The other piece of information we find in the contemporary sources regarding the Atlantics that tie them to the Reds is the fact that they played at the Veto Grounds. The Compton Avenue Grounds would be built, by Thomas McNeary, on the site of the Veto Grounds in 1874 and the site was only a few blocks south of McNeary's tavern. The earliest reference to the Atlantics playing at the Veto Grounds comes from 1869, when it was noted that they played a match there against the Lone Star Club.ii There is also evidence suggesting that the club continued playing their home games at the site into 1875.iii The importance of the Atlantics playing at the Veto Grounds lies in the idea that McNeary, because he lived and worked in the area, would have been familiar with the Atlantic Club, the grounds, and the players who would go on to form the Varieties, the St. Louis Juniors, and the Reds. The players who went on to make up the core of the Reds club would have known each other through their ties with the Atlantics, would have seen each other around the Veto Grounds, and may have all been customers of Thomas McNeary. The source material places everyone involved with the organization of the Red Stockings Club in the same general location in the late 1860s and early 1870s.
The ties that the core members of the Reds had to the Atlantics is not the only thing that they had in common. One of the most fascinating things that connects some of the members of the Reds is the fact that several of them were students at the University of Notre Dame at the same time. Specifically, Joseph Blong, his brother Andrew (who not only played for the Reds but would also serve as an officer with the club), Packy Dillon, and Trick McSorley were all at Notre Dame at the same time. Andrew Blong, the eldest of the group, was the first to go to Notre Dame and was a student there during the 1866/1867 academic year.iv It appears that he left after only one year, as he is not listed as a student again until 1872.
Packy Dillon arrived at Notre Dame in 1871.v Andrew Blong returned to the university the following year, along with his brother and McSorley.vi During the 1872-1873 academic year, therefore, four future members of the Red Stockings Base Ball Club of St. Louis were students at the University of Notre Dame. There were only about two hundred and fifty students at the school and only nine from St. Louis so it seems unlikely that the four did not know each other and socialize while at university. Obviously, the brothers Blong knew each other and there is the possibility that all four had played baseball together in St. Louis, either with the Atlantics, the Atlantic Juniors, or the St. Louis Juniors. If the group had not known each other in St. Louis, they must have forged some kind of relationship at Notre Dame because by May of 1873, they were all playing baseball together in St. Louis.
By looking through the Notre Dame archives, one can begin to imagine what life was like for the future Reds while at university. All four, at various times, received class honors, recognizing satisfactory academic work.vii Because of this recognition, we know that the four were members of the prepatory class and were all seniors in that class. The University catalog for 1872-1873 gives a detailed list of courses that preparatory seniors were required to take. They were studying Latin and Greek, algebra and geometry, English grammer and rhetoric, as well as modern history. Students at the time were required to attend Mass, refrain from tobacco and alchohol, and were not allowed to leave the University grounds without permission. Tuition and room and board cost $150. while books and clothing were provided. Interestingly, students were not allowed to have money in their possession.viii
There were also numerous clubs and organizations that students could join. There were religious groups that performed charitable works and assisted the church. There were literary clubs, debate clubs, drama clubs, science clubs, and musical clubs, all of which provided the students with recreation and social opportunities.ix There were also numerous baseball clubs.
i Missouri Republican; August 27, 1868.
ii Missouri Republican; June 4, 1869.
iii The Atlantic Base Ball Club of St. Louis; This Game of Games (http://thisgameofgames.blogspot.com/2007/11/atlantic-base-ball-club-of-st-louis.html).
iv Twenty-third Annual Catalogue of the Officers and Students of the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, For the Academic Year 1866-1867; p 26.
v Twenty-Eighth Annual Catalogue of the Officers and Students of the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, For the Academic Year 1871-1872; p 26.
vi Twenty-Ninth Annual Catalogue of the Officers and Students of the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, For the Academic Year 1872-1873; pp 26, 28, and 32.
vii The Scholastic; October 12, 1872; p 5.
viii Twenty-Ninth Annual Catalogue of the Officers and Students of the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, For the Academic Year 1872-1873; pp 10-11 and 15-16.
ix Twenty-Ninth Annual Catalogue of the Officers and Students of the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, For the Academic Year 1872-1873; pp 37-43.