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.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

More on the Storied History of 19th Century Baseball in Pelham

Yesterday, pitchers and catchers of the New York Mets were scheduled to report to the spring training facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida.  Today, pitchers and catchers of the New York Yankees are scheduled to report for training in Tampa, Florida at George M. Steinbrenner Field.  Consequently, in celebration of the opening of baseball spring training, it is time to add a little more information to the storied history of early baseball in the Town of Pelham.

Baseball has been played in Pelham since at least the months shortly after the Civil War ended and, likely, for a much longer time.  Perhaps the best -- and best known -- nineteenth century baseball team based in Pelham was the "Country Club Giants" team, a baseball team sponsored by the Country Club at Pelham once located along Shore Road in Pelham Bay Park and headquartered in the mansion known as "Oakshade" that stood not far from the carriage house of today's Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum.  

There were a number of nineteenth century baseball teams and "junior" baseball teams for younger players based on City Island in the Town of Pelham.  Teams also formed, however, in Pelham Manor and Pelhamville.  Moreover, once the so-called summer facility of the New York Athletic Club opened on Travers Island in 1888, the club's baseball team played many games in Pelham.  

During the mid- to late 1890s, the "Pelhamville Base Ball Grounds" (likely Brickner's Grounds) were extraordinarily popular.  Pelham teams played there not only against each other, but also against teams from other towns.  Moreover, teams from other towns traveled to Pelhamville to play each other at the facility even when no Pelham teams were involved in the matches.  

It is clear that during 1895, crowds began to grow as the season progressed.  Reports noted the "large number" of spectators at some games.  Admission was charged:  fifteen cents per person.  As I have written before, by the 1896 baseball season, 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.  

Today's posting to the Historic Pelham Blog adds a couple more brief references to baseball games played -- and scheduled to be played -- in Pelham during the 1895 baseball season.  Each reference is followed by a citation and link to its source.

19th Century Baseball Game Like Those Played in Pelham.
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-- A game of ball was played Sunday last on the Pelhamville Base Ball grounds between the Gorham B. B. C. and a club from Staten Island.  The game was a very exciting and interesting one throughout, and was witnessed by a large number of people.  The score at the finish stood six to two in favor of the Gorhams.

-- A game will be played to-morrow on the Pelhamville Base Ball grounds between the Gorhams and the Elmhursts, of Yonkers.  Game will be called at 3 p.m."

Source:  SPORTING NOTES, New Rochelle Pioneer, Jun. 15, 1895, Vol. XXXV, No. 12, p. 8, col. 3.  


-- A fine game of base ball will be played to-morrow on the Pelhamville Base Ball grounds, when the Staten Islanders, of New Brighton, and the Oak Hills of Mt. Vernon, will cross bats.  The game will be called at 3 p.m.  Admission to the grounds will be fifteen cents."

Source:  BASE BALL, New Rochelle Pioneer, Jun. 22, 1895, Vol. XXXV, No. 13, p. 8, col. 3.

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I have written more than forty articles regarding the history of baseball in Pelham and early baseball games played in the Town of Pelham.  Below is a listing, with links, of some of my previous postings on the topic of 19th century baseball in Pelham.

Tue., Dec. 15, 2015:  The 1894 Baseball Season in Pelham, New York.

Tue., Sep. 22, 2015:  Two Newly-Discovered 19th Century Accounts of Baseball Played in Pelham.

Thu., Jun. 18, 2015:  More Early References to 19th Century and Early 20th Century Baseball in Pelham.

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.

Friday, November 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.

Archive of the Historic Pelham Web Site.

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