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.   


Richard Hershberger said...

"I have no doubt that somewhere in the Missouri Republican is a 1859 reference to baseball in St. Louis and I will find it."

Maybe, but maybe not. The two references you found were to very prominent events, which were widely reported. This is a different journalism category from local sporting news. It would not be the least bit surprising were there no local sporting news at all before 1860, or if there were, it would be cricket or horse racing.

Jeffrey Kittel said...

Hope springs eternal.

There was a lot of horse racing coverage in the StL papers in the 1850s and some cricket. StL was a big horse racing town and the sport goes back to the early French settlements in the Illinois Country so it's not surprising to see coverage of the sport. Cricket wasn't being played until the early part of the 1850s. I've seen accounts were they were struggling to form clubs in 1851 and, by 1854, there a couple of StL clubs playing at Gamble Lawn. In fact, I recently found out that several of the Empire Club players were playing members of a StL cricket club in the latter part of the decade.

The earliest reference to baseball that I've found in the StL papers is an August 1859 blurb that mentions the widely disseminated story of the Paunches Pilate BBC and I've read through the local news section of the Republican, from March 1859 through October 1859, with no luck. At this point, I'm hoping to find something in the classifieds mentioning a club meeting or something like that. If it's not there, I'll start looking through another paper.