Monday, May 20, 2013

The Southerns Arrive In St. Louis

St. Nicolas Hotel circa 1870s

The Southern Base Ball Club, of New Orleans, arrived in the city last night, and are stopping at the St. Nicholas.  They play a match on Monday with the Unions, and on Tuesday with the Empires.
-Missouri Republican, August 15, 1869

The reference to the St. Nicholas is a bit puzzling.  The famous St. Nicholas Hotel in St. Louis was designed by Louis Sullivan and built in 1893 but it appears that there was an earlier St. Nicholas on Fourth Street that was in operation by the 1870s.  Based on the above piece from the Republican, it must have been open by 1869.   

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Houston, We Have A Problem

So I got a new phone this week and it kind of automatically synched everything with my Google account.  When it synched, it added all of the pics that I posted to the blog to my phone gallery.  To conserve space, I, without thinking, deleted all of those pics from the phone.  Now it turns out that doing so probably deleted all of those pics from my Google account and, since Blogger is part of Google, from the blog.  So, to summarize: new phone, deleted pics, no pics on blog.

I'll probably go back and add the pics to the posts on the front page but there is no way that I'm going to go and add all of the pics to all of the posts.  Unless I can figure something else out, which appears unlikely, that stuff is gone forever.  It's a tough break but it should just motivate me to get the new site up and running quickly.  It's time to move on and since I just screwed the pooch here, I might as well do it now.

So here's the plan.  There's a post scheduled to go up tomorrow and then I'm going to go dark for a bit.  I have a big project for Protoball that I have to finish and that is going to take a few days.  After that, I'll try to bang out enough content to launch the new site and move the blog over there.  The new address will be and I'll post something here in the way of a formal announcement next week.  I'm shooting for May 3 for the relaunch of the blog and the website will probably be live sometime Memorial Day weekend.

Like they say, when God closes a door, he opens a window.  Losing the pics is a bit of bummer but I'm just going to look forward to launching the new site.

I have to thank Bob Wilke for bringing the problem to my attention yesterday.  Without Bob tipping me off, it may have taken a few more days for me to even notice what was going on.

So that's that and we're moving forward or onward or upward to the all new This Game Of Games.  Stay tuned for the official announcement, links and all of that stuff next week.

Update: I've gone back and fixed the posts on the front page but everything else is gone for good.  I have all of the box scores and pics on my laptop so they're not exactly lost but they're gone from the website.  In the great scheme of things, it's not a complete and total disaster.  I'll keep you informed about the launch of the new site and hope to see you there.  

Another 1869 Empires/Aetna Match

As the season for out-door sports advances, so it seems does the general interest augment in our national game, as is evidenced by the large number of clubs and the many match games being played in our city; and of course those games wherever the leading clubs are the contestants attract the larger attendance and the greater excitement.  The recent trip of the "Empire," besides being a successful and honorable one to the club, will be productive of bringing here for the gratification of the public some of the leading clubs from the East, among them the old and well-known "Haymakers," of Lansingburg, N.Y., and famous "Red Stockings," of Cincinnati.  In addition, it is highly probable that the "Forest City," of Rockford, Ill., a club second to none, will put in an appearance during the fall season.  Yesterday the interest was centered in the second game of the championship match between the Empire and Aetna clubs, and resulted, as did the first game, in favor of the former club, though not by so large odds.  The Aetna had out their full nine, with Whalen at his old position of pitcher, in which he did well.  The Empires were obliged to call in requisition three of their second nine, being short of pitcher, centre field and second base.  The game was a very handsome batting one, with quick, active fielding and base play, a game of which the Aetna need not feel chagrined if they were defeated.  They did some tall batting and excellent fielding, but they were playing "The Empires."
-Missouri Republican, August 6, 1869

Love that last sentence and think I'm going to start referring to the Empire Club as The Empires from now on.

And to the best of my knowledge, this was actually the third game between these clubs in 1869.  They played on May 9 and May 23, both victories for The Empires.   

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Life In The Best Baseball City In America

Last Saturday afternoon, I was going to watch the Cardinals take on the Rockies at Busch and stopped to watch a vintage baseball game that was played underneath the Arch.  The first of five scheduled games, the RSG Squirrels, of Decatur, played the West Lafayette Couriers in an exciting match, using the 1860 rules.  I had originally thought that the Cards were playing in the evening and I was going to get to watch vintage baseball all afternoon but I discovered that Saturday was an afternoon game and I only got to see most of the one game.  It was kind of a shame because it was a beautiful afternoon, a beautiful place to play a match (as can be seen from the above photos) and I could have sat in the park, underneath the Arch and watched this for hours.

While I didn't get to see as much as I wanted, it was a great deal of fun.  Everybody on the clubs that I talked to were very friendly and you can tell that they enjoyed educating folks about their game.  For that matter, I had a lot of fun talking about the game as it was played in 1860.  Random people would come walking by and just stop, amazed at what they were seeing and wanting to know what the heck was going on.  They loved it.  You can tell that the game just captured everyone's imagination and that was encouraged by the obvious fun that the players were having.

It was a great afternoon in St. Louis.  You had the vintage games under the Arch and, as we were walking to Busch, there were groups of people, here and there, playing catch.  There were 43,000 people at the ballpark and Adam Wainwright took a no-hitter into the 8th, throwing a two-hit shutout as the Cards secured a 3-0 victory.  The sun was shining, the beer was cold, the Cardinals were winning.  This is what life is like in the best baseball city in America.  It was a perfect baseball day and I honestly felt sorry for all the baseball fans in this country who don't live here and don't get to experience baseball the way that we do.    

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Silver Moons Of Belleville

The Eagle Base Ball Club, of this city, through their Secretary, have challenged the Silver Moon Base  Club of Belleville to a match game of base ball.  As yet, the Silver Moons have not accepted, but the probabilities are that they will do so.
-Missouri Republican, August 6, 1869

Is the first reference that I've found to the Silver Moons of Belleville.  Don't know anything about them but that's a great name for a ball club.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Return Of The Empire Club

The Empire Club arrived at home on Saturday afternoon by the O. and M. train from their trip to Cincinnati and Louisville, and were warmly received by their friends and admirers.  The "Boys" were all in good spirits and condition, and they justly feel highly elated over the successful result of the matches played while away; though disappointed in the unsatisfactory game with the noted "Red-stockings," which was (owing to the rain) brought to a sudden close in the first half of the fourth inning.  They expect, however, to have the pleasure of entertaining that club here at home about the middle of August.  Many pleasant and interesting incident are connected with their journey, and the Empire Club will not soon forget the numerous friendly attentions received, both at Cincinnati and Louisville, and from the various railroad officials.  The games played resulted as follows:

Buckeye 14, Empire 27; Kentucky 28, Empire 30; Eagle 24, Empire 35.
-Missouri Republican, August 1, 1869

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Empires Visit The Bluegrass State

A very interesting match game of base ball was played at Cedar Hill Park this afternoon, between the Empire Club, of St. Louis, and the Kentucky Cub, of Louisville, resulting in a victory for the former by two scores...The Empires will play the Eagles to-morrow afternoon.  The weather was clear and pleasant; attendance large.
-Missouri Republican, July 30, 1869

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Franklins Vs. Niaticks

In a return game of baseball played between the Franklin and Niatick clubs, the former were victorious, by a score of 70 to 21.
-Missouri Republican, July 19, 1869

These are two clubs that I don't know much about.  The Niaticks (or Neaticks) are completely new to me while I only have one other mention of the Franklins, which comes from 1865. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Claiming The 1869 Junior Championship Of St. Louis

An exciting game came off on the 11th inst. between the [Miami and Liberty] clubs, for the junior championship, which resulted in the defeated of the latter by a score of 23 to 16 runs.  The members of the Miami B.B. Club claim the junior championship of St. Louis.  Challenges may be directed to Mr. Cannon's grocery, on Seventh, between O'Fallon street and Cass avenue.
-Missouri Republican, July 13, 1869

The Miami Club is new to me.  The Liberty Club dates back to the Civil War and I have a specific mention of a senior club in 1865, so the junior club may date back that far.   

Sunday, May 12, 2013

An 1869 Silver Ball Match

The silver ball match between the [Lone Star and Aetna] clubs was terminated by the game played on the morning of the 11th, at the B.B. Park in favor of the Lone Star, in a score which is quite satisfactory to themselves, but "stunning" to the Aetnas, who were generally considered the stronger club.  The latter club made a mistake, we think, which has been made before by others, too, than themselves, of underrating their opponents and not awaking from their delusion till too late.  The Lone Star boys are quick and wide-awake, and no club has the right to hold them cheaply.
-Missouri Republican, July 13, 1869

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Tom Oran's First Game With The Empire Club

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 uniforms, 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

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Union/Empire Championship Series Of 1869: Game Two

In last Sunday's issue we gave a full report of the first game of best two in three for the championship between the Union and Empire Clubs of this city, in which the Unions were beaten by a score of 26 to 30.  Yesterday afternoon the second match took place, the Empires being again victorious by a record of 36 to 31.  The day was fine indeed, better weather could not have been desired.

Mr. W.L. Jesse, of the "Valley Club," Frankfort, Ky., was chosen umpire, and, we may say here, rendered his decisions promptly, and without complaint from either side.  The Empires won choice in the toss-up for position, and sent the Unions to bat.  The game opened brilliantly for the Empires who, with Wirth for short stop, showed very strong.  Our notes exhibit: Cabanne, Smith and Berning, all victims, one after the other on first inning, to the fielding of Barron, Murray and Spaulding, with Wirth at first base, who seemed destined to give the Unions no chance to pass his corner.  The innings ended with a whitewash against the Unions, who, however, were not discouraged making their discomfiture nerve them to better playing.  On their own first inning, the Empires scored five runs, Wirth, Spaulding, Barron, Murray and Fitzgibbons getting home, the inning ending with O'Connell falling a victim to Smith's fielding at 1 B, Shockey caught on fly by Berning and Wirth striking out.  Score, 5 to nought in favor of the Empires.

The Unions barely saved another whitewash on their second inning, Lucas getting 1 B on call, stealing second and making third and home on a wild throw by O'Connell.  The Empires themselves did no better, making but one run, Heep scoring his run by a muff of Berning, and Wirth, Spaulding and Barrow being all three cut off at 1 B.  Score, 6 to 1 for the Empires.

On the third, the Unions made three against some fine playing.  Easton, Turner and Smith getting home, Cabanne being a victim to Barron on a fly catch, as also Greenleaf to O'Connell.  Berning was caught at 1 B.  The Empires augmented their score by two runs, Murray and Shockey getting home, O'Connell and Fitzgibbons going out on the fly and Welch on 1 B.  The fielding of the Unions told heavily in this play.  Score 8 to 4 for Empires.

The fourth inning increased the Unions' score to 8, Lucas, Easton, Turner and Cabanne getting home y some very swift running and bad fielding of their opponents.  The Empire made a score of three through very hard work, though Spaulding, Barron and Murray got home by bad fielding of the Unions and a strong centre field hit by Murray.

The fifth innings was all one sided, the The Empires getting a score of 7 to 1, with a splendid one-hand running fly catch by Spaulding, well fielded to Wirth, which was the feature of the innings.  Score 18 to 9 for Empire.  In the 6th innings, the Unions struck out in a sudden storm of batting, which not only disconcerted the reporters and scorers, but waked up the Empires to the fact that they had not only not won the game, but were in danger of losing it.  Turner to centre field, Cabanne to left and Smith to centre, sent out some terrific balls, none of which were stopped; and they were followed by Strong, Lucas, Carr, Turner and Cabanne; the last two coming in for a second batting, the inning ending with a score of 11 - the finest work of the game.  The Empire came out with a score of four, Welch doing the most noticeable work on a splendid bat to left field.  Score 22 to 20 for Empires.

In the seventh contest, the Unions went at their work with a courage nursed into boldness by their success in the last, being not a little encouraged by the applause of their friends among the spectators, and aided by the muffing of Shockey, Stevens and Fitzgibbons.  They made an addition of 5 runs to their score.  But the Empires were now waked up, too; and when they came on to bat, showed a renewal of their former energy.  This, with the bad fielding of several of the Unions, gave them another heavy score of 8, leaving the count on the close of the seventh running 30 to 25 in their favor.

There was great depression now on the part of the Unions' friends, and some of the nine themselves, we think, began to feel as if they had more to carry than they could get home with.  The metal of the Empires did not flag; the seventh running gave them to believe they were the masters in the contest, and they played with a confidence based on success, which was wanting in the case of the others.  So the eighth innings was entered on almost as if both parties were satisfied with the result.  The Unions made two runs, but were discouraged by two successive foul catches by Barron, putting out Lucas and Carr.  Turner made a very good bat to centre field, sending Strong and Easton home, and being himself left on base by a foul caught by Murray from Cabanne.  But the game did not seem to take a final turn till Heep, having made his 1 B on an indifferent bat, went home on a wretchedly bad throw by Berning, which was soon followed with a similar fiasco by Smith, letting Spaulding home.  The action of the Unions in this was partially redeemed, however, by a magnificent running fly catch by Easton, and a very fine fly by Smith putting out Stevens.  Score 35 to 27 for Empires.

The interest was of course more intense on the last innings; but it was easy to perceive that the game was "played."  The innings, however, showed splendidly for the Unions, who contested the ground nobly, the score showing some excellent running and first rate batting.  They yielded to a superb running foul fly by Murray, showing a score of four for the inning, and a total of 31.  This of course gave the game to the Empires, who merely "walked over the course" with a score of one, to save a white-wash.

Thus the game ended amid the shouts of the multitude, who crowded inside the ropes to congratulate and commiserate the victors and victims.  There were cheers for the beaten first; then cheers for the "old belt" - and thereby hangs a tale: Some years ago there was a fine championship belt gotten up by honorary members of these clubs, to be played for by these same clubs.  The game for the belt came off, and the Empires won it.  It was held by them till (we believe) last season, when they yielded it to the Unions on a well-contested game for the championship and belt.  Now, the old belt has to be returned to the original holders, with the glories of the championship of the State of Missouri.

The interest manifested by the public in this game was evinced by the presence of at least two thousand people who witnessed the game.
-Missouri Republican, June 6, 1869

Random thoughts:

-This wasn't much of series, with the Empires winning the first two games.  The first game was definitely the better of the two matches.

-"A sudden storm of batting" is a great phrase and I need to start working that into my writing.

-The two game accounts by the Republican where not particularly well written but I think they're significant.  I can't think of an earlier game account from the local St. Louis papers that was more detailed than these two.  They very well may be the first example, from a St. Louis paper, of that 19th century-style, detailed, inning-by-inning baseball reporting.  I'm not exactly certain but, off the top of my head, I can't think of any detailed game accounts that predate this.

-The stuff about the "old belt" is significant.  I was aware of a championship belt prior to this but I believed that it was the belt that the Empire club fashioned for themselves in 1865, after claiming the mythical Championship of the West.  This account states that there was another belt that the Unions and Empires competed for amongst themselves.  It was a trophy for the winner of their annual contest.  That's new information and adds a little color to our understanding of the Union/Empire rivalry.  And it's another St. Louis, pioneer-era trophy that has been lost to the mists of time.   

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Tragedy On The Meramec

The Meramec River

The body of John Kane, a young man about 29 years of age, was recovered on Friday last from the Meramec river, in which he was drowned on Sunday.  He was a resident of this city and was of a party of base ball players who went out to the Meramec river, on the Pacific Railroad, to play ball.  Going in the river for a swim, he took cramp and was drowned.
-Missouri Republican, June 6, 1869

Kane is the third pioneer-era, St. Louis baseball player, along with Asa Smith and Alexander Crosman, who I'm aware of that met a watery end.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Interest Manifested

The second game between the Union and Empire Clubs has been definitely appointed for Saturday the 5th, at St. Louis Base Ball Park.  The interest manifested in the result of this match will call forth the best talent of both clubs, and, no doubt, a numerous attendance of spectators.

Matches To Come Off.

13th June - Lone Star vs. Atlantic; at Veto grounds.

8th July - Olympic, of Washington, D.C., vs. Union, of St. Louis; at Base Ball Park.

We also understand that the first nine of the Empire Cub have been challenged for a game by the old players of this club, and that the match will take place shortly.
-Missouri Republican, June 4, 1869

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Union/Empire Championship Series Of 1869: Game One

The Union and Empire Base Ball Clubs of St. Louis played a match game yesterday afternoon in the beautiful Base Ball Park, situated near the Fair Grounds on Grand avenue.  The rain in the forenoon, though wetting the ground seriously, did not act unfavorably for the play, and at 3 o'clock when all were met for the game, the sun was shining brightly and everything promised well.  Early during the game, too, the sky became overcast, with clouds, rendering the air cool and very pleasant - just the thing most desired by the players.

The game was between picked nines of each club, and was the first of a match of best 2 of 3 for the championship.

After the selection of Mr. Wm. McGowen, of the Atlantics, as umpire, the game commenced, the Union winning the choice of positions and taking the field.

First Innings.

Empire - Wirth cut out at 2 B by short ball to right field; Spalding out on foul by Turner; Barron took 1 B on called balls; Murray out on a grounder well fielded from short stop to 1 B.  (Whitewash.)

Union - Cabanne out on 1 B; Smith, splendid bat to left field and made 3 B; Wolff, fine bat to left field, making 3 B and sending Smith home; Strong, good bat to centre field, sending Wolff home, stole 2d and 3d and went home on a bad catch; Lucas out on ball fielded by short stop to 1 B; Greenleaf 1 B on ball to centre field and stole 2d; Carr out on foul by O'Connell, leaving Greenleaf on 3 B.

Score on the Innings - 3 to nothing for Union.

Second Innings. 

Empire - O'Connell 1 B on called balls, stole 2d and 3d, and quietly waiting his chance, stole home; Fitzgibbons had his first given to him, stole 2d, made 3d on passed ball; Shockey out on 3 strikes; Welch got his first on call balls, as also Heep, thus placing three men on bases; Wirth, by sending foul to B, which was fielded by Smith put out Fitzgibbon and Welch, ending inning with a score of 1.

Union - Easton 1st B on calls, stole 2nd and 3d and brought home by Turner, who himself was out on 1st base; Cabanne 1st base by a swift grounder to short stop, which, though well fielded by Barron, was badly thrown; Smith 1st base by a sky ball to right field muffed by Murray, bringing Cabanne home; Wolff offered Heep, at right field, a splendid fly which the latter muffed, letting in Smith; Strong 1st base on a swift ball to centre field, which brought in Wolff, 2d base on bad ball, and stole home; Lucas made 1st base; Greenleaf out on foul; Carr out on a ground ball well fielded by Barron to 1st base, leaving Lucas on 3d - giving Unions 5 runs.

Score - 8 to 1 for Unions.

Third Innings.

Empire. - Heep 1st base on calls, and 2d and 3d by bad throws; Wirth, grounder over 3d base, giving him 1st base, stole 2d, took 3d on pass ball, and home on bad throw; Spalding 1st base on calls; Barron swift ball to centre field, giving him 1st base and Spalding home, made 2d on pass ball, and brought home by Murray sending long ball to centre field, which gave him 3d base, from which he stole home; O'Connell out on foul bound; Fitzgibbon captured at 1st base by a well fielded ball from Greenleaf from right field; Shockey 1st base on ball to right field well fielded by Greenleaf, stole 2d, and made home by bad throw of Turner; Heep out on three strikes.  6 runs.

Union - Easton struck out; Turner out on splendid bat to right field admirably taken by Heep; Cabanne out at 1st base on quick-fielded ball by Barron.  (Whitewash.)

Score - 7 to 8 in favor of Union.

Fourth Innings.

Empire - Heep 1st base on ground ball, stole 2d, where he was put out, having started on a foul; Wirth 1st base on good stroke to centre field; Spalding made 3d base on a fine hit to right field, muffed by Strong; Barron line ball to centre field, made 3d base, bringing Spalding home; Murray, low ball to L. field, made 2d base, stole 3d and got home; Barron also making home; O'Connell captured at 1 B; Fitzgibbons 1 B on a muff by Wolf; Shockey out on foul bound, leaving Fitzgibbons on 2d, adding 4 runs to Empire score.

Union - Smith 1 B on a ball well fielded by Barron; Wolff grounded ball to C F, giving him his 1 B, bringing Smith home, and eventually stealing home himself; Strong out on foul fly well taken by O'Connell; Lucas 2d B on swift ball to L F, and brought home by Greenleaf, who made 2d B on a grounder to R F, and in turn brought home by splendid grounder of Carr, who made 2d B and stole 3; Easton 1 B on low ball to L F, giving Carr his run; Turner splendid long-field ball, which brought in Carr, gave himself 2 B, stole 3 B, where he was left by Cabanne being caught out on fly by Barron - 5 runs.

Score - 11 to 13 in favor of Union.

Fifth Innings.

Empire - Welch 1 B on calls; Heep 1 B on straight ball to R F, bringing Welch home; Wirth 1 B on grounder over 3 B, which was badly fielded by Smith; Spalding heavy bat to R F, bringing Heep home and Wirth to 2d B; Barron line ball to C F, taking Wirth home and Spalding to 3 B; Murray good hit to C F, adding 1 to Spalding's score, a bad throw from Lucas to 2 B, letting both Murray and Barron home; O'Connell out on foul bound by Turner; Fitzgibbons 1 B on call, stole 2, though near being caught by Easton and Carr; Shockey 1 B by fine bat to C F, bringing Fitzgibbons home, made 3d by bad throw, and stole home; Welch out on 3 strikes; Heep 1 B on ball to C F, making narrow escape at first, eventually caught between 2d and 3d by Wolff - 8 runs for Empire.

Union - Smith out on foul bound by O'Connell; Wolff 1 B on swift ground ball to L.F.; Strong 1 B on bad muff by Murray, who missed a fine chance for double play, the only opportunity offered during the game; Lucas 1 B on bat to C.F., and makes 3d on bad balls, which also brought Wolff and Strong home; Greenleaf out on a difficult foul bound by O'Connell; Carr out at 1 B on well fielded ball by Barron - 2 runs on inning.

Score - 15 to 19 in favor of Empire.

Sixth Inning.

Empire - Wirth out on beautiful fly caught [in right field]; Spalding suffered same...[illegible]...Fitzgibbon fell a victim to Wolff's fielding at 1 B, leaving O'Connel on 3d - 2 runs.

Union - Easton out on 1 B by the sprightly fielding of Barron; Turner 1 B on line ball to C.F., stole 2d; Cabanne 2 B on fine hit to L.F., which carried Turner home; Smith, by straight ball to C.F., made 1 B, putting Cabanne and Turner home, and himself making 3 B on a muff; Wolff 2 B on swift grounder to R.F., Smith home, stole 3d; Strong 1 B on safe bat to L.F., stole 2d; Lucas out on splendid one-hand foul-bound catch by O'Connell; Greenleaf 1 B by centre fielder, giving Wolff his run and strong 3 B; Carr made strong hit to L.F., which Shockey failed to take, bringing Strong home and Greenleaf to 3 B, who immediately afterwards was captured between 3 B and home by Fitzgibbons - 5 runs for Union.

Score, 20 to 21 in favor of Union.

Seventh Innings.

Empire - Shockey out on well-taken fly by Greenleaf; Welch got his first on calls, made 3d on bad balls and stole home; Heep 1 B on ball to C.F., and 3d by wild throw of Smith, run home on passed ball; Wirth out on foul bound by Lucas; Spalding 1 B on daisy cutter to R.F., stole 2d and got 3d on bad call; Barron out on ball well fielded by Smith to Carr - 3 runs.

Unions - Carr out on ball to L.F., which was deftly sent by Spalding to Wirth; Easton out on fly by Spalding; Turner 1 B on a sky ball to L.F., which again slipped through Shockey's fingers, stole 2d and made home on a wild throw; Cabanne got 2 B on a ground ball to L.F.; Smith out on a splendid fly taken at R.F. by Heep, leaving Cabanne on 3 B, and only 1 run for the innings.

Score, 24 to 21 in favor of Empires.  

Eighth Innings.

Empire - Very short work, Murry, O'Connell and Fitzgibbons going out in 1, 2, 3 order (whitewash).

Union - Wolff 2 B on a grounder to R.F.; Strong, 2 B on safe ball over 3 B, bringing Wolff home; Lucas caught at 1 B; Greenleaf 1 B on swift ground ball to R.F. which was well stopped by Wirth, but not in time; Carr out on foul fly by O'Connell; Easton 3 B on long hit to L.F. and home on bad throw by Murray.  Turner out at 1 B on well fielded by Spalding to Wirth who took it with one hand on a jump - 4 runs.

Score 25 to 24 in favor of Unions.

Ninth Innings.

Empire - Shockey 1 B on straight ball to C.F., stole 3d; Welch 1 B on call; Heep 1 B on good left fielder, bringing Shockey home; Wirth 2 B on grounder over 3 B, taking Heep and Welch home; Spaulding caught out on long fly ball by Strong at R.F.; Barron made his 2 B on a heavy bat to C.F., 3d on muff, which carried Wirth home; Murray 1 B on left fielded, giving Barron his run; O'Connell out at 1 B, ball fielded by Smith; Murray home; Fitzgibbon taken on fly by Strong, ending innings with 6 runs for Empires.

Unions - Cabanne made 3 B on a beautiful sky ball to C.F. which Welch muffed; Smith out on foul bound by O'Connell; Wolff struck out; Strong 1 B on a left fielder, which was again muffed by Shockey, giving Cabanne his run; Lucas out at 1 B on ball nimbly fielded by Barron, ending the innings with 1 run, and giving the game to Empire by a score of 30 to 26.


The game was closely contested, and was well played throughout.  The batting was remarkably good, and much of the fielding excellent.  A cordial spirit prevailed during the entire game, and, although the decision of the umpire were frequently the subject of criticism, deference and respect were accorded him.  The game was decidedly the most interesting and best played that has transpired at any grounds in this neighborhood this season.  It being the first game for the championship, due notice will be given of the subsequent game or games, as the case may be.  
-Missouri Republican, May 30, 1869

Some random thoughts about a rather remarkable game:

-This was game one of the 1869 championship series between the Unions and the Empires and I'll post the other games as I make my way through the Republican's coverage of the season.

-The Union Club were the two-time defending champions, having won in 1867 and 1868.  Their victory in 1867 dethroned the Empires, who, essentially, had been the best club in St. Louis since at least 1861.  The Empires were the self-declared Champions of the West in 1865 and the St. Louis (and, by extension, Missouri) champions in 1866.  The 1867-1870 seasons were the highpoint of the Empire/Union rivalry, when two very good and very even clubs would battle for the St. Louis and Missouri championship.  

-This game is a perfect example of what baseball was like in the pioneer era.  Lots of base-runners, lots of stolen bases, lots of muffs, lots of runs.  Put the ball in play and run like hell.  The game was all about base-running and defense.  If you couldn't field the ball and keep guys off the bases, you were going to give up lots of runs.  The main difference between good clubs like the Empires and Unions and the great Eastern clubs was that the Eastern clubs were consistently better defensively.  Also, the Eastern clubs had better and swifter pitchers, which also helped in keeping guys off base.

-Check out John O'Connell leading off the second inning for the Empires. He walked, stole second, stole third and then stole home.  He scored a run without the offense ever having put the ball in play.  That's amazing and wonderful baseball.  I've seen guys walk, steal second, steal third and then come home on a ground-out or a fly-out but I've never seen a run scored without the ball ever being hit.  As a guy who grew up watching Whitey Herzog's Cardinals, that's the kind of baseball I love.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Paying Our Respects

Saturday, Ed Achorn, Steve Pona and I went out to Bellefontaine Cemetery to pay our respects to Mr. Chris Von der Ahe.  We also got a quick tour of some of the more interesting and historically important graves at the cemetery by Richard Lay, who I had a chance to meet at Ed's presentation at Left Bank Books on Thursday evening.  Richard was a fantastic guide and I really appreciate the time he took showing us around, especially considering that we just kind of showed up unannounced.  He was very gracious, told some wonderful stories and even shared the contents of the cemetery's Von der Ahe file with us.  

I also want to thank everyone who showed up at Left Bank Books to see Ed.  I know that he was very appreciative and amazed at the turnout.  If you didn't make it, you absolutely missed out on a good time but I know that Ed signed a big stack of his books and left them at the store if you're interested in picking up a signed copy of The Summer of Beer and Whiskey.

It was great talking to everyone Thursday and I hope that we can find opportunities to get together again soon.  And, yes, that's me in the picture, standing next to the our boy's grave.

Back to our regular scheduled programming tomorrow.      

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Base Ball Pioneers Wins An Award

Since we're pushing books this week:

Base Ball Pioneers: 1850-1870 was one of the winners of the 2013 SABR Baseball Research Award.  As you may remember, I just so happened to have written the book's chapter on St. Louis and am proud to have been a part of the project.  Congratulations to all of the great people who were involved in writing, editing and publishing the book and I'm looking forward to getting my hands on the second volume, which I hope will be out soon.

Base Ball Pioneers is a great book and, if you haven't read it yet, get a copy.  You'll love it.  I may not have mentioned this but all of the royalties from the book have been donated to a couple of great causes: the Negro League Baseball Grave Marker Project and the Early Baseball and Deadball Era Memorial Series.  The folks involved in putting the book together, including me, are not taking a dime so I think it's safe to say that we did this one for the love of the game and its history.

Also, while the award was given to our editors (Peter Morris, William Ryczek, Jan Finkel, Leonard Levis and Richard Malatzky) who did a fantastic job and were great to work with, I demand, from this point forward, to be called an Award-Winning Author.  I think it's only right.            

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

More On The Summer Of Beer And Whiskey

Here's a quick round-up of some of the press Ed Achorn's new book, The Summer of Beer and Whiskey, is getting:

Don't forget:  Ed will be at Left Bank Books tomorrow and at the Perfectos game on Saturday.  Come buy, meet the author, pick up the book, get it signed and watch the Perfectos roll to victory.  It's going to be fun.