Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Another Account of Baseball Played in Pelham in the 1880s Is Uncovered

As I have written before on the Historic Pelham Blog, those who know me know that I have an abiding love for the sport of baseball and its history. Those who have followed my research regarding the history of Pelham also know that I have written about baseball in 19th century Pelham. For four such examples, see:

Thu., Oct. 6, 2005: Does This Photograph Show Members of the "Pelham Manor Junior Base Ball Team"?

Thu. Sep. 15, 2005: Newspaper Item Published in 1942 Sheds Light on Baseball in 19th Century Pelham

Thu. Feb. 10, 2005: New Discoveries Regarding Baseball in 19th Century Pelham

Baseball in Late 19th Century Pelham, The Pelham Weekly, Vol. XIII, No. 17, Apr. 23, 2004, p. 8, col. 2.

Late Sunday night, while researching an entirely unrelated issue, I ran across another early account of baseball in 19th century Pelham. The account is significant for three reasons. First, it provides the last names of a few of the players on the "Giants" -- the name used by the baseball club of the "Country Club" located in Pelham in the 1880s. Second, it confirms long held suspicions that baseball "matches" in Pelham were accompanied by friendly betting among the spectators. Third, it confirms that such matches were gay social spectacles attended by spectators who lined the playing field with their carriages as suggested by the print below from the collections of the Library of Congress showing a baseball game in 1887.

The account, published in the July 4, 1886 issue of The New York Times, reads in part:

"Suburban gayety, which was at its height a fortnight ago, has gradually waned, and is about over until the early Autumn. The last notes as the first come from New-Rochelle and its vicinity, where the Country Club seems to be as potent as ever to provide entertainment and to keep gayety alive for its members and the people of the neighborhood. Yesterday afternoon a baseball match was played on the grounds of the club between the club’s famous nine, which lately defeated that of the Knickerbocker Club, and one from the Rockaway Hunt Club, at Cedarhurst, Long Island, the contest attracting hundreds of spectators, who surrounded the field and players with a line of carriages, making the scene a gay and attractive one. On the Rockaway nine there played Messrs. Tower, Hodges, Burrill, Cowdin, and the Messrs. La Montagne, and on the Country nine Messrs. Adee, Sands, Seton, Pyne, and others. Many members of the Knickerbocker Club were present to witness the game, and it is said that a considerable amount of money changed hands.”

Source: Society Topics of the Week, N.Y. Times, Jul. 4, 1886, p. 3.

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