It is undoubtedly true that the phases of base ball in the different cities are as varied as to make for an interesting study if one had time to pursue them. (In St. Louis), for instance, the patron and lover of the game is entirely different than anything else in the world and, like the whole development, deserves so much study as you can give space for.
The (Brown Stocking) Club itself is duly incorporated and has a great plenty of officers. Chief among them are Mr. J.B.C. Lucas, the President, a young man whose father left him some such indefinite sum as the average citizen speaks of as "ten or twelve million, sir." Unquestionably Mr. Lucas is a fine head to the Club, and is of course the representative of the young men of wealth who live a part of the time in St. Louis; and, to their great credit be it said, go to the ball-matches instead of to some worse places. Concerning their behavior when there, I may wan to say a word hereafter. Mr. Campbell O. Bishop, who is the Vice-President of the Club, is a lawyer in excellent practice and with a good reputation. He stands for the professional part of the Club's support.
Charles A. Fowle, the Club's Secretary, is a prosperous merchant and represents a street full of stock. He probably suffers more than any other man in the management, because, if his Club should suffer defeat, and he should thereafter appear on the street, he would be at once surrounded by indignant stockholders, who demand an explanation of the cause of the loss of the game. Let it be to Mr. Fowle's credit tat he furnishes the necessary talk, and keeps things smooth where they would most assuredly spike up with a less even-tempered man to run matters...to find a more fitting representative in this city would be a difficult matter. Behind the officers named there are a Board, a Treasurer, and a bunch of stockholders, who (spend their time), as far as I could judge, to petting different members of the nine, and, therefore, without the slightest desire or intention to do so, stirring up a row in the camp. I am informed by a gentleman connected with the Club that this "buttering" players from a spirit of partisanship and favoritism, without approving or disapproving their work in the game, was one of the elements which (he said) prevented them from winning the flag last year. I am compelled to add my belief that if Lucas (wealth), Bishop (legal knowledge), and Fowle (Yankee sharpness, shrewdness, and sense) had the whole concern in their own hands, they would win the flag and make money while doing it.
Referring back to the word "buttering" used above, I want to call attention to the fact that the whole credit of games won in St. Louis is given to the pitcher, and he cannot go to the bat without a round of applause-at least that has been the case this year. A more foolish notion can hardly be imagined.
A word is due to the St. Louis Club grounds, called Grand Avenue Park, and one of the prettiest bits of land in the country-when you get to it. I can hardly make a Chicagoan understand its location by comparison. Consider, then, that if you in Chicago were going to a ball game just like in St. Louis, you would have to go down State street fourteen blocks beyond where the cars now run, and then turn off to the right and go about twelve blocks further. In other words, you would have to ride in a street-car to a point twelve blocks beyond the Stock Yards and Dexter Park. When you have got this through your head, you will understand what the St. Louis citizen has to undergo to see his favorites play ball.
This matter of the location of the park has unquestionably a considerable influence on the number of people who attend, because they understand that to go to a ball-match is not a slipping out after work is nearly done but a serious and solemn matter which means a half-day lost. Despite this fact, the crowds are good, and a first-class Club always does well-at least so long as there is interest in the home nine. The Chicagos took more money last Tuesday than they will in both Louisville games...
With the heartiest wishes for the success of the St. Louis Club, it is impossible to compliment the city on its base-ball audiences. The grand stand is filled in good part with real ladies and perfect gentlemen; but, as has before been said, they are so bitterly partisan as to one or two players in their nine that they cannot see anything else. I have been on the watch in front of that stand, and heard a owl like tat of forty demons (well-behaved, well-dressed demons, I mean) go up because one man (say Remsen) made an easy catch, while an almost impossible stop (say Blong) would pass unrecognized. It is impossible not to recognize these little cliques, and they do no end of harm. To describe the outside crowd-the barbarians-hoi-polloi-would break up anybody's objections. They have a long row of seats to themselves and they take their 50 cents out in yelling-and if yells were only a cent apiece they would cheat the management at that rate. Nobody can possibly object to enthusiasm and all that, but when a parcel of men and half-grown boys empty upon the heads of a player opposed to their nine a volley of the most utterly filthy epithets known to the slang language of the world, it is proper to note that fact...The writer has heard a lot of boys and men who must have gone through the grand stand if they were honestly in the ground, shout out to John Glenn while he was running for a fly within a little distance of where the party stood, "God d--n your black soul to hell, drop that ball you ---of a ---." and then a moment after when he was running for a foul, "You black-hearted ---------, drop it or I'll cut you in two." The same things, or nearly, have been said to first basemen so loudly that scorers and reporters on top of the stand, a hundred feet off, could hear them plainly. Evidently, the "pigpen" needs reforming. And lest there should be some question of doubt about a plain matter, your correspondent wishes to add that he blames no part of this filthy or profane language on the management of the St. Louis Club. Being, one and all, gentleman, they have no sympathy with the scoundrels or the mob. They could not very well help themselves if they wanted to, and the whole scurrilous practice must be charged upon the imperfect civilization of the masses, for which the social economist, and not the ball-managers, must find a remedy.
Let no man dare to misunderstand me, and say that I lay the loss of any game to this blackguarding. I disavow all that. Glenn and Spalding caught the balls after which they were running when they were so foully bespattered with muddy names. Passing over the fact that both are gentlemen, and never in their lives did anything to be called names for, thee fact remains that the St. Louis cheap public feel so strongly over their Club that they cannot well refrain from breaking out into their native blackguardism. The question whether a man must submit, whenever he contracts to play ball, to have his mother's good name abused by a St. Louis crowd, is one on which I need not enter. I am not little sorry that the game in St. Louis should be so far an exception to others as to make, so far as my experience goes, a necessity to have loafers as patrons. i think I am right in saying that it is the only city which does.
I wish to add-and I do it with considerable loss of pride in, and respect for, my profession-that I am afraid that the St. Louis press is partly responsible for this state of things. The papers here have faithfully inculcated the idea that their Club was the best in the world, and they have hinted, and once in awhile said, that if they lost it must be corruptly. Let me cite a case: A paper, which stands in St. Louis a shade below the station of the News in Chicago, but which is largely read by the bums and slums, said after the 4-2 game last Tuesday that it was thrown by St. Louis for the purpose of getting a larger crowd Thursday...upon which another paper...gravely reads the League a lecture on the sinfulness of giving away games for gate-money, when assuming to reform the game, taking its facts from the other previous idiot's assertions.
-Chicago Tribune, May 27, 1877
This is a great article and it gives you a true sense of how the Brown Stockings, their fans, and baseball in St. Louis was viewed in 1877.
John B. C. Lucas, son of James H. Lucas, and grandson of Judge Jean B. C. Lucas, was born December 30, 1847. Mr. Lucas was born to the inheritance of a good name and an ample fortune, and his lines were cast in pleasant places from his youth up. He was educated at Washington University and at Eastern institutions of learning, and in his young manhood assumed, and has since worthily borne, all the responsibilities which rest upon those favored by fortune. Becoming the executor and principal manager of his father's vast estate, he has always been one of the largest representatives of real estate and other property interests in St. Louis. While the numerous and varied ramifications of his business have kept him in close touch with the industrial and commercial development of St. Louis in all of its phases, he was most prominently identified for some years with the banking interests of the city, and devoted a large share of his time to the affairs of the Citizens' Bank, of which he was president, prior to its consolidation with the Merchants'-Laclede National Bank, in 1897. As a banker he coupled judicious conservatism with that degree of public spirit and enterprise which makes a banking house a prime factor in promoting the growth and development of a city. His father and grandfather were conspicuous for their loyalty to the city and their devotion to its interests. They were pioneers in the establishment of public institutions, and the making of improvements calculated to accelerate the growth, to add to the attractiveness, and to increase the prestige and importance of St. Louis as a center of trade, commerce and manufactures. They were, from the start, leaders in the great work of building a metropolis, and broad development followed in the wake of their enterprises. The same spirit which actuated his sire and grandsire has governed J. B. C. Lucas in all the relations which he has sustained to St. Louis as a business man and citizen. His father, whose ideas were broadly liberal, and whose instincts were generous and philanthropic, planned for the future, and left much important work to be carried forward by the son for the public good. These trusts and obligations he has discharged in strict accordance with the spirit of their conception, and through him his illustrious ancestors still continue to be public benefactors. In tastes, manners and disposition Mr. Lucas is much of an old-school gentleman, easily approached, genial in his intercourse with friends and business associates, and always kindly and sympathetic in his dealings with those who enjoy few of fortune's favors. Fondness for outdoor sports is one of his distinguishing characteristics, hunting and fishing being his favorite recreations, and he indulges his tastes in this direction with a regulation governed by the seasons for such sportsmanlike pastimes. He married, in 1876, Miss Mary C. Morton, of Louisville, Kentucky, and after her death was wedded to her sister, Miss Isabel Lee Morton. His children are three daughters and two sons.
As I mentioned Friday, Lucas was the President of the NA and NL Brown Stockings and a member of the amateur-era Union Club.
When it comes to the history of 19th century baseball in St. Louis, the members of the Lucas family that we're really interested in are the children of James H. Lucas. Specifically, we're interested in his sons, J.B.C. Lucas, Robert Lucas and Henry Lucas.
As mentioned yesterday, James Lucas married Marie Emilie Des Ruisseau in Arkansas in 1832. When he died in 1873, his estate was divided among his widow and children. The children of James H. Lucas included William Lucas, who was born in 1836; J.B.C. Lucas, born in 1847 (and, according to the census records, was commonly referred to as Charles); Nancy L. Johnson, born in 1849 and married to Dr. John B. Johnson; Robert J. Lucas, born in 1850; Elizabeth L. Hager, married to John S. Hager; James D. Lucas; Joseph D. Lucas, born in 1856; and Henry V. Lucas, born in 1857.
John B.C. Lucas was born on December 30, 1847, died in September of 1908 and is buried in Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis. He is significant because he was the president of the Browns Stockings of St. Louis from 1875 to 1877 and was a member of the Union Club. I'll have more about him next week.
Robert Lucas was born in 1850 and died on May 18, 1922. He is significant because he played for the championship Union Club's first nine in the late 1860s. According to the box scores, Lucas pitched, caught and played the outfield for the Unions. He was also an attorney and, like most of the members of his family, was involved in the real estate business. Robert Lucas was described in the St. Louis Daily Republic as being an "effective left-handed twirler of the Union Club, [who] could fill any position with credit" and there is evidence of his playing baseball as late as 1875.
Henry V. Lucas was born on September 5, 1857, died on November 15, 1910 and is buried at Calvary Cemetery. He is significant because he was the founder of the St. Louis Maroons and the Union Association. Lucas' Maroons club, in 1884, was the first St. Louis baseball team to win a national championship and, in 1885, became the second St. Louis club to play in the National League (the first being his brother's Brown Stocking club). I've written plenty about Henry Lucas and you can find all of those posts over in the sidebar.
I've also posted some information about the division of James H. Lucas' estate and more general information about the wealth of his children that you may be interested in looking at. But the main point I'd like to make here is that the sons of James H. Lucas were involved in St. Louis baseball across three decades, from the 1860s into the 1880s. They were involved with three of the biggest clubs in the history of 19th century St. Louis baseball: the Unions, the Brown Stockings and the Maroons. You literally can not write the history of 19th century St. Louis baseball without mentioning the Lucas brothers. And I didn't even mention a cousin, Charles Lucas, who, like Robert Lucas, was a member of the Union Base Ball Club.
As I said yesterday, I could write a great deal more about the Lucas family and how significant they were in the history of St. Louis baseball but a lot of that stuff is here on the blog if you're inclined to look for it. My goal was just to briefly untangle the Lucas family genealogy for you and I think I did that.
It's impossible to tell the story of 19th century baseball in St. Louis without an understanding of the Lucas family and their place in the city's history. The sons of James Lucas played an important roll in the development of St. Louis baseball across three decades and their position in St. Louis society, I believe, helped legitimize and popularize baseball among the elite of the city. While I could probably write five thousand words on the family and their involvement in baseball, what I want to do here is lay out a quick genealogy of the family and some brief notes of interest. If you're interested in more information about the Lucas family, I'd recommend James Neal Primm's Lion of the Valley and Howard Conrad's The Encyclopedia of the History of St. Louis.
I'll begin by quoting Conrad. Jean Baptiste Charles Lucas was the "founder of a family which has been among the first in St. Louis for nearly a century..." He was "born August 14, 1758, in the ancient town of Pont-Auderner, Normandy, France, and died in St. Louis, August 18, 1840." The first J.B.C. Lucas is buried in Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis. At the suggestion of Benjamin Franklin, Lucas moved to the United States in 1784, with his wife, Anne Sebin, and settled near Pittsburgh. Conrad writes that Lucas, a man of "very superior attainments and active temperament," was "elected to the Pennsylvania Legislature in 1795, and in 1801 President Jefferson sent him west on a confidential mission, the object being to ascertain the temper of the French and Spanish residents of Louisiana. In 1803 he was a member of Congress from Pennsylvania, and after the cession of Louisiana to the United States he was at once appointed by President Jefferson commissioner of land claims and judge of the Louisiana Territorial Court. In 1805 he removed his family to St. Louis...At the same time he began investing his means in lands and lots in St. Louis and adjacent thereto, and thus laid the foundation of a splendid family fortune. He was in all things a leader during the years of his residence in St. Louis, and helped to lay not only the foundation of the city, but the foundation also of the commonwealth of Missouri. He died full of years and honor, and left a vast estate to his son, James H. Lucas, and his daughter Anne L. Hunt."
The children of J.B.C. Lucas and Anne Sebin, besides James and Anne, included Robert Lucas, who was born in 1788, educated at West Point and died in 1813; Charles, who was born in 1792, was prominent in St. Louis politics and killed in a duel with Thomas Hart Benton in 1817; Adrian, who was born 1794, was a planter and drowned while crossing an icy lake in 1804; and William, who was born in 1798 and died in 1837.
James H. Lucas, according to Conrad, "the fourth son of J.B.C. Lucas, was born near Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, November 12, 1800, and died in St. Louis, November 12, 1873." Like his father, he's buried in Calvary Cemetery. "He first attended St. Thomas College, in the State of Kentucky, at which institution he had for schoolmates, among others, Jefferson Davis...Afterward he attended Jefferson College of Pennsylvania, and then studied law at Hudson, New York." He settled for a time in Arkansas, where he taught school and practiced law and, in 1832, married Mary Emilie Des Ruisseau (or, as Conrad spells it, Desruisseaux). After the death of his last surviving brother, William, in 1837, Lucas returned to St. Louis where he was placed in charge of his father's estate. "To the care, conservation and development of this property he devoted the remaining years of his life, and he was also identified with many public enterprises. He was among the original subscribers toward the building of the Missouri Pacific Railroad, in which he took $100,000 worth of stock, and he was the second president of that company...He was the first president and organizer of the St. Louis Gas Company; was also a director in the Boatmen's Savings Institution, and was interested as a stockholder and director in many other financial enterprises. He was a member of the banking firm of Lucas, Symonds & Co., of St. Louis...His large holdings of real estate in St. Louis were improved during his lifetime to a great extent, and in 1872, previous to his making a division of his property, he was the owner of two hundred and twenty-five dwellings and stores."
Anne Lucas Hunt was the only daughter of J.B.C. Lucas. She was born in 1796 and died in 1879. Her first husband was Captain Theodore Hunt, a United States naval officer who died in 1832. In 1836, she married Wilson P. Hunt, the cousin of Theodore Hunt, who died in 1842. After the death of her second husband, she spent the remainder of her life managing the estate she inherited from her father and in various charitable organizations. I mention her because there is a road in St. Louis named Lucas and Hunt, which is named after her and her family.
Tomorrow, I'll cover the children of James Lucas but I'd like to point out one thing. The Lucas family was the wealthiest family in St. Louis. They were probably the largest landowners in St. Louis, with the Chouteau/Laclede family being their only real competition, and were involved in most of the largest businesses in the city. Their name and influence is all over the city, if you know where and what you're looking at. Besides Lucas and Hunt Road, there's a neighborhood and a park named after the family. Most of the prime real estate in downtown St. Louis was owned at one time by the Lucas family. The Old Courthouse, pictured above, sits on land donated to the city by the Lucas family. That's a nice piece of real estate, isn't it? And the family gave it away. That's how wealthy they were.
About thirty gentlemen, interested in base ball matters-most of them shareholders in the St. Louis Base Ball Club-met yesterday evening in parlor No. 22 of the Lindell Hotel. The chair was taken by Mr. J.B.C. Lucas, President of the club, who, after calling the meeting to order, stated that, though the fact was generally well known, he would remind those present that for the past years base ball ventures in St. Louis had not proved financially successful. This season the club found itself considerably in arrears, and the meeting had been called in order to start an effort to raise the necessary amount with which the salaries of players might be paid. Individual Directors had, at their own expense, carried the club through the season, and they wanted now to see if they could not get assistance from shareholders and others. Out of $20,000 of stock only $17,000 had been subscribed, and on this some stockholders had not fully paid up.
I can't image what those "general base ball topics" may have been.
This attempt to raise funds took place the day before William Spink's long piece about gambling in baseball and the St. Louis connection appeared in the Globe and the evening after his piece on the Louisville scandal was published. The breaking of the scandal must have had a devestating effect on the Brown Stockings' attempt to salvage their financial situation and on the moral of St. Louis baseball supporters. Lucas was stepping aside as club president, the Globe was withdrawing its support for professional baseball, numerous Brown Stocking players were being accused of throwing games, other clubs and players were being accused of crookedness, and the fate of the League itself was in doubt. There could not have been a worse time to go to the public and ask them to financially support the Brown Stockings.
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