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, April 08, 2014

More 19th Century References to Baseball in the Town of Pelham

Today's Historic Pelham Blog presents additional 19th century references to baseball in the Town of Pelham.  It includes information about the 19th century baseball teams known as the Rivals of City Island, the Vails Base Ball Club and the Belden Baseball Club of City Island (sometimes referenced as the Beldenites or the Beldonites).  I previously have written about the Rivals and provided a brief reference to two of their games played against Pelhamville and the Nationals of Willets Point during the summer of 1884.  See Tue., Dec. 15, 2009:  Baseball Games Played by the City Island Beldenites and the City Island Rivals in 1884.  I also previously have written about the Belden Baseball Club and certain of its games.  See Fri., Apr. 16, 2010:  Formation of the City Island Beldonites Baseball Club in June 1884 and Thu., Nov. 12, 2009:  More Early References to Baseball Played in Pelham and Tue., Nov. 24, 2009:  Yet Another Reference to Early Baseball in Pelham and Mon., Nov. 23, 2009:  Additional Brief Accounts of Baseball Played in Pelham in the 19th Century and  Fri., Nov. 20, 2009:  More Accounts of Early Baseball Played in Pelham.  Today's posting also presents a brief reference to a recreational game between a group of City Island oystermen and ship carpenters and a baseball team from Greenpoint, Brooklyn with a bet involved.

Cover of "Spalding's Official Base Ball Guide 1878"
Published by A.G. Spalding & Bro.

Below is a brief excerpt of an article published on May 24, 1878 identifying a City Island baseball team of which I have never heard, the Leviness Base Ball Club, and describing a game they played against the Vails Base Ball Club on Tuesday, May 21, 1878.  The excerpt is transcribed immediately below, followed by a citation to its source.

"City Island. . . . 

The Vail and Leviness base ball clubs played a game of seven innings on Tuesday [Mary 14, 1878] last, which resulted in a victory for the Vails by a score of 12 to 11.  The Levinesses had four whitewashes, and the Vails two.  Mr. John Statup, catcher for the Vails, had his nose broken while trying to take a ball from the bat.  The Vails will play against the Clam Diggers on the grounds of the former, tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon [May 18, 1878]."  

Source:  City Island, The Chronicle [Mount Vernon, NY], May 17, 1878, Vol. IX, No. 452, p. 2, cols. 4-5.

Below is a brief excerpt of an article published on May 31, 1878 providing the results of a baseball game played by the Vails Base Ball Club.  It is significant because it identifies the captain of the team at the time as William Waterhouse.  The excerpt also references plans for the Vail Base Ball Club to sponsor an upcoming party.  The excerpt is transcribed immediately below, followed by a citation to its source.

"City Island. . . . 

On Thursday evening a hop was given at Leviness's Hall by a number of young ladies for the purpose of raising funds for the temperance cause.  Floor Managers, Messrs. K. Biller and J. Price; General Committee, Messrs. M. Prout, M. Ketchem, G. Miller, L. Baxter, C. Leviness, G. Wilson, K. Wood.  Everything went off pleasantly and wound up at 4 o'clock in the morning.  On the 13th of June another hop will be given by the Vail Base Ball Club. . . . 

The Base Ball Club of City Island, called the Vails, Captain Wm. Waterhouse, defeated the clam diggers of City Island, on Saturday last [May 25, 1878] on the grounds of the Vails.  A. F. Vail acted as umpire, to the entire satisfaction of both clubs."

Source:  City Island, The Chronicle [Mount Vernon, NY], May 31, 1878, Vol. IX, No. 454, p. 2, col. 5.  

Below is a brief article that identifies the principal officers of the Rivals.  The article is about the success of the "First Annual" ball sponsored by the Rivals held in an establishment owned by Joshua Leviness of City Island during November, 1884.  The brief article provides:  


On Monday evening, Nov. 21st.  The first annual ball of the Rivals, at City Island, was an immense success.  It was enjoyed by all who participated in its pleasures, until the young gents bid their lady friends good bye in the morning.  Many visitors were there from the neighboring towns and New York City.  The spacious hall of Mr. Joshua Leviness, well calculated for for a racket of that kind, was the place chosen by the committee of arrangements to receive their friends and tip the fantastic toe to their hearts content, which they did to perfection in unison to the music of Professor Bonn and his talented artists.  All of the appointments to this very social entertainment seemed to be well taken and reflected great credit on those who not only directed its management but also the entire company, showing conclusively in every respect that they are fully entitled to be the Rivals of all similar affairs.  The officers are J.E. Stamp, President; W. W. Clisbee, Vice President; W. Stringham, Treasurer; W. Graham, Secretary, Floor Manager, E. C. Leviness.  


Source:  CITY ISLAND, The Chronicle [Mt. Vernon, NY], Nov. 29, 1877, Vol. XIX, No. 1,041, p. 3, col. 3.  

As this article suggests, in these early days of baseball in the New York City region, the "base ball" clubs were important social outlets for their members.  Indeed, matches were arranged via "challenges" issued to and accepted by the secretaries of the various clubs in the region.  The games often were grand spectacles followed by even grander repasts enjoyed by the players and their guests.  

Immediately below is another article.  It contains a brief reference to a baseball game played by the Belden Baseball Club against the New Rochelle Clippers on Thursday, August 14, 1884.


The Rev. Mr. Pray returned from his sojourn in the Adirondacks last Monday.  

On Thursday of last week, the Belden Baseball Club was defeated by the Clippers of New Rochelle by a score of 24 to 7.

Nicholas W. Abbott, of City Island, was drawn as a petit juror last week.  His presence at White Plains will be required a week from Monday.

There is a growing interest in the temperance question, on City Island, as was evidenced by the meeting in the M.E. Church, last Tuesday.

The twentieth wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Bacon was celebrated last Monday evening.  Between 75 and 80 friends gave them a complete surprise.

Some workmen digging in the cellar of Mr. Guion, at Pelham Bridge, recently, dug up an old iron pot, containing between $500 and $600 in old Spanish coin.

Mr. and Mrs. Nash returned, on Monday afternoon last, from their wedding tour.  The young men of the Island paid their compliments, by a skimmerton.  

The body of a colored infant was found in a segar [i.e., cigar] box, on the shore near Rhinbolt's, City Island, last Wednesday evening.  Investigation proved it to be a stillborn.  

The new building in course of erection by Mr. Elisha Booth, is nearing completion.  The little cottage of Mr. James D. Bell is inclused.  Mr. Stephen D. Horton is erecting a dwelling on his property, at the lower end.  

Last Wednesday night, Flynn's pavilion was occupied by an assemblage of pleasure seekers, the occasion being a soiree or summer night's festival, given by Mr. Flynn.  Next Wednesday night a similar affair will be held at the same place.  A good time is always had at Flynn's.

There is prospect of considerable work at Carll's shipyard.  It is understood that Mr. Carll can have two or three contracts, provided he will take them at a certain figure; but should he do so, it would necessitate a slight reduction in wages, and the only question to be determined is, which should the men prefer, to work at reduced wages or not work at all.  It remains for them to say.

The race track on the grounds of the Country Club is nearly completed, and it is expected that the races will begin early next month, and will consist of races between polo ponies, flat races, steeple chases and hurdle races.  There will also be farm races, that is, races between horses owned and used for farm work, each horse to be ridden or driven by its owner or a farm hand.  There will be no stakes other than small prizes, such as cups or a trifling purse, to cover entrance fee.  In each case, and for each class, small entrance fees will be charged.

Last Monday Evening, about seven o'clock, Oglesby Stinard, of Goose Island, was drowned by falling overboard from his float.  He had been around the water from about three o'clock in the afternoon, and had fallen in three or four times, and each time was rescued by Mr. Cunmmins, keeper of the railroad draw.  The first time he fell off the trestle and caught by one leg of his trousers in a spike.  Mr. Cummins rescued him, and placed him in a boat, from which he fell and hung with this legs to the boat.  Again he was rescued when almost exhausted; but between six and seven o'clock, fell off the float in about two feet of water.  He began swimming on his back, toward deep water, and after going about fifteen feet, turned over and sank head first.  He was taken out as soon as possible, but all efforts at resuscitation failed.  Coroner Tice held an inquest on Tuesday."

Source:  CITY ISLAND AND PELHAM, The Chronicle [Mount Vernon, NY], Vol. XV, No. 779, Aug. 22, 1884, p. 3, cols. 3-4.  

Below is a brief reference to a recreational game between oystermen and ship carpenters from City Island and a team from Greenpoint, Brooklyn in 1883.


On July 4th, a game of baseball between a nine of oystermen and ship carpenters, and a nine from Greenpoint, will be played on the King estate.  While the game is in progress, a Rhode Island clam bake will be gotten ready, and the vanquished club will have to pay for it."

Source:  CITY ISLAND, The Chronicle [Mount Vernon, NY], June 29, 1883, Vol. XIV, No. 719, p. 3, col. 4.  

*          *           *          *          *

Below is a listing, with links, of my previous postings on the topic of 19th century baseball in Pelham.

Fri., Mar. 28, 2014:  Earliest Evidence Yet! Baseball Was Played in Pelham Only Months After the Civil War Ended.  

Thu., Mar. 20, 2014:  19th Century Baseball in Pelham - Newly-Discovered References.

Tue., Feb. 16, 2010:  Photograph of Only Known 19th Century Women's Baseball Team in Pelham, New York.

Thu., Jan. 28, 2010:   News About Pelham Manor and Pelhamville in 1895 - Lighting Districts, Gas for the Village, Baseball and More.

Tue., Dec. 15, 2009:  Baseball Games Played by the City Island Beldenites and the City Island Rivals in 1884.  

Mon., Dec. 14, 2009:  Baseball Games Played by the City Island Shamrocks in 1889.  

Fri., Dec. 11, 2009:  Earliest Reference Yet to Baseball Played in Pelham.  

Thu., Dec. 10, 2009:  More 19th Century Baseball and Firefighting References

Wed., Dec. 9, 2009:  City Island Shamrocks Base Ball Club Changed its Name to the Minnefords in 1888.

Wed., Nov. 25, 2009:  Even More Early References to Baseball Played in Pelham.

Tue., Nov. 24, 2009:  Yet Another Reference to Early Baseball in Pelham.

Mon., Nov. 23, 2009:  Additional Brief Accounts of Baseball Played in Pelham in the 19th Century.

Fri., Nov. 20, 2009:  More Accounts of Early Baseball Played in Pelham.

Fri., Nov. 13, 2009:  1894 Account of Developments in Pelham Including a Reference to a Baseball Game Played that Year.

Thur., Nov. 12, 2009:  More Early References to Baseball Played in Pelham.

Wed., Sep. 30, 2009:   Score of June 1, 1887 Baseball Game Between the Country Club and The Knickerbocker Club.

Fri., Mar. 20, 2009:   Another Reference to 19th Century Baseball in Pelham.

Tue., Mar. 4, 2008:   Another Brief Reference to 19th Century Baseball in Pelham.

Mon., Nov. 26, 2007:  Box Score of a Baseball Game Played on Travers Island in Pelham Manor in July 1896.

Wed., Nov. 21, 2007:  Baseball on Travers Island During the Summer of 1897.

Fri., Jul. 20, 2007:  Account of Early Baseball in Pelham: Pelham vs. the New York Athletic Club on Travers Island in 1897.

Fri., Nov. 10, 2006: The Location of Another Early Baseball Field in Pelham.

Mon., Oct. 9, 2006:   Reminiscences of Val Miller Shed Light on Late 19th Century Baseball in Pelham and the Early Development of the Village of North Pelham.

Thu., Mar. 23, 2006:  Baseball Fields Opened on the Grounds of the Westchester Country Club in Pelham on April 4, 1884.  

Tue., Jan. 31, 2006:  Another Account of Baseball Played in Pelham in the 1880s Is Uncovered.  

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.  

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

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