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. 

No comments: