Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Insane Asylum Parks

The Health Commissioner has organized two parks at the Insane Asylum grounds for the accomodation of inmates of the institution, one for the benefit of the males and the other for the females.  The inmates are allowed two hours exercise in each.  One of the features of the male department are two base ball clubs which have become very expert in the business.  No trouble is experienced in getting the inmates back to their quarters, as at a designated time a signal is given and they file back into the building.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 19, 1884

If I had to guess, I'd say this was the St. Louis County Insane Asylum, which opened in 1869.  It could be St. Vincent's Asylum but the County asylum (which, in 1876, was renamed the St. Louis Insane Asylum) sat on something like forty acres, which is plenty of room for a baseball field.    

Monday, July 30, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: A Pitcher's Duel And A Walk-Off Hit

By all odds the most interesting game played on the Union grounds was yesterday's contest between the Chicago and St. Louis Unions.  Eleven innings were required to decide it, and the final score was 3 to 2 in favor of the home club.  It was to a great degree a pitcher's duel, Sweeney and Daily doing remarkable work.  Sweeney held the visitors down to four safe hits, and struck out seven men, while Daily, whose earnest and skillful efforts deserved a victory, limited the home team hits to six and retired ten men on strikes, only Rowe and Quinn avoiding the struck out list, and Dunlap, Boyle and Whitehead going out twice each on strikes.  A few rank errors were made on both sides, but the play as a whole was sharp, brilliant and exciting.  The home nine was without the services of Gleason, who was nursing a sore hand, and Whitehead covered third, Rowe short, and Werdon center.  Rowe played his position in fine form, making two excellent catches and a remarkably brilliant running, one-hand stop of a low grounder from Schoeneck's bat.  Whitehead made a fumble and an overthrow to first.  The work of both Krieg and Baker behind the bat was admirable, neither having a passed ball.  Baker made two wild throws to second.  In the eleventh inning he made a bad one that came near losing the game, but a moment later he retrieved it by going back after a foul from Gardner's bat, taking it while running at full speed within two yards of the stand, against which he dashed with sufficient force to have broken an ordinary person in pieces.  The crowd first looked to see if he was hurt, and then set up a deafening veil.

Daily's Popularity.

As usual whenever he appears in St. Louis, one-armed Daily was the favorite of the occasion.  Twice he received ovations; once in the third inning, when he caught a high fly sent up by Shafer, and again in the sixth, when Boyle and Sweeny struck out.  In the fourth inning he failed in an attempt to catch Quinn's fly.  In the eighth he struck out Dunlap in three balls, and that achievement was followed by shrieking enthusiasm.  In the first inning Dunlap retired the visitors, fielding Ellick and Gardner out at first and catching a high fly raised by Wheeler.  Going to the bat he popped up a very high ball, which Ellick squarely muffed, and by good base running he secured second.  On Shafer's safe hit to right he advanced to third.  After Shafer had taken second on sufferance, a wild pitch enabled Dunlap to score and Shafer to reach third.  Then Rowe hit to Berry, who held the ball and hesitated about throwing to the plate or first.  While Berry was deliberating, Shafer got under way and beat the ball to the plate.  Rowe reached first without obstruction.  Boyle hit safely to right, and Baker's sharp fielding held Rowe at second.  Then Sweeny, Quinn and Baker successively hit to Ellick, who fielded to Gardner, forcing Rowe, Boyle and Sweeny at third.  The Chicago team tied the score in the third inning.  McGarr led off with a bounder which Sweeny tipped and checked so that first was secured before either Sweeny or Dunlap could field the ball.  Berry followed with a two-bagger to left, advancing McGarr to third.  Daily's safe hit to left brought McGarr across the plate and gave Berry third.  Berry scored on Baker's wild throw to Dunlap when Daily ran for second.  After Ellick's fly was captured by Shafer, Wheeler's hit to Rowe and out at first gave Daily third, where he was left by Gardner flying out to Boyle.

First Hesitancy.

The visitors came very near winning in the eighth inning.  Berry reached third on Whitehead's fumble and wild throw to first and Shafer's throw over Dunlap's head.  Daily hit direct to Whitehead, who fumbled and then threw low to Quinn, from whose breast the ball bounded back about five yards.  Berry, who had moved away from third, got back on the bumble, started when the ball was forwarded to Quinn, stopped when the latter did not let it get by him, and then broke for home.  His hesitation destroyed a splendid opportunity, for it enabled Quinn to recover the ball and throw to Baker in time to score an out.  In the eleventh, Daily got first on Dunlap's fumble, and third on Baker's shocking throw to Dunlap, but was left by Ellick raising a foul fly that Quinn nipped, Wheeler foul tipping to Baker, and the latter's great catch of Gardner's foul.  For the local team, Shafer led off with a slashing drive to left center, which looked like a two-bagger, but, owing to Wheeler's sharp work, proved to be but a single.  Then Rowe fired a grounder to right, and Shafer attempted to make third, the ball going direct from deep in right field to Gardner's hands.  Rowe ran to second on the throw.  Boyle sent a fly to right center, and Baker not only took care of it, but threw to second so sharply that Rowe had a narrow escape from being doubled up.  As it was, the crowd manifested a disapproval of the umpire's decision that he was safe.  The final play occurred on Sweeny's low fly to center.  Wheeler made a dashing effort to intercept, and by very fast running got under it, only to fail to hold it, and let Rowe cross the plate and tally the winning run.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 18, 1884

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: Heavy Batting Defeats The Chicagos

Yesterday's contest between the Chicagos and St. Louis Unions was a pretty and interesting one up to the eighth inning, at the beginning of which the score stood 3 to 2 in favor of the home team.  The latter then, through heavy batting and a couple of costly errors and five hits, scored five runs and settled the struggle.  Atkinson pitched very effectively for the first seven innings, in which only five hits were made off his delivery.  The only inning in which he was gauged was the eighth.  Ellick's support behind the bat was excellent.  Of the four fielding errors made by the visitors two were charged to Berry and one each to Schoenecke and Ellick.  In the second inning Ellick made a beautiful one-hand catch of a line hit from Brennan's bat, and by a quick throw to Gardner doubled up Quinn at third.  The home team presented Werden and Brennan.  The former was very effective, holding the visitors down to six hits, but Brennan was rather weak in his support.  Gleason was decidedly off and made three glaring errors.  Dunlap had one fumble charged to him, but scored five assists and three outs, two of the latter on catches of sky-scrapers.  Rowe made a splendid catch on a long drive to center by Wheeler, the hit looking very much like a sure three-bagger.  The fielding on both sides was very sharp.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 17, 1884

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Henry Lucas Kills The Quincy Club

The management of the Quincy Base Ball Club waited until this afternoon for an answer from President Lucas, of the Unions, as to admission into that association, and no answer having been received, the Quincy club this afternoon was disbanded.  Two years experience, this year with a first-class club which would have been certain of the pennant, and a dead loss of several thousand dollars, renders it safe to predict that the days of professional base ball playing in Quincy are over.  The Northwestern League was ruined 1, by too many clubs being admitted; 2, by too big salaries; 3, by the cities being too much scattered; 4, by the arrangement of the schedule requiring long jumps and doublings on railroads, making an enormous tax for fare.  There are some excellent base ball players here open for engagements.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 17, 1884

Friday, July 27, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: Tie Goes To The Runner (Except When You're Playing The Maroons)

The Chicago and St. Louis Unions played another championship game at the Union Grounds yesterday afternoon before the largest gathering of the week.  The game started out to be a good one, the Chicago boys hitting Boyle hard and jumping immediately into the lead.  In the third inning poor fielding and several hard raps brought 4 runs over the plate for St. Louis.  This long start took the life out of the visitors, and they never rallied afterward.  Dunlap, Shaffer, Gleason and Quinn did lively hitting all through the game, while Schoeneck, the Chicago's big firs baseman, was the only one of the visitors to hit the ball hard.  Umpire Heagle leaned against the Chicago boys all through the game, and this took the life out of them and gave them little heart for their work.  On all close decisions he decided against the runner.  It would appear that he misconstrues the rule which says that when a base-runner reaches a base at the same moment as the ball the runner must be declared safe.  He always decided the runner out, and hence the runners became timid and quit trying to steal bases.  Boyle pitched well all through, and he was more effective in the closing innings than at the opening of the contest, the Chicagos never bunching their hits or scoring after the second inning.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 16, 1884

Thursday, July 26, 2012

John J. Fogarty

John Fogarty's grave

The St. Louis Club last week gave one Fogarty, a St. Louis amateur, a trial at centre field. 
-Sporting Life, September 30, 1885

Fogarty, who is to take Seery's place at left field to-day, is known as the crack of all the local outfielders.  
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 18, 1885

This was John Joseph Fogarty, who also may have been known as Jack Fogarty.  He got into two games for the Maroons in 1885.  His first game was on September 18, against Providence, when he got his lone major league hit and had two putouts.  His second and final game was on September 19, also against Providence, when he went hitless, although he did score a run.   As the Globe noted, he played left field.

These are the kinds of guys I find fascinating.  John Fogarty barely got a cup of coffee in the big leagues.  He had just one single, solitary hit.  He scored only one run in his major league career.  And here we are a hundred plus years later talking about the guy.   According to the 1900 census, Fogarty was married with a couple of kids, living in St. Louis and working at a foundry.  He lived a regular, normal life and we remember him simply because he played in two games for a crappy baseball club in 1885. 

The grave photo comes from Find A Grave and was taken by Connie Nisinger.     

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

That's Just Mean

A delightful change in the weather has had a most salutary effect upon the attendance at Sportsman's Park.  Added to the influence of the weather has been the realization of the fact that after the Browns leave for the East there will be no more first-class ball played in St. Louis this season.  The Maroons will, of course, be here ere long, but they do not play base ball of any consequence.  So great and so general is the disgust expressed here for the Maroons that it would not be difficult to find plenty of men who would back the Prickly Ash nine to win three out of four games.  
-Sporting Life, August 12, 1885

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Praiseworthy Enterprise

All travelers speak of the physical deterioration of American men and women from the average old world standard.  All agree that the want of muscular exercise, or the prevalence of particular obnoxious kinds are the predisposing causes of this deterioration...

Within a decade - partly owing to the example set by the general introduction of the Turner's societies and an appreciation of our national defect by teachers and writers for youth - a reform has set in, in the shape of gymnastic clubs, base ball clubs, and other organizations devoted to the cultivation of the physical man.  These associations are highly praiseworthy, and are generally conducted with decorum.  Few, except the best of our citizens, whether minors or adults, would seek satisfaction in innocent and beneficial recreation.  Hence we find the much more numerous class of both who might lower the respectability of such diversions...and turn to the race-course, the gambling house, the grog-shop or the brothel.  
-Missouri Republican, August 30, 1863

I don't know if I've ever heard of the possibility that baseball spread and grew in popularity because of some kind of progressive reform pushing physical exercise.  There was a reform movement in the 1870s, supporting shorter work weeks, that played a role in the growth of the number of amateur baseball clubs but I'm talking more about the origins of the game and how it spread in the 1850s and 1860s.  With the growth of the urban population and the physically negative effects of an urban life, it seems possible that there could have been some kind of movement encouraging physical exercise during this period and baseball was in a position to take advantage of that.  I don't really know if that's true but it's an interesting thought.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Taking The Weekend Off

Too much stuff on my plate and I don't have time right now to get any posts up.  Hopefully, life will be back to normal on Monday and I'll get something up for Tuesday.  I'm just busier than sin and have to focus on the stuff that actually pays the bills. 

Anyway, I feel bad about this and want to give you something.  How about FreakAngels?  This is Warren Ellis and Paul Duffield's online comic that completed its run last year.  Seriously good stuff.  If you like Transmetropolitan or Planetary or the Authority, you'll love FreakAngels.  I read the complete run of Runaways before I read FreakAngels and there was a similar kind of vibe in both comics.  They were both much more character-driven, rather than plot-driven, tales.  The story and action in FreakAngels is good but it's the characters that grab you and keep you reading.  Go take a look.

So it's back to the grind for me, slaving away for my daily bread and dreaming of the day when I can retire to the leisurely life of a historian.         

Friday, July 20, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: Quincy Is Too Good For The Union Association

The Quincy Club, which recently resigned its membership in the Northwestern League, and is now applying for admission to the Union Association, played a beautiful game with the St. Louis Unions yesterday afternoon at Union Park.  The home team won by a score of 5 to 1, all of their runs being earned.  Black struck out seven of the local batsman, and was remarkably effective up to the eighth inning, after which he was hit pretty hard.  Daniels' catching was greatly admired.  But two hits were made off Sweeney, both being credited to Lynch.  The play of the visitors was greatly admired, and the contest established that the Quincys would make a creditable showing in any association.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 15, 1884

I honestly believe that Quincy would have gotten into the UA if they had given up more runs in this game.  If they had played poorly and lost 20-1, Quincy would have been recognized in the history books as a big league ballclub, alongside such great UA teams as Altoona and Wilmington.   

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Quincy's Big League Aspirations

Manager Brackett, R.T. Scheckells and J.T Smith, Directors of the Quincy Club of the Northwestern League, met at the office of President Lucas yesterday afternoon and asked for admission to the Union Association  Mr. Brackett said his club when they left the Northwestern League were in the lead in the race for the pennant, and he claimed they could hold their own with any club in the Union Association.  He offered to pit his club against the Unions to-day and his offer was accepted...

The manager of the Quincy Club claims to have two pitchers, either one of whom is the equal of Foutz, a catcher who is superior to Baldwin, and the best first baseman in the country...

This afternoon the St. Louis Unions will play a game with the Quincy Club, which recently resigned from the Northwestern League.  The game will be called at 4 o'clock...
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 14, 1884

A little background on this rather interesting twist to the 1884 season:  According to the Quincy Daily Whig (August 10, 1884), at a meeting of the Northwestern League in Chicago, on August 9, Grand Rapids and Muskegon were dropped from the league and the remaining clubs, which included Quincy, had to put up a $500 bond as a guarantee that they would finish out the season.  The Whig wrote that the "announcement of the reorganization of the Northwestern league was received here with a great deal of dissatisfaction and disgust.  It is impossible for clubs to travel the distances required and have anything left out of the receipts of the games.  It is not probable now that the Quincy club will consent to the arrangement and especially to giving the bond of $500 to play to the end of the season. Manager Brackett favors uniting with the Union association, believing this is the best thing that can be done under the circumstances."  By August 13, Quincy had dropped out and the Northwestern League was falling apart. The Quincy Daily Journal, of August 14, 1884, wrote that the league was "about done for.  Only four clubs of the twelve which composed the league at the opening of the season are left, viz. Milwaukee, St. Paul, Saginaw and Minneapolis.  Since the resignation of W.D. Whitmore, the league is without a president, and it now looks as if there will be no Northwestern league after a few days."  While the Northwestern League picked up a few clubs and survived, they did so without Quincy.

But it is absolutely amazing that the management of the Quincy club decided that their best move, after dropping out of the Northwestern League, was to try and join the UA.  It's extraordinarily amazing that they thought such a move was possible.  I think this says a lot about the UA.  I think it speaks to how the league was perceived and the quality of baseball that was being played in the league.  Because regardless of what the managers of the Quincy club said, they were not the best team in the NWL.  To the best of my knowledge, the Grand Rapids club had a healthy lead when they dropped out, were forced out or ran out of money (however it happened).  But Quincy management thought that they could drop out of the NWL and talk their way into the UA - in August, with the season mostly over, and after the UA had already poached a couple of their best players.  It's crazy.

So I guess the Quincys' game against the Maroons was a bit of an audition.  I guess Lucas wanted to see if they were crappy enough to fit in with the other crappy clubs in his crappy league.     

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: The Hard Life Of 19th Century Catchers

The first game of the home series between the St. Louis and Chicago Unions attracted only a light attendance to Union Park yesterday afternoon.  Heavy batting by the home team made the contest one sided, but it was, nevertheless, a well-played game, the fielding errors being limited to three for each side.  In the first inning Tony Suck, who was playing left field, closed in on a line hit from Gleason's bat, and in endeavoring to capture it had one of his fingers knocked out of joint, the injury causing his retirement from the field, Atkinson being sent out to fill his position.  In the same inning Krieg, the catcher, wrenched his ankle, and had to play the game out in a crippled condition.  As Suck and Krieg are the club's two regular catchers their injuries may necessitate the immediate engagement of new men to play behind the bat.  Even with a lame leg Krieg showed himself a first-class catcher.  The home nine guaged Daily's delivery from the start, earning two runs in the first inning, and subsequently adding five more, four of which were earned.  Twelve hits with a total of eighteen bases was the aggregate of their work at the plate.  Dunlap scored three hits, and Shafer, Rowe, Gleason and Boyle two each.  Three-base hits were credited to Shafer and Gleason, and Dunlap and Rowe each made a two-bagger.  The visitors made seven hits off Sweeny, two of them being two-baggers by Gardner and Wheeley.  Their hits, however, were scattering and failed to earn a run.  Double plays were made by McGarr and Schoeneck, and Whitehead and Dunlap.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 14, 1884 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: Rumors Denied

Rumors to the effect that Nava, of the Providence Club, had been engaged by the St. Louis Unions, and would play here before the close of the week, were in circulation yesterday.  They were denied, however, by persons identified with the Unions.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 13, 1884

Sandy Nava, a lifetime .177 hitter in 101 games in the NL and the AA who hit .095 in 1884, probably would have hit a solid .275 in the UA and likely would have been an improvement over George Baker.  


Monday, July 16, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: The Outlaw Reds Put A Real Team On The Field

The attendance at the game between the Cincinnati Unions and the St. Louis Unions to-day was 3,500.  Great interest was felt in to-day's game, because the three men newly engaged from the Cleveland Club - Glasscock, McCormick and Briody - mad their first appearance.  In the very first inning Glasscock fumbled and let Dunlap to first.  He did some good playing afterwards in the way of assists.  In the second half of the inning he got first on a hit, and stole second, but had not the support behind him to bring him home.  In the second inning the visitors earned one run on Gleason's two-baser.  After two were out, Gleason got home on Briody's throw to Barber.  It was in the second half of this inning that the Cincinnatis got eight hits on Sweeny and won the game, scoring six runs - in a bunch - three of them earned.  Powell got first on Gleason's slow handling and took second on a safe hit by McCormick.  Barber then made three strikes and was thrown out at first, while Powell and McCormick each moved up a base.  Powell came home on Gleason's fumble of Crane's hit, on which Crane got first and then stole second.  McCormick and Crane scored on Baker's failing to hold Whitehead's assist.  Hawes hit safe.  Harbidge and Glasscock made hits and Burns made a three-bagger, after which the side was retired.

An Up-Hill Struggle.

In the third, Dunlap, after two men were out, made a run on his single, a fumble by Burns, and a hit to left by Shafer.  In the fourth inning Glasscock made a fine assist to Powell, putting Boyle out and retiring the side.  In the last half of the inning Briody went out on a foul fly and the side was retired by Gleason, Boyle and Dunlap.  In the fifth Quinn hit for first, Baker went out on a foul tip, Whitehead went out on a fly to Hawes.  Quinn got third on a passed ball.  Dunlap got first on balls and Quinn came home while Crane and Powell were trying to put out Dunlap.  Shafer's two-bagger gave Dunlap third and Rowe's safe hit to right brought him home, netting two runs.  In the last half of this inning the double play of Whitehead to Dunlap to Quinn, together with McCormick's out on strikes, retired the side.  In the sixth an assist by Glasscock to Powell retired Sweeny at the outset, Boyle went out on strikes and Quinn was caught between third and home.  The Cincinnatis made one in this inning on Barber's two-baser, Crane's single, Whitehead's wild throw, two stolen bases by Crane and a bad throw by Baker and a hit by Briody.  Here a double play by Dunlap and Quinn put Briody out and retired the side.  In the seventh inning Glasscock made a fine assist to Powell, but McCormick missed an easy foul of Dunlap.  In the last half of the inning Whitehead, Dunlap and Quinn, by a double play, retired Glasscock and Harbidge, and Burns went out on a fly.  Burns' splendid catch in left, which put out Boyle and retired the side, was the feature of the eighth inning.  From this to the end of the game the sides were retired rapidly.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 11, 1884

This loss snapped the Maroons' thirteen game winning streak (that was actually a fourteen game winning streak).  But don't worry too much about it.  The club was in the middle of a stretch where they would go 37-2 (or 38-2, if we're counting that game on August 9). 

However, given the nature of the UA, I bet the Maroons were glad that they were finished with the Outlaw Reds for the rest of the season.  After adding Jack Gleason, Jim McCormick and Fatty Briody, the club finished the season 35-7 and were probably every bit as good as the Maroons.  Both clubs would feast on the weak sisters of the league (which, in all honesty, was pretty much everybody else - both Baltimore and Boston were under .500 against teams with a winning record) but Cincinnati just waited too long to get their infusion of talent.  If they had put this club on the field to start the season, they would have given the Maroons a run for the pennant. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: The Home Battery Played Without An Error

The Cincinnati Unions and St. Louis Unions played a very sharp and brilliant game at Union Park yesterday afternoon.  Like the preceding games of the series, it resulted in a victory for the home team.  The batteries were Burns and Swartz for the visitors and Sweeny and Baker for the home team.  Burns was batted for twelve hits, with a total of sixteen bases.  Whitehead making two two-baggers and Dunlap and Gleason one each.  Gleason made a very long hit, the ball striking near the top of the screen on the fence at left center.  Rowe made three singles, while Shafer scored one.  Burns made one wild pitch and Swartz had one passed ball charged against him.  The home battery played without an error.  Sweeny was batted for six hits, which earned one run.  The St. Louis team scored 1 in the first.  Dunlap hit hot to Barber, who checked, but could not hold the ball.  After reaching first Dunlap went to second on Hawes' muff of Burns' throw to third on a passed ball and came home after Harbidge's catch of Shafer's fly.  In the second inning, after Sweeny's fly had been taken in by Crane, Baker and Whitehead made singles, Dunlap a two-bagger, Shafer a single and Gleason a two-bagger, all of which yielded four runs.  The next six innings produced blanks for the home club. 

The visitors scored one in the third.  On a grounder that bounded over Dunlap's head, Swartz gained first, only to be forced out at second by Barber hitting to Whitehead.  Safe hits by Hawes and Burns scored Barber's run.  Barber scored again in the fifth inning.  Jones was fielded out at first by Whitehead's assist.  Swartz hit safely to left.  Barber missed three strikes, and Baker, after muffing the third, threw to Dunlap, putting out Swartz at second.  Hawes' two-bagger advanced Barber to third, from which he got home on Dunlap's double fumble of Burns' hit.  The feature of the game was a marvelous catch by Dunlap.  O'Leary sent a low fly, very nearly a liner, to back of second.  Dunlap turned and ran with it, and after turning clear around twice trying to get under the ball, finally made a spring into the air, shot out his left hand and captured the ball, which an instant later was in Whitehead's hands at second base, thus scoring a double play.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 10, 1884

Just so you don't think this is turning into a Civil War blog, let's check in on the Maroons and their interminable 1884 march to the UA championship (not to give away the ending or anything). 

Interestingly, this game is not listed at B-Ref.  They have the games against Cincinnati on August 5, 6 and 7 as well as a game at Cincinnati on August 10 but no mention of a game against them on August 9.  Retrosheet doesn't list the game either.  But here it is.  For some reason, this game is being treated like an exhibition game although there is nothing in the Globe's game account to support that idea.  I assume there's a reason why they think this was an exhibition and while it's entirely possible that it was, I don't know what that reason is.         

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Grasping At Straws

First grand Basket Pic-nic of the Hope Base Ball Club, to be given on August 4th, at Laclede Station, on the P.R.R.  Cars leave precisely at 8 o'clock A.M.  Tickets one dollar.

P.S. - An interesting game of base ball to be played on the occasion.
-Missouri Republican, August 2, 1864

This is a vital piece of information as far as tracing the first baseball game in Granite City, Illinois, is concerned.  Now, as I live in Granite City, this is rather interesting to me and I admit that it may be of interest only to me.

Several years ago, I posted about a picnic that the Resolute Club held somewhere around the area that would become Granite City.  I had to assume that baseball was played at the picnic and the above piece from the Republican supports that assumption.

I know I'm grasping at straws but I like the idea that a baseball game took place in 1865 just a few blocks from where I live.       

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Commercial Club At Gamble Lawn

The Commercial Base Ball Club have their regular field exercise on Gamble Lawn this Saturday afternoon.  Members are requested to be prompt in attendance, and Base Ball players generally are invited to the field.
-Missouri Republican, June 18, 1864

This is really interesting.  One of the last references to the Commercial Club in the Republican was in 1863 and it was in regards to their trying to get a clubhouse built at Lafayette Park.  That request was taken to the Common Council, where it was placed in the hands of a subcommittee who forwarded it to the Board of Improvements.  I'm not sure what happened after that.  However, here we find the club holding their practice days at Gamble Lawn and that leads me to believe that the club's request was turned down.  If they had been allowed to build a clubhouse at Lafayette Park, they would be playing at Lafayette Park.  But they're not.

Also of interest is the general invitation that the club extended to all ball players.  Why would they do that?  Was the club short players?  Was the war having a negative effect on the number of players in the city?  Or was it just courtesy?  Maybe they were just being nice but I'm not sure if I've ever seen an open invitation like that to a club's practice day.        

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Civil War-Era Baseball Grounds At Eighth And Hickory

A spirited match took place yesterday at the grounds on Eighth and Hickory streets, between the Empire and Hickory clubs.  The former proved the victors by a score of twenty-eight, to nine for the latter.
-Missouri Republican, May 10, 1864

This is specifically notable for the fact that the game was played at Eighth and Hickory.  I was unaware of a baseball grounds located in the area, which is the currant location of the 4 Hands Brewing Company, makers of outstanding beer. 

And, again, I'm hammering home the point that there was much more baseball activity going on in St. Louis during the Civil War than was previously believed.  Also, it's not just that there was baseball going on but that the game was growing in St. Louis during the war, with new players, new clubs and new grounds.    

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Beaten Party Are Not Yet Satisfied

Last Saturday, the "Enterprise" Base Ball club of this city, and the "Carondelet" Club of Carondelet, played a match game for a ball, in which the St. Louis boys came out "first best" by large odds, leaving he Carondelet players fairly behind, according to a report of the game which has been sent us by Master Plant, the Scorer for the "Enterprise."  We learn, however, that the beaten party are not yet satisfied, and that another game is to be played to-day.
-Missouri Republican, April 9, 1864

Again, to the same point, we see substantial baseball activity in St. Louis during the war years, when the secondary sources and general theory suggested we wouldn't find it.  This evidence is going to have a profound impact on not only St. Louis baseball history but, I believe, on the history of baseball during the Civil War.  We're going to have to come up with a new way of thinking about baseball during the Civil War that deals with this data.      

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Two Newly Organized Clubs Of This City

A match of base ball was played on Sunday afternoon, September 27th, between two newly organized clubs of this city - Hope and Eclipse - which was a decided victory of the former.  Umpire, David Coyle; Scorers, J. Fountain and J.H. Teahen...
-Missouri Republican, September 28, 1863

This goes to what I was talking about yesterday.  Here we have two new clubs forming in September 1863, at the height of the Civil War, when our general theory about the effect of the war on the growth of the game would lead us to believe that this wouldn't be happening.  Among the eighteen players in this game, which the Hope won 26-21, I don't recognize one name.  So these were not the pioneer players of the antebellum years or guys who were playing in the first few years of the war.  These look like new players taking up the game and forming new clubs while St. Louis is under martial law and millions of men are fighting on battlefields across the country.

Again, I have to say that the evidence supports the idea that the war had little or no effect on the growth of the game in St. Louis.  

Monday, July 9, 2012

For The Purpose Of Securing Their Clothing While Playing Base Ball

Mr. Dailey presented a petition from members of the Commercial Base Ball Club, asking the passage of an ordinance granting them permission to erect a building at Lafayette Park for the purpose of securing their clothing while playing base ball.  Referred to special committee of three.
-Missouri Democrat, June 13, 1863

A couple of months ago, I posted a little something about this but this piece from the Missouri Democrat gives us the added details about the building the Commercials wanted to put up at the park.  Again, I have to point out that this is an unexpected expansion of baseball activity at a time when our general thinking about the effects of the Civil War on baseball activity would lead us to think that there would be a contraction in the number of clubs and games being played.  If the war had a negative effect on the health of the game, you wouldn't expect to see the Commercial Club wanting to build a clubhouse at Lafayette Park in 1863.

The question of what kind of effect the Civil War had on baseball is an interesting one and now is not really the time to get into it.  But the old conventional wisdom that the war helped spread the game is, to say the least, unsupported by evidence.  There is substantially more evidence that the growth of the game was hindered by the war.  However, the evidence that I'm finding for Civil War-era St. Louis doesn't seem to fit into either one of those two categories.  The war did not influence the spread of the game to St. Louis because it was already being played here before the war broke out.  On the other hand, the war doesn't seem to have hindered it's growth or popularity much.  Yes, there were clubs that broke up due to the war.  Yes, we see much more activity among junior clubs than senior clubs.  But it appears that there were more clubs active in St. Louis in any given year of the war than there were in 1859 or 1860.  The game continued to grow in St. Louis during the war.  And that is not what I expected to find when I started looking through the Civil War newspapers.

St. Louis certainly has a unique place in baseball history, as well as American history in general, so I don't think it's possible to say that what we find in St. Louis during the war applies to the rest of the nation.  However, what was taking place in St. Louis must be accounted for.  It's impossible to say now that the war had an overall negative effect on the spread and growth of the game because the war seemed to have little effect on the growth of the game in St. Louis, where it was new and had just taken root.  The only way to argue that the war had a negative effect on the growth of the game in St. Louis is to say that it would have grown more than it did from 1861 to 1865 if not for the war.  I think you may be able to argue that but then you're arguing hypotheticals and degrees and things that can never be proven.

The bottom line is that no currant interpretation of the effect of the Civil War on the spread and growth of baseball fits the evidence that we find in Civil War-era St. Louis.                     

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Martin Burke, Prisoner Of War

Some gentlemen of this city, who were on a chance visit to Cairo the other day, inform us that Colonel Martin Burke, formerly of St. Louis, was among the prisoners who were brought to that place from Memphis on the steamer Fairchild.  He was en route, together with all the other commissioned officers, to Johnson's Island, in Sandusky harbor, and the privates were to be conveyed to prison quarters at Alton.

Our informants had but a moments conversation, during which he confirmed the report that Colonel Hugh A. Garland, Jr., his predecessor in command of the regiment, had been killed during one of the battles between the forces of Hood and Thomas in Tennessee.  The prisoner himself was in robust health, having fully recovered from a severe wound in the lungs received several months ago in the vicinity of Atlanta.

His family is residing in the State of Alabama.  They learned nothing of the particulars of his late capture, and heard no mention of officers or men of the regiment, other than Col.  Garland.  He promised to write to some of his St. Louis acquanintances after reaching his prison destination.

The regiment which is thus deprived, for the third time, of its leader, was made up in great part of St. Louisans, and was one of the first to enter into the rebel cause from Missouri.  It has been three years and a half of hazardous service for disunion and cannot, at this late day, embrace many of its original members within its rank.  J.H. Bowen, the first Colonel, was promoted to a Generalship, and died not long after the surrender of Vicksburg.  Col. Garland was a young lawyer of this city..
-Missouri Republican, January 18, 1865

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Martin Burke's Obituary

Col. Martin Burke, well known in St. Louis previous to the war, died last week in Natchez, Miss.  He was only thirty-five years of age.  About two months ago he left St. Louis for Natchez, where, as here, he soon surrounded himself with a host of friends and admirers.
-Missouri Republican, January 22, 1870

E.H. Tobias wrote that Burke was killed during the war and I quoted him to that effect in Base Ball Pioneers.  However, it appears that Tobias was wrong and that Burke lived through the war.  This leads to the question of whether or not Burke, who served as a company commander in Bowen's Division, was at Shiloh and/or Vicksburg.     

Friday, July 6, 2012

Martin Burke

Martin Burke

[Martin] Burke, a pitcher for the Morning Stars was born in Canada in 1836.  Living in St. Louis by 1860, he was a partner in a small grocery store and lived on N. 16th Street near Carr Square Park. 

While living in St. Louis, Burke joined the St. Louis Greys, the oldest volunteer militia unit in the city and by 1861 he was the Greys' commanding officer.  The Greys were mustered at Camp Jackson in May of 1861 and it can be assumed that Burke surrendered to Union forces along with the other Missouri militia units at Camp Jackson.  While he was most likely released upon promising not to take up arms against the Union, Burke joined the 1st Missouri Infantry on the Confederate side, serving as Captain.  In "short time [he] was brought home severely wounded.  He did not long survive..."
-Base Ball Pioneers 1850-1870

I started reading a biography of John S. Bowen, whose staff Edward Bredell served on, and I quickly came across the name of Martin Burke.  Bowen lived in St. Louis prior to the war and moved in the same circles as some of the city's pioneer baseball players.  He most likely knew the Bredell family prior to the outbreak of the war and, given the nature of their roles at the time of the Camp Jackson affair, he also probably knew Basil Duke.  Burke served under Bowen at Camp Jackson and, later, with the 1st Missouri Infantry.  It appears that the two men were friends.

The above photo of Burke comes from the Missouri History Museum

Thursday, July 5, 2012

More On Bredell's Parole And Exchange

WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington City, December 5, 1863.

Mr. President:  A general summary of the military operations of the past year is furnished by the report of the General-in-Chief, herewith submitted...

Exchanges under the cartel are now stopped, mainly for the following reasons:

First.  At Vicksburg over 30,000 rebel prisoners fell into our hands, and over 5,000 more at Port Hudson.  These prisoners were paroled and suffered to return to their homes until exchanged pursuant to the terms of the cartel.  But the rebel agent, in violation of the cartel, declared the Vicksburg prisoners exchanged; and, without being exchanged, the Port Hudson prisoners he, without just cause, and in open violation of the cartel, declared released from their parole.  These prisoners were returned to their ranks, and a portion of them were found fighting at Chattanooga and again captured.  For this breach of faith, unexampled in civilized warfare, the only apology or excuse was that an equal number of prisoners had been captured by the enemy...

Respectfully submitted.
Secretary of War.

I found Stanton's letter, explaining how the exchange cartel broke down following Vicksburg, in a PDF at the Villages Civil War Study Group website. 

As far as Bredell's situation is concerned, I think we have enough evidence to state that he was captured (or surrendered) at Vicksburg on July 4, 1863, signed his parole form, stating that he would not take up arms against the United States until such time as he was exchanged, that same day and was most likely shipped to Mobile, Alabama, where he arrived no later than the middle of August 1863.  The Confederates then unilaterally declared that he, and the other Vicksburg parolees were exchanged and he was, in the view of his government, free to rejoin the fight. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

One Hundred And Forty-Nine Years Ago Today...

...Vicksburg surrendered and Edward Bredell was officially a prisoner of war.

Happy Fourth of July and God bless America.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Terms Of Bredell's Parole

I'm trying to figure out how Edward Bredell joined up with Mosby's men because I think it's interesting that this staff officer - a college educated, wealthy, city boy - ended up with one of the most celebrated units of the Civil War, who also happened to have been an extremely tough bunch of hombres.  While, at the moment, I'm not sure how Bredell got from the western theater to the Shenandoah, I have learned a bit more about what happened to him at Vicksburg.

According to the Civil War Prisoner of War Records, 1861-1865, Bredell was captured at Vicksburg on July 4, 1863 and paroled the same day.  U.S. Grant had made an agreement with John Pemberton, the commander of Confederate forces at Vicksburg, that, if Pemberton would surrender the city, Grant would parole all Confederate prisoners.  The rationale behind this was that Grant did not want to be responsible for the care and feeding of 30,000 prisoners of war.  So it appears that most of the Confederate forces were paroled rather quickly, between July 4 and July 8, although I've seen records that the parole regime continued through July 15.  Most of these men were shipped to Mobile, Alabama, and records suggest that they were still arriving in that city in the middle of August 1863.  So Bredell was most likely in Mobile in August.

I made a point earlier this week about the idea that Bredell would have survived the war if he had honored the terms of his parole and then stated that I wasn't exactly certain what those terms were.  I assumed, based on my general knowledge of Civil War-era prisoner paroles, that he had promised not to take up arms against the United States.  But I also think it's possible that he promised not to take up arms again as an officer and that was one of the things that led him to join up with Mosby as an enlisted man.

The image above, that I found at the National Park Service Confederate Parole Records Index, shows the general parole form used at Vicksburg in July 1863.  It states clearly that the paroled prisoner promised to "not take up arms again against the United States, nor serve in any military, police or constabulary force in any Fort, Garrison or field work, held by the Confederate States of America, against the United State of America, nor as guard of any prisons, depots or stores nor discharge any duties usually performed by Officers or soldiers against the United States of America, until duly exchanged by the proper authorities."  One has to assume that Bredell signed this form, or a form similar to it, and, therefore, had given his word that he would not take up arms against the United States until he was officially exchanged for a Union counterpart.  

There is a gap in Bredell's service record from his capture at Vicksburg until he joined Mosby in June 1864.  Based on the above information and this gap in his service record, I think it's possible that Bredell waited until he was officially exchanged before joining Mosby in Virginia.  If that is true than Bredell kept his word and the terms of his parole.    

Monday, July 2, 2012

Looking For Joseph Hollenback

The never-ending search for biographical information about Joseph Hollenback continues and it's as frustrating as always.

Adding to all the confusion about Hollenback is two pieces of information that I recently found in the Hollenbeck Family Genealogy Forum at Genealogy.com.  According to Judy Cobin, there is a death record stating that a "Joseph Hollenbeck, born in Germany, died in St. Louis of Typhoid Fever, age 24, October 11, 1860."  That could very well be our Joseph Hollenbeck.  I always assumed that the lack of information about him was a result of the fact that he died young. 

However, in the same thread, Steven Piper noted that a Sarah Ann Potterfield married a Joseph Hollenbeck in the late 1860s.  The two were married near Eureka, Missouri and had children born as late as 1880.  That could also be our guy.

Who knows?  The problem with the first candidate is that I'm reasonably certain that our Joseph Hollenbeck was born in New York and not Germany.  The problem with the second candidate is that, as I mentioned, I think Hollenbeck died young.  The quest for information about Joseph Hollenbeck (or Hollenback or Hollenbach or whatever) is easily the most frustrating thing I've run up against as a researcher.  But I ain't got no quit in me so I guess I'll just keep looking.     

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About St. Louis In 1859

St. Louis in 1854

I found a really neat book that I wanted to let you know about.  It's called The St. Louis Guide For Citizens and Strangers and was published in 1859, the year the Cyclone Club was formed.  It's just full of information that you likely can't find anywhere else.  One of the cool things about the book is all the ads for St. Louis businesses in 1859.  It's available to read for free over at Google Books, so go take a look.

The image at the top of the post is also pretty cool and I found it at a website called Uncle Dale's Readings in Early Mormon History.  Uncle Dale seems to be a kindred spirit who, like myself, enjoys reading 19th century newspapers and he has a ton of primary source material that pertains to the history of the Latter Day Saints.  I found the place to be a bit of a time sink (and I mean that in the best possible way).  You should check it out.