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1854.22 "Greatest Game of Base Ball Ever Played in this Country"
An Old Fashioned Base-Ball Club
The Stoneham 'One Hundred and Fifty' Held the Championship Forty Years Ago
"Forty years ago Stoneham was the greatest base ball town in New England and the Kearsarge Base Ball Club held the championship. In these days base ball playing has dwindled down to such an insignificant proportion that it only takes nine men on a side to play a game, but forty years ago this Spring the Kearsarge Club had no fewer than 150 players and a club that could get the best of them in a game of 'three-year-old-cat' [sic] had to be pretty spry. The club had a reunion at Maker's Hotel last evening, and after dinner talked baseball as it ought to be played now and as it was played in the days when the club was the leading social as well as the only athletic club in Stoneham in addition to being champion of New England. The reunion was attended by about fifty of the oldest players. Myron J. Ferris was the orator of the occasion, and he talked until the umpire called him out. During his address he recalled to the minds of those present the events of the greatest game ever played in this country. It was the game between the Kearsarge and Ashland clubs, and was played on the Boston Common forty years ago.
"The Kearsarge team won, and when the members got back to Stoneham that evening they were given about as much an ovation as were the soldiers when they returned from the war. Richard Park was the umpire of that memorable game and he was present last evening and told how he helped the team win. Then he told of the base ball league that which was formed after the war. This was a wonderful league then, but what would the baseball public think now if the Stoneham, and Peabody then South Danvers, and Saugus with a few other little towns should get up a base ball league. The league was prosperous and the players had a good time. Other speakers gave interesting accounts of baseball forty years ago."
Boston Evening Transcript, March 23, 1894, page 3.
Variant uses of "base ball" and "baseball" are as printed.
Can readers provide insight as to what game was played on Boston Common in 1854, whether there was a post Civil War league in this area, and otherwise help us interpret this account?