Sunday, March 31, 2013

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Empire Club In New Orleans, Part One


On Sept. 20th [1871] the Empire Club, of St. Louis, began play with the Southern Club, on the Base Ball Park grounds, and after a rather poorly played game the Empires retired from the field the victors...
-Mears Baseball Scrapbook, Volume 2, 1870-1877


So it appears that the Empire Club visited New Orleans in the fall of 1871, playing four games.  The Lone Star Club of New Orleans had visited St. Louis earlier that summer and the Empires returned the visit in September.  According to E.H. Tobias, writing in The Sporting News (December 28, 1895), "During all this season the Union Club had not been heard from much to the regret of the champion Empires, who despairing of meeting home mettle worthy of their steel, finally resolved to go South, notwithstanding the fact that 'yellow jack' was batting away to a terrible score down there.  On Saturday, Sept. 16, the Empire Club and a few friends headed by P.H. Tobin, left for New Orleans where they arrived the following Monday and received a cordial welcome.  The first game was on the 20th with the Southern Club, rain having prevented a pre-arranged game with the Excelsiors on the 19th."

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Soldiers Wiled Away The Long Summer Day

Fredrick Benteen

The Spring 2013 newsletter of SABR's Nineteenth Century Committe showed up in my inbox the other day and in it, there's a great article by Terry Bohn entitled Baseball in the Dakotas - 1870s.  Mentioned in the article is Fredrick Benteen, one of the members of the Cyclones.  While I've written about Benteen's baseball exploits in the West before, I thought I'd pass along some of what Bohn wrote about one of the pioneers of St. Louis baseball:

The earliest baseball in the Dakota Territory was played at the military forts in the region that were established to protect settlers and the workers who were building the Northern Pacific Railroad westward.  Soldiers learned the game as boys growing up in the East or during their service in the Civil War.

Captain Fredrick Benteen was assigned to the newly-formed Seventh Calvary, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer at Fort Rice, thirty miles downriver from Fort Abraham Lincoln (near present day Bismarck, North Dakota) in the Dakota Territory. In 1873, he organized the Benteen Base Ball Club, representing Company H. Another base ball club was formed at Fort Lincoln called the Actives, made up of members of Company L. Between 1873 and 1876 the clubs played against other military squads as well as civilian teams. Benteen's soldiers purchased over a dozen bats and baseballs, and according to their own record, won twelve out of seventeen games with other units. The Benteens beat E Company's picked nine, which was made up of members of the infantry garrison at Fort Randall, Dakota Territory. The local Yankton Press and Dakotaian, stated “Neither club played up to their standard owing to the high wind.” When the Benteens lost a game featuring plenty of betting to the First Infantry, based in Fort Randall, the Yankton Press reported “It is hoped that these two nines will meet again soon, as a large amount of money will probably change hands in such an event.”

While on the Black Hills Expedition in 1874, the Actives defeated the Benteens 11- 6 in a game of base ball on the site of present-day Custer, South Dakota, near Rapid City. Custer did not witness the contest as he and a small party of men were off climbing nearby Harney's Peak on the day of the game. But, Trooper Theodore Ewert, a member of the Seventh Cavalry, wrote this account in his diary “The soldiers wiled away the long summer day with a game of base ball, a genuine Black Hills
first, including a dispute over the umpire's impartiality.” On the same day, July 31, 1874, Brigadier General Joseph Green Tilford wrote in his journal “On the occasion of Custer and the press being absent from camp, the troopers had a ball game.”

The July 31 game was the first of a series of three games between these two teams. The Benteens won the second game, also played in the Black Hills, by a score of 16 to 11, but there is no record of the third and deciding game having taken place. However, there are references to even earlier base ball games on military forts in the Dakota Territory. In May of 1874 the officers at Fort Buford (near present day Williston, North Dakota) put up a purse of $100 for which the post base ball clubs were to play a series of games. There are no written records of the results of these ball games.

Captain Benteen, and Company H under his command, was transferred to New Orleans in 1875. During that summer, two teams calling themselves the “Alerts” and the “Nameless” played base ball at Fort Lincoln. Benteen and Company H returned to the Dakota Territory, and in 1876 Custer led the Seventh Calvary another expedition westward, this time to quell an Indian uprising in Montana.  Benteen was the commander of three columns of soldiers during the Battle of the Little Big Horn, also known as “Custer’s Last Stand” in June of 1876.  Benteen survived the battle but his unit, and members of the post base ball clubs, sustained heavy casualties.

Congratulations to Terry on a great piece and I think it's fantastic to see Benteen get a bit of publicity. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Stain And Disgrace

The solace that we find in the discomfiture of St. Louis over the sale of the great bridge, under mortgage to Chicago capitalists, makes it hardly admissible to indulge in words of self-congratulation within one week after the great game of base-ball.  The overpowering sense of shame that reference to that unfortunate game must always bring to any Chicago man is in some degree lightened by reflection upon the commercial triumphs we have often gained over St. Louis; but the stain and disgrace are by no means removed.  In mere matters of business we have had our own way; St. Louis did not care particularly to interfere, or at least interfered too late.  But all that is nothing beside this defeat at base-ball.  
-Mears Baseball Scrapbook, Volume 4, 1856-1907 


Another piece from the Chicago Times (May 9, 1875) lamenting the White Stockings loss to the Brown Stockings.  But lighten up, Francis.  It's just a game 

Yeah, here come the rooster.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Perspective

St. Louis, it seems, is wild with joy over the fact that she has at last got the best of Chicago.  She has been able to hire nine better ball players than Chicago, and by that means has been enabled to donate to Chicago nine very nice goose-eggs.  Chicago can afford to grant her neighbor that slight satisfaction; for while St. Louisans were shouting themselves hoarse over a game of ball, Chicago merchants were selling hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of goods at St. Louis' door.
-Mears Baseball Scrapbook, Volume 4, 1856-1907


This originally appeared in the Chicago Times on May 8, 1875, and obviously was a reaction to the Brown Stockings victory over the White Stockings.  While it's all sour grapes, they make a valid point about Chicago's burgeoning economic dominance of the Midwest.  



Monday, March 25, 2013

This Is A Good Question

During 1877 many charges of crooked umpiring were made, and it is worth while asking why it was, in view of these wholesale charges of fraudulent work in connection with umpiring in St. Louis and Louisville, especially in regard to mutual charges of corruption made by Umpire Devinney of Louisville and Manager McManus of St. Louis, in which, too, Umpire Burtis of St. Louis was mixed up, that the League Board of Directors made no effort to get at the truth, and failed to investigate a matter having such an important bearing on the future of the League Association.
-Mears Baseball Scrapbook, Volume 4, 1856-1907

The Appended Honorable Release

What do the St. Louis papers mean by announcing that Force, Blong, etc., have been or are to be expelled from the St. Louis Club, in the face of a fact like the one we give below, which has been sent to us by the Buffalo Club manager?  The fact we refer to is the appended "honorable release" from the St. Louis Club.  If no charges have been found true against Force, then the St. Louis journals and other Western papers have done him injustice.  Either the players who have been charged with crookedness are guilty or not guilty.  If they are guilty, put them out of the fraternity, as has been done in Louisville.  If not, then come out openly and say so, not through one member of the club, but over the signature of all of the directors.  The release in question is signed only by the club manager, who himself has been charged with crooked work by Devinney, and no satisfactory examination has been made of the case that we have heard of.  Will Messrs. Fowle and Bishop post us up on the facts?

Copy Of Release
Headquarters Brown Stockings B.B. Club,
St. Louis, Nov. 21, 1877.
Mr. E.R. Spaulding, Buffalo B.B. Association. - I take the pleasure of notifying you that Mr. D.W. Force has been honorably released by the St. Louis B.B. Association.  G. McManus, Manager.
-Mears Baseball Scrapbook, 1856-1907


I really don't want to get back into all of the culture of corruption stuff surrounding the Brown Stockings but this was too good to pass up.  My favorite part is when Chadwick (I assume) throws the whole McManus/Devinney thing back in their face.  That was a nice touch.   

Sunday, March 24, 2013

They Play A Rattling Good Game

The St. Louis Reds. - This club is in better playing form now than ever.  Recently they secured the services of Tom Sullivan, a St. Louis amateur, to play centre field and change catcher.  He played behind the bat so well that the managers of the club intend keeping him there, and the regular catcher, Dolan, will play at centre hereafter.  The Reds are composed entirely of St. Louis players, and their team as now fixed upon is as follows: Morgan, p. and captain; Sullivan, c.; Croft, 1st b.; Dillon, 2d b.; Redmon, s.s.; Collins, 3d b. and change pitcher; Magner, l.f.; Dolan, c.f. and change catcher; Loftus, r.f., with Oran as tenth man.  The Reds have been trying to get clubs to visit them, but so far only the Stars of Covington have called on them.  The Reds have got a first-class park, and, as they play a rattling good game, they draw better than ever.  The two games they played with the Browns proves that they play well, and when they get a chance at other League clubs they intend to show what they can do.  The Reds are all strong batters, and by practicing regularly every day they are fast becoming good fielders.  All clubs wishing to play them should address the secretary, Mr. L.C. Waite, No. 3,001 Olive street, St. Louis, Mo.
-Mears Baseball Scrapbook, Volume 4, 1856-1907


This report on the 1876 Red Stockings comes from late May or earlier June.  It appears right under a piece (from the Clipper) about the death of Tom Miller, who passed away on May 29, 1876.  The Globe picked up the piece and ran it on June 8.  So this probably originally ran in the Clipper in early June.

Two things stood out to me.  First, Packy Dillon was playing second base for the club.  I probably already knew this and had forgotten it but I'm used to thinking of Dillon as a catcher.  Second, Tom Oran wasn't good enough to crack the starting nine.  One of the best players in the history of pioneer-era, St. Louis baseball, he was only 28 years old and couldn't start for a minor, independent, professional club.         

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. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Magnificent Batting And Beautiful Fielding, Part Two


The game of base ball yesterday afternoon between the "Red Stockings" and the Empires, attracted nearly as large a crowd as on the previous day, about 1,500 people being present.  The game was an exceedingly interesting one, and the spectators manifested their appreciation of the fine plays by loud cheers.  The "Red Stockings" did not play so well as in the game with the Unions, failing to bat so effectually, and in their fielding, Wright, Waterman and Sweasy did not display their usual excellent judgment and activity.  H. Wright and McVey are credited with muffs.  Allison behind the bat was not up to his standard allowing a number of balls to pass him; his hands, however, were badly bruised, which may account for the weak battling he displayed.

The Empires played excellently well.  They succeeded in batting Brainard often and safely, and ran their bases well.  Their fielding, barring a few muffs and wild throws, was certainly the finest exhibited by them this season.  Barron as short stop did splendidly in stopping balls, and throwing them to Welch on first base, who failed to catch but once, which muff was unfortunate as, had he held it, the Red Stockings would have been whitewashed, and their score considerably diminished.  Shocky caught finely in centre field, muffing but one ball, and Little took in a number of flies.  Heep had two or three opportunities for flies which he took advantage of, one a very difficult low ball, which he had to run and stoop for to secure.  Wirth stopped and caught very well.

We think it was the finest game of base ball that has been played here this season.

Mr. Harrison was chosen umpire.  The game was called at 3:15 o'clock, the Empires opening the game with

Empire - First Innings.

Wirth to the bat; knocked ball to Waterman, who overthrew to Gould, making his second.  Spaulding out on 3 strikes, Barron knocked a beauty to left, making his first and sending Wirth in.  Sent to second by safe bat of Oran's to right, who took a base.  Oran forced out on second by Sweasy and G. Wright, to whom Heep knocked ball.  Heep run to third on wild throw from G. Wright to Gould.  Barron came in.  Welch brought Heep in by hit to G. Wright, who threw it to Gould, who muffed it.  Fitzgibbons knocked easy to G. Wright, who threw it easy to Sweasy, but missed him, Fitzgibbons making his base and giving Welch third.  Welch brought in by easy knock of Shockey, who too base.  Little out on three strikes, leaving Shockey and Fitzgibbons on bases - 4 runs.

Red Stockings - First Innings.

G. Wright hit to Barron, who threw very high to Welch, who secured it, putting Wright out.  Gould went to second on high ball to right; brought home by strong hit of Waterman to left, on which he made ball, which Barron handsomely caught.  H. Wright knocked to Spaulding, who threw wildly to Oran, letting Waterman in, and H. Wright to third.  Leonard out on right, which Oran sent to first.  H. Wright left on base - 2 runs.  4 to 2.

Empire - Second Innings.

Wirth out on easy tip to Brainard, who put it to Gould.  Spaulding out on first by Waterman and Gould.  Barron out by fielding of G. Wright and Gould.

Red Stockings - Second Innings.

Brainard sent grounder to Wirth, who threw it in time to Welch.  Sweasy made 2d on safe ball to right.  McVey knocked to Spaulding, who threw short to Welch.  Sweasy going to 3d, G. Wright knocked centre, making base; Sweasy home and McVey 2d, both brought home on high safe hit to centre, on which he made 1st.  Waterman 2d on good ball to left, Gould going to 3d; Allison out by fielding of Barron and Welch.  Gould coming in, Waterman run in quickly on pass ball.  H. Wright made 1st on easy hit to Wirth; got home on bad throw of Oran's to 2d; Leonard out on high ball to centre, which Shockey nicely held.  Six runs - 8 to 4.

Empire - Third Innings.

Oran made 2d on very high hit to right, which McVey could not reach.  Heep went to 1st on easy ball to short stop.  Welch out on 3 strikes, Oran and Heep each taking a base.  Oran came in on pass ball, Heep going to 3d.  Fitzgibbons out on 3 strikes.  Shockey out on light ball to Wright, who put it to Gould.  One run.

Red Stockings - Third Innings.

Brainard gave base on 3 balls; 2d on pass ball.  Sweasy out on hit to Wirth, who put it to Welch, Brainard going to 3d; McVey out on a high fly, which was again held by Shockey.  Brainard came home.  G. Wright hit to right field and made 3d, brought in by Gould, who hit to centre, making 1st.  Waterman made second on strike to left.  Gould went to third.  Allison out on a very high hit to third, which was beautifully taken by Little.  Gould and Waterman left on bases.  2 runs - 10 to 5.  

Empire - Fourth Innings.

Little knocked high one to H. Wright, which he took in.  Worth made base on grounder which G. Wright did not stop; stole second.  Spaulding out on fly to G. Wright.  Barron out on fly to McVey.  Whitewash.

Red Stockings - Fourth Innings.

H. Wright out on first by easy tip to Fitzgibbons.  Leonard knocked safely to cente, making base; took second on pass ball.  Brainard put out by fielding of Barron and Welch.  Sweasy knocked to Barron, who failed to put in time to third, and by wild throwing afterwards by Leonard.  Sweasy came in.  McVey hit towards centre, made first.  G. Wright hit to short, made first, McVey making second.  Shockey again caught a very high ball knocked by Gould.  McVey and G. Wright left on bases.  2 runs - 12 to 5.  

Empires - Fifth Innings.

Oran out on high fly by G. Wright.  Heep knocked ground to second, making base; run quickly to second.  Welch out on fly to H. Wright.  Heep making to third; brought home by safe ball to centre by Fitzgibbons who made a base.  Shockey out on easy tap to Brainard.  1 run.

Red Stockings - 5th Innings.

Waterman made home run on a tremendous hit to left field.  Allison out on 1st by fielding of Barron and Welch.  H. Wright out on a splendidly caught fly by Heep.  Leonard out on a high ball which Shockey again handled finely - 1 run - 13 to 6.

Empire - 6th Innings.

Little was again put out on first by a ball to Sweasy.  Wirth out on foul fly to Allison.  Spaulding reached 3d on hard knock to H. Wright, which was muffed; came in on pass ball by Allison.  Barron took 1st on low hit to centre.  Oran struck to G. Wright, forcing Barron out on 2d - 1 run.

Red Stockings - 6th Innings.

Brainard hit safely to right, making 1st, brought home by tremendous bat of Sweasy, who made home run.  McVey struck safely, and made 1.  G. Wright sent grounder to right, and out trying to make 2d.  McVey went to 3d, sent in by low strike of Gould to centre, on which he made 1st.  Stole 2d, brought in by grounder to left by Waterman, on which he made 3d.  Allison out on air ball to Wirth.  Waterman in on pass ball.  H. Wright out by fielding of Barron and Welch - 5 runs - 18 to 7.

Empire - 7th Innings.

Oran knocked to Sweasy, who failed to send it in time to Gould.  Heep took base on called balls.  Oran to 2d.  Each took another base on pass ball by Allison.  Welch knocked swift grounder, making 1st, sending Oran home and Heep to 3d.  Fitzgibbons knocked safely to centre, bringing Heep in and Welch to 2d, both got bases on pass ball by Allison, but brought in by ground ball to left by Shockey who took base, run his 2d in quick time.  Little knocked air ball to McVey, who held it.  Shockey out trying to run 3d by Allison and Waterman.  Wirth hit an easy air ball to Gould - 4 runs.

Red Stockings - Seventh Innings.

Leonard out on 1st by fielding of Barron and Welch.  Brainard out on fly by Barron.  Sweasy got to 2d on high ball which was not reached; went to 3d on pass ball.  McVey struck to Barron, who threw it to Welch who muffed it.  Sweasy came in.  G. Wright brought McVey in by a high ball to left, which Little muffed.  Wright made 2d; came home on grounder to left by Gould who made base.  Waterman went to 3d on a strike to left bringing Gould in.  Waterman reached home on pass ball.  Allison made 1st on easy hit to 3d; got to 2d on pass ball; stole 3d; brought in by hit of H. Wright's to left on which he made 2d, brought home by a ground ball to centre by Leonard who went to 2d.  Brainard out on 1st by Barron and Welch.  Leonard left on base - 7 runs - 25 to 11.

Empire - Eighth Innings.

H. Wright pitch.  Waterman catch.  Allison 3d.  Brainard centre field.  Spaulding out on ball knocked in Gould's hands.  Barron out by Allison and Gould.  Oran out by same fielding - Whitewash. 

Red Stockings - Eighth Innings.

Sweasy made 3d on fair bat to right.  McVey knocked to Spaulding, who threw badly to Welch, passing him, giving Sweasy home, and McVey 2d; G. Wright hit to left, making base; McVey came in.  Wright stole 2d.  Gould made 1st on knock to Barron, who stopped it prettily; but threw to 2d without success.  G. Wright ran 3d, and by bad throwing, came home, Gould taking 2d; Waterman out on foul bound to Oran; Allison out on foul fly by Oran, H. Wright out by Barron and Welch, leaving Gould on base - 3 runs, 28 to 11.

Empire - Ninth Innings.

Heep out by G. Wright and Gould.  Welch made 1st on safe hit to centre; out on 2d trying to run it, by Allison and G. Wright.  Fitzgibbons made 1st on ball to G. Wright, which he threw wildly to Gould.  Shockey made good hit to centre, taking his 1st, and Fitzgibbons 3d came in on pass ball; Shockey going to 2d and then 3d, on wild throw of H. Wright to George to 2d.  Little made his 1st on ball which G. Wright failed to stop, bringing Shockey in.  Wirth knocked a hot one to centre, which passed Brainard, on which he reached 3d, Little coming home.  Spaulding out on 3 strikes by Waterman and Gould - 3 runs.

Red Stockings - Ninth Innings.

Leonard knocked a high one to Heep, which he handsomely caught.  Brainard knocked low one to left, going to 2d.  Sweasy out by Wirth and Welch; Brainard went to 3d; McVey sent liner to centre, which Shockey muffed, Brainard coming in, McVey taking 1.  Geo. Wright sent McVEy in by tremendous hit over Shockey's head, on which he made home run.  Gould struck to centre, reaching 2d; Waterman knocked a hot one to Little, which was caught - 3 runs.
 -Missouri Republican, September 17, 1869


This was a very good game by the Empires.  They stood toe to toe with one of the greatest teams in the history of baseball and didn't get destroyed (unlike the Unions the day before).  The Red Stockings were not particularly sharp and I don't know enough about the club to say whether or not they were having an off day.  It kind of seems like it to me but it doesn't really matter.  This was one of the tougher games Cincinnati had in 1869.  It was one of their poorer offensive showings (and the Empire defense had something to do with that, especially the fine play by John Shockey in center) and only ten clubs scored more than fourteen runs against the Red Stockings in 1869.  Other than the 15-14 game they played at home against the Forest Cities of Rockford, this was probably the toughest game they had against a Western club.  This was an honorable loss.  

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Magnificent Batting And Beautiful Fielding, Part One



The day was everything that could be desired, and when the "Red Stockings" arrived upon the field they were enthusiastically cheered by the crowd, which is estimated to have been between two and three thousand people.  The "Red Stockings," of course, played excellently, and their magnificent batting and beautiful fielding elicited rounds of applause from the spectators.  Few bad players could be noticed.  The Union boys found it difficult to make much impression against Brainard's swift pitching, and until the sixth innings did not succeed in making any runs.  They, however, got their work in in this innings, and, by some splendid batting, managed to score six runs.  The muffs made by the Unions were very frequent, particularly in the field, but their fielding, on the whole, was very good.  The game began with the Unions to the bat.

Unions - First Innings.

Cabanne, first striker, out on a fly to Sweasy.  German out on foul bound by Allison.  Strrong made his third on a tremendous hit to centre field.  Mellier knocked high ball to McVey, who caught it, putting him out.  Whitewash.

Red Stockings - First Innings.

George Wright to the bat; got to first on easy ball to second; run his second; went to his third on pass ball; brought home by bat of Gould to right, who took second.  Waterman went to second on bat to left, Gould going to third; brought home by Allison, who went to first, Waterman taking his third; Allison run second; both brought home by a strong hit of H. Wright's to centre, who came home on it.  Leonard knocked ball to left, but was put out on second by Mellier.  Brainard made first on easy ball; went to third on bat of Sweasy, who took first; Sweasy went to second; both brought home by McVey's knock to left, on which he made his second; sent home by G. Wright, who went to second on hit to left; run third on ball thrown to Gorman by Turner.  Gould made his first on easy ball to Gorman, who threw it badly to Carr; brought home by Waterman, who made second.  Allison knocked to centre, making his first, sending Waterman home.  H. Wright went to second on ball to centre, Allison coming in.  Leonard went to first on ball to left, H. Wright going to third.  Brainard made first on high ball to Strong, who muffed.  Sweasy brought Wright home, himself going to first; the others took a base.  McVey out on fly by Gorman.  Leonard came home; the others each taking a base; both brought home by hit of G. Wright to left.  He made his first and run second; sent home by blow of Gould to left, on which he made his first; was sent home by another lick to left by Waterman, who went to second, run third.  Allison out on high fly to left, which Lucas held.  Waterman left on base.  18 runs - 18 to 0.  

Unions - Second Innings.

Lucas out on three strikes.  Warner out on foul bound by Allison.  Carr out on high fly by Sweasy.  No runs.

Red Stockings - Second Innings.

H. Wright made second on high ball to right, which Cabanne badly muffed.  Leonard went to first on ball to left, sending Wright to third.  Wright came in on bat to centre by Brainard who made first, Leonard going to third; both brought in by Sweasy on a hand hit to right, on which he made a home run.  McVey made second on hit to left; brought home by G. Wright, who went to second on ball to right; run his third.  Gould came home on terrific bat over Lucas' head.  G. Wright came in.  Waterman made second on ball to Gorman, who threw low to Carr; sent home by Allison on ball to left.  Allison reached his third on bad throwing; came in to ball on right by H. Wright, who went to first; Leonard batted Mellier, who stopped on his base and passing the ball to Carr, made a pretty double play; Brainard made second on a safe hit; sent home by Sweasy, who made second on ball to right; took his third out on trying to run home, by Turner.  10 runs - 28 to 0.

Unions - Third Innings.

  Easton out on one by fielding of Waterman and Gould; Turner out on foul bound by Allison; Cabanne made a terrific knock over the fence, but was put out at home base by Leonard and Allison.  Whitewash.

Red Stockings - Third Innings.

McVey out on fly by German.  By tremendous hit to right G. Wright made home run; Gould made second on ball to left; Waterman made first on grounder to left, Gould going to third; Waterman took second, both came in on hit by Allison to left, by which he made second; H. Wright made third by hard hit to right; Leonard made first by easy ball to Gorman, who threw to first, Carr failing to hold it; Brainard sent H. Wright home and Leonard to third, himself going to first, run his second, both in by hit of Sweasy to centre, who went to first, took second on pass ball; McVey out second time by very high fly by Easton; Sweasy coming in; G. Wright out on first by fielding of Gorman and Carr.  7 runs - 35 to 0.

Unions - Fourth Innings.

Gorman got to first on ball to left; Strong out on first by ball to Sweasy forcing Gorman out on second; Mellier out on first, by knock to Sweasy, who stopped it beautifully, then threw to Gould - Whitewash.

Red Stockings - Fourth Innings.

Lucas pitching for Unions.  Gould got his first on three balls; run his second ditto third; Waterman made first on easy ball to Strong, who threw to Carr who muffed it; Gould came home on throw from Lucas to Carr who again failed; Waterman going to third; Wilson out on foul bound by Turner; Waterman came in on pass ball; H. Wright went to third on easy ball near first base and bad handling.  Leonard out on pretty foul bound by Turner; H. Wright run in on bad throw to Lucas; Brainard made first on high ball to centre - reached second on pass ball; ran third [and] home on pass ball; Sweasy came home on high ball to Cabanne, which he muffed, then the ball was badly thrown to Gorman; McVey made first on ball to left, got his second on pass ball; G. Wright made first on high ball which either Gorman or Strong should have taken; McVey came in on ball passing Gorman, G. Wright going third stole home; Gould made second on high ball to left which Warner muffed; ran third sent home by Waterman who went to second on hit to left; Allison out on fly by Strong, which after considerable juggling he secured.  Eight runs, 43 to 0.

Unions - Fifth Innings.

Lucas sent to 1st on 3 balls.  Warner and he put out by double play by G. Wright, Sweasy and Gould.  Carr out on fly by H. Wright.  Whitewash.

Red Stockings - Fifth Innings.  

H. Wright came home on grounder to centre, which went through Easton's legs.  Leonard made 2d on knock to Cabanne.  Brainard out on a high fly by Strong; Leonard went to 3d on ball thrown by Strong to 2d, which was not covered.  Sweasy out on fly to Carr.  Leonard came home on ball that struck striker, glancing off; McVey made 1st on safe bat, G. Wright made 1, on easy bat to left, sending McVey to 3d, ran 2d.  Gould out on foul boud by Turner, leaving McVey and G. Wright on bases.  2 runs.  45 to 0.

Unions - Sixth Innings.

Easton made 1, on hot ball to Waterman, which he muffed.  Turner went to 1 on high knock to Leonard, which he muffed.  Easton going to 2d.  Easton came home on pass ball by Allison; Turner taking his 2d.  Cabanne out on little fly to pitcher.  Turner brought home by splendid stroke off Gorman's to right, on which he made 3d; brought home by grounder to left by Strong, who took 2d. Mellier made 1st, on ball to right, giving Strong 2d.  Each took base by pass ball of Allison; both brought home by Strong; bat of Lucas to right, on which he reached 3d; came in on very high hit of Warner's to centre, which H. Wright nabbed.  Carr hit a nice ball to left, making 1st; forced out on 2d by Easton's tick to short-stop; himself going out on 1st - 6 runs.  

Red Stockings - Sixth Innings.

Waterman went to 1, on safe bat to centre; to 2d on pass ball.  Allison knocked to Gorman, who stopped and sent it to Carr who failed to stop it and went to 3d, Waterman coming in.  H. Wright at sent a high one to Easton who muffled it, thereby making his 2d, bringing Allison in; ran 3d, sent in by high ball by Leonard to Cabanne, who muffed it.  Leonard came home.  Brainard sent grounder to centre, making his 3d.  Sweasy out by fielding of Strong and Carr, Brainard coming home.  McVey made 1, on ball to centre.  Sent home by terrific high ball by G. Wright to centre, which Easton muffed.  Home run for Wright.  Easton partially redeemed himself by catching a very high fly of Gould.  Waterman went to 1, on safe hit to left; stole 2d, also 3d.  Allison given 1st on 3 balls; ran 2d; Waterman in on pass ball, Allison going to 3d, then home on wild throw of Turner to Gorman.  H. Wright went to 2d on grounder to right.  Leonard out on foul fly by Turner.  9 runs - 54 to 6.

Unions - Seventh Innings.

Harry Wright, pitch; Waterman, catch; Brainard, centre field; Allison, third base.  Easton made first on ball through Allison's legs.  Turner got to first on ball to centre.  Easton going to second; Easton forced on third, Turner on second, by Cabanne's knock to Allison; Cabanne secured his first; sent to third on a beauty by Gorman to right, who made his first; Strong out on a high fly to Leonard; Cabanne and Gorman left on bases - whitewash.

Red Stockings - Seventh Innings.

Brainard reached second on ground ball to left; sent home by daisy cutter of Sweasy's to left, on which he made first; got to third on a wild throw of Turner to second; McVey out on foul bound by Turner; G. Wright made third on high lick to right field, Sweasy coming in; Gould out on foul fly by Turner; Waterman out on easy knock to Strong, who threw to first - 2 runs. 56 to 6.

Unions - Eighth Innings.

Mellier made first on safe hit to left; Lucas hit a safe one to centre, Mellier going to third; both brought home by low hit by Warner to centre, which passed Brainard; Warner reached second; Warner put out running to third by Sharp playing on G. Wright; Carr sent to first on three balls, got his second, brought home by heavy bat of Easton's over Leonard's head; Easton reached second; Turner made first on low hit to left; Easton put out by Waterman on home base; Cabanne out on fly by George Wright - 3 runs.

Red Stockings - Eighth Innings.

Allison hit safely to left, making 1st run; 2d went to 3d on pass ball, brought home by tremendous lick of H. Wright to centre who made a home run.  Leonard went to 2d on ball to centre.  Brainard made 1 on high hit which Cabanne muffed, Leonard going to 2d; Sweasy by a hit to left sent Brainard to 3d himself taking 1st; Sweasy out on 2d by throw from Turner.  McVey sent Low one to left going to 2d, bringing Brainard in.  G. Wright sent a terrific one to right making 3d.  McVey came in.  Wright came in on a wild throw from Lucas to Gorman.  Gould went to 1 on easy hit; 2d on pass ball, sent home by hard ball to left by Waterman who made home.  Allison sent high one to Warner who muffed it; he made his 2d run 3d; brought home by another of H. Wright's fearful licks to centre, on which he made another home run.  Leonard went to 1st on ball to left.  Brainard knocked a red hot ball to Mellier which he held and put out Leonard, returning to 1st; beautiful double play; 10 runs - 66 to 9.

Unions - Ninth Innings.

Gorman out on fly by Gould.  Strong out on fly by Leonard.  Mellier out on foul fly by Waterman - Whitewash.

Red Stockings - Ninth Innings.

Brainard went to 1st on grounder to centre; took 2d on pass ball; brought home by strong hit to right by Sweasy, who made a home run; McVey went to 3d on strong bat to right; George Wright made another home run, by a tremendous lick to left, and McVey came in; Waterman out on 1st by fielding of Strong and Carr; Allison made 1st on easy ball to Cabanne; Henry Wright out on a well taken fould bound by Gorman.  4 runs. 

-Missouri Republican, September 16, 1869


What can you say about this?  It was a dominating performance by the Red Stockings and, given their historical reputation, we shouldn't have expected anything less.  I knew the score of this game and had read some briefer game accounts but looking at the game on an inning by inning basis brings home what a complete and total whipping it was.

Early baseball was a game of defense and base-running.  If you couldn't field the ball and couldn't stop your opponent from running the bases at will, you weren't going to win.  Deficiencies in these areas separated good teams from great teams.  Along with swift pitching, it was solid defense and the ability to take extra bases that defined great teams.  If you read this game account, it's obvious what separated the Red Stockings of Cincinnati from the Unions of St. Louis.  The Red Stockings fielded the ball; the Unions didn't.  This put lots and lots of men on base and those men ran wild on the base paths.  Sure, the Red Stockings did some heavy hitting but without the errors, this would have been a much closer game.  I'm under no illusion that eliminating the errors would have allowed the Unions to win the game but they could have made it respectable by catching the ball.  

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Famous Red Stockings Come To Town

The 1869 Red Stockings of Cincinnati

Base Ball. - The famous Red Stockings, of Cincinnati, en route to San Francisco, will play the Union Club at the Ball Park, on Grand avenue, near the Fair Grounds, at 2 1/2 o'clock this afternoon.  Admission 50 cents.
-Missouri Republican, September 15, 1869


I just got a new notebook and I'm in the process of figuring out how everything works.  I'm still transferring files and bookmarks and all of the good stuff to the new computer so I'm just grabbing something out of a file here and giving you the Republican's account of the Red Stockings' trip to St. Louis.  Tomorrow, you get the game against the Unions and, on Thursday, the game against the Empires.  I know I've posted accounts of these games before but the Republican gives us an inning by inning account - which is cool.

Hopefully by the end of the week I'll have this new machine organized and I can get back to whatever the heck it was that I was doing.      

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Just Beat Chicago

A letter from Chapman announces the arrival at St. Louis of the Brooklyn contingent of the St. Louis professional club, and John, in his epistle to the Brooklynites dated from the Everett House, St. Louis, Jan. 22, says:

Pearce, Dehlman, Fleet, and myself arrived here last Sunday morning, after a tough ride of over three days and as many nights.  We are all well pleased with our new friends.  They are all gentlemen of high standing and as fine a set of men as I have ever met.  They are very anxious for us to beat Chicago.  If we only do that - which I know we will - they will be satisfied.  This will be the greatest city in the country for baseball the coming season.,  Everyone appears to be red-hot on it here.  We had a very pleasant time last evening at the new club-rooms of Manager Graffen, a large party being present.  The directors of the new club are determined to have their club rules observed and to make each and every player live up to his contract.
-Mears Baseball Scrapbook, Volume 4, 1856-1907


It's always interesting and reasonably rare to hear directly from the players with regards to what was going on in St. Louis in 1875 (and this most likely comes from the January 20, 1875 issue of the Clipper).  I was most interested in what Chapman said about beating Chicago.  It's reasonably well known that the reason the Brown Stockings were put together was because of the failures of the St. Louis clubs to beat the White Stockings of Chicago but I don't think that I've ever heard anybody connected with the club state that.  This is direct, contemporary testimony supporting the thesis that the Brown Stockings formed because of the success the Chicagos enjoyed in St. Louis in 1874.   

Monday, March 18, 2013

The New St. Louis Cops

The comments of The Clipper on baseball matters in St. Louis have had the effect of creating quite a little stir there in regard to the organization of nines to take part in the coming campaign of 1875.  One result is a proposition to organize another professional nine as a local rival to the St. Louis stock company club, the new club to be run on the co-operative principle.  Nothing better could be devised in the interest of the St. Louis Baseball Association than the organization of just such a rival team.  The advent of the Philadelphia nine in 1873 put thousands of dollars into the pockets of the Athletics, and the new Centennial nine of that city ought to help both the Philadelphia and Athletic nines this year, if it is properly managed.  There is nothing like rivalry to give interest to baseball contests.  Heretofore the West has had too little rivalry; but this coming season there will be plenty of it, ,what with the Chicago "Whites," the St. Louis, the Western Keokuks, and the new St. Louis "Cops," as the co-operatives are called.  The St. Louis stock company "regulars," it is proposed, shall be opposed by a co-operative nine composed of local players.  This will impart considerable interest to a series of matches between the eastern imported stock and the western native material.  The St. Louis club would by all means encourage the organization of the nine in question, and give them a chance to play upon their grounds.
-Mears Baseball Scrapbook, Volume Four, 1856-1907


This article raises a lot of questions.  Dating the articles in the Mears Collection can be a bit tricky and, to the best of my knowledge, this appeared in the Clipper in November of 1874, which throws a wrench into my thinking about when and why the Reds joined the NA.

The best available research shows that, in January of 1875, the Reds had still not made the decision to join the NA and that the decision wasn't made until February.  I believe that the reason the Reds eventually made the decision to join the professional ranks was that the Brown Stockings decided to play their home games at the Grand Avenue Grounds rather than the Compton Avenue Grounds, which was operated by Thomas McNeary.  McNeary, who also operated the Reds, was one of the early investors in the Brown Stockings and, I believe, had every intention of getting the new club to play at his ballpark.  In late November of 1874, the Brown Stockings had still not decided on a home ground.  Based on all of that information, my thinking has been that sometime in late 1874 or early 1875, the Brown Stockings decided to play their home games at the Grand Avenue ballpark and McNeary then began to consider the option of placing the Reds in the NA.  Even with the Brown Stockings playing on Grand, if McNeary entered the Reds into the NA, he would still have professional baseball, and the draw of the big professional clubs, at his ballpark.  The whole thing was about drawing fans to the Compton Avenue Grounds and making money.  McNeary's plan A, having the Brown Stockings play at his ballpark, fell through and he moved on to plan B, having the Reds play in the NA.

This article, however, brings all of that into question.  According to the Clipper, the idea of having another professional team in St. Louis, operating on the co-operative plan, dates to November of 1874, when the Browns had still not made up their minds about where to play.  The Clipper suggests that the whole scheme was about producing rivalries, building up interest in the game and, one would imagine, drawing more fans and making more money.  It's also insinuated that the idea for a second St. Louis team came from the Eastern baseball press (Henry Chadwick?) rather than being something that sprung up locally.  There is nothing here that suggests a fallout between the Brown Stockings and McNeary.

There is also nothing here that specifically mentions the Reds.  It's possible that the idea of a second club predated McNeary's decision to enter the Reds into the NA and he took up the idea after a previous attempt to organize a co-op club (the St. Louis Cops) failed.  It's possible but unknown.  The most likely explanation of all of this is that the Clipper is talking about the Reds but it's not it's not conclusive.

What we now know for a fact, however, is that the idea of a second St. Louis club competing in the NA in 1875 dates from November of 1874.   

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Movement Is On Foot

A Professional Team For St. Louis. - By a dispatch received Sept. 28 we are informed that a movement is on foot to organize a professional nine to represent St. Louis, Mo.  Our informant states that $20,000 has already been subscribed for the purpose.  The best players who can be secured are wanted, and professionals are requested to write to W.C. Steigers, secretary, Times office, St. Louis, Mo.
-Mears Baseball Scrapbook, Volume 4, 1876-1907


Obviously, this piece comes from 1874. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Pecuniary Prospects In St. Louis

In Volume 4 of the Mears Collection, there is an article dated July 17, 1869, that has to do with the tour of the Olympics of Washington.  The Olympics were an important pioneer-era club, whose members included A.G. Mills, Davy Force, Robert Reach (the younger brother of Al Reach) and Nick Young and, like many of the big Eastern clubs of the era, they embarked on an extended tour.  However, it appears that the Olympics' tour was not a particularly smooth one and a member of the club, quoted in Base Ball Pioneers, 1850-1870, stated that "We had trouble everywhere, even in such small jumps as from Cincinnati to Mansfield, Ohio, nothing went properly..."  The article in the Mears Collection has to do with the failures of the Olympics to keep an engagement with the Forest City Club of Rockford, Illinois but, at its end, is a series of letters, documenting negotiations between Asa Smith and the Olympics, attempting to set up a game between the Olympics and the Unions.  While the negotiations appear to have been successful, the Olympics never made it to St. Louis.  The article appears to be a response to a previous article where the Olympics laid all of the blame for their failure to play in Rockford and St. Louis on Forest City and the Unions and offered the defense of those two clubs.

For our purposes, the important thing here is not the recriminations that were being thrown around but, rather, the negotiations between Smith and the Olympics, which document how these important games were arranged in the later part of the pioneer era.  Smith, in the defense of his club, was kind enough to publish the record of the negotiations and it offers a fascination look at the politics of baseball in 1869:

Washington, D.C., June 29, 1869.
Dear Sir, - It is somewhat uncertain whether we can go as far west as St. Louis or not.  We will try, however, to do so.  Please address us at Cincinnati (after July 1st),...what the pecuniary prospect will be in St. Louis.  This would determine us somewhat, as we do not wish to lose money by taking an extensive trip.  Hoping &c.,
F.A. Schmidt, Cor. Sec'y, O.B.B.B.

Union Base Ball Club, St. Louis, July 2, 1869.
F.A. Schmidt, Esq., Sec'y, Olympic B.B.C. - Dear Sir - Your favor of June 29th, inst. received.  I cannot assure you of very bright pecuniary prospects.  The Atlantics and Unions, of Morrisania, last year, drew less than $300.  If our clubs here were able to give you an even game, I could assure you of a large attendance, but from the way things look I cannot assure you of anything.  Our club would be happy, &c.  Very respectfully,
Asa W. Smith, Pres't.  U.B.B.C.

Cincinnati, July 4, 1869.
A.W. Smith, Pres't.  U.B.B.C. - Sir. - Yours of 2d instant received.  We will be happy to play your club next Thursday, July 8th, and trust that the game will be pleasant and profitable.  Very truly yours,
N.E. Young, Treasurer  Olympic Club.

Smith went on to state that "In his statement to you, Mr. Young says that he telegraphed to St. Louis on the 5th inst., and shortly after his telegram he received a letter from me, which induced his club to stay away.  I don't think that Mr. Young has laid the blame on the right shoulders."

Obviously, it was all a question of money and that's understandable.  Smith was honest with the Olympics and essentially told them that they'd make less than $300 and guaranteed them nothing.  I would have to assume that the Olympics lost money on the tour and didn't see any monetary reason to go to St. Louis or Rockford.  The problem was that they had already agreed to the games and, I guess, that was a bit of a scandal.

Friday, March 15, 2013

An 1875 Interview With Jack Chapman


During the recent visit of the "Brown Stockings" to Louisville a number of the players were interviewed by the Courier-Journal relative to the base ball prospects for the season.  The last victim of reportorial pertinacity was Chapman, who is charged with having delivered himself as follows:

Reporter - How came so many Atlantic men to leave for St. Louis?

Mr. Chapman - St. Louis is bound to be the greatest place on the continent for base ball this season.  Her stock company offered big inducements, and we accepted.

R. - Who compose the St. Louis stock company, and why is it to be a great base ball place?

Mr. C. - Very rich and nice people form the company.  Its officers are mostly millionaires who desire their city ably represented in base ball.  The people "turn out" there in thousands, and are all agog with base ball excitement.  Five thousand people witnessed our practice game last week.

R. - What are base-ball players paid?

Mr. C. - Substitutes get from $900 to $1,200.  Regulars receive from $1,000 to $2,500.  Bob Ferguson, of our old club, gets $2,500 this year for captaining the Hartfords.

R. - What becomes of players during the winter?

Mr. C. - A good many loaf, and others work at different jobs.  Generally, whatever they hit upon that suits.

R. - From your observations, how do our Eagles compare with other clubs?

Mr. C. - They are a fine set, and compare favorably with any junior club in the land.  They are all gentlemen.

R. - In what respect are they deficient?

Mr. C. - Nerve.  All else they have, and only need more mixing with professionals and closer observance of the fine points of the game to become experts.

R. - Is Mr. Ellick a good player?

Mr. C. - He is very fine.

R. - Do you hope to beat the Boston Reds this season?

Mr. C. - We hope to do it, and I believe we shall.  The Reds are a good team, made excellent by having stuck together so long.  I consider the Athletics the stronger nine this year.  Harry Wright is the best captain in America.  The Mutuals were the best club of last season, and but for the bad feeling among members, would now be the champions.

R. - Do you think Louisville could support a professional club?

Mr. C. - I do, indeed, and am surprised she hasn't one.
-Mears Baseball Scrapbook, Volume 5


That's a cool interview and I have to dig around to see if I can find the rest of them. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Deep Red Stockings

The uniform of the St. Louis "Reds" will consist of gray pants, shirts and caps, with red trimmings, and stockings of deep red.  "Red Stockings," in small letters, will be worked on the shirts, and the words "St. Louis," over it.
-Mears Scrapbook, Volume 5


I have to admit that when I first read this description of the uniform of the 1875 Red Stockings, I believed that their stockings were "Jeep red" and I actually googled "Jeep red," hoping to discover what the heck that looked like.  Of course, I ended up with lots of descriptions and pictures of red Jeeps.  How was I supposed to know that there is no such thing as "Jeep red"?  I'm a guy.  I only recognize the existence of about ten colors.  How was I to know that some 19th century woman didn't come up with a weird shade of red and called it "Jeep red"?  It was a possibility. 

There are two lessons here.  First, red is red and there is no such thing as Baby Pink or Terra Cotta or Dark Sienna or Candy Apple Red.  Second, sometimes trying to decipher 19th century newspapers can be difficult.   

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

He Needs Practice, And A Great Deal Of It.


A practice gem of base ball was played last Saturday afternoon between the St. Louis Reds (professionals) and the Nationals (amateurs), at the Red Stocking Park, which resulted in a victory to the professionals by a score of 35 to 14 - report of which was crowded out of columns yesterday.  The weather was very disagreeable for playing ball, being entirely too cold and windy.  The attendance was small, not more than 200 spectators being on the grounds.  The game was not a brilliant one by any means, both sides indulging in muffing at a great rate, although there were at times some fine plays made.  The game was the first one the Nationals have played this season.  Bobb, their [pitcher], sent in the balls fearfully wild; the three players that attempted to catch him allowed twenty two balls to pass them.  He had no less than sixteen wild pitches charged to him during the game.  Fact is, Bobb never ought to pitch unless he can control the ball much better than he did.  He needs practice, and a great deal of it.  Boles, the catcher of the Nationals, is a good player and did well, he having made three fine base hits.  Lee, at short, did splendidly.  As for the Reds, they could have done much better, but, they did not seem to try.  Packey Dillon caught during most of the game, but his sore hand prevented him from doing his best.  Morgan put on a full head of steam and pitched well.  Old "Sweez," who, by the way, is a young man, only twenty-six years of age, played his base in good style, but did nothing with the stick.  Charley Houtz batted well...Indian Tommy (Oran) did nobly in the eighth inning; he and Houtz made a double play.  Joe Blong had nothing to do while in the field; he made a couple of fine base hits, and got in three runs for his side.  Litttle Croft and Redmond got in three base hits apiece.  
-Mears Baseball Scrapbook, Volume 5


Sixteen wild pitches.  I just want you to know how difficult it is to refrain from making Rick Ankiel jokes here.

The most interesting thing here is the reference to Tom Oran, the first Native-American to play in the major leagues, as "Indian Tom."  I've seen the reference in secondary sources but I believe that this is the first time I've seen it in contemporary accounts.

And like yesterday's game account, this appears to come from the St. Louis Democrat of April 20, 1875.     

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Western Team


The St. Louis Reds and Niagaras played a pretty game of base ball yesterday afternoon, on the grounds of the former club, which was witnessed by about 1,000 spectators.  The Niagaras gave the Reds a good close rub, and the game was therefore interesting from the beginning to the close, and was greatly enjoyed by all in attendance.  Both teams had on their new uniforms, which looked so much alike that it was hard to tell at times a Niagara player from a Red Stocking man.

Packy Dillon, the catcher of the Red Stockings, having a sore hand, could not play, so their substitute was put on, Redmond being placed behind the bat, Oran at third, and McSorley in short field.  "Old Swees" took a hand in the game, and played at second base, which position he filled right up to the handle...

The game was the best one that has been played here all season.  The Reds did not "show up" very well because some of their men did not play in their home positions.  The playing yesterday allows that they have got it in them to play a good, rattling game, and in a week or two, under old "Sweez's" coaching they will be able to do much better.

The Niagaras are no "slouches" in handling the ball, and should they improve in batting they will play a first-class game this season and give the Empires all they can do to get away with them.  
-Mears Baseball Scrapbook, Volume 5

It appears that this account of the game comes from the St. Louis Democrat of April 20, 1875.

The most interesting thing about this account, other than finding a Reds/Niagara game in the Mears scrapbook, is the appearance of the elusive John Dillon in the game.  Packy's brother played left field.  Also of note is that Pud Galvin pitched for the Niagaras. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Deasley Out; Robinson In

A dispatch was yesterday received from President Von der Ahe, of the St. Louis Club, stating that he had released Tom Deasley, so that it may reasonably be surmised that the latter will go with the New York League Club next season.  Walter Latham expressed his willingness to catch if Deasley were released, and in that case the natty little third base-man will resume his old position as back-stop.  At Boston Mr. Von der Ahe engaged W.H. Robinson, who attracted so much attention last season while with the Baltimore Unions.  He will catch and alternate with Latham at third.  Krehmeyer will probably assist behind the bat, and another experienced catcher will be secured; also a noted infielder, who is a terrific batsman.  The Browns will go into the field better generally in shape than they ever were before, and will have certain positions capably filled for the first time.  At the same time the bad, unreliable and insubordinate element has been gotten rid of, and the team will be one of the best behaved and best disciplined in the base-ball arena.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, December 14, 1884


That last sentence was a shot at Deasley. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Nothing Relating To The Project Could Be Learned

There are no new developments in local base ball affairs.  None of the parties interested in the effort to place the Union Club in the League were at home yesterday, and nothing relating to the project could be learned.  Base ball patrons generally expressed the hope that St. Louis would have a League member, and that games would be played between the local clubs.  It was also argued that games between the home clubs would be the most profitable of an entire season.  With respect to the Unions, a Globe-Democrat reporter was informed that the overtures for League membership came from the League and not from Mr. Lucas.  Four members of the League offered to vote for the admission of St. Louis, with the privilege of Sunday games, providing Mr. Lucas would apply.  It is conceded that Cleveland will not be in the field another season, and the position of Detroit is so doubtful that the league people have no faith in its existence, and they are consequently looking for new members that will be of value to them.  They know they can not get a member in a better base ball city than St. Louis, and that is why they are anxious to take in the Unions.  With Cleveland and Detroit out, the League can not do better than take in the St. Louis and Cincinnati Unions.

What The League Wants.

The League did not want Indianapolis or any place of its size if it could get a large place.  Public support being necessary for the maintenance of clubs, the League financiers were naturally calculating which would be the most profitable cities to take in, and but little figuring was necessary to prove that St. Louis was more desirable that any other point.  This is substantially the view expressed by one who is familiar with all the negotiations that have taken place.

Referring to the question of black-listed players, Vice President Espenschied said: "There is no possible way by which Mr. Lucas could be induced to go back on Dunlap, Shafer, Sweeny, Gleason, Rowe, and Dolan.  I know he is not that kind of a man, and I guess everybody acquainted with him knows it too.  I don't think we will go into the League.  They want us, but if they do get us it will have to be on our terms.  We don't want to quarrel with any association and have to fight them for another year, but we are not going to sacrifice any of the players that helped us in the fight last season.  We know for a fact that neither the League nor American Association want another such fight, and will not force us into another as they did last year.  If the Union Association becomes a strictly Western organization it will be all the better.  The West is a pretty good place for base ball to flourish in."

The situation at Indianapolis is unsettled.  The Cleveland Club is trying to dispose of its League franchise and reserved players to the Indianapolis Club, and President Lucas is trying to get Indianapolis into the Union Association.  A few days will determine its position.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, December 14, 1884

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sensational Base Ball Negotiations

A few days ago a Globe-Democrat reporter was advised that an effort was being made to get the St. Louis Union Base Ball Club into the National League.  The information was to the effect that the franchise of the Cleveland Club was in the market and, in view of the probable dropping out of that organization, other League representatives were anxious to take the St. Louis Unions into membership.  If Cleveland should disband Detroit would probably follow, and in that event both the St. Louis and Cincinnati Unions would join the League.  A gentleman interested in the local Unions was asked about this information and said it was substantially correct, but that he did not think anything would come of the negotiations because some of the league clubs were disposed to insist on the ostracism of Dunlap, Shaffer, Sweeny, Gleason, McCormick, Briody, Glascock and others, which the Union Clubs would under no circumstance consent to. 

The League The Dictator.

He was asked if Mr. Von der Ahe refused to give his consent would the matter be dropped, and answered that it would not; that it was understood that Mr. Von der Ahe was in favor of the project, and thought it would be a benefit to his club, but whatever might be his action the league was looking out for itself, and would dictate terms to the American Association instead of being dictated to...

President Lucas, of the Unions, was approached on the subject, but said he had nothing to say except that he was going right along preparing for the Union Association Convention to be held in this city on next Thursday.

Yesterday morning the following appeared in Caylor's special to the Cincinnati Commercial Gazette, reporting the proceeding of the American Association Convention:

The Crank's Version.

"Over and beyond the proceedings of the Convention, the sensation to-night has been a rumor in the corridors of the hotel, which was traced to a certainty after the meeting adjourned.  It was no less a fact than that Mr. Chase, the attorney of Henry V. Lucas, was on hand arranging for the transfer of the Lucas Club to the League.  I understand that Messrs. Chase and Day, of the New York League Club, and Mr. Von der Ahe were in consultation in the matter, and the result has been altogether favorable.  Von der Ahe's consent is necessary to effect the new membership.  He will of course require that Dunlap, Shaffer and Rowe be dropped, and that under no circumstance shall they be made eligible to play."

"It is understood that the League rules will be strictly enforced, namely, no bar, no Sunday games and a 50-cent tariff.  It is understood that Mr. Lucas wants to cater to the high-toned portions in St. Louis, and believes it will pay with a League club, and Von der Ahe is of the opinion that such a club would benefit him, rather than do him injury.  If Von der Ahe keeps this opinion till his return the deal will certainly be made.  Whether it is or not, however, it is absolutely certain that the Union Association is a goner."

The Union's Association Will Go On.

Vice President Espenched of the Unions was seen last night by a Globe-Democrat reporter.  He said his attention had been called to the Commercial Gazette's report by a telegram from the Cincinnati Enquirer, to which he replied: "Mr. Lucas is in Indianapolis arranging for a Union Club.  Assure our players they need have no fear."

The Union Association, he said, would go right along and would certainly protect its players.  The thought that it was "a goner" probably delighted Caylor, but his transport of joy would be blighted by the painful reality that his tormentor still lived and would continue to live.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, December 13, 1884


Somewhere, I think there has to be a record of a third game played between the Maroons and Louisville in October of 1884 but I can't find it.  The game was scheduled but there is nothing in the Globe about it.  But the Louisville exhibition series finished the season for the Maroons.  So we're moving on. 

And here we have the first mention that I've found of the possibility of the Maroons moving to the NL.  I don't think that the representation of Von der Ahe's attitude is correct or something, at some point, made him change his mind about supporting the Maroons move to the NL.  The process would not be an easy one.   

Friday, March 8, 2013

Mark Twain Would Have Liked This Game

The very symbol, the outward and visible expression of the drive, and push, and rush and struggle of the raging, tearing, booming nineteenth century.

Hannibal, Mo., October 28. - The Hannibals and St. Louis Browns crossed bats here to-day, the result being Browns, 5; Hannibals, 0.  McGinnis and Deasley were the battery for the Browns, and Foley and Daniels for the Hannibals.  The game was a poor one, not a single run being earned.  The Hannibals played the worst game they have played this season.  To-day's contest closes the season here.  The Hannibals have played thirteen games, losing four.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 29, 1884


It wasn't much of a game, so maybe Mr. Clemens wouldn't have enjoyed it too much but I'm sure he would have had something witty and caustic to say about a major league baseball team playing a match in the town where he grew up. 

And how about that quote that I'm using to caption the pic.  That's Twain on baseball and supposedly it comes from a speech he gave in 1889.  I'm adding the quote to the sidebar because it is so very full of awesome. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Old Time Skill And Vigor


For the first time since their return from the East, the St. Louis Unions yesterday batted and fielded with their old-time skill and vigor, and the result was the complete rout of the Louisvilles.  Hecker, the Louisvilles' pitcher, was batted as he was never batted before.  Fifteen runs, eight of them earned; nineteen clean hits, with a total of twenty-eight bases, tells the story.  The Louisvilles, on the other hand, could no nothing with Sweeney, and the two clean hits the visitors got in the last inning were all they were allowed to score in the game.  In the third inning Sweeney surprised his opponents by striking out McLaughlin, Browning and Wolff in succession.  That the Louisvilles batted poorly is reflected by the fact that only two of them retired on flies to the outfield.  Dunlap was back in his old place, while Dolan appeared as Sweeney's support.  The presence of these three braced up the whole nine, and they played a winning game from the start.  On the Louisvilles' side Browning did great service in center-field, two of his catches out there saving three-base hits.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 26, 1884

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Somewhat Disastrous


The St. Louis Unions for the first time in their career yesterday faced an American Association nine and the result was somewhat disastrous to the champions of the Union Association.  In justice to the St. Louis as well as the Louisvilles, however, it should be stated that the contest was in no way a fair test of the strength of the two nines.  The Louisvilles were minus services of Hecker, their great pitcher, although Reccius, who filled his position did the work splendidly, while the support rendered him by Sweeney was brilliant.  The other positions in the team were also well filled, and the statement that the nine as a whole were better able to play good ball than at any time during the season was borne out by the action of the men in the field as well as at the bat.  In the latter particular they were very effective, and the double strokes which came early and often were generally scored at the right time.  The Unions lacked the services of their best pitcher, while Dunlap, who seems to be the keystone of the nine, was also absent.  Behind the bat the home team played Baker, and his work in the beginning was so poor that Brennan was brought in from the field to take his place.  Brennan had not filled the position for weeks, and Boyle no sooner put on speed than the ball got by him.  This of course discouraged the whole team and they seemed to quit playing.  Their base running was slovenly and they apparently made no effort whatever to get around the bases.  In bright contrast to the listless work of the home team was the spirit shown by the visitors.  For their good work they were continually cheered.  About the only shouting for the home nine was when some friend of Sweeney called to him to come in and pitch.  The game was lost, however, before he had time to go to the rescue.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 25, 1884


Louisville finished third in the AA in 1884, a half game in front of the Browns.  They were a good, but not great, team and they came to St. Louis and beat the Maroons handily.  They beat them without Guy Hecker, who won 52 games in 1884, on the mound.  Maybe the Maroons did not take the game seriously - it was, after all, an exhibition - but this game is a bit of foreshadowing for the two seasons that the club would spend in the NL.  This game against Louisville was a step up in competition for the Maroons and it didn't go well. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Northwestern Association Of Base Ball Players

The Convention At Chicago.
The Northwestern Association Of Base Ball Players.

The second annual convention of the Northwestern Association of Base Ball Players assembled at the Briggs House, Chicago, Dec. 19th, 1866...

Upon the call of the roll of clubs represented at the last meeting of the Association, the following delegates were found to be present...

Hope, St. Louis - James Reed and J.M. Williams...

The Committee on Nominations reported, and the following clubs were admitted...

Excelsior Base Ball Club, of St. Louis, Mo., organized first in 1861, and re-organized October 1, 1865.  Number of members, 20.  Delegates - G.H. Hoos, August Shoot...

Defiance Base Ball Club, of St. Louis, Mo., organized April 23, 1865.  Number of members, 29.  Delegates - F. McPhetridge...

The following resolution was offered by Mr. J.H. Mower, of Indiana: -

Resolved, That whenever two or more clubs shall signify to the President of the Association their desire to compete for the Championship of the Northwest, the officers of the Association are hereby instructed to arrange the details of a tournament to be held within thirty days thereafter, at which said championship shall be decided.

The resolution was adopted, when the Convention adjourned sine die.

The death blow was given to associations composed of clubs from several States like these of the Northwestern Association and that of the New England Association, by the official recognition of the State Associations made at our Convention [in New York,] and yet there were delegates present who talked pretty loud against this movement and in favor of a selfish and narrow minded policy, which, if it had succeeded, would have made the Northwestern Association a powerful rival to the National, and have led to a different code of playing rules for the West. 
-Mears Baseball Scrapbook, Volume 4, 1856-1907


This is beyond fascinating.  I had never heard of the Northwestern Association of Base Ball Players before and I'm amazed that neither the Empires or the Unions were represented in the organization.  Perhaps I shouldn't be as both were involved with the NABBP and the Missouri baseball association and the article makes it clear that the NWABBP was a rival to both the national and state associations. 

The really interesting thing here is that idea of a rivalry between regional baseball associations.  The NABBP was dominated by New York clubs who were promoting their specific version of baseball.  Merritt Griswold had written, in 1860, that unless the game was played by the rules of the National Association, it was not "base ball."  The New York clubs had made up their minds what baseball was and that vision was spreading across the nation.  A point that I've made before is that there was nothing predetermined about the spread of the New York game or the domination of American baseball by Eastern clubs.  While there are many good reasons for the spread and acceptance of the New York game, it didn't have to drive out local variants and it's possible to imagine a scenario where local variants survived, competed against the New York game and thrived.  The NWABBP looks, to me, like the last gasp of Western clubs to stave off domination by the Eastern clubs.  The Eastern clubs had decided what "base ball" was, what the rules to the game were and were in the process of imposing that vision of the game on the rest of the nation.  The NWABBP had fought a losing battle against Eastern dominance.   

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Hope Club Gets Some Attention In The Eastern Press

Hope vs. Baltic, of St. Louis, Mo. - The second nines of the above clubs met on the 6th inst., the result being a very interesting game, the score at the close of the ninth innings standing 41 to 35, in favor of the Hope.  The scorers were Joe Reed for the Hope, and Ed. Cooke for the Baltic.  Umpires, Jim Quinn, of the Empire Club.

Imperial vs. Franklin, of St. Louis, Mo., - An interesting game was played between the second nines of the Imperial and the first nine of the Franklin clubs, on the 5th inst., upon the grounds of the Imperial, the latter organization achieving the victory by a score of 25 to 13.  D.H. Hogan of the Hope Club, acted as umpire.

Empire vs. Hope, of St. Louis, Mo. - The game contested on the 5th inst., between the second nines of these clubs, resulted in the defeat of the Hope boys, they having succeeded in scoring but 14 to the 39 of their opponents.
-Mears Baseball Scrapbook, Volume 4, 1856-1907


I would have to assume that someone from the Hope Club sent all of this information to the Clipper or Spirit of the Times and that's how it ended up in the Eastern papers.  Regardless, all of these games were played in 1865, probably in early November.  Also, I should mention that the Franklin Club doesn't appear in my tags so it appears that they're new to me.  

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Alton Base Ball Clubs of 1858

The Alton Base-Ball Club. - Pursuant to notice, a meeting was held on the evening of May 18, to organize a club, on which occasion J.H. Hibbard was called to the chair.  The chairman made a few remarks, explanatory of the object of the organization, the meting proceeded to elect officers, J.J. Hibbard was duly elected President; John Bailer, Vice-President; J.M. Stauton, Secretary; Thomas Diminock, Treasurer; A.J. Hawley, Br. Hez. Williams and E.T. Sneernigen, Executive Committee.

The Upper Alton Base Ball Club, the name of the officers I am not in receipt of , which was organized a short time after, sent us a challenge to play a match game, on Saturday, the 19th of June, which was accepted by our club; each side had five innings, and thirteen players each, with the following result:

The Alton Base-Ball Club made...224 rounds
The Upper Alton Base-Ball Club made...90 rounds

L.B. Sidway, George S. Ferguson, Joseph Quigley, scorers and umpires.  I remain your obd't servant,  One of the A.B.B.C.
-Mears Baseball Scrapbook, Volume 4, 1856-1907


Based on information in the Protoball Chronology, this probably comes from Porter's Spirit of the Times, Volume 4, Number 20 (July 17, 1858). 

I've written before about these Alton clubs and the significance of the source material that we have on them and their games.  These are the earliest known baseball clubs in the St. Louis area and their matches are the earliest known matches for which we have a contemporary source.  They, of course, were not playing the New York game but, rather, a local variant of American baseball.  It's unknown if this variant, with five innings a game and thirteen a side, was prevalent throughout the St. Louis area or unique to Alton but it's an interesting glimpse at baseball in the St. Louis area prior to the introduction of the New York game.   

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Clubs Now Belonging To The Convention

The annual gathering of delegates from the prominent base ball clubs of the United States took place in New York on the night of Dec. 13, 1865, the occasion being the ninth annual meeting of the National Association of Base Ball Players...

...[A] call was made for the report of the Nominating Committee, in order to have the claims of new clubs fully settled, with a view to their voting, and Mr. Thors, chairman of the committee, proceeded to read the names of sixty ! new clubs, applicants for representation in the Convention.  During the reading of the names as those of clubs from distant points were announced, considerable applause followed, especially in the case of the clubs from Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Maine.  After those clubs had been favorably reported upon and all had passed in their credentials and paid their dues, considerable discussion arose in relation to the admission of such clubs whose applications had been informal or not in the order required by the rules...
-Mears Baseball Scrapbook, Volume 4, 1856-1907


This article obviously comes from late 1865 or, perhaps, early 1866 and gives a report of the happenings at the 1865 convention of the NABBP.  Among the "list of clubs now belonging to the Convention, and the names of their delegates" is the "Empire Club of St. Louis, Mo." who was represented by Henry Clay Sexton.  There has always been some confusion in my mind about which St. Louis club was the first to join the NABBP, the Empires or the Unions, and there was evidence supporting each club's claim.  This article appears to settle that little argument.

It should also be noted that Sexton was elected Second Vice-President of the Association.   

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.