We are glad to see that this noble national game is fast gaining ground in popularity in our city. There are several fine clubs in St. Louis, and our readers will not have forgotten that the championship of the West is held by the Empire B.B. Club, having wrested that proud title from the Empire Club of Freeport, Ill., last 4th of July, in commemoration of which event our well-known citizen, Martin Collins, Esq., has presented the club with a magnificent belt, gotten up in the most artistic manner. The presentation was accompanied by an eloquent and interesting speech, delivered in our friend Martin's most happy manner, and was appropriately responded to by Messrs. J. Fruin,. B. Higgins, and other members of the club, all of whom expressed the sentiment that the club would give a "hard fight" to whatever club may endeavor to take it from the Empire.
We understand that an interesting game will shortly take place between the married and single men of this club; also that the second nine propose to play any other first nine in St. Louis.-Missouri Republican, September 7, 1865
There should be no doubt about the fact that the Empires were the self-proclaimed "Champions of the West." I usually refer to the championship as mythical but I think self-proclaimed may be a better description. Collins, who presented the club with the championship belt, just so happened to have been a club member and it looks like the Empires invented a championship, threw themselves a party and presented themselves an emblem of said championship. A year later, the Chicago all-stars would show them what that what that self-proclaimed championship was worth.