A spirited game of base ball was played yesterday on the grounds of the Baltic club, between the Peerless and the Atlantic clubs, in which the Peerless were the victors, the score being 33 to 24.
-Missouri Republican, June 6, 1870
There's nothing in the Republican regarding St. Louis clubs following the visit by the Chicagos until this squib in early June. However, Tobias does mention a few other games during that period, specifically a match between the Lone Stars and the St. Louis Club on May 1, a match between the Aetnas and the Atlantics on May 22, and a match between the Aetnas and the Unions on May 26. So we know that there was baseball being played in St. Louis during May of 1870 but, for some reason, the Republican was not covering it.
The series of matches between foreign and home base ball clubs, inaugurated on Monday, and which has proved so pleasant a feature in the programme to many persons, closed yesterday noon with the contest between the Excelsior Club of Chicago and the Atlantics of this city. The crowd in attendance was immense, and the playing, on the part of the Excelsiors especially, was very fine. The game was opened promptly at 10 o'clock, and resulted in favor of the Chicago club by a score of - Excelsiors 71, Atlantics 7. The Excelsiors have thus won the premium of $300 and the gold mounted bat given by the Association. They have come off triumphant in three matches during the week - the first with the Unions, when the score stood 27 to 9; the second with the Resolutes, which closed at 41 runs to 13, and the third with the Resolutes this morning. On to-morrow afternoon they will leave for home.
So not a great showing by the St. Louis clubs against the Excelsiors of Chicago. At this point, with a series of defeats against outside competition, with no victories at all over outside clubs, and only one game against an outside club that was even competitive, one has to admit that the best St. Louis clubs - specifically the Unions and the Empires - weren't that good. The game was popular in St. Louis. There were lots of clubs. The press was covering the game to a greater extent than they ever had before. But the baseball being played in St. Louis and the ballplayers the city was producing were not up to the standards of the best clubs and players.
The interesting thing is that many in the local sporting press, in the local baseball fraternity, and among the St. Louis fans believed that it was. They believed that they could compete against the best clubs in the nation. It was a form of parochial delusion and one that St. Louis was (and still is) especially susceptible to in most matters. The realization that everyone was wrong about St. Louis' place in the baseball world would have a disastrous impact upon the popularity of baseball in the city in the following years.
The Base Ball Tournament during the week of the great exhibition is expected to be an interesting affair. Several good clubs from abroad have given assurances of their purpose to be here. The committee has arranged the order of the playing and have named the Dirigo vs. Etna to begin the games on the morning of the first day. On Monday evening, the Empires vs. Resolute; Tuesday, A.M., Olympic, of Carondelet, vs. Atlantic; Tuesday, P.M., Union, Jr., vs. St. Louis; Wednesday, A.M., the winning club of Monday A.M., vs. the winning club of Tuesday A.M.; Wednesday, P.M., Excelsior, of Chicago, vs. the Unions; Thursday, A.M., winning club of Wednesday, A.M., vs. winning club of Thursday, P.M. Thursday, P.M., winning club of Monday, P.M., vs winning club of Wednesday P.M.; Friday, the winning club of Thursday. The games will commence at 10 o'clock A.M. and 2 o'clock P.M., each day, and any club failing to appear at the time designated the club on the ground will be declared the winning club.
I had to read that first paragraph a couple of times and still couldn't make sense out of the tournament schedule. It's transcribed exactly as it appeared in the Republican but the whole thing gets a bit confused when they start trying to explain the Thursday schedule. Not a big deal but let's just note that the paper probably messed things up.
The note about New York clubs playing in the tournament if they had gotten more notice is unrealistic and shows some ignorance of how these clubs scheduled games. They would have needed several weeks notice and certain assurances regarding the amount of money they would receive. Even with that, it's unlikely they would have made the long trip to St. Louis just to play a couple of games. The only reason the big Eastern clubs came to St. Louis during this era was because they were on long, multi-city tours that featured ten to twenty stops and twenty to forty games. They weren't coming to St. Louis just for a tournament. That's not the way things worked in 1868.
A State Junior Base Ball Association has been formed, which appears likely to become a strong organization. The Convention at which the organization was effected was well attended, there being the following delegates from the following clubs:
I think this a great example of what I was talking about yesterday. There were a lot of clubs in St. Louis and a lot of games being played that weren't being covered in the press. The game was very healthy and rather popular in the city in 1868 and I think the formation of an association of junior clubs is proof of that.
The opening Base Ball match of the season will take place to-day at St. Louis Base Ball Park on Grand avenue, near the Fair grounds, the contestants being the Union and the Atlantic Clubs. The grounds are reported in excellent order, and an animated contest may be expected. The Atlantic nine includes some fine players, and their friends confidently anticipate a gratifying victory. On the 11th of June the Athletics, of Philadelphia, will arrive in the city, and on the following day will try their strength with the Union players. The opening season promises to be a lively one among the base ballers.
So the season was finally getting started at the end of May, which seems awfully late to start but it wasn't really the start of the season. Obviously, the clubs had been playing through all of May but they just hadn't been playing each other. What we had, here at the end of May, was the first match game of the season.
The pleasant weather and the attraction of a match game between [the Empire and Atlantic] clubs drew several hundred lovers of our national game to the Grand avenue park yesterday afternoon. The game was, we understand, for practice only, and will not count in the games for the amateur championship of the state of Missouri.
I love the description of Lipman Pike as "the nobby centre fielder of the Brown Stockings." I'm going to steal that and add it to my collection of rhetorical tics. From this point forward, Lip PIke is Lipman Pike, the nobby centre fielder.
The [Reds and Atlantics] played a game yesterday afternoon on the grounds of the former. The Reds presented their full nine as it is at present made up, though we believe negotiations are pending for one or two Eastern players. The Atlantics were short several of their players, their regular pitcher and catcher being among the number.
The most important piece of information here is that the Reds had not signed Charlie Sweasy by April 4 but were looking to sign an experienced Eastern player. When the Republican says that "negotiations are pending," one has to assume that the Reds were talking to Sweasy at this time, given that he would be signed and in St. Louis within a week.
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