At a meeting of the "Commercial Base Ball Club," the following gentlemen were elected officers for the ensuing year:
Wm. Bliss Clark, Esq., President.
A.W. Howe, Esq., Vice President.
Jno. W. Donaldson, Esq., Secretary and Treasurer.
Messrs. C.F. Gauss, Edwin Fowler and Hy. L. Clark, Directors; and Messrs. E.H. Tobias and E.C. Simmons, Field Captains.
Playing commences on Saturday, May 2nd, 1863, at 4 1/2 o'clock, P.M., at Lafayette Park.
Those desirous of becoming members will apply to the Field Captains.
-Missouri Republican, May 3, 1863
Anyway, the Commercial Club...
The club was still active in 1863 and, of course, was one of the first clubs formed in St. Louis, taking part in every season since 1860. I don't think I've ever really given the Commercials their due as one of the most important pioneer baseball clubs in St. Louis. They always kind of get overlooked for some reason. Unlike the Morning Stars and the Cyclones, they didn't play in the first match game. Unlike the Empires and Unions, they didn't thrive in the post-war amateur era. They weren't the first club in the city and they weren't the best club. But they were always there and they had some rather prominent members E.C. Simmons, Edwin Fowler, and my personal hero, Mr. Edmund Tobias.
As I wrote in Baseball Pioneers, E.H. Tobias was the Herodotus of St. Louis baseball and the Boswell of the Empire Club. There is no doubt that he is one of the most significant baseball historians who ever lived and I would argue that he is probably the most significant historian that St. Louis ever produced. His history of early baseball in St. Louis that was published in epistolary form in The Sporting News in 1895 and 1896 is probably the most important document we have as far as secondary source material is concerned. It's a fantastic piece of work and, if you're a 19th century baseball historian, it's an invaluable source. In my opinion, Tobias is one of the giants and I feel fortunate to be able to stand on his shoulders.
Also of interest here is the reference to Lafayette Park. This is the first reference in the Republican to baseball activity at the park since early June of 1861. We know, of course, that the park was occupied by Union troops by August of that year but what we don't know is how long the park was occupied. Based on the fact that the Commercial Club was playing baseball again at Lafayette Park by May of 1863, we have to assume that the troops were gone by that point. We don't know this for a fact but it makes sense.