Friday, August 31, 2012

The Afterthoughts

The Empires have not yet filled the vacancies in their nine, and have done no practising during the past week.  They will play a practice game among themselves to-day at Solari's park.  
-St. Louis Republican, April 4, 1875

It's amazing how quickly you can be forgotten.  The Empire Club dominated St. Louis baseball for fifteen years, dating back to before the Civil War.  They were perennial champions and those few times they didn't win the championship, they were still the team to beat.  And here they are, in 1875 - an afterthought.  The previous season, they had won the championship in a brilliant five game series against the Reds and the excitement that season and that series generated helped lay the groundwork for the introduction of National Association clubs in St. Louis.  They would win the championship again in 1875.  But their day was done; their era was over.  

Thursday, August 30, 2012

At The Missouri Gymnasium

At about 10 o'clock the members of the St. Louis professional base ball club make their appearance and for an hour or two try to work off some of their superfluous fat which has accumulated upon them since last season.  They are a healthy looking set of young men, full of fun but decidedly more fond of ball-tossing than dumb-bell brandishing.  In the afternoon they frequently come around again and indulge in more jostling of iron weights. 
-St. Louis Republican, March 19, 1875

Off-season weight training goes back to at least 1872 and, depending on your definition, you might be able to trace it back to Jim Creighton.  One point that Peter Morris made in A Game of Inches was that this kind of off-season training was expensive and, therefore, rare unless all the players lived in the city in which they were playing.  The Brown Stockings had to have been paying for their players to come to town early and train.  Knowing these guys as I do, I can say that there was no way they were coming in voluntarily.  So the St. Louis Base Ball Club was spending a great deal of money that they didn't have to spend in order to try and put a first-class team on the field. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wanted: One Veteran Professional

We learn that our Red Stocking club have secured Dennis McGee, the "Mack" of the Philadelphia club last season, now playing with the Lone Stars of New Orleans as their second baseman.
-St. Louis Republican, February 21, 1875

This is pretty interesting.  Now, obviously McGee didn't sign with the Reds in 1875 but this shows that they were looking for a veteran, Eastern professional for the club.  That sheds a great deal of light on the Charlie Sweasy signing. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


The Red Stockings of this city talk of running into the professional business with a co-operative nine, but we can learn nothing official in regard to their progress.
-St. Louis Republican, January 31, 1875

This was in a column titled "Base Ball Gossip."  I'm guessing that the Brown Stockings had made up their minds to play to the Grand Avenue Grounds and Thomas McNeary, the president of the Reds and an early investor in the Brown Stockings, was not pleased with the decision.   

Monday, August 27, 2012

Jack Chapman Brings Down The House

The players engaged by the St. Louis Base Ball club, with the exception of Pike, Waitt and Hauge (not yet arrived), were introduced to the stockholders of the association last evening in the reading-room of the club manager's store, No. 619 Olive street, which the latter has neatly furnished for the convenience of the players and the base ball fraternity generally.  All the sporting papers are kept on file, and the latest base ball news cheerfully communicated.  A large number of the members dropped in during the evening and inspected the material that is to represent St. Louis in the coming struggle for the flag of 1875.  All the boys were in good health, and confident of giving a good account of themselves.  They are, one and all, muscular and active looking fellows, rather below the medium height, but in their lithe and easy carriage, as well as their bright eyes and brown skin, give evidence of good physical condition.  The evening was passed in discussing the probabilities and prospects of the coming summer...Messrs. Miller, Chapman and Dehlman sang some ballads in creditable style, Chapman bringing down the house with a sample of his famous whistling.  Regular exercise has been commenced and will be continued actively until the ball season begins.
-St. Louis Republican, January 22, 1875

Just when you think you know it all, you find out that Jack Chapman was a famous whistler. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Prospects Of The Most Brilliant Character

The national interest in base ball is by no means on the wane.  During the season which closed on November first, audiences composed of the best class of people, and numbering all the way from wight to ten and twelve thousands have been drawn together in St. Louis, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and New York whenever there was to be a game between two crack organizations.  Those familiar with the game and its patrons say that the prospects for the coming season are of the most brilliant character.  More money will, they say, be put into professional clubs, several additional organizations will then enter the diamond field, while the tone of the clubs has been perceptibly raised, and to a greater extent than formerly the interest has been transferred to the better portion of the community from the rough element that often ruled it.

Of the three additional professional clubs to enter the field - the St. Louis, Centennial and Keokuk - none have been inaugurated under better auspices than our own.  When such young men as John B.C. Lucas, Charles H. Turner, Charles A. Fowler, Joseph P. Carr, Wm. Medart, Wayman C. McCreery, C.O. Bishop, [and] Will C. Stegers put their hands to getting up a base ball club there is a guarantee that it will be "solid,' and that its respectability and entire freedom from the bad features with which some of the clubs have been characterized cannot be questioned.  The association has just been getting down to its work and the arrangements for engaging the players, which were commenced immediately on the close of the season, have been completed within the past few days.  The contracts have all been signed, and for the first time an authoritative and official account may now be given.

Pitcher: George W. Bradley of Philadelphia, late of the Easton club, who enters the professional arena for the first time next season.  His style of pitching is a swift underhand throw, strictly legal, and very difficult to hit, as is shown by his record of the season of '74, during which he played in 38 games, putting out 45 men, and assisting 120 times, while he is charged with but 20 errors.  He is also a very safe batter, having averaged two base hits to a game during the last season.  He is, besides, a first-class third-base man.

Catcher: Thomas P. Miller, also of Philadelphia, who caught for the Easton and Athletic clubs during the season of '74.  His playing with Bradley has been often remarked by the Eastern papers, his pluckiness, agility and accurate throwing to bases being especially noticeable.  He is also a splendid short stop, and is very strong at the bat.

 First base: Harmon J. Dehlman of Brooklyn, who has played in that position for the Atlantics during the last season.  He has no superior in playing his base; is a quiet, easy and reliable fielder; is a strong batter and is second to none in running bases.  The club is to be congratulated on securing his services.

Second base: Joseph V. Battin of Philadelphia, a young player who has held the position of second baseman and short-stop of the Athletic nine of 1874.  He is also a good third-baseman, having filled that position so acceptably upon the Easton nine of 1873 as to cause his transfer to the professional arena last spring.

Short stop: Richard J. Pierce of Brooklyn, who is too well known to the patrons of the game to need any extended notice from us.  At short, he has no superior, and is to-day the best batter in the professional arena.

Third base: William Haug of Philadelphia, who played that position for the Easton club during '74; he is not what is called a "showy" player, but is a careful, accurate and sure fielder and a beautiful thrower to bases.  He is also very strong with the stick, having led the batting score of his club this season, his average being 2.10 base hits per game.

Left field: Edgar E. Cuthbert, late of the Chicago club, who has been before the public several years and is acknowledged to be one of the very best fielders in the country, a superb catcher and a very strong batter.  That he will sustain his past reputation, no one will doubt, and he is a valuable acquisition to the club.

Centre Field: Lipman Pike of Stamford, Conn., late of the Hartford club, an old reliable player, who doesn't know how to drop a ball, and whose record at the bat is unexcelled.  He is also a fine short-stop and an excellent second baseman, and in running the bases has no superior and but very few equals.

Right field: Charles C. Waitt of Easton, Pa., who has made a brilliant reputation during the past season as a fielder and as a first baseman.  He is a strong batter, a fine base runner, and will make his mark next season.

Substitute: Francis Fleet of New York, late of the Atlantic nine, who is considered one of the very best general players in the country.  His catching this season for Bond, who had successively used up Farrow, Ferguson and Knowdell, excited  great admiration.  He is also a fine pitcher, can play any base in first-class style, and is a reliable out-fielder, so that he can take the place of any disabled player on the nine and fill it acceptably.

John F. McMullin of the Athletics signed a contract with the club and was to have played centre field, but for some unexplained cause broke faith, and it is understood is to play that position for the Philadelphias.

Charles Fulmer will play with the club if the Philadelphias do not comply with the terms of his conditional engagement with them, in which event he will play third base, at which he is perhaps stronger than Haug, although an inferior batter.

It is understood, also, that Thomas Barlow, late of the Hartfords, will play with the club.  He will be right fielder and change catcher, and will also play short stop in Pierce's absence...

The club will be managed by S.M. Graffen of Philadelphia, who virtually managed the old "Olympic" of that city for years.  His long acquaintance with the game, and his previous experience as manager constitute him perhaps as good a man for the position as any one who could be found.  It was to a great extent under his advice and direction that the club was made up.  Traveling over the country almost all the time, and familiar with all the crank clubs and players, Mr. Graffen has selected the club from what he has seen the men do, and not solely on account of their newspaper notoriety, although several are of national reputation.  Three points mainly have been looked to in their selections - their ability as players, as shown by their previous records, their temperate habits and their adaptability to discipline.

The men will arrive here early in January, with the exception of Cuthbert, who is now in town, and will go into training almost immediately at the St. Louis gymnasium.  The regular base-ball season does not open until the first of May, but here the game can be enjoyably played in the latter part of March and through April.  About the first of February the club will make its first professional trip, which will be to New Orleans.
Nothing definite yet has been done in regard to obtaining grounds for the club, but a conditional prospect is held out that the club may succeed in obtaining a site more conveniently located, larger and better adapted for the purpose than any yet used in the city.
-St. Louis Republican, December 12, 1874

That's a lot of information there.  You get a nice list of the men who put together the Brown Stockings, a breakdown of the players and more information about Mase Graffen than you've probably ever seen in one place. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Game Not Played

The game of base ball advertised to take place yesterday afternoon, at the Grand Avenue park, between the Chicago White Stockings and Philadelphias, did not come off, as neither club put in its appearance.  At least twenty thousand people visited the grounds, thinking that they would enjoy a treat, but they were doomed to be disappointed.  As to who is to blame, our reporter gained the following from a reliable source: Mr. Williams, secretary of the reds of this city, has been correspounding with the Chicagos for some time, in regard to getting up a game, and at last succeeded so far that he turned the game over to Mr. Solari of the Grand Avenue park, thinking it would be an advantage to the club in drawing a large crowd, on account of its proximity to the Fair grounds.  Then Mr. Thos. Bryan, corresponding secretary of the Empires, received from the Philadelphia club, October 1st, a communication stating that the Chicagos and Philadelphias would play a game in this city on October 8th, and that the Philadelphias, after playing a return game in Chicago, would come back and play two games on Sunday, the 11th of October, one in the morning with the Nationals, if so arranged, and the other with the Empires in the afternoon.  Mr.  Bryan answered the telegram, and told them to come on, as all the arrangements were being made, and the games were advertised.  Then came Mr. Williams on the morning of October 8th, the day the game was to come off, and told Mr. Solari of the park that he had received a dispatch from Chicago, signed jointly by the managers of the Chicago and Philadelphia clubs, that it would not be possible for them to play in St. Louis, and that they would write and give the cause.  Lastly a dispatch was received at 3:10 P.M., yesterday, by Mr. Solari, signed Jim Woods, stating the Philadlephias refused to play in St. Louis.

To make some amends, there was an impromptu game gotten up between the Empires and a picked nine, to amuse the vast assemblage, who were better satisfied than might have been expected under the circumstances.
-St. Louis Republican, October 9, 1874

What's of interest here is the fact that this game was being advertised as the first game played in St. Louis between two professional clubs and it certainly would have been the first game played between two openly professional teams.  Also, the reason given for moving the game from the Compton Avenue Grounds to the Grand Avenue Grounds is interesting and it's the first contemporary reference I've ever seen suggesting why the Grand Avenue Grounds was considered a better park than the Compton Avenue Grounds.

Regardless, it's kind of odd that this game wasn't played.  Chicago played a lot of games in St. Louis in 1874 and it's kind of surprising that they weren't able to get Philadelphia to go along with playing it.  There's probably something else going on here that we don't know because the reason given for not playing the game is not very satisfying.  

Friday, August 24, 2012

May 4, 1875

Bat And Ball.

St. Louis vs. Red Stockings.

Description of the First Professional Game Ever Played in St. Louis.

Excellent Playing by Both Nines.

Redmond Bears off the Honors of the Day.

The St. Louis Victorious by a Score of 15 to 9.

About one thousand spectators were present yesterday afternoon at the Compton avenue park to witness the first professional game ever played in St. Louis, the contestants being both St. Louis clubs, namely, the "Brown" and "Red Stockings."  The weather, which had prevented the games on Saturday and Monday, cleared off about noon and a more beautiful afternoon could not have been wished for.  Had the sun made an earlier appearance and the certainty of the game coming off been more generally known a much larger attendance would no doubt have been the result.

Considerable improvements are in course of construction at the Reds' park, which will be, when completed, a great improvement over the accommodations afforded there in past years.  A more commodious place for reporters and scorers is one of the most pressing necessities, the present small, octagonal structure being entirely too small and in very bad shape.

A pleasing change was noticed in the uniform of the Red Stockings; the dark, heavy flannel shirt has been discarded and a tight fitting flesh colored shirt substituted in its place, the change giving them a much brighter and more pleasing appearance.  Flint, the catcher of the Elephants, made his appearance at third base in place of McSorley, but was evidently not at home in the position or was too nervous to do himself justice.  In the innings Morgan came in from left field and took his place.

Both nines were early on the field and for an hour amused themselves and the audience practising.  At five minutes of four o'clock, Capt. Sweazy having satisfied himself by a practical test that the "St. Louis club" ball, furnished according to the rules by the visiting club, was even "deader" than the one his club had been using, Mr. Mack of the Empire club called play.  Capt. Pearce having lost the toss sent Curthbert to the bat to face Joe Blong's swift underhand throws.

First Innings. 

Cuthy took his customary hitch at his trowsers, threw the ash over his shoulder, and called for a "high ball," after striking twice in vain, and two "balls" had been called on Blong, he succeeded in hitting the ball, but it went straight to Redmond, and from thence to Houtz, and first out for the Browns was duly recorded.  Pearce imitated his predecessor in the matter of strikes and balls, but could drive the ball no further than to the pitcher, who of course sent it to Charlie Houtz at first base, and Dick sought his companions to tell them exactly how it was.  Pike had some difficulty in getting one to suit him, but when Blong did favor him, he drove it over the right-fielder's head, and reached third in ample time.  Chapman indulged in some half-dozen foul hits, finally hitting a soft one towards first, which Houtz neglected to run in and take on the fly, but redeemed himself by quickly gathering it on the ground and touching Chap ere the latter "pressed canvas" - no runs.

Joe Blong was the first representative of "home talent" that toed the plate and was likewise the first "out," as after hitting several foul balls, he drove a hot one to Dicky Pearce, and of course retired at first.  Packy Dillon was seduced into striking at a slow one from Brad, and the ball he intended to have sent over centre field went safely into Battin's hands at second; Battin also handled the swift grounder Morgan hit to him carefully to "Harmon, J.," and the side was out, the score even and nothing for both.  In the

Second Innings.

Hague, by an overthrow of Redmond's, not only reached first safely, but went all the way round to third.  Redmond did better for Bradley and Battin, too, found the lively left-hander could play short-stop "up to nature."  Hague in the meantime had scored the first run for the "Brown Stockings" by a passed ball.  Dehlman reached base No. 1 on a safe hit to right field, and took second on the wild throw in; he scored on Redmond's muff of high-base hit by Miller.  Cuthy hit hard to third base and reached first, Flint fumbling that ball badly.  Pearce closed the innings by sending a high fly to Morgan, the "Handsome Dan" of course taking it in.  For the Reds Houtz led off with a fly to Chapman; Sweazy hit one directly on the home plate and it bounded safely into Bradley's hands.  Cuthbert surprised the St. Louisans by dropping an easy fly from Redmond's bat.  Oran drove a beauty past Pearce, and two men were on bases, Redmond being as far as third.  All eyes were on Croft, but a foul tip well caught on the bound by Miller ended the "trouble," leaving both men on baes and no runs.

Pike led off the

Third Innings.

With a high one to Croft and retired.  Chapman, however, succeeded in getting to second base on a fair foul past third, Hague by a safe one along the right foul line sent him to third and reached first himself.  Sweazy fielded Bradley out at first, and Redmond made a beautiful stop and throw that disposed of Battin - Chapman having in the interim crossed the marble on a wild pitch, Hague being left on third.

For the Reds Flint hit safe over Short, but was forced at second by Blong, who was in turn forced out at the same place by Dillon's hit to Bradley, Morgan being put out at first by Pearce and Dehlman.

The Brown Stockings could get but one run in the

Fourth Innings.

Miller scoring; after driving a long one over the left-fielder's head he was sent to second by Cuthbert's hit to Morgan, who had taken Flint's place at third, Pearce hit to Sweasy, Miller thereby getting third and Dick first; Cuthbert suffering an "out" at second, "Red" got his run on a wild pitch of Blong's, Pike was given a base by fumbling at second but Chapman left them both, his weak hit to third base being carefully thrown to first by Morgan.

A pretty double play marked the fielding of the Browns, Houtz being on first by a safe hit over third base, Sweasy hit a hot ball to Battin, who, picking it up nicely, forced Houtz back towards first, and then threw to Dehlman in time to retire the striker, Dehlman returning the ball to Pearce who caught Houtz before he reached second.  Redmond and Oran afterwards reached first and second by hard hits that Battin could not do more than stop; Croft's hard hit, however, was safely fielded by Joe to Dehlman in time and again the natives were blanked.

The Browns received their second blank in the

Fifth Innings.

Redmond attending to Hague and Bradley, Flint making a surprising one hand catch that thoroughly disgusted Battin.  The other side fared no better, though Flint and Blong reached first, the latter on a safe hit that sent the former to second only to be forced at third by Hague and Pearce, Dillon being well caught on Foul bound by Miller, Houtz retiring at first by the aid of Bad Dicky.

The score was now 4 to 0 and thus far a well played game.  The  Browns went to bat in the

Sixth Innings.

With a determination to put a wider margin to their credit, the way the Reds were hanging on not being at all comfortable, their playing too was evidently improving.  A good rally was made and eight runs were scored by the good batting of Pearce, Pike, Bradley, Battin and Dehlman, the outs being Chapman at first and Miller twice by weak hits to Morgan and Blong.

Sweasy retired on a foul bound, Pearce after dropping an easy fly catch sent him by Redmond, took off his hat to hat to Cuthbert, a sharp fly-tip missed by Miller gave Oran a life which he improved by driving a safe one over second; Croft out on fly to Pike, Flint by a safe hit to left brought Redmond home and the first run was scored for the Reds amidst tumultuous applause from their friends.  Dick didn't miss Blong's fly, and the side was out for the one run.

Two more runs were secured by the professionals in the

Seventh Innings.

On safe hits by Pearce and Cuthbert, assisted by Pike's out at first and a wild pitch, Chapman being left on second, Redmond distinguishing himself by a splendid stop and throw that retired Hague, Bradley striking wind and out.

One, two, three was the order in which Dillon, Morgan and Houtz retired, the score standing fourteen to one, and the interest in the game apparently over.  But the home nine were certainly not satisfied with the state of affairs, and in the

Eighth Innings.

Retired Battin, Dehlman and Miller in the order named, Redmond attending to two of them, Packy Dillon catching Dehlman out on a foul bound.  At their turn at the stick, Sweasy, the first striker, was well caught by Bradley; Redmond succeeded in getting a safe on between first and second.  Oran sent him along one bag by a straight one over second that Battin almost got.  Croft sent him home by a liner over Cuthbert's head.  Cuthy made a splendid effort (and in his palmy days we have seen him take many a harder one) but he dropped it.  Flint went out on strikes and then the trouble commenced in earnest.  Blong, Dillon and Morgan followed with magnificent two-base hits each.  Houtz with a hot one past third for one bag, Hague helping things along by a wild throw over Ehlman's head on Sweazy's hit.  Chapman finally taking in the fly Redmond sent him on his second turn at the bat.  The way the boys "let on" Bradley was a thing the "old man" never dreamed of.  Eight runs was the result and the Browns came in from the field looking queer indeed.  The

Ninth Innings.

Yielded the professionals one made by Cuthbert, the Reds going out in the order in which they toed the plate...

The general play of both nines was remarkably fine, Redmond bearing off the honors of the day by his brilliant play at shortstop, he assisting no less than twelve times.  Houtz also deserves especial mention as the score will show.
-St. Louis Republican, May 5, 1875

To honor the legacy of the first professional league game ever played in St. Louis, we're going with the bullet points:

  • It took me a long time to find a digital copy of this box score.  The Globe-Democrat's digital archive that's available in the Nineteenth Century Newspapers database begins with issues from the middle of May 1875 and, therefore, doesn't have the account of this game.  Now that the State Historical Society of Missouri has the 1873-1876 issues of the Republican up, I was able to copy the box score and pass it along.  And this makes me very, very happy.  
  • Ned Cuthbert was the first to take the bat in a St. Louis professional league game, Joseph Myles Blong threw the first pitch, Lipman Pike got the first hit, Billy Redmond made the first error and Bill Hauge scored the first run.  
  • I have a serious suspicion that George Washington Bradley, after getting a fourteen run lead, eased up on the Reds, leading to their eight-run eighth inning.  
  • It's always nice to see Bad Dicky Pearce referred to, in print, as Bad Dicky.  
  • I also think that Handsome Dan is a much better nickname than Pidge.  
  • I'd really like to tell you the story about the long road I took to finding this game account/box score and what it means to me but I think I'm going to save that for the blog anniversary, which is coming up in a couple of weeks.  I'll just say that this kind of takes me full-circle.  I started my research into 19th century baseball by looking into the 1875 Reds and, finally, here I am posting the box score from their first game.  I'm feeling rather satisfied right now and it's amazing to me how guys like Packy Dillon, Joe Blong, Trick McSorley, Bad Dicky, Lip Pike, G.W. Bradley and the rest of these guys seem like old friends.  It's almost comforting to write about these Red Stockings and Brown Stockings.          

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Spiritualism Extraordinary, or The Ghost Of Asa Smith

Well, this evening we were in the back parlor with quite a number beside, when a modest, quiet gentleman called for a sitting.  Foster [the spiritualist] was loath to leave his friends, but we insisted; he passed through to the front room and told the new-comer to write the names of deceased friends or relatives on the slips of paper, carefully fold them and place them on the table.  Returning to us, he left the stranger to his literary efforts.  Conversation was very merry for a few minutes, Foster in the gayest spirits, when suddenly he turned pale and dropped his cigar, saying: "That man has called up the spirit of a drowned man, who has come directly in here to us, and is hovering around [Charles] Pope..."

To witness this last phenomena we all closed in around the table, when Foster took up the papers hitherto untouched, that were folded on the table.  As the third touched his forehead a ghastly pallor overspread the extremely florid face of the medium.  "Why, Pope," he says, "though this gentleman has called this spirit here he comes as much to you as to him, his name is Asa.  He's a slim gentleman with high prominent nose, he was drowned in Biddiford pool."

"Good God," I ejeculated, "Mr. Pope, it's Asa Smith, Mark's brother."  Then finding the assembled shades were friends of the whole party, we made a family affair of it and sat down.

The whole interview was entirely satisfactory, and some very strange things were done and said.
-St. Louis Republican, February 14, 1875

We're coming up on the sixth anniversary of this website and, in all that time, I believe that this is the first supernatural ghost story that I've been able to pass along.  The whole article was about the writer and Pope's skeptical visit to Foster, the medium, and how they came away convinced that he was not a fraud.  The stuff about Asa Smith was just kind of random and probably the most interesting reference I've ever seen to one of the most significant figures in St. Louis baseball history.  In all honesty, I can't really say that I ever expected to hear a ghost story about Asa Smith.   

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Town Ball In Pocahontas, Illinois

Football and baseball, as played today, were unknown games.  What was known as townball, however, was a popular sport.  This was played with a yarn ball covered with leather, or a hollow, inflated rubber ball, both of which were soft and yielding and not likely to inflict injury as is so common today in baseball.  Townball was much played in the schoolhouse yard during recess and at the noon hour.
-Illinois in the Fifties, or, A decade of Development, 1851-1860

References to town ball, like the one above, are fairly common.  They come from a variety of histories that were written in the last quarter of the 19th century or at the beginning of the 20th century and are based on the recollections of people who were children during the settlement period of the Trans-Appalachian frontier.  So many of these references revolve around the subject's school days that it's fairly well established that town ball was one of the most popular games played by school children during the first half of the 19th century.  Sadly, most of the historical references to town ball come from these secondary sources and primary source references to the game, outside of Philadelphia, are rare.

I've collected a lot of these town ball references from secondary source material but this one stands out for one reason.  The writer, Charles Beneulyn Johnson, was writing about his childhood in Pocahontas, Illinois, which is maybe fifty miles east of St. Louis, and this is the first reference to town ball that I've seen from the area.  While there are not many primary source references to bat and ball games in St. Louis prior to 1859, I have found several references to games within a fifty to a hundred mile radius during the 1820-1850 period and I think that's significant.  If these games were being played in the general region, I would argue that this is evidence that they were being played in St. Louis.  It's not the conclusive evidence I'm looking for but it helps.

Also, I like Pocahontas.  It's a nice little town.  If you're ever there, stop at the Powhaten and get something to eat.  They have great food.           

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

It's Like Christmas Morning

The Reds have been practising daily at their park during the past week.  They will not play to-day as the Atlantics have engaged the park for their own use.  The work on the new fence at the park is well under way and will soon be completed.  Their new uniforms will be done to day.  This uniform consists of a gray cap, gray shirt and gray pants, all trimmed with red, and red stockings.  The nine is now definitely fixed with "Pack" Dillon, Dan. Morgan, Wm. Redmon, J. Blong, John McSorley, Chas. Houtz, Arthur Croft, Thos. Oran, and Chas. Sweasy.  John Dillon will be the tenth man.  Sweasy is a new man, and will arrive in the city on Tuesday [April 13].  He was one of the old Cincinnati Red Stockings and is a very strong player.
-St. Louis Republican, April 11, 1875

Issues of the St. Louis Republican, covering 1873 through 1876, are now online at the website of the State Historical Society of Missouri.  I'm giddy with excitement.  I spent like two minutes playing around with the search engine and found the date of Charlie Sweasy's arrival in St. Louis and a nice description of the Reds' uniforms.  I'm going to have a lot of fun with this.      

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Browns Enter A Float In The Parade

Sportsman's Park Association have a miniature representation of the entrance to their park on the front of their float.  Three bats, each about 20 feet long, are crossed over the middle of the car and from their intersection a huge base ball depends.  Ten uniformed boys will be in position on a miniature diamond and at the back of the float a decorated bulletin will show the standing of the American Association Clubs...
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 27, 1884

I wish I had a picture of this float, which was entered in the Trades' Display Association parade.  It must have made quite the impression. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

We Won The Fight

[From the Pittsburg Dispatch, August 25.]
President Lucas, of the Union Association, arrived in the city yesterday in company with his famous team of ball players from St. Louis.  During the conversation last evening he expressed himself as highly pleased with the turn of affairs in the base ball world, and serenely confident in the ultimate success of the association which he has created and now represents.  In response as to how the battle was progressing, he replied, with a smile and an air of refreshing confidence.  "Why, there is no battle; the strife ended some weeks since.  We won the fight against great odds and are now on top.  Next season the Union Association will be composed of eight clubs, representing an equal number of the best and largest cities in the United States."

"Will Pittsburg be down on the list?"

"Most assuredly, and I have every reason to believe with a better nine than has represented the city for years."

"What will be the attitude of the Union Association towards the older associations?"

"Well, we will force them to recognize the validity of contracts with players at least, by an agreement which will protect the interests of all.  The reserve rule will also become a thing of the past.  In fact, it is as good as overthrown at the present time."

"How about players' salaries?"

"The days of high-priced men are numbered.  With the breaking up of the Northwestern League a great many first-class players were thrown upon the market, and the demand will not be so great as heretofore."

"Will the old associations be as strong next season as heretofore?"

"I can not say positively as to that, but I am satisfied that at least four of the American Association clubs will drop out, while the existence of League teams in Cleveland, Detroit and Buffalo will depend largely upon the amount of money certain private gentlemen in each city are willing to put up.

"Do you expect a stampede of players to the Union ranks this fall?"

"Hardly a stampede, but we will be able to get all the first-class players we need.  There are very few men in the American Association that we want.  Our attention will be directed mostly to the League, and about the only material we want from that source is their batteries."
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 27, 1884


I guess I could sit here and, with the gift of hindsight, nitpick this interview apart.  But why bother.  Lucas was basking in the glow of his "refreshing confidence" which I think would have been more accurately described as self-delusion.  I can't really fault him for the Sunny Jim routine because, I guess, it's important for a salesman and a leader to project confidence. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: One Of The Rankest Ever Played

The weather to-day, although a trifle too warm to play ball, was all that the spectators desired.  About 2,000 persons assembled at the Exposition Park to enjoy the exhibition.  In contrast with the preceding day's game this was, as Shafer more tritely than elegantly expressed it, "one of the rankest ever played."  The St. Louis representatives fielded execrably and piled error on top of error until it really became monotonous.  Notwithstanding the loose playing of the visitors, it was a very exciting and closely contested game, the score standing 5 to 4 in favor of the Lucas nine.  The Pittsburg team were first at bat, and on errors by Whitehead and Baker and a triple and double-bagger by Gardner and Suck, scored 3 runs.  After that it was a succession of blanks until the ninth inning, when, after Ellick was retired at first, Kreig batted a long hit for two bases, Gardner struck out and Schoeneck hit for two bases, earning Kreig's run.  The visitors did not score until the fourth inning, when, after Rowe had been thrown out by Atkinson at first, Gleason and Boyle were given their bases on balls and Sweeney and Quinn made base hits bringing in 3 runs and tieing the score.  In the next inning, aided by an error by Suck, Shafer getting his base on balls and a base hit by Gleason, 2 more runs were credited to the visitors, which won them the game.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 27, 1884

Friday, August 17, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: Lucas' Pets Head East

This afternoon was the time fixed for the appearance of the new Pittsburg Union Club at the Exposition Park.  They were pitted against the St. Louis Unions.  Jupiter Pluvius seemed inclined to oppose meeting one hour before the opening of the game and doubtless kept a great number from attending.  However, between 2,500 and 3,000 people witnessed one of the finest games ever played hereabouts.  It took eleven sharp innings to decide the contest.  Hard hitting and sharp fielding were the features of the game, and the pitchers of both nines were excellently supported especially by their respective catchers.  Daly and Kreig occupied the points for the home nine, while Werden and Brennan acted in the same capacity for the visitors.  Dunlap, of the Mound City nine, covered second base in his usual unapproachable style.  Joe Battin, at third, for the home team, received quite an ovation.  All present enjoyed the fine exhibition to the fullest extent.  A fight was started in the 25-cent place, but was quickly squelched by the energetic management.  
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 26, 1884

This was the first game of a twenty-two game eastern road trip.  The Maroons wouldn't play in St. Louis again until September 28. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

How Two-Arm Daily Became One-Arm Daily

Very few people are acquainted with the way in which Hugh Daly, the famous on-armed pitcher of the Chicago Unions, lost his arm.  He was employed in the Front Street Theater, in Baltimore, and one night, while mixing up some red fire and other fancy lights to be used in a spectacular play, there was a terrible explosion, and poor Hughey was knocked senseless.  When he regained consciousness his left hand and forearm were a shapeless mass.  It was injured so badly that amputation was necessary.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 25, 1884

As soon as I read this, I was certain that the story wasn't true.  According to his bio in Major League Baseball Profiles, 1871-1900, Volume 2, at the age age of thirteen, Daily "was reportedly shot through the left wrist with a loaded musket in backstage horseplay at Baltimore's Front Street Theater...Daily ever after that was in effect one-handed..."  I always make the joke that One-Arm Daily actually had two arms and I'm pretty darn sure that there was no amputation.  To the best of my knowledge, he had two arms and two hands but the one hand didn't work after the accident.  A better joke, made in Profiles, is that Daily's true handicap was his temper. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

In An Alternative Universe, He Became Spider-Man

Frank McLaughlin, of the Kansas City Unions, while on a train last Wednesday night, en route from St. Louis to Kansas City, was bitten over the right eye by a spider.  The Kansas City Times said that on his arrival home "he looked as if he had taken second money in a catch-as-catch-can scrap."
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 25, 1884

Well, I guess the spider would have had to have been radioactive or genetically altered or something like that.  If it had been, Frank McLaughlin would have become Spider-Man eighty years before Peter Parker.

And I'm looking forward to seeing the kind of spam that a reference to Spider-Man will bring to the website.     

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: The Best Contest They Had Ever Witnessed

Over 7,000 persons witnessed yesterday's game at the Union Grounds.  Strengthened by the Cleveland trio the Crincinnati Unions undoubtedly present the strongest team that has visited St. Louis this year, and, while they are a magnificent appearing lot of men, the League discipline has penetrated their ranks, and their movements on the field now resemble those of a military organization rather than a ball team.  The sensational feature of yesterday's game was the appearance on the Union grounds of Tom Dolan, who for so many years has rendered the Brown Stockings good service.  The game was not called promptly, and the crowd fretted and fumed for ten or fifteen minutes.  They were not aware of the fact that Dolan was dressing preparatory to taking the place of Baker behind the bat.  Baker was not feeling well, and so Dolan's services were brought into play.  As Tom walked out of the Union club house, accompanied by Sweeny, a small boy shouted: "There's Tom Dolan.  He is coming out to catch Sweeny."  The news spread like wildfire, and as Dolan walked across the field a cheer was sent up the like of which has not often been heard on the grounds.  It told that Dolan was a prime favorite with the people, and that if a quarrel had taken place between him and his old employers the base-ball-loving public were willing to take his side of it.  He was not only cheered when he crossed the field, but given a genuine ovation when he went in to face Sweeney, when he put on his mask, when he went to bat and when he made the hit which brought in the only run the St. Louis team scored in the game.  Early yesterday morning Dolan told Mr. Lucas that he has severed all connection with the Brown Stocking Club. 

Dolan's Explanation.

"I and my friends said he believed that I have been doing as good work behind the bat and with the stick as Deasley, and though he is paid nearly twice as much as me I have not complained on that score, but only asked that I be allowed to alternate with him in the catcher's position.  This privilege is granted on all nines, and that I was able to hold my own I think was proven on the late trip, as I caught in the two games we won from Colombus, while Deasley caught the two we lost at Louisville.  It was fairly and squarely my turn to catch to-day, and I asked to be allowed to do so, but both Von der Ahe and Williams refused me that privilege.  Being tired of being made a fool of I told Von der Ahe that I was done working for him."

Dolan, after making this statement, offered his services to Mr. Lucas.  The latter declined to sign Dolan then but asked him to call at the Union Grounds before the game in the afternoon, which he promised to do.  Then Dolan consulted a lawyer, who is also a personal friend, by whom he was advised to ask of Mr. Von der Ahe that he be allowed to catch in the game against the Indianapolis Club and in the event of a refusal, to at once sever his connection with the Browns and join the Unions.  According to Dolan's story he went to Sportsman's Park yesterday afternoon and said to Mr. Von der Ahe, "Are you going to let me catch," to which that gentleman replied, "Put on your uniform."  This Dolan accepted as an order to go on the field as tenth man, and, instead of complying, he suggested that the President of the Browns should visit the infernal regions.  Mr. Von der Ahe retorted, "I'll put you through for that," and Dolan walked out of the grounds, boarded a streetcar and rode down to Union Park, where he arrived just in time to take part in the game.  He signed no contract, but was taken at his word that he had left the Browns for good and was looking for employment, and was sent out in Baker's place to support Sweeny.  Mr. Lucas left with his team for Pittsburg last night.  Before going he told Dolan not to act hastily, and promised to engage him on Thursday next for the Union team, provided he still felt like signing with that organization.  If he signs he will be taken on the Eastern trip.

A Great Game.

The home team were the first to bat and were retired without scoring.  In the second inning, after Harbidge had made a safe hit, Sylvester reached first but forced Harbidge at second, Sweeny getting the ball and throwing to Dunlap.  McCormick then hit hard to right field for two bases, sending Sylvester to third.  McQuery, the new man, followed with a bounding hit along the foul line, which the crowd pronounced foul, but which Seward said was fair.  Two runs crossed the plate, and they were the only runs the visitors got in the game.  In the fifth inning, after two men were out, the local nine scored their only run.  Boyle made a terrific hit to center and Burns, who ran well for the ball, just reached and muffed it, Boyle going to second on the drop.  Dolan then hit a hot grounder at Crane.  The latter let the ball get by him and Boyle scored.  From the fifth to the ninth, the home nine worked like Trojans to score.  Dunlap drove the ball away over the left field fence, and it seemed to sail safe, but the umpire called "foul."  Other long hits were made, but the fielders took in everything that happened along.  In the ninth Shaffer hit a beauty to left for two bases, Rowe sensibly sacrificed and Shaffer trotted to third.  Then Gleason went to the bat and a hit to the outfield on which Shaffer could score was looked for, but instead the ball was sent rolling to Crane, who threw home and Briody caught Shaffer at the plate.  Boyle was the last chance, but he proved an easy victim for McCormick, who struck him out, and the game was at an end.  Sweeny and McCormick both pitched in grand form.  On total bases Sweeny was the most effective.  Briody and Dolan both caught magnificently.  The game as a whole was both brilliant and exciting, and the spectators were constantly manifesting their enthusiastic appreciation of the exhibition.  As a matter of fact, some of the oldest patrons of the national game in the city declared it was the best contest they had ever witnessed on any ball field.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 24, 1884

There's so much going on in this article that I have to go to the bullet points:

  • With the addition of the three National Leaguers, Cincinnati was every bit the club that St. Louis was and their record the rest of the way proved that.  If Cincinnati had started the season with this roster, there would have been a serious pennant race.
  • The argument that the UA was a one team league doesn't stand up.  Yes, it took Cincinnati until August to put their team together but, again, Cincinnati was the equal of St. Louis.  
  • But the league was a mess.  The weakness of the rosters were a direct result of Lucas' decision not to sign players who were already under contract.  This was a noble decision but, in the end, it hurt the quality of league.  By August, when Lucas and the rest of the UA got tired of the NL and AA poaching players from their rosters, that policy was thrown out and Cincinnati was able to strengthen their club.
  • And the Maroons were able to add a catcher.  If Lucas had stuck to the old policy of not signing players already under contract, he never would have signed Dolan.
  • But, seriously, what kind of league allows a guy to walk in off the street, tell them he just quit his old club and then starts him without even signing him to a contract?  That's about as bush league as it gets. 
  • Dolan's explanation of why he quit the Browns was also kind of weak.  He basically said that he was better than Deasley, didn't get to play enough and wasn't happy with his pay.  So he quit and ran over to the Union Grounds looking for a new job.
  • Also, it should be noted that this was an exhibition rather than a league game.     

Monday, August 13, 2012

The St. Louis Base Ball Club

Tomorrow, I'll get to the great St. Louis/Cincinnati exhibition game of August 23, 1884, when Tom Dolan made his debut with the Maroons, but first I have to pass this along:

The St. Louis Base Ball Club, composed of men with money, has undertaken to pay the traveling expenses of a strong nine of colored baseballists to travel through the Eastern States early 1871.  They desire the address of the secretaries of colored clubs in the United States North.
-Daily Observer (Utica, NY), November 29, 1870

James Brunson sent this to be last week and it's extremely interesting.  First, Brunson identifies the club in question as the Brown Stockings, a black club that I have seen a few references to but nothing this early.  Also, I love the fact that the club goes by the name of the St. Louis Base Ball Club.  This was the same official name of the NA/NL Brown Stockings and the AA/NL Browns.  It's a name with a rich tradition and this club only adds to the legacy. 

I want to thank Dr. Brunson for taking the time to send this information to me so that I could share it with all of you. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

More On Dolan

I have to pass this along because it's full of awesome:

A master of deception his entire career, Tom Dolan claimed to be 17 when he caught for the independent St. Louis Reds in 1876, but he was really 21.  He then spent the next dozen years deceiving ML teams into believing he was a good player even though most of the evidence was to the contrary.  His grandest deception of all was actually not of his making - seemingly not, anyway.  For a number of years The Sporting News Official Baseball Record Book recognized him as the record holder for the most outfield assists in a season with 63 in 1883 even though most of his assists that year came as a catcher.

Nevertheless, Dolan truly does own some significant distinctions.  Beginning in 1877, he was Jim Galvin's most frequent catcher until Galvin became an established ML pitcher in 1879.  Later in his career he became the only man ever to catch for three different St. Louis teams in three different major leagues in three different seasons (1883-1885).  But perhaps his chief claim to sports fame is that in the mid-1880s he was the best handball player in baseball, so good that even Fred Dunlap, who fancied himself the kingpin, assiduously avoided playing Dolan.  Finally, Dolan perpetrated one of the bloodiest on-field fights in baseball history on May 11, 1887, while playing for Lincoln of the Western League, when he and Denver's Pat Tebeau went at it so savagely that each was fined the munificent sum of $5.  It was his customary way of taking care of business on and off the field.  Soon after joining the Browns in 1883, Dolan, according to the St. Louis Republican, hired a teammate to beat up first-string catcher Pat Deasley so that he could obtain the job.

The son of John Dolan, a saloonkeeper whose business catered to a rough, working-class crowd that disregarded the racial boundaries then in sway in St. Louis, Dolan and his father openly bankrolled a local "colored" team in St. Louis called the Black Stockings in the early 1880s after he had already begun to play professionally.  Dolan remained an active player until 1890, when his 3-year-old son died while he was playing in the Western Association.  The following year he joined the St. Louis fire department, having earlier been a fireman during the off-season.  Seriously injured in an electrical accident in 1894, he recovered to captain the fire department team for several more years.  Never one for taking great care of himself, Dolan died in St. Louis in 1913 of cirrhosis of the liver.
-Major League Baseball Profiles, 1871-1900, Volume 1

I have absolutely no problem admitting that this brief but wonderfully witty biography of Dolan, written by David Nemec and David Ball, is substantially better than any biography I contributed to the project.  If you've yet to pick up the two volumes of MLB Profiles or the companion The Rank and File of 19th Century Major League Baseball, you're missing out.  They're just full of great stuff like this.       

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Breach Has Been Greatly Widened

A Globe-Democrat reporter, who was at the Sportsman's Park, interviewed Mr. Von der Ahe, President of the St. Louis Club, upon Dolan's jump.  He did not appear to be greatly disgruntled at the jump, and explained the matter so far as he could, as follows:

"Dolan's work so far as his catching was concerned was all satisfactory, but his throwing to bases was getting worse and worse, and cost us so many games that the other men did not feel safe with him behind the bat, and urged that Deasley catch on all occasions.  Dolan has been very hard to please.  When he did not catch he complained, and when he was put on to catch he kicked.  He was of little service to us of late, and men ran bases on him with impunity, and while making an occasional hit his batting and base running were ordinarily very poor.  We are through our hard work and with Deasley and Krehmeyer we can get along very well without him.  I had no thought of re-engaging him next year.  To-day I told him to put on his uniform when he objected and said he was going to quit.  I told him what the consequences would be to him and he made no answer, and I presume went straight from here to the Union Park.  He wanted to catch more and the men felt safer with Deasley - that was all there was in it.  He will never play on the St. Louis Browns again, even if he were younger and more capable."

Mr. Von der Ahe showed no feeling in the matter whatever, and smiled at the indignation expressed by the friends of the club, who were loud in their denunciation of Dolan's conduct, and openly expressed opinions that the jump was not the result of an impulse, but of a tempting offer from the Unions.  The breach between the two local professional base ball organizations has been greatly widened by the occurrence.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 24, 1884

I love that last sentence and find it to be a tasty bit of understatement.  You have to wonder if Dolan's name came up in the fall when Von der Ahe and Lucas where negotiating the Maroons' entry into the NL. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Tom Dolan Jumps To The Maroons

Thos. Dolan, Outlaw

Dolan, of the St. Louis Browns, caught for the St. Louis Unions to-day and says he will play with the Browns no longer in consequence of the alleged ill-treatment by the management.  His action produced quite a sensation in baseball circles and a great crowd greeted him at the Union park, this afternoon.  It is said to-night that he will sign with the Union next week.
-Milwaukee Sentinel, August 24, 1884

About four years ago, while writing about the St. Louis Whites, I wrote the following about Mr. Dolan:

[Tom Dolan] played seven seasons in the major leagues between 1879 and 1888; played with the Browns in 1883 and 1884 before jumping to the Maroons (for whom he played in all three seasons of their existence); after the breakup of the Whites, Dolan rejoined the Browns; played baseball in St. Louis in four different leagues: the AA, UA, NL, and WA; after he retired from baseball, Dolan served as a fireman in St. Louis...

His first game as an outlaw was on August 23, when the Maroons played Cincinnati in an exhibition game.  

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Jumbo McGinnis Rumor

Reports that Geo. McGinnis, of the Browns, had jumped his contract with the St. Louis Club and joined the Kansas City Unions, were in circulation last night.  They could not, however, be traced to any authentic source.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 24, 1884

Sullivan wished he could get a player of McGinnis' caliber.  He had been talking to the guys in the press about how he was going to upgrade the KC roster but all Sullivan ended up doing was signing a couple of guys from Evansville.   

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: An Animated And Excited Discussion

Nothing else but base ball and the row on the field to-day are talked of to-night.  It was another case of outrageous umpiring on the part of Seward, and following on the heels of his gift to the St. Louis Club yesterday, it was a little more than the home nine could stand.  The scene was a most exciting one at the time of the rank decision.  It was in the ninth inning, with the score standing six to two in favor of the Kansas Citys, and two men were out, Brennan and Werden having second and first base, respectively, when Whitehead hit safely to right field, and Brennan, attempting to score, was thrown out at the home-plate by Shafer.  Baldwin stood squarely on the line to the left of the home-plate and three fee towards third, and as Brennan passed him touched him beyond any question of doubt.  Admitting for the sake the sake of argument that he should have failed to touch him, Brennan could not have reached the home-plate without running so far out of line that he would have been declared out by any fair-minded umpire for so doing.  It was the last chance, however, and Seward took advantage of it by declaring Brennan safe at home.  The decision was so manifestly unjust that the audience rose as one man and a chorus of angry yells of "Put him out," "he's drunk," "he's a thief," etc., rang out and the players of both teams crowded around the plate indulged in an animated and excited discussion of the decision.  The visitors' support of the umpire was decidedly tame, and there is no question that if he had been decided out no word of protest would have been uttered by Manager Rowe or Capt. Dunlap, as they were satisfied they were defeated, and had already donned their Cardigan jackets preparatory to leaving the grounds.  The Kansas City players refused to go on with the game, and President McKim instructed the boys not to resume the game with Seward as umpire, although he expressed his willingness to continue the contest with some other umpire.  The result was that Seward decided the game in favor of St. Louis 9 to 0, not even waiting for the time to pass before he could legally do so.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 23, 1884

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Stealing Baseball Bats

John Edwards, a ten-year-old boy, who stole three base ball bats from Chas. E. Dunn, of 1637 Division street, was also fined $50 and committed to the House of Refuge.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 20, 1884

Monday, August 6, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: A Rank Decision

Umpire Seward kindly presented the St. Louis Club with the game to-day, to the great disgust of the spectators.  Owing to the rain-storm that occurred about noon the attendance at Athletic Park was not up to the standard, there being only about 500 spectators present, but they were more fully paid by a close and exciting game which was fairly won by the home team,. although, through a rank decision of Umpire Seward, the St. Louis team were given the game by a score of 6 to 4, the champions being compelled to play the tenth inning.  At the opening of the ninth inning the score was 4 to 3 in favor of St. Louis.  The Lucas sluggers were retired consecutively as they came to the bat, and Black opened the ball for the local team with a hard drive for two bases and scored on Oberbeck got to second on a close decision.  Voss followed with a beautiful hit to right center, one which Oberbeck scored fairly, without any shadow of a doubt and thus won the game, but Umpire Seward decided him out, apparently to even up on his close decision in Overbeck's favor at second.  The audience rose to a man, as it was plain to be seen that Overbeck's left foot had trod the plate before he was touched on the right leg by Brennan, and a perfect howl of disgust and execretion went up from the crowd.  The side being retired and the score a tie, the tenth inning was commenced, and Voss, seeming to lose heart after Seward's decision, was hit hard for 2 earned runs, Rowe leading with a single and scoring 1 on Boyle's two-bagger, the latter also making the circuit on sacrifices by Sweeny and Quinn.  The home team were blanked, Baldwin leading off with a nice clean hit over second, Strauss and Strief both flying out to Sweeny, and Cudworth to Rowe.  The features of the game were the batting of Black of the home team and Rowe for the visitors.  Cudworth played a perfect game at first and got a hit.  the outfield work of the home team excelled that of the visitors and the infield was fully as good, and Voss was decidedly more effective in the pitcher's box than Werden.  
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 22, 1884

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: Just Another Win

The St. Louis and Kansas City Unions closed their championship series in St. Louis yesterday afternoon.  Voss and Baldwin formed the battery for the Kansas Citys, and a first-class team they proved to be.  Voss' pitching was very effective up to the eighth inning.  At that point he was hit quite hard, the home team earning 2 of the 3 runs they then scored.  The best feature of the game was the fine outfielding of Black, who made three very pretty catches.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 21, 1884

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A Complete Reorganization

Arrangements were completed to-day for the immediate transfer of the Chicago Union Base Ball Club to [Pittsburgh.]  They will be taken in charge by the Exposition Park Association, which will divide the profits, if there are any, with President Henderson.  The club will be known as the Pittsburg Union.  Its first game in this city will be with the St. Louis club on the 26th inst.  A number of additional players will be signed, and the management say they will spare no expense to make the club one of the best in the country...

Arrangements were perfected yesterday by Messrs. Lucas and Thorner respectively, the Presidents of the Cincinnati and St. Louis clubs, for the complete reorganization of the Union Association in 1885.  Eight clubs are to form the association, together with an Eastern and Western alliance.  A large guarantee fund is to be placed in the hands of the Association Treasurer at the annual meeting, and this fund is to be used in assisting all clubs needing assistance during the season and to assist all clubs in strengthening their respective nines.  The seventy-five dollar guarantee is to be done away with and ll clubs will give 30 per cent of their gross receipts to the visiting teams.  Of the eight cities who are to admitted to membership three have a population of over 100,000 each, two have a population of over 200,000 each and the remaining three have a population of over 300,000.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 20, 1884 

Friday, August 3, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: Strauss Is A Miserable Failure Behind The Bat

The Kansas City's catcher, "Kid" Baldwin, missed Monday night's train at Kansas City, and as a result failed to reach St. Louis in time to play in yesterday's game.  Strauss was substituted, and proved a miserable failure behind the bat.  In fact, Black was unable to put on speed at any stage, and as a result he was hit hard all through the game.  Besides letting the ball pass him whenever given a chance, Strauss was lazy about recovering the ball, while his throwing to bases was always wild.  This accounts for the bad beating the visitors received, for, except Strauss, all played very well.  The best playing on the Kansas City side was done by Shafer at right field, and Cudworth at first base.  Boyle made his inaugural appearance at third base, and covered the position so well that he will be retained there until Jack Gleason's hand is perfectly healed.  Werden was hit hard in the first and last inning, but during the rest of the game he was very effective.  Brennan supported him in fine style.  About 1,500 persons witnessed the game.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 20, 1884

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: Roster Moves

Frank Bell was signed as catcher by the St. Louis Unions yesterday.  He is a St. Louis boy.

Tom Ryder was given his release by the St. Louis Unions yesterday and returns to his home in Dubuque.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 20, 1884

I'm not sure exactly what Lucas was doing here.  Bell never played in a league game for the Maroons and Ryder seemed to be a decent player.  I know that Jack Gleason was banged up and would miss the upcoming series against Kansas City and that the club wasn't getting many days off due to the number of exhibition games that Lucas was scheduling.  The Maroons never did find the quality catcher that Lucas wanted and Bell certainly wasn't the answer but I guess I can see his use, if the club was going to start him in exhibition games while resting Baker and Brennan.  We'll see. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: Omaha Claims The Championship Of St. Louis

Three weeks ago the Omahas beat the St. Louis Browns by a score of 7 to 0.  On Saturday they beat the Prickly Ash by a score of 11 to 1, and on Sunday they beat the Prickly Ash again, this time by a score of 13 to 3.  Yesterday to add to their laurels they won a game from the St. Louis Unions in the presence of 1,500 persons and by a score of 3 to 2.  Although the home team outbatted and outfielded the visitors the latter won, but by a very close shave.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 19, 1884

As I was reading through the August 1884 editions of the Globe, I saw Omaha beating the Browns and the Prickly Ash and then saw that they challenged the Maroons to a game.  I was actually hoping that they beat Lucas' pets because it made for a better story.  By beating the three best teams in St. Louis, Omaha had a legitimate claim to the baseball championship of St. Louis and that's an interesting little wrinkle to the story of the 1884 baseball season in St. Louis.