Charlie Sweazy has been training the Red Sox the past week and trying the players in the different positions; their nine has not been regularly placed as yet.
-St. Louis Republican, April 18, 1875
And there was some changes to the roster yet to come.
The Reds have been practicing daily at their park during the past week. They will not play to-day at the Atlantics have engaged the park for their own use. The work on the new fence at the park is well under way and will soon be completed. Their new uniforms will be done to-day. This uniform consists of a gray cap, gray shirt and gray pants, all trimmed with red, and red stockings. The nine is now definitely fixed with "Pack" Dillon, Dan. Morgan, Wm. Redmon, J. Blong, John McSorely, Chas. Houtz, Arthur Croft, Thos. Oran, and Chas. Sweasy. John Dillon will be the tenth man. Sweasy is a new man, and will arrive in the city on Tuesday. He was one of the old Cincinnati Red Stockings and is a very strong player.
The nine was most definitely not set and the Reds had at least one more player to add to the club. Hint: He was mentioned in yesterday's post and I'll mention him again tomorrow.
Per my obsession with Sweasy, this is an important note about when he joined the club. On April 5, the Republican mentioned that the Reds were negotiating with an Eastern player and here, on April 11, they mention that Sweasy had agreed to join the club and was on his way to St. Louis. So, Charlie Sweasy signed with the Reds sometime between April 4 and April 10.
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.
The Reds have been putting in some good practice work during the past week with such amateurs as they could induce to engage them at their park. The boys in a quiet way have been doing considerable work. They are well aware of the disadvantages under which they labor, and if persistent effort and practice will accomplish anything, the mean to secure it. The report that Zach. Mulhall had joined the Nationals, we are authorized to contradict. When the proper time comes and the eagle of the Reds begins to scream, we think it highly probable that the old second base of last year will fall into line and be with them. Work on the new fence and the grounds will probably begin this week. The new uniforms will likewise be in readiness long before the first professional match on the 1st of May. The Reds expect to play the Niagaras to-day at their grounds, and if this game pulls through another will be made up from the crowd, so that it is safe to say that there will be a game of some kind this afternoon at the Red Stocking park.
I can tell you two things: First, Mulhall never played an NA game with the Reds in 1875. Second, Charlie Sweazy would join the club on April 13. This, as always, goes to the question of why and how Sweazy joined the Reds and is just one more piece of the puzzle. Mulhall had been the second baseman and it's possible that, at the last minute, he joined up with the Nationals of St. Louis, leading to the signing of Sweazy. There are a few things that I need to run down here but this does appear to be a likely scenario that could have lead to the Reds looking for a second baseman.
We learn that our Red Stocking club have secured Dennis McGee, the "Mack" of the Philadelphia club last season, now playing with the Lone Stars of New Orleans as their second baseman.
This is really interesting. First, this is a reference to Denny Mack, who had played with the Whites of Philadelphia in 1874 and went on to play for the Brown Stockings in 1876. But more importantly, this shows that the Reds were looking for a veteran professional to play second base for them by late February 1875.
The reason that's important is because I've never come across anything that has explained why the Reds signed Charlie Sweasy for 1875. They had a team full of St. Louis amateurs, except for the veteran Sweasy, who was named the club's field captain. The signing makes sense because the Reds were a young club that had no experience at the top level of baseball and bringing in Sweasy gave them a veteran hand who could help lead the club through the trials of championship, professional baseball. But I've never seen a contemporary explanation for the signing and I've been looking for it for almost a decade.
One of the things I did find about Sweasy was that the Browns almost signed him. So we have the Reds looking for a veteran and Sweasy already open to the idea of signing in St. Louis. Once the Mack signing fell through for the Reds and the Browns decided against signing Sweasy, it's kind of obvious what happened.
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