A match game of base ball came off yesterday on the old Commercial grounds, between the Baltic (second nine) and the Independent Base Ball Clubs, which resulted in the defeat of the latter.
-Missouri Republican, June 5, 1863
- The Baltic Club had a second nine, which is useful information. I'm operating here under the assumption that there was a serious lack of manpower in St. Louis. I believe that the war took tens of thousands of young men out of the city and that this depleted the available player pool. That's why I think we're seeing all of these Junior clubs and Young clubs - there wasn't enough "older" players to fill up the club nines. The clubs had to grab younger players and put together juvenile clubs. But a club had to have a first and second nine. If they didn't, who was playing on the club days? When a club got together, they had to have at least 18 guys so they could play a game, which was what a club day was all about. So a club had to have, at minimum, 18 members and, to be on the safe side, a club really needed about 30 guys - just to make sure they could put two teams together any time the club was scheduled to meet. A first nine, a second nine, and a junior nine is twenty-seven players. Feel free to check my math but I think that's probably how these clubs were operating. They were using the juniors to make up a thirty percent reduction in the number of baseball-playing-aged males that was caused by the war.
- This is the first and only reference I have to the Independent Club so give them a big round of applause and thank them for playing because we aren't going to see them again.
- We have a reference to "the old Commercial grounds," which I have to believe is a reference to Lafayette Park. That was, prior to the occupation of the park by Union troops in August of 1861, the old Commercial grounds. I can't imagine what else that could mean.
- Shepard Barclay makes an appearance as secretary of the Baltic Club and the captain and pitcher for their second nine. Barclay is a favorite of mine. He was, for a rather brief moment, the Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court and is responsible for the creation of the Fruin Myth, which is a rather widespread canard stating that Jeremiah Fruin was the first to bring the New York game to St. Louis. God bless Shepard Barclay, who was a pretty darn good ballplayer, but his memory failed him with regards to the early history of the game in St. Louis.
- And we're into June of 1863 with still no reference to Jeremiah Fruin playing baseball in St. Louis. Without looking it up, I'm pretty sure that Fruin was in St. Louis by 1861 but I don't think I have any contemporary references to him playing with the Empire Club until 1865. He was serving in the Quartermaster Corps in St. Louis during the war so it may be possible that he didn't start playing baseball in the city until after the war ended. I'll wait until I get to that first Fruin reference to really get into this but the idea that Fruin didn't play baseball in St. Louis until after the war was over really changes his historical legacy. But let's wait on that one.