From Judge A.M. johnston's wonderful scrap book we glean some of the exploits of the famous Empire Ball Team and the victories they achieved in several states. The club was an aggregation of ball players that held the championship of several states in the early sevenites when the great national game was in its infancy. Chillicothe was the home of this noted club, the members and their positions on the team being as follows: Guerin, short-stop; Jacobs, second base; HIcks, left field; Darlington, first base; Graves, center field; Eastin, pitcher; Johnston, third base; Barker, right field; Waples, catcher.
Judge Johnston officiated most of the time as the official scorer for the team, and the scoring in those days was some job. As other times "Gus" would serve as umpire, and at other times would don the nobby uniform of the club and "subbed" on the diamond or in the outfield. Sarge Braden was the financial agent of the club.
When the Empires were in their prime, the club had the reputation of being not only the strongest team in this section, but the finest looking set of men, collectively and individually, who ever appeared on a base ball diamond.
Padded gloves, masks breast protectors and other modern equipment of ball players were unknown in the early seventies. It was nothing for the Empires to make thirty or forty hits and like number of runs in a single game.
The first game of the best-two-in-three for the silver mounted bat, held for three years against all comers by the Empires of Chillicother, was played on the fair ground in St. Joseph and resulted in a crushing and overwhelming defeat for the Haymakers of that city. The tally at the end of the ninth inning stood 31 for the Empires and 16 for the Haymakers.
One of the trips of the Empires was taken in August, 1871, and included games at Hannibal, Missouri; Quincy, Jacksonville, Springfield, Illinois; and Pana and Keokuk, Iowa. The Empires had an easy game with the Nationals at Hannibal, winning by a score of 66 to 16. At Quincy the Empires defeated the Occidentals by a score of 53 to 23. The Empires made something like a dozen home runs in that one game.
The only defeat on the trip was two days later when the Empires played the Alerts at Jacksonville, Illinois, where a close and exciting game was lost by a score of 52 to 54. The Empires got revenge on another team the following day by defeating the Springfield Eckfords by a score of 34 to 19.
Eastin pitched all of the games on the trip, and there were few changes in the line-up of the team. No extra players accompanied, and if a player was temporarily disabled the official scorer would take his place.
In announcing the final victory and the return of the victorious ball players, the Chillicothe Journal got out an extra. The Campaign Ended. Four Games Played and the Empires Win Three!!! The Boys Will Be Home Tonight at 9:40. Turn Out and Give Them a Grand Reception!!! And thus ended a grand "campaign" of the Empires.
-Past and Present of Livingston County, Missouri, Volume One
A match between the Empires of Chillicothe and the Empires of St. Louis would have been interesting, especially in 1871, when the Empires of St. Louis really didn't face any good competition within the city. Not sure the game would have drawn much of a crowd but it would have been fun to watch.