Monday, January 28, 2013
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.