Charleston is probably no more than fifty miles from Hickman and, yet, it took a great deal of time and effort for the club to get to Hickman for the game. That's what is fascinating to me. We talk about the role that the railroad played in the spread of baseball in the immediate post-Civil War era and in the creation of the great baseball boom that the nation experienced at that time. I certainly agree with all of that and there is plenty of data supporting that idea. However, reading the article, you get a sense of how difficult it was to travel from Charleston to Hickman and back.
That's what I take away from this article. Travel in 1869 was not a simple thing. It was not easy for a baseball club in a small town to travel to another small town for a match. It took time and effort. Regardless of the advances in communication and transportation technologies that were seen in the mid-19th century, it was still a difficult thing, logistically, to arrange and pull off a match game between clubs in small towns.
In that context, the great post-Civil War baseball boom is an amazing thing. Yes, you had great advances in technology that allowed the game to spread but they had not advanced to the point, by 1869, where a road trip to play a baseball game was an easy thing. I can leave my house, get in my car, and be in Hickman in around three hours and Hickman is a lot farther from St. Louis than it is from Charleston. It's easy for us to do something like that. It was much, much harder for the Charleston BBC. This article gives me an appreciation for the obsticles that smaller clubs had to overcome in order to play the game they loved and that's why I want to share it with you.
TRIP TO HICKMAN.
THE MATCH GAME OF BASE BALL.
SCORE 59 TO 25!
THE BALL AFTER SUPPER!
THE COUNTY FAIR!
FINE EXHIBITION AND GOOD ATTENDANCE.
GOOD TIME GENERALLY - KIND ATTENTION, &C.
On Tuesday afternoon, the 28th ult., the "picked-nine" of the Charleston Base Ball Club assembled at the depot of the Iron Mountain Railroad in this place, and on the arrival of the down train, were soon all aboard on their way to Hickman, where they were to play a match game on the following day. They were accompanied by several of the members, and the party altogether numbered eighteen, as follows:
C.W. Hequembourg..Captain & Catcher
Geo. H. Bridges..Sec'y and Pitcher
J.H. Holaway..Treasurer & Short Stop
H.H. Sayers..First Base
Wm. D. Sayers..Second Base
Ab. Danforth..Vice Pres't & Third Base
Maurice Moran..Left Field
Sam. Day..Center Field
Stephen A. Thomas..Right Field
John W. Bird..Substitute
W.F. Martin..Fin. & Cor. Secretary
A.P. Lane..Honorary Member
Wm. P. Swank..Captain Second Nine
Geo. C. Randol..Director
James W. Parks..Director
Charles H. Delay..Umpire
The crowd reached Columbus in ample time to get a goood view of the city before dark. We took a straight shute for the Dispatch office, where we found Summers, out brother quill driver and scissors clipper, with his coat off, sleeves rolled up, and pitching in at the case instead of the pen. Business in the office had been rushing, and all hands were under full headway in picking up type for the issue of that week. After taking a full view of the office, we sauntered in the direction of the Mansion House, where we found our old friend and fellow-citizen Whitcomb in conversation with the boys, as also cautioning the landlord, or landlady, to keep a close watch, or we would slip off, without paying for our supper. And we did slip off, only three paying out of the eighteen. The proffer of paying our board bill there was not to be rejected, and, as Financial Secretary, we gathered in the "fifties" in currency from our members, and added a total of $7.50 to our treasury, while the landlady presented the bill the following morning to our bondsman for ten dollars! We do not think the fatted calf was killed, nor have we found out that the table presented extras enough to justify seventy cents each for supper instead of fifty. Perhaps it's all right, however, for since we came home we have heard it reported that our crowd devoured forty pounds of beef steak at that meal! We want affidavits from the cook and the butcher to the above assertation.
After supper all hands rushed to see a familiar acquaintance, Bill Yards, at the lower end of the town, who undertook to entertain them until the arrival of the down packet. Hour after hour passed and no boat, and about midnight the cry was "more supper." After a fruitless attempt made in searching for fresh oysters, a proprietor of a restaurant, by the name of Hayes, was roused from his slumbers, and if ever a man prepared a meal for hungry mortals, Mr. Hayes did on this occasion. Good and abundance of bread, fried potatoes, tender beefsteak, broiled ham, eggs and excellent coffee, was supplied to satisfy the inner man, all for the low charge of fifty cents.
Four o'clock came, and the transfer boat "St. Louis" arrived with the passengers from the Iron Mountain Railroad, and also the "Ike Hammit" form Cairo with the Illinois Central passengers, who were soon transferred to the Mobile and Ohio Railroad cars, and we all concluded to jump aboard and go to Union City where we could connect with the N. Western and Nashville road which would take us to Hickman. On arrival at Union City, we searched and found the office of the "Herald," where we saw and had qite a chat with Mr. Chambers, the senior of the firm of Chambers Bros. Like most country offices they appear to be well fixed for getting out a weekly paper, but with little facilities for general job work.
We remained in Union City at least three hours before arrival of the down train. From this city to Hickman the distance is supposed to be about thirteen miles, which was made in the astonishing fast time of one hour and thirty minutes! This piece of road is the roughest we ever saw, and if there are any meaner lot of cars in the Western country than there is on this road we have failed to notice them.
We at length reached Hickman, and at the depot we were met by Dr. Faris, Dr. Buck, Capt. Robinson, and several of the members of the Base Ball Club, in waiting and ready to escort us to the Commercial Hotel. Preliminary business in regard to the game was first in order. On account of our members having been deprived of their night's rest by traveling, the Hickman players kindly suggested a postponement of the game to the following day, but our boys could not spare the time, and the decision was to commence the game at two o'clock that afternoon.
After a good dinner, the members all assembled and started for the grounds of the Club, but when only a few yards from the hotel one of our members dropped down in a fit. He was taken to a room, a physician was soon in attendance, and in twenty minutes he had recovered, and we were once more off for the play ground.
-Charleston (Mo.) Courier, October 8, 1869