A match game of base ball was played yesterday, on Gamble Lawn, between the Commercial and Empire clubs, which resulted in the success of the latter by 18 runs.
-Missouri Republican, September 3, 1863
Obviously, the Republican's coverage was not comprehensive. I'm not really sure what their editorial policy was regarding which games they would report on and which they wouldn't. It's extremely likely that the information about the games they were reporting on came from the clubs themselves and if the clubs were not supplying information, the Republicans had nothing to run. The games played during club days were not getting reported and I don't think that all of the match games were getting reported. I think that there was substantially more baseball activities going on than was being reported on in the Republican but I can't really prove that and I don't know to what extent it's true. I know the Republican is missing games but I can only deal with the information I have. All I can really say is that it's a possible explanation for the gap in the record.
Another possible explanation is the weather. If you don't know, it's hot in St. Louis in July and August. It can get really hot in the late summer and, on top of that, there's humidity. Heat and humidity is a popular topic of conversation in St. Louis this time of year. It can just become unbearable and you certainly don't want to be out playing baseball when it's 95 degrees with 90 percent humidity. I can't remember where I read it but there is a reference somewhere about how the ball clubs dealt with the heat in St. Louis. From what I remember, the source stated that, during the pioneer era, the clubs tended not to play during the hottest part of the summer. And that makes a lot of sense. Front-load and back-load your schedule so that you don't have to play during the hottest part of the summer.
So between the Republican's spotty coverage and clubs shutting it down during the hottest part of the year, it does make sense that we don't see a lot of baseball references in the source material in July and August. I'm certainly not saying that there was no baseball going on but I kind of understand why I can't find anything in the Republican.
But that's the third possible explanation for the record gap - the information is there but I haven't found it. I do not claim to be perfect. I make errors. Lots and lots of errors. I like to think that that's part of my charm rather than some kind of flaw in my character but it's true. Now having owned up to my fallible nature, I will say that I've been through this material quite a few times. Like I said the other day, just going through my notes I knew something was missing. I know the material well and as well as anyone. But I also know that my search through the material was not and can not be perfect. There has to be stuff that I've missed and always will be. And that's just a possibility that could explain why I don't have a lot of stuff for the later summer months during the Civil War.
I think I'm going to have to take a closer look at this. 1862 could have been a fluke but if it's happening in 1862 and 1863 then we may be looking at a pattern. We'll see. It's an interesting question and once I finish going through all of the Civil War material I think I'll be in a better position to address it. Right now, I just want to point out that we see this gap in the record in the later summer months in both 1862 and 1863 and there are all kind of interesting possibilities for why we're seeing it.