"I don't care so much for his money; all I want is to shame him. I want to have the bars turned on him, same as they were on me," said Baldwin, his voice full of indignation.
-Sporting Life, April 9, 1892
I found this quote from Baldwin, regarding his motivation in the lawsuit against Von der Ahe, in a long article in Sporting Life that, for all of the words used, was rather empty of content. But this quote is important. It tells us why the suit dragged on for so long and why there wasn't a settlement. Baldwin wanted revenge. He wanted to punish Von der Ahe. And I believe him when he says this wasn't about money. It wasn't. It was about revenge.
Charles F. Joy, Mark Baldwin's counsel, says: "The case of Baldwin against Von der Ahe for $10,000 for false imprisonment, will come up in Philadelphia next week, after many continuances. Von der Ahe has staved off the case so long that he will have to come to terms or go ahead with the case. He has already offered $2000 in settlement, and we have refused. I think we can get judgment against him for at least $6,000.
So much for my idea that the case could have been settled with a two thousand dollar offer.
Mark Baldwin, of the Pittsburg Club, returned Nov. 16 from Philadelphia, where he had gone to attend a hearing in his suit for false imprisonment against President Von der Ahe, of the St. Louis Club. Baldwin says he and his attorney were ready to proceed with the case, while Von der Ahe was absent, and his attorney present to plead for another delay. The case was again postponed to January on motion of Von der Ahe's lawyer. This time the St. Louis people set up the plea that during the time which had elapsed since the last postponement of the case the senior counsel for Von der Ahe, McKinley, had died. Brady, who was to continue the case stated that in the trial lists published he had not seen his name, and, therefore, wanted time to prepare the case. Baldwin is determined to make Von der Ahe pay for his imprisonment, and has about given up the idea of compromising the suit. Shortly before McKinley's death, that lawyer went to Baldwin's counsel and wanted to settle the matter for $1,200. On being informed of this Baldwin consented to a settlement for $3,500. Baldwin is certain that he will win and get heavy damage.
Baldwin sued Von der Ahe in July of 1891 and the case had still not been heard in December of 1892. This is one of the reasons that I never was much interested in the Baldwin Affair. You just have large stretches of time - here it's a year and a half - when nothing is happening except for postponements and continuations. There's just no meat on the bone of this story for years.
Regardless of all of that, the most interesting thing we learn here is that there were talks of a settlement between Von der Ahe and Baldwin's lawyers. One would imagine that if Baldwin wasn't so intent on getting revenge against Von der Ahe, this thing could have been settled for two grand.
The heavy eight ton roller was used all day yesterday on Sportsman's Park. The diamond is now as level as a table. Superintendent Solari has the base lines in fine condition. They will be covered with tarpaulins in wet weather, as will also the battery and batters' squares. The new growth of grass came up very quickly and the grounds are looking in their handsomest form.
I thought this was a rather unique look at the kind of things that August Solari did to get his field in shape for baseball. The infield tarp, according to best evidence, was an invention that Solari came up with for the 1884 season.
The game of base ball advertised to take place yesterday afternoon, at the Grand Avenue park, between the Chicago White Stockings and Philadelphias, did not come off, as neither club put in its appearance. At least twenty thousand people visited the grounds, thinking that they would enjoy a treat, but they were doomed to be disappointed. As to who is to blame, our reporter gained the following from a reliable source: Mr. Williams, secretary of the reds of this city, has been correspounding with the Chicagos for some time, in regard to getting up a game, and at last succeeded so far that he turned the game over to Mr. Solari of the Grand Avenue park, thinking it would be an advantage to the club in drawing a large crowd, on account of its proximity to the Fair grounds. Then Mr. Thos. Bryan, corresponding secretary of the Empires, received from the Philadelphia club, October 1st, a communication stating that the Chicagos and Philadelphias would play a game in this city on October 8th, and that the Philadelphias, after playing a return game in Chicago, would come back and play two games on Sunday, the 11th of October, one in the morning with the Nationals, if so arranged, and the other with the Empires in the afternoon. Mr. Bryan answered the telegram, and told them to come on, as all the arrangements were being made, and the games were advertised. Then came Mr. Williams on the morning of October 8th, the day the game was to come off, and told Mr. Solari of the park that he had received a dispatch from Chicago, signed jointly by the managers of the Chicago and Philadelphia clubs, that it would not be possible for them to play in St. Louis, and that they would write and give the cause. Lastly a dispatch was received at 3:10 P.M., yesterday, by Mr. Solari, signed Jim Woods, stating the Philadlephias refused to play in St. Louis.
What's of interest here is the fact that this game was being advertised as the first game played in St. Louis between two professional clubs and it certainly would have been the first game played between two openly professional teams. Also, the reason given for moving the game from the Compton Avenue Grounds to the Grand Avenue Grounds is interesting and it's the first contemporary reference I've ever seen suggesting why the Grand Avenue Grounds was considered a better park than the Compton Avenue Grounds.
Regardless, it's kind of odd that this game wasn't played. Chicago played a lot of games in St. Louis in 1874 and it's kind of surprising that they weren't able to get Philadelphia to go along with playing it. There's probably something else going on here that we don't know because the reason given for not playing the game is not very satisfying.
The Anheuser-Busch nine were defeated by the Consolidated Express nine yesterday morning, at the Union Grounds, the score standing 28 to 7.
So it looks like I'm pretty much taking the week off. I'm still swamped at work and can't seem to get on top of things. When real life intrudes, baseball history just has to slide a bit. Anyway, I promise I'll be back Monday and continue the gripping story of the Baldwin Affair. For now, I'll just throw up some random stuff from the old blog.
Here's what I wrote about this little squib back when I was much more productive:
This is a nice, little reference to an A-B baseball club from 1884. Adolphus Busch was one of the original investors in the Maroons and was probably the largest investor in the club besides Henry Lucas. And that's why the club was playing at the Union Grounds in July of 1884.
Judge Shepard Barclay died on November 17, 1925, at the age of 78.
Barclay is a fascinating person and a significant figure in the history of 19th century St. Louis baseball. He was a member of the first nine and an officer with the Baltic Club during the Civil War, pitched for the St. Louis University baseball club, and played on some of the great post-war Union Club teams. He was an important figure in both the pioneer era and the amateur era.
His true significance, however, lies in the fact that he was one of Al Spink's sources for the early history of St. Louis baseball in The National Game. For years, a lot of what we knew about St. Louis during the 1860's was a result of Barclay's testimony. Modern research has proven that Barclay was wrong in a lot of the details of what he was telling Spink but that's understandable given that Barclay was trying to remember things that had happened fifty years in the past. But it's because of people like Shepard Barclay, Edmund Tobias, and Merritt Griswold - men who where there when the game first began in St. Louis and who played during the pioneer era - that we were given our first glimpse of the early game in St. Louis. What I've done and what other baseball historians are doing is simply building upon their work.
The above article comes from the September 18, 1860 issue of the St. Louis Daily Bulletin and is one of my favorites. I found it about six or seven years ago and posted the information at the old blog back then. As far as the early history of St. Louis baseball is concerned it's a rather significant source as it gives us a lot of information about what was really the first baseball season in the city's history.
I have absolutely no idea when or where I got a digital copy of the article. Just kind of stumbled across this in one of my files while looking for something to post. I first found the article when looking at the actual, original, physical copies of the Bulletin from 1860 at the St. Louis Public Library. Still, to this day, I can't believe that I had those issues in my hand and remember just being terrified of touching them and harming them in some way. They didn't even give me gloves to handle them with. I just asked for them and they gave them to me. Crazy.
Having said that, I'll never forget that day. It was one of the best and most productive days of research I ever had and looking at these one hundred and fifty year old documents was an amazing experience. It's rare for me to have my hands on original source material. You usually get microfilm or a digital copy, which is great. But there's nothing like having the fragile original in your hands.
[Wayman Crow McCreery], son of Phocian R. McCreery and Mary Jane (Hynes) McCreery, was born in St. Louis in the year 1851. His father was born in Kentucky, but had settled in St. Louis eleven years previous to Wayman's birth, and had gone into the dry goods business in partnership with Mr. Wayman Crow, the firm being known as Crow, McCreery & Company. It did a very large amount of profitable business, and Mr. McCreery invested much of his share of the profits in real estate. His name is connected with some of the best buildings in the city, including the building at the corner of Broadway and Chestnut street, now known as Hurst's Hotel, which was erected in 1861, and which was, at that time, the finest building in the city. His enterprise proved a great stimulus to the erection of costly office and public buildings, and his example was very generally followed. His mother, Mary Jane McCreery, was a daughter of Colonel Andrew Hynes, of Nashville, Tennessee, who was a bosom friend of General Andrew Jackson.
I'm stupid busy at work right now and haven't had time to put anything together regarding L'affaire Baldwin so you're getting some recycled stuff from the old blog for the next few days. Anyway, here's what I wrote seven years ago about Mr. McCreery:
A first baseman for the Union Club, Wayman Crow McCreery is one of the more fascinating figures in the history of 19th century St. Louis baseball. Besides his musical talents, which are mentioned in the biographical sketch from Old and new St. Louis, McCreery was also a national billiards champion. Augustus Thomas, in A Print of My Remembrance, wrote that McCreery was an outstanding athlete, stating that "(few) men are so physically and intellectually equipped as he was. There was nothing that an athlete could do with his body that in a notable degree Wayman McCreery could not do. He was a boxer, wrestler, fencer, runner, and swimmer, and all-round athlete. In addition to these he was a graceful dancer."
McCreery's background is fairly typical for a member of the Union Club. He was one of several members of the club to have attended Washington University, which was co-founded by his namesake, Wayman Crow. McCreery, like many other club members, was also related to the prominent Laclede and Chouteau family of St. Louis. He was related to the family through his marriage to Mary Louise Carr. The Union Club had numerous members who where part of the Laclede/Chouteau family as well as the Lucas family. These two families were the largest landowners in St. Louis and were also the two wealthiest families. The fact that McCreery's daughter, Marie, was named the St. Louis Veiled Prophet Queen in 1896 speaks to his family's high social standing in the city.
Mark E. Baldwin, pitcher of the Pittsburg Club, of the National League, has entered suit in Common Pleas Court, Philadelphia, against President Von der Ahe, of the St. Louis Club, of the American Association, to recover $20,000 damages for alleged malicious prosecution. Baldwin says that on March 5 last, at St. Louis, Von der Ahe appeared before Bernard Dierkes, the Prosecuting Attorney of the Criminal Court of that city, and caused Baldwin to be arrested on the charge of having, on Feb. 19 last, unlawfully conspired with J. Palmer O'Neill and others to bribe Charles F. King to wrongfully abandon his service of Von der Ahe, and to violate an alleged contract between King and Von der Ahe, and with having, in further prosecution of the conspiracy, offered King, on March 4, $800 as a bribe to induce him to violate the alleged contract. The case came up for trial March 12, 13, 25, when the defendant procured it to be continued, and on April 4 a non pors. was entered and the case abandoned and discontinued. On April 3 Von der Ahe again appeared in the St. Louis Court and, before Thomas B. Estep, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, brought substantially the same case against Baldwin, causing his arrest, which case was also non prossed when it came into court on April 6. Baldwin says that the prosecution was wilful and malicious and without cause, and that he had his name and reputation damaged and had incurred expenses equal to the amount claimed.
This is an outstanding summary of the charges that were brought against Baldwin and it includes a lot of details that I hadn't seen before. For the purposes of documenting the Affair, I think this is a significant reference.
Also, we find here what is basically the beginning of part two of the Baldwin Affair. Part one was the arrest of Baldwin in St. Louis and the dismissal of the charges. Part two, which would drag on for seven years, was Baldwin's suit against Von der Ahe.
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