Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Boys Are Pretty Sanquine Of Success

A letter from John C. Chapman of the St. Louis Club, dated March 18 [1875], says:

"Our boys are all in fine trim now, they having been exercising in the gymnasium for the past six weeks, and I know from my own experience that it has greatly benefited us in every respect; as, besides improving our physical condition, it has given us confidence in our ability to do good work in the field.  When the weather is mild we go to the grounds for practice.  Last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday the weather was delightful, and our team took advantage of it to do some very good field-training.  On the 14th we had a practice-game with the Empires.  Only four innings were played, as a thunder shower obliged a suspension of play in the fifth.  Though we gave them Bradley to pitch to Seward's fine catching, our score at the close of the fourth inning stood 8 to 1 in our favor.  There was a large crowd of people out to see the game, and the play of the 'regulars,' as you call us, pleased them exceedingly.  Seward caught very well from Bradley's swift delivery.  He has been engaged by our club as change catcher.  This will be the only local player in our nine.  We expect to visit Louisville about the 16th of April, to play matches with the gentlemenly Eagles of that city - a very strong team - and also with the Louisville Olympics.  These will be our first games out of town.  The boys are pretty sanguine of success in their matches with the Chicago nine and the Westerns of Keokuk.  It is well to feel confident, you know, but not so to be too sure.  There's no 'soft thing' in baseball matches now-a-days, as the uncertainties of the game prevent anything of that kind.  The rivalry between Chicago and St. Louis now in baseball matters surpasses even that of 1870 between the Chicago and Cincinnati clubs.  When they meet it is anticipated that over 10,000 people will be present.  We shall not visit the East until the latter part of June, by which time we shall be in a very good trim to give your crack clubs a tough tussle for victory.  Let me say to you officially that the St. Louis Club will play no match games on Sunday.    John C. Chapman."
-Mears Baseball Scrapbook, Volume 4, 1856-1907

Chapman was like some kind of 19th century media star in 1875 and his reports shed a lot of light on what was happening with the Brown Stockings as they prepared to open the season.  It's good stuff. 

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