The above image comes from the February 14, 1867 issue of the St. Charles Demokrat, a German-language newspaper, and it's interesting for a couple of reasons. First, we find a reference to a club in St. Charles in 1867. This is, I believe, the earliest reference to baseball in St. Charles that we have. So good for us.
The other thing that I find interesting is the inclusion of the information in a German-language paper. I have absolutely no doubt that German-Americans were playing baseball in the St. Louis area at this time and had been for close to a decade. I have no doubt that baseball was covered to some extent in the German-language papers. That would be natural, especially in 1867 when the game was very popular in the St. Louis area. What's interesting is that I actually found the reference, and a few others, in the St. Charles Demokrat.
My German is very poor and the language barrier has prevented me from doing much more than quick searches through the German-language papers. I'll let you in on a little secret. The way that I do research, specifically when looking through large amounts of text, is by using pattern recognition. I really haven't read every issue of the Globe and the Republican from the 1860s onward. I scan them or use an automated key word search. I'm looking for specific things and specific words on specific pages that have a specific look to them. Look at enough 19th century newspapers and you'll develop a sense of what a baseball reference will look like. And the more you deal with a specific newspaper, the better that sense will become. But I can't do that with German-language newspapers because I don't really speak German. I can't develop the sense for what a baseball reference in German will look like. It's a barrier that I haven't been able to overcome.
And that's a shame because there were several German-language newspapers in St. Louis in the 19th century and I've always believed that they held information that I'd like to see. I think there are some hidden gems in these papers that we haven't been able to access yet. The above reference to a ball given or attended by the St. Charles Base Ball Club in 1867 is a great example of that. If my understanding of the way these things worked is correct, I'd guess that the St. Charles Club was active in 1866 and that's a piece of information that we didn't have before. Because I was able to find this reference, we now know that there was a baseball club in St. Charles in 1866/1867. I honestly believe that there is much more and much better stuff then that in the St. Louis German-language papers. I think it's a gold mine just waiting for someone to come along and dig through it.
And as I mentioned before, posting is going to be real sporadic into the New Year. I'll try to get some stuff up whenever I have time but I can't guarantee anything. I hope everyone has a nice holiday and we'll get back to a regular schedule once the Blues get done with this six game home stand.