The match game for the championship will again be renewed, this afternoon, between the Empire and Union Base Ball Clubs, on the old Veto grounds in the rear of the Pacific Railroad machine shops. The contest commences at 2 o'clock, and will draw out a crowd of spectators to the spot. The interest manifested in the result of the game is feverish, not to say intense.
-Missouri Republican, July 2, 1867
I love that line about interest in the game being feverish and intense because I believe that's one of the reasons that this championship series was so significant. In 1867, St. Louis, Missouri, and the nation was in the grips of the great, post-war Base Ball Fever and the game was being played everywhere. It's in 1867 that we see the spread of the game throughout Missouri. Obviously, the game was in St. Louis prior to the war but we don't see it spreading elsewhere in the state until 1866 and then, in 1867, we see an explosion in the number of new clubs and new cities with clubs.
This series, I believe, certainly fueled the Base Ball Fever in St. Louis. Interest in the game in St. Louis had always been high, going back to 1859 and 1860, and the victories of the Empire Club in 1865 and 1866 were celebrated. But I think that the fact that baseball in St. Louis, at the highest levels, was competitive and that the Empire Club wasn't just going to walk over everyone raised the level of interest in the game in the city. Competition is always more interesting than dominance and the rivalry between the Union and Empire Clubs was healthy for the game in St. Louis. It raised interest. It brought in new fans. It gave the papers something to write about. While the two teams had been playing each other since 1860, this series was really the first great, dramatic moment in that rivalry and it created feverish interest in St. Louis.
To this day, you can't talk about the early history of baseball in St. Louis without discussing the Union/Empire rivalry and pretty much all of the significant moments in St. Louis baseball history in the second half of the 1860s involved one of these two clubs. This series was really the first great moment in the rivalry and that is one of the reasons it is remembered.