Keokuk, May 11, 1875
Dear Republican: Our small party numbering but sixteen all told, reached here safely this morning at 12 o'clock. When the Chicago and Alton buss left the headquarters on Olive street yesterday, Bradley and Seward were among the missing. The former as you are aware has been ailing since Friday last, and though by sheer pluck he pitched for us in Saturday's game with the White Stockings it was against his physician's advice. Sunday evening a chill seized him and when we left him Monday evening chaffing in bed with a raging fever, it was as hard for him to stay home as to endure the burning, parching torture of the fever. The boys were soon across the great bridge and comfortably ensconced in the smoking car, the first duty after securing seats being to "divy up" the box of fine Havanas that the kindness of Mr. R.H. Dreyer had sent them "to comfort them on the walk home from Keokuk." Capt. Dick had "froze" the box on sight, and in consequence was unanimously elected to make the divide. In the clouds of smoke that were soon puffing from every mouth the absent ones were for the time forgotten, and the song and merry jest went round. The boys were heroes at once, every one had heard of 10 to 0, and the brown ribbon in their button holes was the open-sesame to the kind words and good wishes of all they met. One old gentleman on learning who they were remarked: "I thought they were not the Chicago boys on their way home, they are too lively."
At Alton we passed our "stable companions," the Reds, on their way home from the burg to which we were being rapidly whirled. We gave them a cheer for six to one, and were gone.
We reached Jacksonville about half-past nine, soothed a hearty supper with a fragrant "Dreyer," and retired to rest until four o'clock. At five o'clock we boarded the western bound train on the T., W. and W. R.R., and picked up Mack, our umpire, and Seward, the missing man, at the next station. Without anything of interest occurring during the rest of the trip we crossed the Mississippi and arrived here safe and sound at the hour mentioned in the beginning of this letter.
A very high wind has been blowing all day, and upon arriving at the ground it was decided to postpone the game arranged for to-day until to-morrow. As we were leaving the ground Pike and a stranger exchanged some chin about their abilities as runnists, which finally culminated in the making of a 100-yard match then and there. Our champion weakened when his opponent went into a shed near by and reappeared rigged in first-class professional attire. After some further delay and the making of another wager, our coon Albert, or, as the boys call him, "Civil Rights," backing Pike for "a teaer," a start was effected. The grounds were measured from the home plate to a point between centre and right field, the start being made from the out field and running in towards the home base. The running was very even until about crossing the second-base line, when Pike came away and won by about three yards.
All the boys are well, but don't feel very confident of winning without the valuable services of Bradley. Yours,
-St. Louis Republican, May 13, 1875
This is just a fantastic article that gives us a glimpse of what life was like on the road in 1875, warts and all. I don't think I've ever read anything like it.
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