Louis was excellent and Dolan gave good support.  For the Baltimores, Sweeny played a poor game and the delivery of Lee was ineffective.  As usual, the umpire was cursed and yelled at by the crowd for giving a close decision against the home club.  He was right, and all through the game satisfactory.  Cuthbert, Shaffer and Rowe caught a number of excellent flies.  The attendance was 2,000.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 2, 1884

Saturday, October 20, 2012

An 1884 Ad For A Black Stockings Game

I promise I'm getting to the Maroons.  Or is that a threat?  Doesn't matter because the above appeared in the September 4, 1884 edition of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat and is an ad for a Black Stockings' game.  Can't say you see that every day.   

Friday, October 19, 2012

Guns...And Baseball!

I love 19th century advertising and have said more than once that I'd like to start a blog on the subject.  It would be fun and very funny.  But, sadly, I have no time for a project like that.  Regardless, you have to love the above ad that appeared in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat on September 1, 1884.  Rifles and baseball; can't beat 'em.  Of course, there was a day and age, not particularly long ago, when sporting good stores sold guns, rifles, ammunition and the like.  I don't think they still do but I wouldn't swear to it.

Anyway, I'm going to get back to the Maroon's 1884 season tomorrow.  In case you've forgotten, going into the game on September 1, 1884, the Maroon's were up 19.5 games and were eight games into a twenty-four game road trip.  They also were in the middle of a streak that saw them win thirty-nine of forty-two games.

In all honesty, the Maroons are kind of boring.  All they did was win.  They were never really challenged (although the Cincinnati Unions developed into a very good club that could have given them a fight if they had had their team on the field for the whole season).  There is no real drama or tension in their story.  The most interesting thing about the story is the political and business angle and that takes place off the field.  The Black Diamonds were just a good team that dominated a crappy league and that's the whole story.  All the conflict between the UA and the established leagues had little bearing on what was taking place at the ballpark.  You had some players jumping around here and there but nothing too dramatic (except for Sweeny).  The story that I'm telling here is just the day to day slog of the Maroons winning game after game.  And I don't have a lot of interest in it anymore.

But I'm trying to see the project through to the end.  I think that once we get past the end of the season, we'll see some interesting developments as the league breaks up and the Maroons join the NL.  In all honesty, the best part of the story is the beginning and the end.  The rest is just the Maroons beating up on crappy teams.     

Thursday, October 18, 2012

William Packwood's Obituary

William H. Packwood

Closing a life that for more than half a century was interwoven with Oregon history, death came at 1:30 this afternoon to Judge William H. Packwood, aged 85, who was the last surviving member of the group that signed the state constitution when Oregon was admitted to the Union.

   Judge Packwood was venerated by innumerable friends in all parts of the country and was revered by thousands of men who had been in his employ during the years that he was identified with the growth of the state.  Traces of his work appear in ever corner of Baker County.

   Three children survive.  They are Mrs. J. L. Rand and William H. Packwood, of Baker, and Jefferson Packwood, of Seattle.  Two daughters are dead.  There are 14 grandchildren.

   Funeral arrangements had not been completed today, but they will be conducted from St. Francis Cathedral.

   No man in Baker County had a history more interesting than that of Judge Packwood.

   Few pioneers there are in Oregon who can point to a record such as Mr. Packwood's, from the day when he first set foot on Oregon soil in 1849 to the time of his death.  Mr. Packwood, bowed under the weight of his 85 years, was still an active citizen, and at the time of his death was concluding a book on the early pioneer history of Oregon, a work to which he devoted the major portion of his recent months.  In this history, George H. Himes, of the Oregon Historical Society, has expressed intense interest and declares that it will be an invaluable addition to the historical records of Oregon.

   Mr. Packwood was born at Jordan's Prairie, north of Mount Vernon, Ill, October 23, 1832, and lived there until he was 15 years old.  In his youth he met and talked to Abraham Lincoln and could recall conversations he had with the man who was to become America's greatest President.  When a boy of 15, in the Summer of 1848, he obtained the reluctant consent of his parents and enlisted for service in the Mexican war.  He never saw service in Mexico, but instead started on a march to Oregon in May, 1849, serving as an orderly until he joined his regiment at Vancouver.

   Mr. Packwood used to recount in an interesting manner how, at Astoria, he saw the timbers which had been gathered for the keel of the first steamboat to ply the waters of the Columbia, the "Columbia," which made its first trip up the river in 1850.

   The youthful pioneer went back to California in the following year and served with Major Wessels in making treaties with the Indians of California.  That same year trouble arose with the Indians of the Coquille and Coast tribes and Mr. Packwood was put in command of an expedition and started by boat to Port Orford.  The schooner Lincoln, however, was wrecked in a storm at Coos Bay, January 3, 1852, and this it was which linked Mr. Packwood's early life with Curry and Coos counties and which made it possible for him later to become a member of the constitutional convention.  Some supplies were saved from the wreck of the Lincoln and, after camping for a short time, Mr. Packwood took his command overland to Port Orford and subjugated the turbulent redskins.  He was discharged from Army service September 23, 1853, after having served five years.

   Although he had not yet reached his majority, Mr. Packwood was at last a free agent to do as he wished.  He formed a partnership with George H. Abbott and took up mining, made a little stake and then he and Mr. Abbott bought horses, sold their claims and, after packing and freighting for a while, took up ranching in Curry County.  Indians became troublesome and the youth was made Lieutenant of a volunteer company, captained by Mr. Abbott.  They subjugated the Indians again and then, in December, 1854, he went prospecting to California.  He returned to Oregon and in 1855 was elected Captain of a company to enter the Indian War.  He was commissioned Captain of the Coquille Guards by Governor George L. Curry.  He took an active part in the Indian War and was instrumental in bringing about the surrender of the three warring tribes.

   Mining again attracted the young pioneer and he went in 1857 to the Sixes River mines and soon after was elected by unanimous vote of Curry County to represent it at the state constitutional convention.  He was then a youth of 25 and had never even voted, but had taken part in making laws in mining camps and had presided as chairman at miners' meetings.  He was worried somewhat as to his qualifications and appealed to Mr. Abbott, his old partner, for advice.

   "Be yourself," was Mr. Abbott's sole advice, and thus equipped he joined the convention made up of citizens who were destined to become leaders in Oregon's affairs.  Of that little body of men which drew Oregon's constitution, two later were Governors, four were United State Senators, two were Representatives to Congress, one was a Federal Judge, one became Attorney General of the United States and Mayor of Portland, one State Attorney General, six judges of the state courts one Mayor of Portland and one had the triple distinction of being successively Representative of Congress, Governor and United States Senator.  Of all this list of distinguished pioneers and the others who were members of that convention, Mr. Packwood was the survivor.

   The elk in the Oregon seal was placed there at Mr. Packwood's suggestion at that historic convention, while he was also active in the debate on the many questions which came before the body.

   It was not long after this that Mr. Packwood went to Siletz and Yaquina, where he was sub-agent for the Indians.  He did not stay there long, but returned to Coquille, where he raised cattle and horses and then was elected County Assessor, not even knowing he was a candidate until election day.

   Business reverses took his ranch away from him in 1862 and, interested in the Blue Bucket strike in Eastern Oregon, he left for this section and helped lay out the town of Auburn, then the mining center of the entire district.  He engaged in merchandising, freighting and packing at once and the first year he was there organized the Auburn Water Company, which, after many years, became the greatest water company in the entire Baker district, and the plant, which cost $225,000, is now giving water to the city of Baker.

   Among his earlier experiences in Baker County was one which he never liked.  He was elected one of three judges to try a Frenchman for poisoning his partner.  The Frenchman was convicted by a jury and was hanged.  This was in 1862.

   The same year, October 16, Mr. Packwood married, soon after being appointed School Superintendent of the newly-created Baker County.
   Among the achievements which he recalled with pride was that he signed the first call for the Union Republican party in Baker to send delegates to the convention and he stumped every precinct in the county for Abraham Lincoln.

   He had not been in Baker County long before his mines failed and he lost $45,000.  He did not have the money, but Mr. Packwood always paid his debts and for years was busy in paying for something which many men might easily evaded.

   For many years then, until 1887, he gave his time to organizing water companies and building ditches in the county.  In 1888 he was elected Police Judge of Baker City and held that office for five years.

   The call of gold again was heard by Mr. Packwood in 1893, when he was 61 years old, and he went to Port Orford to engage in beach mining, but he found that the reports of the strike had been colored and he returned to Baker and went with the Columbia Gold Mining Company.  Soon after he became Assistant Postmaster of Baker, then Baker City, and he held that position until he was 78 years old, when he resigned.

   For the last six years Mr. Packwood was retired from active business, but he kept an interest in public affairs which was little short of amazing.  There must have been something in that historical convention which brought a community of interests among its members.  Like the late George H. Williams, Mr. Packwood was an ardent football follower and never a game was played but he was on the sidelines "rooting."
-Oregonian (Portland, OR), September 22, 1917

I find it amazing that I know more about the life of William Packwood, who interests me largely because he played a baseball predecessor game in Southwestern Illinois in the late 1830s or early 1840s, than I do about someone as significant to the history of 19th century St. Louis baseball as Merritt Griswold.  Or maybe I know that Packwood played four-old-cat because he was, historically, a more prominent figure than Griswold.  I don't know. 

I do know that I've been trying to run down information about people who have given testimony about playing predecessor games in Illinois and Missouri and Packwood is certainly the most prominent figure that I've come across.  The man lived a rather full and interesting life.  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Best Place Of Resort

Lafayette Park.

Forty Acres Of Ground As The First City Park, highly improved and open to the public every day - the best place of resort.

This Beautiful Park is becoming more and ore a favorite place of resort, and really there is not another Park about St. Louis where a better fresh air, a finer breeze, and equal accommodations for visitors can be found.  The grounds are extensive, highly improved, and planted with rare shade trees.  The lawns are large enough to give ample play-room for all the children of St. Louis.  The mammoth Tent in the centre of the Park covers about half an acre of ground, decorated with an abundance of rare exotic plants, the air cooled by a large showy fountain.  Commodious seats are inviting the visitor to try the refreshments offered at this place.  No distilled liquors or beer allowed to be used or sold at the Park.  All other refreshments, as Ice Cream, Lemonades, Native Wines, Coffee, Chocolate, &c., are always on hand, and of best qualities.

Every Sunday afternoon a complete Orchestra will execute the best opera music.

Admission charged at the gate during the Concert.  The Tent is lighted up with gas every night.  Omnibuses running always from the Court House to the gate of the Park.

Edward C. Krausnick,
Superintendent of the Lafayette Park.
-Missouri Republican, August 14, 1859

First, it sounds like a rather nice place to play a baseball game.  Second, the mention of the "mammoth Tent" is significant because it explains this picture:

I had speculated that the tent in the picture could have been baseball related but now we know better.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

William Packwood

We played marbles and we played a game of ball in which there were four corners, four batters, and four catchers, ‘four old cat’ as it was then called.
-Reminiscences of William H. Packwood

Packwood was born in Illinois in 1832 and lived in Mt. Vernon and Sparta.  From the best I can tell, in his Reminiscences, he was talking about playing ball while he was going to school in Sparta, which places the reference in the late 1830s or early 1840s.  

[Packwood] was born in Illinois, October 23, 1832.  His father immigrated from Virginia to Illinois.  Mr. Packwood attended school from his sixth to his twelfth year.  The next six years were spent in working on a farm in the Summer and clerking in a store in the Winter.  In 1846 he enlisted in what was known as the Mounted Rifles, and with 24 others under Captain Morris, served as an escort to General Wilson, on his way to California, who had been appointed Superintendent of Indian Affairs on the Pacific Coast.  In April, 1850, Mr. Packwood came with his company to Oregon in a vessel commanded by Captain McArthur, father of the late Judge L.L. McArthur.  The company remained at Vancouver, Wash., until the next year when it was ordered to report at Benicia, California.  In December, 1851, his company was ordered to Port Arthur, and was shipwrecked near Coos Bay on January 3, 1852.  He was discharged from the Army in 1853, and then began mining and packing.  At the breaking out of the Indian war of 1855-6, he offered his services and served as captain in the volunteer service.  In 1857 he was chosen as a delegate to the constitutional convention of Oregon, from Curry County.  In 1861 he went to Eastern Oregon, expecting to engage in the cattle business, but the gold discovery that year caused him to abandon this idea.  He was one of the founders of the town of Auburn, nine miles from Baker City, a very important point in its day.  For many years he was engaged in large mining enterprises in Baker County.  He is among the best known and most highly respected citizens of Baker County.  He was the first County School Superintendent of this county. 
-Oregonian (Portland, OR), June 13, 1909

Packwood lived a rather interesting life and is well-remembered as a pioneer in Oregon.  However, he should also be remembered as a pioneer ball-player in Illinois and the greater St. Louis area.  I found his obituary in the Oregonian and I'll try and post that tomorrow.    

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Nationals Of Washington Visit St. Louis: Part Two

On Tuesday-morning, the 23rd inst., the Empire Club, of St. Louis, attended upon the Nationals at their hotel, and took them in carriages to the grounds on Grand avenue, the scene of the contest of the day previous.  The game was appointed to be called at 10 o'clock and to close at 1:30, P.M., in order to allow of the Nationals getting off for Chicago in the 4:30, P.M., train.  The weather was again excessively hot, though on this occasion the heat was moderated somewhat by the heavy breeze which prevailed.  No preparations were made in laying out the ground with chalk lines as the rules require, the field being used as it was left the day before, the lines being obliterated.  The field, too, was exceedingly dusty.  The police, however, were more energetic than the day before, and the crowd far more orderly.  Some strictures or the lack of efficiency of the police and the rowdy demonstration made in the first game by a portion of the crowd on the left, which appeared in the Democrat, having had the effect of inducing an improved condition of things in this respect.  Fewer ladies were present than the day before, the heat deterring the fair sex from attending.  The day before, some of the fashionable fair ones of St. Louis attended in carriages; but they had but a limited view of the game, the rough portion of the assemblage having monopolized the seats set apart for ladies before the latter arrived.

The game began at 10:20, A.M., Mr. Coon, by the special request of the Empire Club, having again kindly offered to serve as umpire.  All the clubs owe this gentleman a debt of gratitude, not only for standing hour after hour on the score as umpire, but for the very able and impartial manner, in which he discharged the duties of the position throughout each contest.  He is decidedly one of the best umpires in the country.  The Nationals opened play at the bat and began with some neat hits, a score of 5 being made before the innings closed.  Barron, Worth, Murphy, and J. Fruin fielding the side out well.  The Nationals then went to the Field with McLean as catcher and Berthrong at centre field - the latter being severely hit in the eye with the ball the day previous.  He was not in condition to field, but he would play - there being no give-up to "Johnny."  By the good fielding of McLean, Wright, and Fletcher, the Empires were disposed of for two runs; and on their second inning the Nationals ran their score up to 26, chiefly by really fine hits, grounders and daisy-cutters marking their batting to a considerable extent.  By loose fielding in this inning, in which Fox took part quite prominently, the Empires ran up a score of 9, when all the runs they earned was 2.  After the misses had saved them from a small score, however, they batted very well, Jerry Fruin batting splendidly.  The game, thus far, showed the Empires to be a far better trained nine than the Unions.  They backed up their position better, and watched the points closer, and played more in New York style than any nine outside Cincinnati, they evidently having been well trained.  The Nationals, however, could not play their game at all.  The fact was, the previous day's hot work was too much for them, and its debilitating effect was shown in their play in this game, for they could scarcely run a base or stoop to pick up a ball.  Before the close of the sixth inning, however, they managed to score 53 runs, and to keep down their adversaries' score to 26.  This latter result disappointed the betting portion of the crowd greatly, as they had bet high on the Empires scoring more runs than the Unions had done; but the calling of the game at 1:30, P.M., at the close of the sixth inning, as had previously been agreed upon, cut them off from getting another run, and the result was that bets were lost.  Had the game been played out, the Nationals would no doubt have made pretty near 100 runs at least, while the chances were that the Empires would have scored between 30 and 40, playing in the field as the Nationals were.

The crowd behaved in the most creditable manner, far better than the rough portion did the day previous, while the conduct of the Empires was praiseworthy in the extreme.  Not the slightest word or action against a decision of the umpire was made, while the utmost good-feeling prevailed throughout the contest, the Empires doing all they possibly could to show their guests not only a fair field, but every attention.  Great credit is due their President, Mr. Jerry Fruin, for the skillful manner in which he has trained his nine, and he has a right to be proud of his boys, as certainly they should be of such an excellent captain.  The umpire, as before, gave general satisfaction, even to the outside partisans.  At 3:30, P.M., the Nationals left the Southern Hotel...escorted in carriages by members of the two clubs to the upper ferry, and crossing the river to a special car for Chicago, the crowd cheering them as they left the depot.  Thus far St. Louis bears off the palm in giving the visitors the most cordial reception.  Especially did the President and members of the Union club exert themselves for two days, to make the Nationals enjoy their trip, as did the President of the Empire club, and the members during Tuesday.  The deportment of the Nationals, while in St. Louis, elicited the highest encomium from the citizens generally, their example doing much to advance the reputation of ball-players generally, and of the National Club in particular.  
-New York Sunday Mercury, July 28, 1867

Again, I want to thank Richard Hershberger for passing along this account of the Nationals' visit to St. Louis. 

Two points I want to make:

-It's really interesting to see St. Louis baseball in this era through the eyes of the New York press.  I think their coverage was fair and extremely detailed.  Certainly, there's no doubt that the New York sporting press was much more developed than that in St. Louis.  I wish there was this kind of detailed baseball coverage in the St. Louis papers in the 1860s. 

-I really like the way they pointed out how well trained the Empire Club was and how they played a New York style of baseball.  First, I think that's rather high praise coming from the New York sporting press.  Second, it confirms a lot of what E.H. Tobias has written about Jeremiah Fruin and his influence on the Empires, as well as some of Fruin's statements in The National Game

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Nationals Of Washington Visit St. Louis: Part One

The National Club, which left Indianapolis on the morning of the 20th, at 8 o'clock, duly arrived in St. Louis at 9 o'clock the same evening, after a dusty, hot, and fatiguing ride of over two hundred miles.  The scenery on the greater portion of the road was an equivalent for the fatigue; the miles of richly-cultivated prairie-land over which the road runs being well worth the journey to witness.  Fields of corn, miles in extent, were passed; and at one place an area of some thirty miles of a sea of grass, unbroken by a tree, was seen.  And then came corn-fields of a mile or two square, followed by wheat-fields..., the harvesting of hay and wheat being in progress, with steam threshing mills on the field, and busy farmers at work with the latest improved implements.  In fact, the country looked like one vast and richly-cultivated farm, giving one a very contrary notion of the West from that of the wild character generally attributed to it.

The reception accorded the Nationals at St. Louis was the most cordial and enthusiastic they had yet met with - especially were the Union Club attentive to them.  Their headquarters, too, were at the finest hotel in America, the Southern Hotel of St. Louis, an establishment which cost no less than $1,200,00.  Here the Nationals were welcomed by a large crowd of the fraternity, and the day after their arrival they were taken in carriages to every point of interest in the city, the botanical garden attached to Mr. Shaw's palatial residence being the finest horticultural collection in the U.S.

After dinner, on Monday, the Nationals were taken in carriages to the Union ball-grounds, located on Grand avenue, near Franklin, and on their arrival they found a large crowd present, and the least respectable one of any of the whole series of games, but few ladies being present, while the roughs of the city seemed to have got in on the free principle - fifty cents admission being charged - to a very great extent, the enclosure of the ground being merely an ordinary farm fence around the greater part of it, over which the bare-footed urchins and the rowdy-crowd of the city jumped with impunity, the police-force present being useless and glaringly inefficient.  The seats appropriated for ladies were chiefly occupied by the noisy class; while on the left, about a dozen ladies managed to procure seats, the others who were present taking seats in their carriages, a number of which were inside the grounds.  The fact was, the grounds were entirely unsuited for a contest of the kind, not only being too limited in extent, but also from the rough surface; good fielding being next to impossible.  Had the ground been properly prepared early in the season, and entirely enclosed, the admission-fee charged would have led to a very respectable gathering, and the amount received would have defrayed expenses; as it was, however, nothing was satisfactory, either to the club or the crowd, the grounds being entirely inadequate to the purpose, so great was the desire to witness the game, some three thousand people crowding themselves on a field not large enough to allow of a thousand seeing the game without encroaching on the players.

The game was called at 2:40...the National going to the bat first.  Parker led off, and by a poor hit was easily disposed of at first by Cabanne and Prouty.  Williams then gave the catcher a chance for a fly tip, which was well taken, and Geo. Wright then took the bat, and as he also went into the foul business, and Freeman was pretty active behind, the Nationals for the first time on their tour, retired from their first inning without scoring, amidst the loud applause of the crowd - the local pride of the assemblage predominating in this instance over the evident desire of the majority to see the Unions defeated.  By two good hits made by Meacham and Freeman, and a dropped flyball by Parker, the Unions scored 2 runs for their share and thus opened the game with a lead of 2 to 0, another round of applause greeting the play.

In the second inning, the Nationals began play at the bat in earnest, and their display in handling the ash astonished the crowd greatly.  Before the inning closed, no less than 28 runs were scored, of which 4 were clean home-runs, Fox making 2, and Wright and Studley 1 each.  But for a misscatch by Meacham 14 runs only would have been scored; but that was enough to settle the question as to who would be the victors, the success of the Unions having been before this a promising event in their minds.  By more good batting and some wild throwing, the Unions added 4 runs to their score in this inning, leaving the tally at the close of the second inning at 28 to 6 in favor of the Nationals.  A change was now made in the position of the Union-nine, Meacham going in behind Freeman to pitch, and Greenleaf at 2d.  But for a misscatch by Cabanne, the Nationals would have retired for a single; as it was, however, they were disposed of for 4, Meacham putting the side out by good catches.  On the Union side, a blank score was their share, owing to the good fielding of Fletcher, Smith, Williams, and Fox, the total now standing at 32 to 6.  The heat at the time was very intense, but the players did not mind it at all.  The breeze had died away and the sun's rays poured upon the crowd like the heat of an oven.  They all bore it patiently, however, rather than forego the pleasure of witnessing the game.  The heat and the rough ground combined rather weakened the fielding of the Nationals, while the batting of the Nationals had a demoralizing effect on the play of their opponents, who had become very sanguine of success at the close of the first inning.

In the fourth inning good fielding would have disposed of the National for a dozen runs, that being all they earned by their batting, though some very showy hits were made.  But three chances for catches were refused.  These errors with others assisted the Nationals to run up a score of 25 leaving their total at 57.  By no less than eight distinct errors of play the Union was permitted to run up a score of 9 for their share.  Good hits by Freeman, Cabanne, Prouty, McKorkel, and Smith earning half the runs; the totals standing at 57 to 15 at the close.  By a misscatch in the fifth inning the Nationals were permitted to run up a score of 8, when four was all they were entitled to, the Union scoring but a single for their share; a fine play by Fox and Fletcher marking the fielding, as also a good one by R. Duncan and Prouty.

In the three following innings the Nationals scored double figures in each inning, running up their total to 108.  In the sixth inning, they were entitled to 3 runs; in the seventh, to 2, and in the eighth, to 7; and yet they scored 48, no less than eight dropped flyballs marking the Union fielding.  On the Union side, but three bases were earned by hits, some very good base-play disposing of the Unions for 2 runs only in these innings.  In the ninth, the Nationals added 5 to their score, while the Unions, by an excellent display at the bat, ran up a score of 8 - Freeman making a clean home-run from the finest hit made against the Nationals during their tour.  The totals at the close stood at 113 to 26, the former figures being the highest the Nationals had made in the series of games, while the Unions were credited with the most runs in an inning, the largest score in a game, and the most bases made on hits against the Nationals since they left Washington.  The display at the bat, either in long hits or good grounders did not equal that match at Indianapolis by the Nationals; the whole nine not making more home-runs in this game than Geo. Wright alone did at Camp Burnside.  Neither was the fielding as good; but the rough ground, of course, had a great deal to do with that.  The contest throughout was marked by the most friendly feeling, the Nationals wearing their honers modestly, as on other occasions.  The umpire won high praise from all parties by his excellent ruling and thoroughly impartial decisions...At the close of the game the players returned to their hotel rather fatigued with their day's work.  
-New York Sunday Mercury, July 28, 1867

This is far and away the best account of the Nationals' 1867 visit to St. Louis that I've ever seen and I have to thank Richard Hershberger for passing it along.  The Mercury's account of this game, as well as the Nationals/Empire game that I'll post tomorrow, is just fantastic.

Some thoughts:

-I remember reading George Wright's thoughts about this game once upon a time and I probably posted it somewhere on the website.  If I recall correctly, Wright specifically mentioned the heat and the terrible condition of the field, which is corroborated by the Mercury's account.

-Again, if I recall correctly, Richard and I had a conversation one time about why the Eastern clubs were so much better than the Western clubs during the pioneer era.  I believe that Richard specifically mentioned that the Eastern clubs had much better pitching than the Western clubs or that Eastern pitching had evolved towards a more modern form that the Western clubs were unable to handle.  I don't disagree with any of that but it appears here that the major difference between the Nationals and the Unions was the quality of the fielding.  The Nationals, based just on this account, appear to have much better defensively than the Unions.  I've made the point before, specifically when talking about the 1876 Brown Stockings, how important defense was in the 19th century game.  With the extraordinary number of balls put in play in the 19th century game, a club that couldn't field couldn't win.  The combination of poor pitching and poor fielding doomed the Union Club in this game, as they were unable to match the quality play of their opponent.

-James Freeman, the club's catcher, appears to have been the player of the game for the Union, with his fielding and home run.  Freeman, as a sixteen-year-old, was one of the founders of the club and served as the club's first secretary in 1860.

-The Nationals' visit to St. Louis was the first by a major Eastern baseball power.  It would be followed, during the rest of the decade, by visits from clubs from New York, Philadelphia and Cincinnati.  These games did not go well for the St. Louis clubs, as they were completely outclassed by the Eastern powers.  Asa Smith's plan for putting the Union Club in a position to compete for the national championship, which included scheduling games against the very best clubs, died a harsh death on the field of play.  Neither the Unions nor the Empires, the two best clubs in St. Louis in the second half of the 1860s, could win a game against an Eastern club and it wasn't until 1875, when the Brown Stockings defeated the Chicagos, that a St. Louis club defeated a major baseball power.  This National/Union game was simply the first of many beatings that St. Louis clubs would take at the hands of the big boys.                

Friday, October 12, 2012

Death And The Civil War

I just had a chance to watch the PBS documentary Death and the Civil War and I wanted to recommend it to all of you. 

Anyone who has read this blog or has a familiarity with 19th century baseball knows the important role that the Civil War played in the history of the game.  We can disagree about what that role was and how the war impacted the evolution of the game but what is undeniable is the profound effect the war had on the nation.  Inspired by Drew Faust's This Republic of Suffering, Death and the Civil War takes an unique look at this by focusing on the 750,000 men who died in the war and the toll their deaths took on their families and the nation.  It tells an amazing story about how 19th century America thought of and dealt with death and how an infrastructure had to be developed to physically deal with the number of Civil War dead. 

It is extraordinary to realize but the nation was still dealing with the problem of getting the fallen a proper burial well into the 1870s.  Think about the photos you've seen of the dead at Antietam or Gettysburg.  Think about the number of people who died at Vicksburg and Shiloh.  Death and the Civil War tells the story of how the nation dealt with this.  It tells how the families dealt with it emotionally and how the nation dealt with it physically.  It tells us the story of how the soldiers themselves dealt with it.  It's just a fantastic documentary and I encourage you to watch it.

Of course, being who I am, I was thinking about baseball the whole time I was watching it.  I was thinking about Edward Bredell and his father and the story of how Bredell ended up being buried in St. Louis.  I was thinking about all these pioneer baseball players who went off to war and saw the horrors of battle.  I was thinking about how Peter Morris, in But Didn't We Have Fun?, wrote that, when these guys came back home, they simply no longer had time for baseball and moved on with their lives.  I was thinking about the post-war outbreak of baseball fever and how it may have been a reaction to all of the death that the nation had been subjected to.

I've written before about how we need to place 19th century baseball in its proper context and how understanding the history of the Civil War helps us to do that.  I firmly believe that you can not understand the history of baseball in the United States without understanding the history of the Civil War.  In St. Louis, specifically, the origins and early development of the game in the city are intertwined with people and events surrounding the war.  Some of our earliest clubs break-up because of the outbreak of the war.  People like Jeremiah Fruin move to St. Louis because of the war.  People like Merritt Griswold leave St. Louis because of the war.  The development of the Empire Club as the best baseball team in St. Louis is directly tied to the war.

I can not emphasize enough how important it is to put these people and events into their proper context.  The Civil War was the biggest event in these peoples lives and it had a profound impact on them.  Death and the Civil War does a fantastic job of showing how the war changed people.  It shows us how they had to change in order to deal with the terrible events of the war.  And, as a historian, this helps me to understand Edward Bredell, Sr., Jeremiah Fruin, Merritt Griswold and the rest just a a little bit better.

As I said, I encourage you to watch it and I'm certain that you'll enjoy it.                     

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I'm So Close

A base ball match for $500, between the two champion clubs of Massachusetts, commenced [in Worcester, Mass.] to-day.  When the play stopped, the Excelsiors of Upton stood 67, and the Union of Medway 33.  The play will be resumed.
-Missouri Republican, October 12, 1859

The Rochester Base Ball players and the All England Eleven cricketers, practiced the game this P.M.  The Base Ball players amalgamated with the cricketers and nine innings a side were played, the scores being 11 and 18.  The cricketers did not make much headway from the want of knowledge of the technicalities.
-Missouri Republican, October 23, 1859

These are the two earliest references to baseball games that I've yet found in a St. Louis newspaper.  I have no doubt that somewhere in the Missouri Republican is a 1859 reference to baseball in St. Louis and I will find it.  I'm close.  Just have to do the work.   

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Top Twenty Games In 19th Century St. Louis Baseball History: # 1

Yeah Here Come The Rooster Yeah

1. May 6, 1875: Brown Stockings vs. White Stockings

Time was when Chicago had an excellent base ball club, the best in the West, but that was before St. Louis decided to make an appearance on the diamond field and there, as everywhere else, attest the supremacy of the Western city with the greatest population, the most flourishing trade, the biggest bridge and the prettiest women.  For the first time St. Louis has sent her nine men into the field and has pitted them against the club of her rival. There was a sharp and determined struggle, and the result is indicated in the score which appears below.

The Chicago nine, under one of the best and most experienced managers in the country, failed to score a single run.  The game was, for them, but a succession of depressing failures; for their opponents, a signal and remarkable victory.  Very rarely indeed have two professional clubs met with such an astonishing result.  That the Chicago men can play a better game there is no doubt; that the St. Louisans can do more is equally certain.  The latter have reason to be satisfied, however.  Chicago has ordered a thousand bales of sackcloth and seven hundred hogsheads of ashes.

The weather was all that a ball-tosser could ask for - the late rains making the turf bright and soft.  The Chicagos arrived early in the morning and took up quarters at the Southern, where they were called upon by a number of their friends.  Those not possessing such strolled through the city sight-seeing.  Towards two o'clock both armies were put in motion, dinner dispatched, uniforms inspected and repairs made where wanted.  The visitors donned their field-dress at their hotel and were conveyed to the ground in the gilded band-wagon drawn by four horses, the Browns repairing to the field of battle in squads of two and three, and changing their dress on the ground.  Towards four o'clock the spacious stands and pavillion were packed to repletion with an eager, anxious throng, all despondently hoping the Browns might win, but giving it up as an utter impossibility.  There were fully 8,000 persons in the enclosure, and 1,500 to 2,000 outside.

At five minutes of 4 o'clock the toss was made for choice of innings, which Capt. Pearce of the home club won and sent his opponents to the bat.  Mr. Adam Wirth of the Empires had been mutually selected as umpire, and filled the unpleasant position to the satisfaction of both parties.  Promptly at 4 o'clock he called play.

The Game.  

Higham, the stalwart picture of a Roman gladiator, toed the home plate amid an almost breathless silence and called for a high ball.  Getting one to suit him he drove it safely over short and took first base, the general impression being that it was but the beginning of a series of similar ones.  Miller let a ball bound out of his hand, and threw wild to second to catch Dick there, but only gave him an additional base.  A man on third and no one out, it looked very much like a run.  Hastings, the next striker, hit to Hague; Higham, with very poor judgment, attempted to run home; "Martha," apparently surprised at his temerity or impudence, hesitated a moment, then threw viciously to Miller and Red put the ball on him like a shot.  Warren followed with a hot one to Hague who passed it safely to Battin, and Hastings was thus forced out at second.  Warren then attempted to steal second but learned to his cost that Miller could throw, as the ball was there waiting for him.  Chicago took her first blank, and the people who had thought the Brown Stockings had no show began to pick up courage.

Cuthbert shouldered the "stick" for his side, and eyed the "charmer" carefully; they had often met before and it was "diamond cut diamond."  Ned could only get a little one to the left of Zet but sharp running saved him.  Capt. Dick, the next striker, tried hard for a fair foul, but the umpire refused to allow a very neat one, and he finally tipped out.  Pike was looked to for a three-baser, but went out on strikes, Zettlin tricking Lip nicely on the third one by pitching a good ball as soon as he received it from the catcher and before Pike was ready.  Chapman however came to the rescue by a magnificent drive over Hines' head at left field and Cuthy trotted over the home plate amid only half-hearted applause, while Chapman streamed onward to third.  Hague did not fail for by a splendid liner over second he sent Chap home and earned first for himself.  Brad spread himself for a hard one but only popped up an easy fly which Zettlin attended to and the side was out.  Score: Chicago 0; St. Louis 2.  A good big innings, the spectators feeling more comfortable with the possibility of the boys not being beat so bad after all.  Devlin was the first striker for Chicago in the

Second Innings,

And again, third base was tried, but only to find that "Martha" was "there," the ball being neatly picked up and carefully thrown; Bradley did the same for Hines, and Keerl found Hague good on foul flies.  Whitewash No. 2.

For the Browns - Battin sent a high one back of Peters, but Johnny couldn't get it; Dehlman sent a "daisy-cutter" past Warren at third, and reached first safely; Miller followed with a hot one over Warren's head and Battin was put at home plate by a splendid throw of Hines' to Higham; Cuthy hit hard to Zettlin, and Miller was forced out at second by a very close decision, Dehlman stealing home in the meantime.  Pearce tried to get one to right-field but sent the ball straight to Glenn, and retired one run.  Total score: 3 to 0; Chicago behind.

Mutual whitewashes were exchanged in the

Third Innings

Thusly:  Peters out at first base by Dehlman unassisted, Glen for striking wind three times and Zettlin favoring Bradley with a fly which the "old man" froze to like grim death.  The two pitchers thus exchanging courtesies Zett having disposed of Bradley in a similar manner.

Pike, Chapman and Bradley were the outs for the Browns, the first named on foul bounds by Higham; Chapman and Bradley by Keerl to Glenn, the same players having given Hague second base by an overthrow.  Score unchanged and a few bolder than the rest whispered about a possible victory.

Evidently Bradley was on his "pitch."  Three innings not a run; only one base hit and nine men retired.  In the

Fourth Innings

The three choice batsmen of the White Stockings came up for their second trial, and the friends of the "Browns" trembled as Higham straightened himself for the effort.  It came, the sphere went from his bat like a ball from a cannon towards centre field, long and low, gradually descending towards the ground.  "Safe hit," every one cried, as their eyes followed the dark object shooting through the air.  But there was Pike coming like a deer, and springing forward with a bound he snatched it an inch from the ground, and over he rolled on the ground, the first discernible object being "that left paw" shooting up with the ball tightly grasped in it.  Eight thousand people shouted like madmen, and Lip felt that Louisvile was avenged.  This kind of support to the terrible engine that faced them took the heart out of the next two strikers, Hastings going out on foul-bound and Bradley fielding Warren out at first - fourth consecutive whitewash for the Lake City champions and plenty of talk about St. Louis winning.  The Browns went to the bat confidently, and after Battin had retired at first, by the aid of Peters, Dehl opened the muscle with a fair foul for one bag, Miler putting up a high one between centre and left that fell harmless between Hines and Devlin, the misplay sending Dehlman to third, Miller stealing second on the throw in to the pitcher instead of second baseman.  Cuthbert hit hard to third and Dehl came home.  Capt. Dickey, "who is getting old," cleared the bases by a slashing drive to right field, earning two bases for himself, Cuthbert making an old-time slide, which within fifteen feet of the home plate under Higham, who had the ball to put on him.  Dick scored his run on Chapman's hit to Peters, and Chap having a life by the error of Glenn.  Hague closed the innings by going out to first.  Keerl prettily assisting.  Four runs; totals 7 to 0 and Browns owning the "long end."  Still the doubting Thomases refused to believe it possible.

The "Whites" were considerably rattled, not to say surprised, and a desperate rally was made in the

Fifth Innings,

Delvin opening with a safe one to centre field, Hines following with a slow bounder to Battin and reached first safely as Dehlman failed to hold the rather high throw.  "Now they are off," was the universal belief, but Keerl, Peters and Glenn couldn't "keep it up," Chapman disposing of the "Kanuck" while Peters and Glenn couldn't press canvas once, Miller and Battin assisting.  Fifth goose egg and two men left on bases.

Battin was the only one to reach first base on his side, a safe hit to right-field taking him there.  Bradley tipped out, and Hines made two handsome catches that quieted Dehlman and Miller.

One, two three was the order in which the "great batters" retired in the

Sixth Innings,

Bradley again getting quits with the Charmer and "the weak spot" at second, taking in two good catches fro Higham and Hastings.  Cuthy, who was feeling better than he knew how to show, drove a liner between short and second and consoled Glenn while dancing round first base.  Pearce went out by a neat piece of fielding on the part of Keerl, Pike tipped out, and Chapman with another terrific drive over left centre stopped only at third base amid the wildest kind of enthusiasm, the thousands of eager, excited spectators apparently for the first time realizing that our boys were in terrible earnest and bound  to win.  Hague drove a hot one through Peters at short stop and Chapman scored, but Bradley failed again, this time striking out.  The "old man" seemed to have concentrated all his energies on pitching, and that only, but the boys were well satisfied.

Warren opened the

Seventh Innings

By a sharp line hit between short and second, which Dickey ran for, caught, held a moment, and then in stopping suddenly, dropped it.

Battin distinguished himself by making a magnificent running catch on the right foul line back of first base, that disposed of Devlin, and fielding out Hines at first, Warren going to second only to be left there, as Hague made a beautiful running foul bound catch that sickened Keerl.

Battin hit the first ball, "the Charmer" pitched right "on the nose" and sent it sailing towards the fence at centre field, easily reaching third; Dehlman bringing him home on a short hit to left field.  Miller, Pearce and Cuthbert being retired, closed the innings for this one run which was earned.

Eighth Innings.

Zettlin earned his base in this inning after Peters had been retired by another brilliant catch of Pike and Hague had taken in a foul fly from Glenn.  The Charmer was not easy on the canvas as on a foul tip by Higham,   Miller fielded the ball to Brad and he to Dehlman so quickly that he was caught and the usual circle was made for his side's score.

A change of tactics was noticed in that Whites' positions when Pike came up to bat; Devlin the terrible fence-breaker was in Zettlin's place, Scott Hastings in Higham's, Glenn went to centre and the Charmer was smiling on first, Higham taking right.  The change worked well in this innings though 'twas of no use save keeping their opponents' score down.  The trouble was not so much with Zettlin as their own weak batting.  Pike, Chapman and Hague went out in one, two, three order - Pike on foul bound and the other two by the assistance of Peters and Devlin.  No runs.  Score 10 to 0.

The jig was up and a more surprised, delighted, happy throng of St. Louisans never cheered and shouted themselves hoarse.  With the Whites it was desperation.  Now or never.

The Ninth Innings

Was the only chance left them and Higham, their giant, again led off.  As he stood at the home plate it was a splendid sight, with head erect, chest out, shoulders thrown back, and left foot lightly resting on the ground, ready to assist those powerful arms in dashing forward with a mighty effort to drive that ball out of reach.  Bradley, cool and cunning, deafed him.  Dick finally let out, but only to drive it straight to his captained namesake and retire at first.  Hastings fared no better; his fair foul was splendidly fielded and thrown by Hague to Dehl, and Warren was now their only hope.  He secured the coveted base by a safe one over second only to be forced out there on Devlin's hit to Pearce.  Rarely has such a scene been witnessed as Joe Battin clutched the ball, putting out the twenty-seventh man.  A might roar and cheer rent the air and hats, handkerchiefs, umbrellas, canes, and anything within reach, went up to express the satisfaction felt in the great achievement.  The great Chicago nine that, according to all the winter's brag and bluster, was to wipe us out, the brown-hosed boys had sent to the bat nine times without scoring a run.  The game had to be finished, but who cared to see Bradley, Battin and Dehlman get out, or cared how they got out.  The game was won and Chicago "Chicagoed" and by St. Louis; that was enough for one day.  The immense crowd gradually dispersed in a joyful jolly congratulating mood.
-St. Louis Republican, May 7, 1875

Almost four years ago, I wrote this:

I honestly never get tired of reading about this game. It's significance really can not be overstated. The Brown Stockings victory over Chicago on May 6, 1875 did several things that helped lay the foundation for St. Louis as a "baseball city."

Firstly, it united the city in a way that it had never have been united previously. Between the heavy influx of German and Irish immigrants, the political divisions brought about by the Civil War, and the natural conflict between the Creole founders of the city and the Americans who moved to the city after the Louisiana Purchase, St. Louis was a city divided along economic, political, and racial lines. The Brown Stockings' victory on May 6, however, was embraced by almost the entire populace of the city. No other event and certainly no other baseball club had ever seen the fervent outpouring of support that the Brown Stockings received in 1875. While it's now common to see the city united by its love for her baseball team, this was the first time it had happened.

Secondly, this game cemented the St. Louis/Chicago baseball rivalry and placed the two cities, baseball-wise, on an equal footing. One of the reasons for the joyous celebrations that erupted following the game was because of the overwhelming dominance of the Chicago professionals over the St. Louis amateurs in years leading up to 1875. This game proved that St. Louis would no longer be a push-over for its northern neighbors and chief economic rival.

Finally, the game marked the end of the pioneer, amateur era of baseball in St. Louis and it's successful debut in national, professional competition. No longer would clubs such as the Empires or the Union hold a place of prominence on the St. Louis baseball scene. The new focus would be on the professional clubs who would attempt to bring in the best players they could afford. There would certainly be struggles in the years ahead but after May 6, 1875 there was no turning back.

Since I'm knee deep in the Scotch ale and game two of the Cards-Nats series is about to start, I think I'll just leave it at that.

This was fun.  I don't really think that this a true, comprehensive list of the top twenty games in 19th century St. Louis baseball history but it's pretty close.  And it's a pretty good list considering I spent all of fifteen minutes putting it together.  Hope you enjoyed it.