We learn that an interesting match game was played on Saturday last at Gamble Lawn between the second nine of the Union and the first nine of the Commercial Juniors, resulting in the defeat of the latter club. The Union Club is composed mostly of large boys from the High School, while the Commercial Juniors are small boys from the Grammer Schools. Both are very promising clubs, and were organized last season.
-Missouri Republican, May 7, 1861
When I originally found this squib in the Republican, I started doing some research into St. Louis High School and found a list of graduates, going back to the 1850s. I wrote up a nice post, entitled "The Class of 1861, that covered all of this and I encourage you to go take a look at it.
There are a few other things of interest here that I should point out. First, the Commercials had a junior club, which is nice to know. Second, the game was played at Gamble Lawn, which has been noted, in the secondary sources, to have been one of the earliest baseball grounds in St. Louis. I have contemporary references to Gamble Lawn being used as a cricket grounds, going back to the late 1850s but I believe this is the earliest reference I have to a baseball game being played there.
Finally, as the 1861 baseball season was starting to take off in St. Louis, the Civil War was about to become very real in the city. Claiborne Jackson, on May 1, had called up the Missouri State Militia and by the time this article appeared in the Republican, they were encamped at Lindell's Grove, a few miles west of the Arsenal, on grounds where the Compton Avenue grounds would be built a little over a decade later. Jackson's militia was seen by Nathaniel Lyons as a pro-Confederate threat to Union control of St. Louis and he believed it was his duty to remove that threat. Tomorrow, I'll have pass along some information about what became known as the Camp Jackson Affair and how that relates to baseball in St. Louis.