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.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

More Early References to Baseball Played in Pelham

It is easy to romanticize our national pastime of baseball, particularly when imagining how it was played in its earliest days.  Although research has revealed that from the mid-1860's through the end of the 19th century, the Town of Pelham was a hotbed of baseball activity, recent research makes it increasingly clear that the games and the unruly crowds they attracted were viewed as a nuisance by many in Pelham.  Nevertheless, it remains clear that citizens of the Town embraced the national pastime with gusto.  There were baseball grounds at Pelham Bridge, Bartow, City Island, in today's Pelham Manor, on the western edge of the Heights, and in Pelhamville.  

Recently I wrote that by 1896, the crowds for Sunday baseball games had grown too large, too unruly and out of control.  The noise of the raucous crowds disturbed the tiny new village known as the Village of Pelham.  The entire population was fed up with Sunday baseball.  During the summer of 1896, the Citizens League of the Village of Pelham voted to take steps to stop Sunday baseball.  See Thu., Nov. 13, 2014:  Baseball Crowds in Pelham Got Out Of Hand in 1896.

Recent research has uncovered a brief news item published in 1884 that not only describes baseball games played by the City Island teams known as the Beldenites and the Muffers, but also describes another instance where local constables halted an effort to play a baseball game, this time on City Island, out of fear that fans would be drunken and unruly.  Indeed, the brief reference to the actions of the constables sheds interesting light on what such games could be like.

On Sunday, August 10, 1884, a sailing ship docked at City Island in the Town of Pelham.  It carried a base ball club from Yonkers with a band playing festive music.  As the team and its band disembarked in the hope of playing a game on the island, they were "promptly confronted" by three constables.  The constables made clear that it "would be unhealthy" for the team to attempt to play a game there.  The team "reembarked and sailed away."  According to a news account published a few days later, local bar owners were not particularly happy:  "Some of the gin dealers considered this action on the part of the constables an outrage, since they might have captured a few nickels, while the residents suffered from the noise and presence of drunken men."

The same news account noted that on Thursday, August 14, 1884, the Beldenites of City Island played a ballgame against the Clippers Base Ball Club of New Rochelle.  The Clippers roundly defeated the Beldenites 24 to 7.  

The news account also described a game halted by rain that was scheduled for later completion.  On Saturday, August 9, 1884, the Muffers traveled to Willet's Point and played a team from that place.  (The Muffers later disbanded with most players joining the Beldenites in a move that substantially strengthened the Beldenites.)  Before completion of the bottom half of the second inning, heavy rain halted the game.  The score stood Willet's Point 8, Muffers 6.  The game was scheduled for completion the following Saturday, August 16.  

Undated Photograph (Ca. 1896) of the Pelham A.C. Jr. Baseball Team.
Although Difficult to See in This Low Resolution Version of the Image,
There Are Many Children Whose Eyes Can Be Seen Peering, and
Whose Fingers Extend, Through the Cracks Between the Boards Behind the Team.

Below is the complete text of the news account referencing the various baseball events described above.  It is followed by a citation to its source.


--It is announced that there is to be an evening party given at Flynn's Pavilion, during the present month.

--The yacht Gracie is to be raffled at Mount Vernon during the present month.  There is to be one hundred chances at $2 each.

--The Clippers Base Ball Club, of New Rochelle, and the Beldenites of this place, played [a] game of ball here on Thursday, which resulted in favor of the Clippers by a score of 24 to 7.

--The Muffers visited Willet's Point on Saturday, and started a game of base ball with the picked nine of that place.  The game was interrupted by the heavy rain, after the Willet's Point nine had played two innings and the Muffers one.  The score stood Willet's Point 8, Muffers 6.  The game will be completed to-day.

--Astor's new steam yacht anchored a short time off here on Sunday.  Capt. 'Sam' Freestone made a flying visit to his home, after which the yacht proceeded to Newport.  All who saw this beautiful vessel were readily convinced that she is indeed the handsomest, as well as the largest steam yacht afloat.  People here naturally take a great pride in the vessel as she was designed by, and constructed under, the superintendence of Mr. Gustave Hillman, and is commanded by Capt. Sampson W. Freestone, both of this place.  

--A base ball club from Yonkers came to the Island with a band of music on Sunday last.  They were promptly confronted by three constables bold, and were convinced that it would be unhealthy to undertake a game of ball there.  They reembarked and sailed away.  Some of the gin dealers considered this action on the part of the constables an outrage, since they might have captured a few nickels, while the residents suffered from the noise and presence of drunken men.

--The excursion of the Merry Ten to Roton Point on Wednesday proved to be one of the most enjoyable occasions of the season.  The two barges and the steamboat were completely filled and the company was all that could be desired.  The music was good and the arrangement, for refreshment, were [sic] perfect.  As a pecuniary venture the club have no reason to regret the undertaking, and the people here will long remember the excursion and will be happy when they can go on another excursion under the same management."

Source:  PELHAM AND CITY ISLAND, New Rochelle Pioneer, Aug. 16, 1884, p. 3, col. 6.  

*          *           *          *          *

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

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.

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home