Thursday, January 31, 2013

Solving The Mystery Of The Empire Juniors

A game of base ball, the first of a series of three for the championship, will come off at the Base Ball Park, to-day, commencing at 2 o'clock, and will be played by the Empires and Eckfords.  The latter club was formerly the Empire, Jr.  Since its organization it has made rapid progress, and will undoubtedly give the champions a lively opposition.
-Missouri Republican, September 12, 1869

The other day I noted that the Empire, Jr., had changed their name early in the 1869 season and the article I quoted implied that they had simply changed their name to Empire.  I wasn't sure what to make of that and puzzled over it.  Here, however, we find all of the answers we were looking for.  The Empire, Jr., changed their name to the Eckfords, joined the Missouri Base Ball Association (as we saw in another post a couple of days ago) and competed against the Empires for the championship.  Problem solved. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


The match between the Empire and Rowena took place on the afternoon of the 11th, at the Base Ball Park, and called forth a goodly attendance of the friends of either club.  The Empire Club made a fine appearance on the field in their very handsome new uniform, and also presented for the first time their new catcher, O'Ran, who made good play throughout the game, and will prove a valuable acquisition to the club.  The "Rowenas" belong in South St. Louis; have a good reputation as ball players, and are a very fine appearing set of men, physically.  It was evident from the early part of the game that they were not of sufficient calibre to successfully cope with their opponents, yet they played their "level best" with determination and with good nature, enjoying even their own discomfitures as heartily almost as the friends of their adversaries.  Occasionally they gave an example of heavy batting, and throughout the game their infielders did well.

The Empire Club was represented by its full first nine, though three of them were not really in good health.  Their batting was excellent generally, but still there is a chance for improvement, by ceasing to bat "sky balls," of which they had several "muffed" by the Rowenas.  Their throwing to bases and base-running were superior to anything hereabouts, and demonstrated their ability to play a first-class game with any "cousins" from abroad.
-Missouri Republican, July 13, 1869

I'm not ashamed to admit that it took me a little while to figure this out.  I looked at the name "O'Ran" and thought it was odd.  Maybe the guys name was O'Brian and they just got it wrong in the paper.  But then it struck me:  O'Ran is Tom Oran and this was his first game with the Empires. 

In 1875, Oran, while playing with the Red Stockings, would become the first Native American to play in the major leagues and he was a major figure in the St. Louis, post-war, amateur baseball era.  I'm pretty sure that he wasn't Irish. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Nine St. Louis Boys

A match game of base ball was lately played by the boys of the Vermont Episcopal Institute, in which nine St. Louis boys were victorious against the picked nine of the Academy. 
-Missouri Republican, June 13, 1869

I think this is kind of significant because it has to be the first Eastern victory by a St. Louis baseball team.  At a time when the best Eastern clubs were coming to St. Louis and beating the best St. Louis clubs rather handily, here was a group of St. Louis boys, at school in Vermont, getting the job done.  It may not have been a victory over Cincinnati or Eckford but it was a still a win at a time when St. Louis was still trying to establish a national baseball reputation. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Empire Juniors Change Their Name

The Empire, Jr., Base Ball Club, of this city, at the last meeting of the club changed part of their name, from Junior to Senior.  Under their new designation, the club will be open to receive any challenge sent them.
Missouri Republican, April 16, 1869

I'm really not sure what to make of this.  I always assumed that the Empire, Jr., were the junior nine of the Empire Club and that the club we know as the Empires was the senior nine.  It was common for a club during the pioneer era to have multiple nines, including a junior club, and, in St. Louis, we see a lot of clubs designated as "Jr."  This was especially true during the war years.

But this just confuses me.  Did the Empires' junior club "graduate" to become the senior club?  Based on box scores from 1865 to 1874, I know that the core of the Empires first nine didn't change that much and it doesn't appear that the make-up of the changed much in 1869. So I don't think we see a "graduation" or the juniors brought up, wholesale, to the senior club.  Was the Empires' first nine always the junior club?  That doesn't appear to be likely.  Was the Empire Jr. even affiliated with the Empire Club at all?  I believed that they were and it fits a general pattern from the era.  Were there two clubs known as the Empires?  Was there the championship first nine of the Empire Club and the Empire, Sr. (formerly Jr.) nine?  This is probably the most likely answer and the junior club, as they got older, remained affiliated with the Empire Club but dropped the junior moniker.

It's a muddle.      

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The 1869 Missouri State Base Ball Association

The adjourned meeting of the State Base Ball Convention occured last evening, in the hall of the Empire Club, on Third street, Capt. C. Overbeck, temporary Chairman.

On call of the Convention it was found that the following Clubs were represented:

Union, Empire, Lone Star, Resolute, Magnolia, Rowena, St. Louis, Iron State, Olympic, Eckford, Missouri, Baltic, Buck Eye, Atlantic, Haymakers, Turner.

The election of permanent officers resulted in choice of Asa W. Smith, of the Unions, President; James Foster, of St. Louis, 1st Vice President; Joseph Ketterer, of Lone Star, 2d Vice President; F.T. Caroll, of Resolute, 3d Vice President; Thos. McCorkle, of Union, Recording Secretary; G.D. Barklege, of Iron State, Corresponding Secretary; C. Overbeck, of Lone Star, Treasurer.

After which, a committee of five were appointed to draft a constitution and by-laws, who were instructed to report at the adjourned meeting on the 18th inst.
-Missouri Republican, June 11, 1869

To the best of my knowledge, the Missouri State Base Ball Association was founded in 1868 so this would have been the second election of officers.  While Asa Smith was reelected president of the association in 1869, it appears that all of the other officers were new. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The 1884 Maroons: A Plucky Lot Of Players

The meeting at the Union Grounds yesterday afternoon of the St. Louis and Baltimore Unions, resulted in a closely played and interesting contest, the visitors holding their own all through, and, while they outbatted the home team, they were only defeated by a single run.  The game was full of pretty stops, good catches in the field and good throws in to head runners off at the plate.  There were few errors on either side, and the few that were made were all excusable.  The batting from first to last was free and hard, and the outfielders on both sides were given plenty to do.  The Baltimore boys proved themselves a plucky lot of players, and a nine likely to lower the St. Louis' colors at any moment.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 30, 1884

Friday, January 25, 2013

The 1884 Maroons: When The Champions Appeared

An artist could not have painted the ball field at the Union Grounds a prettier color than did the rain of Friday and Saturday night.  The close-shaven lawn, the smooth cinder path and the white oblique lines running away into the field looked brighter than ever before, and the flags which flew before the brisk breeze, and the dense crowd which poured into the park from the moment the gates were opened, told plainer than words that the champions were at home again and that "reception day" was at hand.  "How big a crowd have you in here to-day?" an enthusiast asked one of the officers of the club.

"According to turnstile count," was the reply, "we have 14,500, but according to the box-office count there are about 7,250 people in here."

The crowd was as noisy too as it was large, and when the champions appeared their reception was of the boisterous kind, the cheering being simply terrific...

The home team, who were first to the bat, settled the contest in the very opening inning.  Dunlap, to start off with, sent the ball high over the left fielder's head and easily reached second.  Shafor flew out to center, and then Rowe duplicated Dunlap's stroke, the latter scoring.  Gleason hit safe past third, and Rowe scored the second earned run.  Dolan hit to Robinson, who, instead of sending the ball home, fumbled and threw wild to first.  Shoeneck stopped the ball, and then threw it over Battin's head.  As a result, both Gleason and Boyle scored.  The next two men were retired in order.  Seery, for the Baltimores, led off with a terrific double-bagger to center, which Rowe tried hard to get, but failed.  Fusselbach hit to Sweeny, and Seery, who foolishly tried to steal home, was caught at the plate.  Robinson had just before been thrown out at first by Dunlap, and a high fly from Graham's bat, which was also cared for by Dunlap, ended the inning.  The St. Louis in the sixth increased their long lead.  In the eighth, when there were three on bases, Whitehead sent the ball over the right fielder's head and brought in two runs, reaching second himself.  Dunlap, just to keep the ball rolling, sent it flying over the left fence and trotted all the way around.  In the seventh the Baltimores scored their only run...
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 29, 1884

This is the first reference I've seen referring to the Maroons as champions.  They clinched the championship of the UA on September 9, with an 11-3 victory over Wilmington, during their month-long road trip and this was their first appearance at home since then.  It seems like a nice crowd showed up at the grounds to welcome back the champions.

Also, I should point out that the first two sentences of this article are a rather nice piece of baseball writing.  I thought the baseball writing in the Globe, after William Spink left, was rather pedestrian but this is nice work. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

What Kind Of League Was This, Part Twenty-Three

The St. Paul (Minn.) Club was elected a member of the Union Association yesterday, and will fill the dates the Wilmington Club would have filled if it had not disbanded.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 25, 1884

It was the end of September and there were something like fourteen or fifteen games left in the season.  What was the point, exactly, of adding the St. Paul club to the UA?  They ended up playing all of nine games and went 2-6, with a tie.  Ridiculous.

Somebody please explain to me again why the UA is considered a major league.   

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The 1884 Maroons: Coming Home

The St. Louis Unions closed their Eastern tour with yesterday's game with the Bostons.  They left Boston last night for home and will have a day's rest prior to their meeting with the Baltimore Unions...

From now until the close of the season all games played on week days at the Union Grounds will be called at 3:30, while the Sunday games will be called at sharp 3 o'clock.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 25, 1884

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The 1884 Maroons: Revenge

The St. Louis Unions nine took their revenge on the Boston team to-day, bad fielding losing the last game of the season in Boston for the home nine.  The Bostons batted Sweeney more easily than before, but the batters could not bunch their hits.  In the second inning, with men on second and third, Butler really lost the game by throwing wild to first when he had a good chance for the third out, thus allowing Boyle and Baker to score.  Afterward two other men scored in the same inning.  After two innings Shaw, whose shoulder was very lame, had to go to right field and Crane took his place.  Though Crane had never pitched before he did some phenomenal work, striking out the first three men and giving the St. Louis team but four safe hits in seven innings.  Errors gave the St. Louis a run in the fifth and a base on balls, and Boyle's hit to the left field corner for a home run gave them two more in the sixth.  More errors added another to their score in the eighth.  The Bostons scored in the fifth on a fumble by Whitehead, and two base hits and an error gave the home nine one more run in the ninth.  Mullins' center-field play was the feature of the game.  "Orator" Shaffer was presented with a cricket bat when he came to the plate.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 25, 1884

Monday, January 21, 2013

The 1884 Maroons: A Pure Gift

The Boston Unions took their third consecutive game from the St. Louis club to-day but the victory was a pure gift.  The St. Louis players faced Shaw for the third time in succession, and hit him harder than usual.  Sweeney, after a rest of two days, completely puzzled the Boston boys.  Fourteen times he struck men out, and only three safe hits were made off his delivery.  The game was not well-played in the field...The third inning settled the game.  Crane was the first man at the bat, and took his base on called balls.  He stole second and went to third as Dolan made a bad throw to catch him napping.  McCarty struck out, but O'Brien put in a base hit and Crane scored.  Then began a series of errors, consisting of a fumble by Gleason, a passed ball and missed third strike and a wild throw by Baker to the plate, gave 4 more unearned runs.  After this only two of the home nine reached first base, and one of these was retired in a double play...
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 24, 1884

This was the Maroons' fourth loss in a row, which was their longest losing streak of the season.  Heck, they only lost 19 games in 1884 so they basically took a fifth of their loses between September 18 and September 23. 

Dunlap, to the best of my knowledge, was still "visiting his mother."

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Man

It's with a heavy heart that I note the passing of Stan Musial, who died yesterday at the age of 92.  He was the greatest Cardinal of them all.  He was baseball's perfect warrior.  He was baseball's perfect knight.

I think the best thing you can say about Stan Musial is that he was a better man than he was a ballplayer.  And he was a hell of ballplayer.

Rest in peace, Mr. Musial.  

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Winter Warm-Up News

I meant to post this earlier but forgot.

My presentation at the Winter Warm-Up this weekend is at 2:30 on Sunday.  I had mentioned earlier that we were going to be doing our thing on Saturday but the schedule changed.  Sorry.  Should have mentioned it earlier.

On the bright side, there is no one scheduled in the room after us, so I can stay and answer questions till they kick us out.

Hope to see you there.    

Thursday, January 17, 2013

I Thought Dunlap Was An Orphan

Dunlap was visiting his mother in Philadelphia while the St. Louis Unions were being drubbed by the Bostons.  The weather is generally frigid for the St. Louis boys when Fred is not with them.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 24, 1884

I'm pretty sure Dunlap's parents were both dead in 1884.  In fact, without checking my notes, I believe both his parents were dead by the time Dunlap was twelve years old.  So either the biographical information we have about Dunlap is wrong or he was just making up an excuse to take some time off.   

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Union Teams Are Rapidly Going To Pieces

Phillips had a long talk with McCormick and Glasscock at Boston.  They are heartily sick of their contract, and wish themselves back in the National League.  The Union teams are rapidly going to pieces, and the association is plunging deeper and deeper into debt.  Muldoon indignantly denies the rumor that he desired to join Thorner's Union team at the time of McCormick's and Glasscock's desertion.  He says McCormick approached him and asked him to go with them, but he replied that he was not a contract-breaker. [Cleveland Leader.]  Mr. Glasscock requested the fact to be published that the above item is a fabrication from first to last.  There never was any such conversation held with Phillips; in fact, the latter would have not required much inducement to leave the Clevelands.  McCormick and Glasscock are entirely satisfied with their contract, and have no intention or desire to re-enter the League, as alleged above.  Their salary has always been promptly paid, and there has not been the least ground for fault-finding. - [Boston Globe.]
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 24, 1884

Notice that they don't deny the allegation that the league is falling apart and was in debt. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The 1884 Maroons: A Muffling And Fumbling Exhibition

For six innings to-day's game between the Boston and the St. Louis Union nines was close and interesting.  Neither side batted hard, and the fielding of both nines was good.  After that the Boston boys used the willow in lively style and the St. Louis men at the same time began a muffling and fumbling exhibition, which they kept up till the game was ended.  Between the hits and the errors in the last three innings Boston scored 12 runs, only 2 of which were earned.  In the ninth, of 6 runs scored none were earned.  The St. Louis team could do little or nothing with Shaw until the ninth inning, when they bunched their hits and earned a run, scoring also another, which was unearned.  Boston fielded magnificently throughout the game, the only error being Slattery's muff of a thrown ball.  The feature of the game was Crane's batting.  He made two home runs, once hitting the ball inside the fence away down to the left field corner, and in sending a terrific liner away over the twenty-five-foot fence at center field.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 23, 1884

Monday, January 14, 2013

The 1884 Maroons: St. Louis Could Do Nothing

For six innings to-day the St. Louis Unions could do nothing with Shaw, making but three scattered hits off his delivery.  They struck a batting streak in the seventh inning, and four hits, with a total of sixteen, earned them 3 runs.  The fielding of the home players contrasted very strongly with the work they have been doing lately.  The only fielding error was Irwin's fumble of a hot grounder out of his reach.  In the first inning Crane reached first base by driving one to Gleason, which was too hot for him.  Sweeny then threw wild to Quinn, who followed suit, and Crane was safe at third.  McCarty gave Baker a chance, but he fumbled the ball and was too late at first, while Crane scored the first run.  McCarty stole second and went to third on Hackett's single.  McCarty scored when the ball was thrown to second and then back to the plate, Hackett going to third on the play.  Shaw's sacrifices sent Hacket across the plate and Brown was the third man out, on strikes.  Slattery led off in the second with a two-bagger and cleverly stole third.  When Dolan threw to third he was coached home and was an easy out.  It was one, two three with the visitors in this inning, and then Crane opened the third with a drive for two bases.  McCarty hit a slow one to short and beat the ball to first, afterward stealing second.  O'Brien again fanned the air, instead of hitting the ball, but Hackett came to time with a rattling single, on which Crane and McCarty scored earned runs.  Quinn started off for St. Louis with a hit, being the first one of the visitors to reach first base.  Brown gave him a life by a bad throw and a put-out sent him to third.  Whitehead hit a long fly to left, which McCarty captured, and on his fine attempt to make a double at the plate Quinn scored, beating the ball.  In the sixth four errors by St. Louis, after two men were out, gave the Bostons 2 runs.  In the seventh inning Crane made the most terrific hit ever seen on the ground, lifting the ball on the fly almost to the entrance on the left-field corner.  It was a clear home-run without going over the fence, and Craine was cheered continuously as he sped around the bases.  As the visitors went to the bat in the seventh inning it began to rain, and after two hands had been disposed of, Dolan made a single, Quinn did the same thing, and then Baker and Whitehead each hit for two bases, 3 earned runs being the result.  After Sweeney had pitched four balls in the eighth the game was called on account of rain.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 21, 1884

Sunday, January 13, 2013

By The Way...

St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 10, 1884

I just did some math and it appears that the Maroons clinched the championship of the Union Association on September 9 with a 11-3 victory over Wilmington.  At that point, they were up twenty-five games with twenty four to play.  This was the first professional championship ever won by a St. Louis baseball club. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Joke Of A League

It is suspected that the Philadelphia Club paid Wilmington a bonus to disband.  Anyhow, they get Cusick and Nolan, the best battery, and Bastian, a wonderful young second baseman, whom Cleveland wanted.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 19, 1884

The Union Base Ball Association met [in Washington] to-day.  A financial statement showing the association to be in a prosperous condition, was presented.  The principal business which was under consideration was the application of the Milwaukee Club for admission to membership.  It was taken up and acted upon favorably.  A schedule of games was then arranged to suit the various clubs, some changes having been rendered necessary by the admission of Milwaukee and the disbandment of the Wilmington Club.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 20, 1884

The Pittsburg Unions disbanded Friday at Baltimore.  Schoeneeck, Strief, Battin, Ellick, Wheeler, Atkisson, Suck and Kreig were engaged by the Baltimore Unions.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 21, 1884

Friday, January 11, 2013

The 1884 Maroons Lose And A Kid Baldwin Story

St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 19, 1884

While in Boston last week, "Kid" Baldwin, of the Kansas City base ball team, was victimized to the extent of $250.  He had a check for that amount forwarded to him, and he gave it to a fellow named E. Craig to cash for him.  This Craig promised to do, but since receiving the check he has not been seen by Baldwin.  Craig is said to be a drummer for a New York house, and Baldwin was but slightly acquainted with him.
-St. Louis Globe Democrat, September 19, 1884

The Maroons' fifteen game winning streak ended in Washington on September 18 and, as they traveled to Boston for the last leg of their road trip, they were about to experience their longest losing streak of the season.

As to Kid Baldwin, somebody should write a book about that dude. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The 1884 Maroons: A Splendid Exhibition Of Ball-Playing

The game between the St. Louis and the Pitttsburg Unions at Union Park to-day was a splendid exhibition of ball-playing.  The fielding was excellent and both batteries did good work.  Dunlap played well.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 18, 1884

Don't ask me why but this game was played in Baltimore for some reason.  Oh, wait.  I know why.  It was because the UA was a joke. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The 1884 Maroons: Somebody Has Been Lying

St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 17, 1884

The story that President Lucas, of the Unions, had guaranteed the traveling expenses of the Wilmington Club on its Western tour if it would join the Union Association, is a pure Munchausenism.  He not only offered no inducement to that club to join the Union Association, but was opposed to its admission.  The fact is, somebody is lying. 
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 17, 1884

I really went into this project with an open mind and wanted to prove the skeptics wrong but the fact is that the Union Association was a joke.  Never again will I make the argument that the UA was a major league. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The 1884 Maroons: Clubs Disbanding Left And Right

St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 16, 1884

Since we're not getting much in the way of game accounts from the Maroons' games in Washington, here's something to file under "What Kind of League Was This?"

The game which was to have been played here today between the Kansas City and Wilmington Union Clubs did not take place, as the Wilmington Club disbanded.  Both clubs had entered the field, but when Manager Simmons saw but a handful of spectators he thought it best to disband without further delay.  The Wilmington Club has been a losing investment from the start.  All the players have been paid in full.  The collapse was unexpected, as President Lucas, of the St. Louis Unions, had promised to sustain the club while on its expensive western trip.  He agreed to pay all salaries, board bills and traveling expenses, while the Club was to receive its regular guarantee besides.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 16, 1884

Monday, January 7, 2013

Champions Beyond Question

The Eclipse nine defeated the Black Stockings yesterday at Compton Avenue Park, and are now the colored champions beyond question.  The attendance was very large.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 15, 1884

Sunday, January 6, 2013

It'll Be Interesting To See If This Series Came Off

It will doubtless surprise a few to learn that contracts have been signed and arrangements made for a series of games between the St. Louis Unions and the Louisville Club, who now stand third in the race for the American Association pennant.  The games will be played on Saturday and Sunday, October 25 and 26, and Hecker, the greatest pitcher in the American Association, will face the Unions in both games.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 15, 1884

I don't know if this series came off or not but I'll find out. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

When Last We Left The 1884 Maroons...

...they were in the middle of a twenty-four game road trip.  They were twenty-five and a half games up and riding a twelve game winning streak.  And, God help me, I'm going to finish going through the Maroons' 1884 season if it kills me.

St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 14, 1884

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Empire Club Probably Had A Good Laugh About This

At a match game of base ball played yesterday at the Base-ball park between the Union Base ball club and the Missouri gymnasium nine, the latter were victorious by a score of 24 to 15.
St. Louis Republican, June 7, 1874

This is actually rather interesting.  The Union Club had essentially disbanded their baseball club after the 1870 season and there were attempts over the next few years to put a nine back in the field.  For the most part, however, these attempts failed and the Union Club was never able to put a high level team together again.  This 1874 match shows that the club was still trying to put a team together and the results of the match shows that they were not having much success with it.

In all reality, this was not the "Union Club" of the amateur era but just a nine thrown together by the Union Club, which was still operating as a social club in 1874.      

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Box Scores!

At an early hour yesterday morning a base ball match, between the Excelsior and Lone Star Clubs, came off on the vacant grounds near of Twentieth and Biddle streets.  The contest terminated in favor of the Excelsior Club...The Lone Star Club is composed of boys of from sixteen to eighteen years, and the Excelsior Club of boys of much larger growth.
-Missouri Republican, August 17, 1860

I posted this information not that long ago but I'm reposting it because I was finally able to grab the box score.  Even though I have access to a lot of newspaper databases, sometimes it's difficult to capture the box score image.  But recently I found a nice little browser app that basically lets me capture any part of any image that shows up in the browser.  So grabbing the box scores just became much, much easier.   

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Our Late Worthy President

There will be a called meeting of the Union Base Ball club in parlor No. 5 at the Southern hotel, on Saturday evening next, the 8th inst., at eight o'clock, to adopt resolutions and take such other action as may be deemed necessary upon the sad and unexpected death of our late worthy president, Asa W. Smith.

All other base ball clubs are politely and urgently invited to send delegates to this meeting, without further notice, to unite with us in doing honor to an esteemed and respected member of our fraternity. 

By order of the club.
W.C. Steigers, Treasurer.

A meeting of the "Missouri State Association of Base Ball Players" is hereby called for Saturday evening, the 8th inst., in parlor No. 5 at the Southern hotel, to co-operate with the Union Base Ball club in such action as they may take upon the death of Mr. Asa W. Smith, late president of the Union Base Ball Club.  A full attendance of delegates from the various clubs comprising the organization is requested.

By order of the president, Wm. Medart.
F. Williams, Secretary.
-St. Louis Republican, August 4, 1874

I've been thinking about the death of Asa Smith lately and the importance of the 1874 season in general.  If the Empire Club's victories of 1865 represent the end of the pioneer era in St. Louis then the death of Smith marks the end of the amateur era in the city.  In 1875, the professional clubs would dominate St. Louis baseball and this, in many ways, was the culmination of everything that Smith was working towards over the last decade.  It's rather tragic that he didn't live to see the birth of openly professional baseball in St. Louis and a St. Louis club competing for a national championship but professional, championship baseball, that continues in St. Louis to this day, is his legacy.  Smith had pretty much been out of baseball since about 1870 or 1871 but the things he put into motion, in the second half of the 1860s, created the environment that allowed for the birth of modern St. Louis baseball. 

I've been thinking about the proper way to construct the story of the 1866-1874 amateur baseball era in St. Louis and, in many ways, it's the story of Asa Smith.  It just happens to be a rather convenient narrative point that he dies as the era ends.  

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

I hope everyone has a great New Year and here's to 2013 being better than 2012. 

We're going to get back to our regular scheduled programing tomorrow.