Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Let A Club Be Started At Once.

The admirers of the game in St. Louis, Mo., are talking about getting up a reliable baseball ten to represent St. Louis in the contest for the professional pennant of 1874.  They do not relish the idea of Chicago having a club and getting a chance of winning the championship, while St. Louis has to look on without participating in the fight.  A well-managed professional ten in St. Louis would not only pas as a stock investment, but it would greatly add to the interest of the game in that section of the country.  We hope the St. Louis gentlemen will not allow Chicago to be the only representative in the arena from the West next season.  Ten fine players could be had at very moderate salaries now.  Let a club be started at once. 
-Mears Baseball Scrapbook, Volume 4, 1856-1907

This seems to come from the Clipper of January 3, 1874, and it's the first time I've ever heard of the idea of putting a St. Louis Club in the NA for the 1874 season.  It's significant that people in St. Louis were talking about putting together a professional St. Louis team in 1874 (and, most likely, going back to the late fall of 1873) prior to the events of the 1874 season.  Certainly, this doesn't change the fact that the loses St. Louis clubs suffered at the the hands of Chicago in 1874 was a motivating factor in the formation of the Brown Stockings but it's extremely interesting that there was talk about a professional club well prior to that.     


Richard Hershberger said...

This, almost certainly from the Clipper, is the period equivalent of winter trade rumors, plus a bit of cheer leading on Chadwick's part. We ought not take it too seriously. Chadwick was entirely capable of deciding St. Louis should have a professional club and declaring plans to be in the offing.

(In somewhat the same manner, he had decided that the rules should be amended to ten men, adding a right shortstop. He then declared that this was in fact going to happen: hence the odd usage of calling a team a "ten." He didn't mean nine guys and a substitute.)

Jeffrey Kittel said...

That sounds about right. I think Chadwick had mentioned this again in fall of 1874 and then kind of took credit for the whole thing when the Brown Stockings organization came together. And I honestly thought "ten" meant the nine plus a sub.