Saturday, October 15, 2005

A Couple Of Traces Of Baseball In Late 19th Century Nashville

This afternoon I spent some time in the Nashville Room of the Main Library reading some 1881 editions of the Nashville Banner. I found the following paragraphs with regard to our national pastime.

From Monday, July 18 edition:


The members of the Nashville Red Stocking Baseball Club challenge any baseball organization in the State to play a match game of baseball, at a time and place to be designated by the captains of the respective clubs.

I found no evidence that the Red Stocking Club ever got a response, but, according to the Monday, September 5 edition, a couple of other teams saw some action in North Nashville:

Base Ball.

Friday afternoon the A. K. Wards and Rock City clubs crossed lances on Sulphur Spring bottom [near what is today 4th and 5th Avenues and Jackson St.], in a game of base ball. Over two thousand persons witnessed the spirited contest, Mr. Enoch Phillips acting as umpire, with that masterly skill for which he is celebrated. As an evidence of the sharp play we refer to the score, which was as follows: A. K. Wards, 26; Rock Citys, 24.

Besides sensing the sheer poignancy of baseball's longevity in Nashville, I was impressed that the baseball score in the latter paragraph was more like a football score and that the ump was "celebrated."

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