Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Mythical Championship Of The West

Base Ball Championship Of The West.

A game was played in Freeport, Ill., on the 4th of July, for the Championship of the West, between the Empire, of St. Louis, and the Empire, of Freeport, Ill.
-Mears Baseball Scrapbook, Volume 1, 1853-1870

It's interesting that the Eastern press recognized the "Championship of the West."  I've written before about how tenuous the Empires' claims to the Western championship was and how the entire idea was slightly ridiculous.  But here we have the thing blessed by the established baseball press. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Rage, Rage

I don't even know where to start with this or if I should even bother.  But...

Today, at Grantland (and, honestly, here's the first problem: I actually check Grantland everyday; all I really want is a Bill Simmons mailbag or a short piece from Jonah Keri and you have to wade through a lot of other stuff to find that), they put up a short film about the Honus Wagner card.  Now, I have some interest in 19th century baseball cards and know a bit about the history of the Wagner card, so I figured the short would be an interesting thing to watch.

I got one minute and eight seconds into it when I turned it off.  At one minute and eight seconds into the film, they introduce Keith Olbermann as a "Baseball Historian."  Now, I'm not a big fan of Olbermann's but I have nothing against the man.  I've gotten too old to get worked up over celebrities or what a tv talking head says.  It's just business.  It's just entertainment.  It has no real impact on my existence.  But as a baseball researcher and historian who has devoted a good chunk of his life exploring the world of 19th century baseball and the origins and evolution of the early game, I was actually stunned to see Olbermann described as a baseball historian and presented as an expert on the early game.

But, in and of itself, it's not a big deal.  You want to present Olbermann as a baseball historian and expert that's your business.  I immediately know what that means as far as the credibility of any historical claims that you'll present in your film.  It tells me what kind of film I'm watching and that it's not the kind of film I want to waste my time on.  So I turned it off.  Or, rather, I went to close the browser tab.

As I was going to close the tab, I heard Olbermann, speaking about baseball in the decade prior to 1909, say this: " had only been as popular as indoor soccer..."  My jaw dropped as I closed the tab and I said, out loud, "What the fuck did he just say?"  I had to go into my history, find the film again and re-open it.  I had to make sure that I heard what I thought I heard.

Sure enough, this expert on baseball history compared the popularity of the game in the late 19th and early 20th century to the modern popularity of indoor soccer.  And I have nothing against indoor soccer.  I like soccer in general and have been to professional indoor soccer games.  It's a good game.  But the idea that baseball, around 1900, was some kind of niche sport with a limited popularity is ridiculous.  It's stupid.  Making a statement like that only shows that you have no understanding of the history of the game.  Do I even need to say that baseball, at that time, was insanely popular?  That it was a national, modern sport played in the country's largest cities before huge crowds?  The New York game, in the early 1850s, was a niche sport with limited popularity.  The game, by the turn of the century, was a huge business with national appeal.  Olbermann's statement is wrong and shows, at best, a superficial understanding of the nature of late 19th century baseball.

Is it too much to ask that someone identified as a baseball historian, making statements about the 19th century game, actually be a baseball historian who knows something about 19th century baseball?  Do we need pseudo-celebrities being presented as experts in a field they know little or nothing about?  Do we need Doris Kearns Goodwin on MLB's official committee investigating the origins of the game?  Do we need George Will on that committee?  Do we have to have Keith Olbermann on ESPN making erroneous statements about 19th century baseball?

I'm a nobody.  I'm just a guy with a website.  I'm not on TV.  I'm not famous.  I'm just a guy.  Sure, I've had some of my work published in a few books.  Maybe my knowledge of the early game is respected by a few others who also know something about the subject.  Maybe.  But is it too much to ask that, when the subject of 19th century baseball comes up, we consult people who know something about the subject?  And I'm not talking about myself.  I could give you a list of twenty respected baseball historians with published works on the subject who could have been consulted for this little short on Wagner.  Call John Thorn.  Call Peter Morris.  Call any number of people who know something about the subject.  Do your homework.

In the end, this isn't a big deal except for the fact that there is so much erroneous information floating around about the 19th century game in books, articles and online and I've spent a lot of time fighting back against the ignorance and myths that surrounds the early game.  My goal is to get the story correct and present, to whatever small audience I can gather, the truth about 19th century baseball.  Olbermann, Grantland and ESPN just made that task a little harder.  It should go without saying that they reach a substantially larger audience than I do and the error they are perpetrating (however innocently) has probably already been seen by more people than have ever visited this website in it's five or six year existence.

There have been numerous times when I have made the decision to shut down the website and focus on other projects.  But I've never done it.  I always keep plugging away, presenting new information and, from time to time, finding myself with something new and interesting to say about 19th century baseball.  How do you quit in the face of such willful ignorance?  How can I quit when the extraordinary work done by fantastic, knowledgeable and hard-working historians such as David Block and Larry McCray and William Ryczek and David Nemec and Ed Achorn and William Goldstein and Melvin Adleman and George Kirsch and Morris and Thorn and countless others has yet to seep into the public consciousness?  I can't.  There's still work to do.

I guess that makes me the Worst Person In The World.         

A Very Interesting Game Of Base Ball

Base Ball In St. Louis.

A very interesting game of base ball was played in St. Louis, Mo., Oct 8th, between the Atlantic and Arctic Base Ball Clubs, on the O.K. grounds, in which the latter were defeated.
-Mears Baseball Scrapbook, Volume 1, 1853-1870

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Return Match

Base Ball At St. Louis.

The return match between the Diana and Liberty, Sr., clubs came off on the grounds of the latter, on the 24th ult., and resulted in a victory for the Diana.
-Mears Baseball Scrapbook Volume 1, 1853-1870

This is a rather obscure game from September 1864 and it's a bit odd that it made the Eastern press but I guess someone sent them the box score. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

These Old Rival Clubs

Union Vs. Empire.

These old rival clubs of St. Louis entered the arena for the championship of Missouri for 1870, on the 23d of June, the game being played at the base ball park at St. Louis, in the presence of a large crowd of spectators.  We regret not having more spare for more than the score, but that tells the story of the contest pretty plainly.  The ball played with was a lively one, and hence there were no less than 39 fielding errors in the game, heavy hitting deciding the contest.
-The Mears Baseball Scrapbook Volume 2, 1870-1877, p 15.

Did I mention yesterday that the Mears Collection is searchable?  I opened one of the scrapbooks at random, typed in St. Louis and this Empire/Union game popped up.

And I should also mention that, while I'm attributing the material to the Mears Collection, this is primary source material.  These scrapbooks have articles from the Clipper, Spirit of the Times or whatever that William Rankin cut out and saved.  The article and box score that appears above was found in the second volume of the Mears scrapbooks but it comes from a 1870 newspaper article.   

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Mears Baseball Scrapbooks

I've been poking around, trying to find information about entry 1859.39 of the Protoball Chronology.  The source, taken at face value, is the earliest record we have of a St. Louis baseball club.  The earliest mention in contemporary material that we have of the the Cyclones or the Morning Stars or any other St. Louis club doesn't come until 1860 and I've been looking high and low for something from 1859.  We know, based on the testimony of members of the Cyclones, that the club first formed in the summer of 1859 and that the Morning Stars were likely playing the local St. Louis baseball variant as early as 1857.  But, other than 1859.39, we don't have any contemporary sources until 1860.  And, based on the notes about the source at Protoball, I had some problems with it.

Yesterday, though, I went looking for the original source for 1859.39, which was a newspaper article that Craig Waff found in "the Mears collection" and that Larry McCray describes as "Under-identified."  After a quick search, I found the Charles W. Mears Baseball Collection online at the Cleveland Public Library Digital Gallery.  And it is unbelievable awesome.

According to the OhioLink Finding Aid Repository, the Mears Collection "documents the early statistical history of professional baseball.  It includes scrapbooks, monographs, baseball magazines (now mostly on microfilm), early league constitutions, team histories, and photographs.  There are nearly complete runs of the Spalding and Reach Guides included among the 281 books, pamphlets, periodicals, and publications that are part of the collection."  The OhioLink site includes a brief biography of Mears that mentions that he purchased "the Tim Murnane Libary and that of William M. Rankin, baseball editor of the New York Clipper."  It's in the Rankin material that I found the original source of 1859.39.

But I'm going to get to that in a few days, after I do a bit more digging.  What I want to get across today is how fantastic this material is.  The Rankin scrapbooks have a ton of material from the 1850s.  There is all of this primary source material from the Clipper and Spirit of the Times that I've never had access to, covering baseball history from 1853 into the 20th century.  I can't even begin to tell you how thrilled I am to find this and how excited I am to begin digging through this wonderful source.  

Just to give you an idea of what kind of stuff I've already found after looking through the stuff for maybe an hour, here's  a little something from an 1860 issue of the Clipper:

Baseball in St. Joe in 1860 - how about that?  Was this the first baseball club in St. Joe's history?  Most likely.  Were they playing the New York game?  Unknown, but it's possible.  Regardless, this is cool stuff.

As I mentioned Friday, I've been busy finishing up a piece on the Knickerbocker Rules for Protoball and I'm busy at work so I haven't had a lot of time to work on the website.  But the stuff that I'm finding in the Mears Collection is so neat I couldn't wait to share it with all of you.  I'm going to post some random stuff from the collection over the next few days, while I'm writing up what I hope is a long piece on 1859.39, and then I'm going to mine this thing for all it's worth.    

Friday, February 22, 2013

Baseball In St. Louis, 1867-1875

I've been wrapping up a project on the 1845 Knickerbocker Rules for Protoball this week and haven't had any time to workup posts for the website.  I'm going to be busy at work all weekend and probably won't have the time to post anything until Monday.  So, in the meantime, here's Gregg Lee Carter's great piece on 19th century baseball to keep you busy.  If you've never read the thing, I heartily recommend it.  

I'll get back to the Maroons' 1884 off-season just as soon as I can.  

Thursday, February 21, 2013

This Series Actually Happened

The Louisvilles arrived last night. They are in charge of Phil. Hinkle and Joe Gerhardt.  The latter says Manager Sullivan, of the Kansas City Club, brought the Louisvilles up there to play three games and then refused to play them - his only excuse being that the weather was too cold.  As a result the Louisvilles are here ahead of time, and instead of playing games here on only Saturday and Sunday next, they will now try to arrange a regular series of three or five games.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 23, 1884

I'm a little surprised that this series actually took place.  I had mentioned the possibility of the series some time ago but just assumed that, for political reasons, it wouldn't come off.  But the Louisvilles were in town and they were going to play the Maroons. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Exhibition Season

A very small attendance of spectators witnessed the exhibition game of base ball between the Cincinnati Unions and St. Louis Unions to-day.  The St. Louis Club went first to the bat.  Dunlap opened with a home run.  Shaffer followed with a safe hit, and then Rowe struck for three bases...
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 22, 1884

And that was all the scoring in the exhibition game.  Sweeney scattered six hits and only on Cincinnati player got as far as third. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Series Proposed

Charlie Comiskey desires to say that he has expressed no opinion regarding the series proposed between the St. Louis Browns and Unions.  He is satisfied that the games can not take place.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 22, 1884

Monday, February 18, 2013

Am I Really Going To Do This?

Fred Dunlap, of the Unions, having heard that Capt. Comiskey, of the Browns, has said that the only condition upon which the latter club will play the Unions is that each player in each nine shall put up $100 to be played for, declares that he is ready to accept the proposition, and if any member of his nine lacks the stipulated amount he will put up for him.  He will bet $100 and his share of the gate receipts if a series of three games are arranged.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 20, 1884

The most interesting thing about the Maroons' 1884 season was the pre-season and all of the machinations in setting up the league and the club.  My assumption is that the off-season, with the collapse of the UA and the Maroons entry into the NL, will be every bit as interesting.

I'm not sure if I have the stomach for more Maroons stuff but I think it's something I have to do.  

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The 1884 Maroons: Our Long National Nightmare Is Over

A very large crowd witnessed the last championship game in St. Louis this year, which was played yesterday between the Boston and St. Louis Unions.  The home team were treated to a coat of whitewash but, notwithstanding that fact, the game was one of the most interesting of the season, and from the opening to the closing innings, the spectators were demonstratively enthusiastic.  
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 20, 1884

And that's that. 

Finally, at long last, I can say I've gone through the Maroons' 1884 season and that I have all of their box scores.  Hurray for me. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The 1884 Maroons: The Penultimate Game

The St. Louis Unions and the Bostons played the last game but one of their championship series yesterday afternoon, in the presence of a good-sized gathering.  Before they commenced play each team had won seven games of the series of sixteen.  When they had finished St. Louis had won eight to the Bostons seven, so that to-day the Bostons will have to win to tie, while if the St. Louis should win the series will be theirs.  
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 19, 1884

Friday, February 15, 2013

The 1884 Maroons: Professional's Day

Yesterday was "professional's day" at the Union Grounds, and as a result the attendance at the Boston-St. Louis game embraced many theatrical people.  The day was the first of the kind, and proved a success on every particular.  It was the St. Louis team that had won seven of the thirteen games previously played by the same clubs, but at the close of yesterday's contest the Bostons were even up...
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 17, 1884

The headline from the database I'm using refers to the Boston club as the Boston Colonys, which is something I've never seen before.  Not sure where they came up with that one. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The 1884 Maroons: Exercising Their Risibilities

There was a very fair attendance at the Union Grounds yesterday to witness the game between the St. Louis and Boston Unions.  Among the occupants of the grand stand was Governor Crittenden.  Shaw, the left-handed "Wizard," pitched for the visitors and proved very effective.  Dunlap made two hits, one a two-bagger...As soon as Shaw revealed his peculiar delivery the crowd roared with laughter, and when Shaffer faced him and vainly endeavored to hit the ball the scene became so ludicrous that the spectators' risibilities were exercised to almost uncontrollable degree.  Sweeney pitched a splendid game for the home nine, but was not well supported...
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 15, 1884

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The 1884 Maroons: No One Raised The Slightest Objection

The St. Paul Club faced the St. Louis Unions yesterday afternoon.  Brown, who pitched for the former, was suffering with a lame arm, and as a result he was hit hard all through the game.  After seven innings play, in which the St. Louis scored 14 runs to the St. Pauls 1, the umpire called the game so as to allow the St. Pauls time to catch the early train for the North.  No one raised the slightest objection to this proceeding, and the game ended...
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 14, 1884

Insert joke about the UA here. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The 1884 Maroons: Done With Washington

The Nationals of Washington closed their championship series with the St. Louis yesterday afternoon and barring the last inning, when the Nationals got in a batting streak and earned 4 of the 5 runs they scored, the game was woefully one-sided.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 13, 1884

Monday, February 11, 2013

Eclipse Vs. Black Stockings: Game Three

The Eclipse and Black Sox, the local colored rivals, will play their third game to-day at Compton Avenue Park.  The Black Sox's regular pitcher, Davis, will be on hand to twirl for his club, who claim their defeat from the Eclipses was due to his absence.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 12, 1884

The game between the colored clubs at Compton Avenue Park yesterday afternoon resulted in favor of the Eclipse Club, who defeated the Black Sox by a score of 10 to 2.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 13, 1884

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The 1884 Maroons: The Baby Act

Yesterday's game between the St. Louis Unions and the Nationals of Washington was a very brief contest, the visitors quitting the field after three innings play, on account of a decision by Umpire McCaffery which they did not relish.  Yesterday's game, like all other contests which have taken place at the Union grounds during the past three weeks, was played with two balls.  That is, a new ball was thrown in just as soon as the one previously used was knocked outside the grounds, the object being to avoid delay.  Of the two balls used yesterday one at the conclusion of the third inning was quite badly used up, while the other looked white and lively.  In the fourth inning, after there were two out, Boyle knocked a foul past McCormick, and the ball bounded over the low fence just in front of the seats in the left field.  McCormick ran after the ball, and vaulting the fence, pretended to be hunting for it.  In the meanwhile Capt. Baker shouted to the umpire to throw in the other ball, which was comparatively new.  Baker evidently saw that with the new ball he would have the best of it, as they had but one more man to put out when they would have their turn at the bat.  Dunlap seemed to view the situation in the same light, and ran over and found the ball which McCormick had gone after.  Then throwing the old ball to Gagus, the Nationals' pitcher, he told him "to pitch that."  Captain Baker objected, and insisted on the new ball being thrown out.  McCaffery decided that the old ball had not been "outside" the grounds, and hence they must continue playing with it.  Baker refused to abide by the decision of the umpire and withdrew his team from the field.  The umpire then decided the game in favor of St. Louis by a score of 9 to 0.  At the end of the third inning, however, the score stood 1 to 0 in favor of St. Louis.  Checks admitting the holder to to-day's game were given those in attendance so that barring the loss of time no one suffered by the baby act of the Nationals.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 12, 1884

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The 1884 Maroons: Feeling Sore And Anxious

The Nationals of Washington won yesterday's game from the St. Louis Unions and the contest proved one of the most exciting and close-fought of the year.  The visitors seemed to be in fine fettle, and while they batted Sweeney's lightning curves from the word go, their field work was sharp and clean and three double plays attest the rapidity of their movements.  Besides that they were feeling sore over their defeat of the previous day, which they justly laid at the hands of the umpire, and they were more than anxious to show their friends the fact that they were capable of better things.  This they succeeded in doing, their playing from the opening to the close being plucky as well as brilliant.  The St. Louis, although beaten, also played a plucky game, but luck was not with them this time, and in a close contest luck generally plays an important part.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 11, 1884

Friday, February 8, 2013

The 1884 Maroons: P.H. Devinney Strikes Again

The Nationals, of Washington, and the St. Louis Unions played the thirteenth game of their championship series yesterday afternoon.  This fact, coupled with the fine weather, brought fully 3,000 persons to the Union Grounds.  The Nationals appeared in bright white and red uniforms and presented a much stronger team then that which visited here three months ago, and that they were beaten so badly yesterday was due mainly to a decision of Umpire Devinney in the second inning, he deciding Baker safe at hoe when he was plainly out.  The decision not only gave St. Louis a run, but filled the bases, and before the third man was retired six runs were secured.  This unfortunate happening robbed the game of all interest and the Nationals losing heart, never played ball afterward.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 10, 1884 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The 1884 Maroons: How About You Just Give Them A Ring?

President Lucas said yesterday that as the players of the St. Louis Union Club had won the championship of the Union Association, he would give them a benefit in the shape of a game at the Union grounds between either the St. Louis and Bostons, or St. Louis and Cincinnati Unions.  It will be played as soon as possible after the St. Louis return from Cincinnati on October 21.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 10, 1884

Well, that's nice and all but, if I was a member of the Maroons, I think I'd just rather have the cash and not have to play the game.  This is kind of like having to pay for your own trophy.    

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The 1884 Maroons: Exhibitions

October 6, 1884

October 7, 1884

So the Maroons played two exhibition games against Cincinnati on October 6 and 7 and these contests pitted the two best clubs in the league.  Cincinnati was a vastly improved club after poaching some real players and were probably the equal of the Maroons.  I've said this before but if the Cincinnatis had started the season with the players they had at the end of the season, they would have challenged for the UA championship.  They were every bit as good as the Maroons. 

But that isn't saying much.  And, in all honesty, I don't have much enthusiasm for the Maroons' league games and have developed a extreme dislike of all things UA.  So I apologize for not giving you the game accounts of two exhibition games played between two clubs from a minor league.  But I will pass along the box scores.

The truth of the matter is that these were actually well played games between two evenly matched teams.  But while two crappy games between the Maroons and St. Paul counted in the standings, even though neither went nine innings, these two games, played between the best two teams in the league, didn't count.  And that's the Union Association for you.     

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The 1884 Maroons: My God - They Lost To St. Paul

The St. Paul Club again proved themselves a fine lot of ball players yesterday by defeating the St. Louis Unions, before a gathering of nearly 5,000 persons.  In the opening inning Sweeny was sent in to pitch for St. Louis, and in the two innings in which he held the position six of the visitors struck out in the order of their coming to the bat.  Not caring to make a record against the St. Pauls, however, and just to give the fielders a chance, Sweeny went to left field and Boyle went in to pitch.  He did quite well, and honors would have remained easy but that in the fourth inning, after Carroll had flown out to Whitehead, the latter fumbled a grounder sent him by Barnes.  After reaching first Barnes lost no time in stealing second.  Hengle hit to Boyle and the ball was thrown to first.  Barnes ran at top speed for third.  Quinn threw over there to catch him but threw too low and the ball getting by Gleason, Barnes came home.  In the fifth threatening clouds hovered above the park and the home team tried hard to even things up but failed and before a sixth inning could be played the clouds broke and the rain came down in torrents...[After] the expiration of thirty minutes Umpire McCaffery pronounced the field too wet to play upon and called the game.  
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 6, 1884 

It took an act of God but St. Paul beat the Maroons.

And this tells you everything you need to know about the UA:  "Not caring to make a record against the St. Pauls, however, and just to give the fielders a chance, Sweeny went to left field and Boyle went in to pitch."

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Thing Of The Past

R.J. MacReady vs. the UA. 

The Union Association is fast becoming a thing of the past, and, with the exception of the St. Louis Club, none of the clubs will be in existence next season. - [New York Sun.]  The Sun probably thinks it knows what it is talking about, but it is mistaken this time.  Boston will have a Union nine next season, and a good one, too. - [Boston Globe.]
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 5, 1884

The UA can not die fast enough for me.  Kill it.  Kill it with fire. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The 1884 Maroons: A Well-Played Contest That Nobody Cared About

A light attendance assembled yesterday to witness the first meeting of the St. Paul team with the St. Louis Unions.  The game was begun at 4 o'clock, and had to be called at 5:30, when seven innings had been played, on account of darkness.  It was a well-played contest, in which hard hitting was done by both teams...
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 4, 1884

So, why even bother.  The Maroons, playing in a crappy league that had fallen apart, played some team that they just added to the crappy league and they didn't bother to start the game until four o'clock and nobody showed up to watch and the Maroons were winning 7-1 in the seventh and Dunlap hit a home run and they were up twenty-three games with eleven to play and had already won the meaningless championship of their meaningless league and I just can't believe that anyone considers the UA a major league. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The 1884 Maroons: October!

The St. Louis Unions shut out the Baltimores yesterday and the game was the neatest and prettiest of their series.  Quick throws and returns, good pick-ups and lightning stops and throws were the order of the day from the start.  Runs, however, were very scarce and in the first seven innings only 1 run was scored and that by the St. Louis.  For the Baltimores twelve men went to the bat and retired in succession, and it was not until the fifth inning when Shoeneck got in a safe stroke past Whitehead that one of their men reached first base.  In the second inning Gleason got in a straight drive to left field on which he easily reached second and a clean line hit to center by Baker earned the run.  The Baltimores tried hard to cut down this short lead, and for several innings they worked like beavers.  In their half of the sixth, Sweeney and Battin reached first on good, clean hits, and a passed ball advanced them respectively to second and third bases.  There was but one out, and with Seery at the bat matters loomed up very bright for the visitors.  He sent a slow grounder to Whitehead, and had Sweeny ran home he would have got there, as Whitehead fumbled the ball.  Sweeny faltered, however, and Whitehead not only threw his man out at first, but Quinn sent the ball home like a flash and caught Sweeny at the plate.  The Baltimores were never given a chance to score afterwards.  In the eighth Dunlap, Shaffer, Boyle and Sweeney batted safe and this and errors by Shoeneck and Wheeler gave the home team 4 more runs, making them 5 in all to the visitors nothing.  Jack Gleason carried off the batting honors, while Boyle, Shoeneck and Ellick did the best fielding...
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 2, 1884

The end is nigh.  We've finally reached October in our coverage of the Maroons' 1884 season and there's only eleven games left of this nonsense. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Alleged Outrage

Ernest Rother, late book-keeper in the grocery store of Von der Ahe, of the St. Louis Base Ball Club, was arrested in [Columbus, Ohio,] to-day on a telegram from the Chief of Police of St. Louis, asking that he be detained on a charge of embezzlement.  Rother waived all formalities of a requisition, and left with an officer this evening on his return to St. Louis.  He states that he does not know what the special charges can be against him, though there is nothing wrong with his accounts or books, and he can make the matter clear when he arrives.  He thinks the arrest was made through the connivance of some of his enemies.

Rother was on his way to Germany.  While in the city he sent for James Williams, late manager of the St. Louis Club, who visited him at the prison and heard his story of the alleged outrage.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 1, 1884

I know that somewhere on this blog I've mentioned this story before but here it is again, coming up in the context of the 1884 season.  As a baseball story, there's not much there and the only interesting thing about the entire matter is the involvement of Von der Ahe and Williams.