Friday, March 1, 2013

Our Efforts In The West

 A correspondent in St. Louis - a member of one of the best clubs in the State, writes us the following interesting gossip: - "It is a source of much gratification to us to observe a disposition on the part of the Eastern journals to notice our efforts in the West to establish the National Game upon a substantial footing.  We have struggled hard here in the last two years to get the support of the press and the mercantile community, and have met with much discouragement.  The papers generally have taken no Interest in us, and the business men have almost altogether frowned us down.  In spite of these obstacles, however, base ball has begun to assume a preeminent feature on this side the Mississippi, and we, in Missouri, hope this year to bring out some players and clubs that will compare favorably with the first class organizations of the East.

"We hold our first base ball convention in this place on the 22d of the present month, at which time we propose to organize a State Association, composed of some thirty or forty clubs.  Of the proceedings of this convention I shall take great pleasure in informing you.

"The Union Club, of St. Louis, is a young organization, composed of a manly set of young gentlemen, who take great pride in their club, and aim to make it a first class club in every particular.  They played fourteen match games last year, of which they lost but two.  They won the championship of the State early in the season and held it, winning every game played for the champion belt and ball.  They will have a stronger nine this year than before, composed entirely of home material - pure, unadulterated western muscle.  The Unions' season will commence May 1st, as their new grounds will not be in complete order before that time.  They have engagements so far with the Cincinnati and Buckeye clubs of Ohio, Louisville of Kentucky, and Excelsior of Chicago.  They have also received favorable replies to their invitations extended to the Atlantics, Athletics, and Unions, of Morrisania, all of whom we expect to visit us during the early part of the season.  I will take pleasure in giving you accounts of all these games and also of all others play.

"The Unions are to have a delightful time on the 23d, over the marriage of one of their first nine to a favorite St. Louis belle.  The lucky fellow is Cabanne, who played third base last season.  He has succeeded Proutz as first baseman, and will play in that position this season.  Of course the boys will have a very jolly time at the wedding and wake up next day with the usual headache.
"Of the other clubs here I cannot at present give you any particulars - though I understand they are all vigorously preparing for the campaign - and several have notified the Unions that they intend to wrestle with them for the championship.

Short Stop."
-Mears Baseball Scrapbook, Volume 4, 1856-1907

This fantastic article appears to come from March of 1868 and gives a nice look at the state of baseball in St. Louis in that year.  The thing that really stood out to me was that the Union Club was playing "for the champion belt and ball."  This is a reference to the 1865 Empire Club belt and the gold trophy ball from the Cyclone/Morning Star match of 1860.  It seems to confirm the multiple sources we have that state that the gold ball was used as the championship trophy and passed from team to team.  Also, we have a nice mention of Joseph Cabanne's wedding.  Great stuff.