The past week has been in the East a poor one for ball playing. Rain and snow have been plenty, consequently the tossers have been restricted to throwing around in the rinks and gymnasium. The St. Louis players have been more fortunate in getting practice every day. The professional club placed two victories at base ball and one cricket match to their credit. Tuesday last, with Fleet pitching Seward catching, and Waitt in right field, they got away from the Elephants with a score of 25 to 0, and on Thursday the strong nine of the Empires succeeded in getting but one man across the home place to twenty-five obtained by the regulars' full nine...On Wednesday they defeated the St. Louis cricket club with six wickets to spare. Yesterday they visited Louisville and played the strong nine the Olympic club of that city have put in the field.
-St. Louis Republican, April 18, 1875
Two interesting things of note here. First, the trip to Louisville. I think I confused a couple of Louisville trips because I thought this one got cancelled. Obviously not. Second is the match the Browns played against the St. Louis Cricket Club, which I don't think I was aware of. If I remember correctly, Mase Graffin, who was managing the club, was involved with a cricket club in Philadelphia and was probably responsible for this match.
As thus made up the club stands as follows:
This is really great stuff about Mase Graffen and his role in putting together the Brown Stockings. There have been a lot of questions over the years about what Graffen's role was in 1875 and a lot of credit for putting the club together has gone to Orrick Bishop and, to a lesser extent, Al Wright. This is the first suggestion I've ever seen that Graffen was involved in putting the club together and I'm not certain what to think about it.
The other interesting thing here is the mention of what grounds the Browns would use and I believe that question had an impact on the decision of Thomas McNeary to have the Reds join the NA. McNeary was involved in the organization of the Browns at the very beginning and I have no doubt he wanted the club to play at his Compton Avenue grounds. When the Browns decided to play at the Grand Avenue grounds, I think that was the moment when McNeary started thinking about putting his Reds in the NA.
I think these questions - about the Graffen's role and the selection of the grounds - deserve further coverage and I'm going to have to go back a bit further than December of 1874 to do that. So, while I started with this Republican article, the story of the 1875 season begins well before that.
Also, at some point, I'm going to have to talk about the National Association, the 1875 distinction between professional and amateur clubs and the difference between a contract and co-op club. And this is the point in time when I begin to wonder what I've gotten myself into here. I don't even want to think about how I'm going to explain what happened to the Reds.
Welcome to 1875, people. It's much more complicated than you think.
At about 10 o'clock the members of the St. Louis professional base ball club make their appearance and for an hour or two try to work off some of their superfluous fat which has accumulated upon them since last season. They are a healthy looking set of young men, full of fun but decidedly more fond of ball-tossing than dumb-ball brandishing. In the afternoon they frequently come around again and indulge in more jostling of iron weights.
This is a nice little report of the training methods employed by the Brown Stockings, as they prepared for the 1875 season, and it comes from a much larger article about the St. Louis Gymnasium, where the club, under the leadership of Mase Graffen, were training.
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