A large crowd of spectators assembled yesterday afternoon at the base ball park to witness a game of base ball between the Garden City club of Chicago, and the Empire club of this city. On the part of the Empires the play throughout was very indifferent. All of the players except Murray on the third base, who played well up to his standard, batted and fielded poorly, and muffed a great many balls.
The Garden City club from the start led their opponents. Their batting was exceedingly heavy and safe and their fielding was good. Kerre, at the second base, being very active, and also Pullem, at the first. Their playing was particularly noticeable.
Mr. Kennon was the umpire and gave good satisfaction.
-Missouri Republican, July 4, 1870
Tobias wrote that this game was "devoid of interest and not complimentary to either club insomuch as both failed to come up to their standard of play." He contradicts the Republican by stating that the umpire made numerous errors but does agree that Jake Murray was the standout for the Empires.
A meeting of the State association of base ball players was held last night in the rooms of the St. Louis base ball club, on Pine street, between Sixth and Seventh streets, when there were fifteen delegates present. The resignation of J.B. Ketterer, president, and J.S. Foster, vice president, were read and accepted. Mr. Miller was elected president of the association, and Mr. S.L. Steth vice president. The charges which the Atlantic club had preferred against the St. Louis club were withdrawn. The meeting adjourned until the first Friday in August.
I'm not sure if this is significant or not. Jospeh Ketterer, of the Lone Star Club, and James Foster, of the St. Louis Club, had both been elected as vice-presidents of the Missouri State Base Ball Association in June of 1869. Asa Smith, of the Union Club, had been elected president but resigned at the end of the season. At that point, Ketterer assumed the presidency of the association and Foster remained as first vice-president.
It's possible that the association simply held their elections for officers in June or July and this is just a new election. But it specifically states that Ketterer and Foster resigned. So I don't think that's it. I think this was an election that was held because of the resignation of the top two officers of the association. It's possible that their term was up but that's not how I read this squib.
Why would they resign? I have no clue. Smith resigned in 1869 to devote himself fully to business. He had been involved in the game for a decade, providing extraordinary leadership and vision, but I understand why he felt it was time to get out of the game. I don't know enough about Ketterer or Foster to make those kinds of judgments. They're not names that I recognize and can't find them in my notes.
The game of base ball for the championship of this state which, as has been advertised, would be played yesterday between the Empire club, the preset champions, and the Union club, came off at the appointed time and place and resulted in the defeat of the Unions. Notwithstanding the extreme severity of the heat yesterday afternoon, some 800 to 1,000 people assembled at the park to witness the contest between these rival clubs.
The Republican's account of the game goes on to give a detailed inning-by-inning account but I'm going to spare myself the burden of typing that up. Bottom line was that the Empires won the first game of their championship series against the Unions by a score of 36-28.
The Clipper also published an account of this game:
These old rival clubs of St. Louis entered the arena for the championship of Missouri for 1870, on the 23d of June, the game being played at the base ball park at St. Louis, in the presence of a large crowd of spectators...The ball played with was a lively one, and hence there was no less than 39 fielding errors in the game, heavy hitting deciding the contest...
A base ball match between the Shoofly and Nine Spot of Clubs was played on the 19th, on the grounds of the former club at Bremen. The Shoofly won it, the score being - Shoofly 27; Nine Spot 25.
The town of Bremen was located in what is now the Hyde Park neighborhood of North St. Louis. By 1870, it had already been incorporated and was part of St. Louis proper.
In 1888 [Thomas C. Nicholson] was engaged by President Von der Ahe for his White Stocking team, of the Western Association, and after participating in thirty-four championship games as a second baseman, the team was disbanded, and Nicholson returned to the Wheeling team, of the Tri-State League...
One of these days, I'm going to have to put up some stuff about the St. Louis Whites. They were a fascinating bunch, with some very good ballplayers on the club. Also, the reasons why they even existed are fascinating and make a good tale. I'll have to remember to get to that.
The St. Louis Club...was in want of players [in 1893] and made [Jimmy Bannon] an offer, which he accepted, taking part with its team in twenty-three championship contests, and ranking tenth in the official batting averages of the major league for that year. He was tried at short stop on the St. Louis team, but did not make a success there; then he was placed in the outfield, but was not very fortunate as a fielder. However, he became popular with the Mound City enthusiasts on account of his hard and timely batting. When President Von der Ahe released him before the season was over there was a storm of indignation, and his release was recalled, but it was finally decided to let him go for good, as Mr. Von der Ahe considered Cooley, who was on his club's pay rolls, to be as a good, if not a better player.
If you look at Bannon's stats, there is no doubt that the guy could hit. But the stats also so a guy that was a terrible fielder, as the article above hints at. Bannon, in his major league career, made 118 errors in 370 games, while playing mostly in the outfield. Just looking around the records, I'm pretty sure Bannon has to be near the top of errors per game/career for an outfielder. He may very well have set a record for errors by an outfielder in a season in 1893, when he had 41. In 1895, Fred Clarke set the record with 49, so Bannon is right up there. He just wasn't very good with the glove and that's the reason his major league career was so short.
Richard Cooley, who has been connected with the St. Louis Club, of the National League and American Association, during the past two seasons, is a very clever all around player. During his first season with the club, when its team was in a bad way for catchers, Cooley volunteered his services, and at once showed that he was a first class man in that place, his regular position then being at third base. He proved himself a valuable man in every position to which he was assigned. He was born March 29, 1873, at Leavenworth, Kan., and descended from stock that has for many years been identified with the affairs of that State, in one way or another. Cooley received his education at Topeka, and it was while attending school there that he first became interested in the national game. It was not long, however, before he gained considerable local renown as an all around player, being a heavy and reliable batsman, clever fielder and fine base runner. His excellent work attracted the attention of the officials of the Topeka Club, who made him quite a liberal offer to play with their team during the season of 1893, which he accepted. He began that season with that club, but finished it as a member of the St. Joseph team, of the Western League. It was his excellent work with the latter that attracted the attention of the management of the St. Louis Club, and his services were secured for the Mound City organization. Cooley took part in fifty-two championship games during his season - 1984 - with the St. Louis team, and ranked well up in the official batting averages of the major league. He fully convinced President Von der Ahe that he could hold his own in the fast company that he was traveling in. During the past season he took part in one hundred and thirty-two championship games, and ranked among the leaders in the official batting averages, with a percentage of .340. This is certainly a very remarkable feat for anyone to accomplish in his second season in the major league.
Interestingly, according to Baseball Reference, the most similar player to Duff Cooley is Lance Johnson.
Henry Peitz, the hard working, steady and reliable catcher of the St. Louis Club, of the National League and American Association, was born on Nov. 15, at St. Louis, Mo., and it was in that city that he first learned to play ball. For several years thereafter he was connected with a number of prominent amateur teams of the Mound City. It was not until 1889 that he accepted his first professional engagement. Like the majority of young players, he was obliged to seek other fields than his native pastures to gain renown in the baseball world. A trial was given him that year by the Jacksonville Club, and he did such satisfactory work that he was retained there not only throughout that season but the two following as well. In 1892 Peitz cast his fortunes with the Montgomery Club, of the Southern League, and remained with its team until the club disbanded. It was his clever work with the latter club that led to his being engaged by President Von der Ahe for his St. Louis team, after the disbandment of the Montgomery Club. Peitz has since remained with the St. Louis Browns, doing remarkably well in whatever position was assigned to him. In 1893 he took part in ninety-four championship contests, in seventy two of which he filled the catcher's position. In 1894 he took part in one hundred championship games, in thirty-eight of which he played behind the bat, in forty-three at third base, and the remaining games he played in various positions on the team, being ever ready and willing to go in and do the best he knew how when called upon in case of emergency. It is said of him that, while playing third base during the season of 1894, he did good work until his foot was badly spiked. After that he became timid and allowed many base runners to reach third base safely. During the season just closed Peitz did most of the catching for the Browns, and only stopped when he became so badly crippled that it was impossible for him to do any work whatever. He is a swift and accurate thrower to the bases and a fine batsman.
Heinie Peitz is best remembered as being part of the Pretzel Battery, along with fellow St. Louis native Ted Breitenstein. He was a heck of a ballplayer.
In 1890 Miller joined the Evansville Club, of the Inter-State League, West, and his great work both at the bat and in the field that season, attracted the attention of President Von der Ahe, of the St. Louis Browns, of the American Association, who obtained his release, and Miller finished the season with the Browns.
I'm just cleaning out some files and posting some of the stuff I found in the Clipper while researching the Baldwin Affair. I love these pictures that ran in the Clipper, along with the accompanying biographical essays, and always save any I find regarding players with St. Louis ties. So I have a few of these lined up and then we'll get back to the 1870 season.
Charles Bradley Miller, by the way, actually had two stints in St. Louis, as he got into a few games with the Perfectos in 1899.
The base ball match played at Carondelet between the light and heavy weights was decided in favor of the latter. Three innings were played, the score standing 27 for the heavy weights, and 18 for the light weights.
While the coverage in newspapers had, since the end of the Civil War, tended to focus on the best clubs and championship matches, it's important to remember that baseball was a game played by many, many people for fun. It wasn't all professionals and tours and championships. Sometimes it was just what used to be called a muffin game - a game played by not particularly good players who were out to have a good time. I'm sure these games were played just about every day, just as they are now, and they weren't, for the most part, reported upon in the papers. This is baseball at its purest and finest. It's the way most baseball games were and are played. Regardless of how the game is covered by the media, baseball is not just the Major Leagues. When we talk about baseball, we talk about "play" and "games." There's a reason for that and I think we tend to forget it.
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