Monday, December 24, 2012

The End Of An Era

A match game will be played to-day between the Hope and Empire Clubs on the grounds of the former Club, corner of Biddle and Twenty-sixth streets.  The game will commence at 1 o'clock, and ladies and gentlemen desirous of witnessing the game are assured that the strictest rules of propriety and good breeding will be observed upon the grounds.
-Missouri Republican, November 4, 1865

This is the last St. Louis baseball game of the 1865 season that I'm aware of and it really was the end of an era.  In my thinking, the 1865 season marks the end of the pioneer baseball era in St. Louis.  Beginning in 1866, the city would see an explosion in the popularity of the game and the development of the Empire/Union rivalry, which would mark the golden age of amateur baseball in St. Louis.  It's distinguished from the pioneer era by a new generation of clubs and players as well as by Asa Smith's attempt to bring St. Louis baseball into the national mainstream.  The St. Louis baseball landscape was much different going into the 1866 season than it was in 1859, when Merritt Griswold came to town and inaugurated the pioneer era in the city.

Also of note here is that the Hope grounds were located at Biddle and Twenty-sixth street.  Always good to know.   

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