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New York and Philly Colored Clubs Hold Championship -- Philly Win Is Disputed

Salience Noteworthy
Tags African Americans
City/State/Country: Brooklyn, NY, United States
Game Base Ball
Immediacy of Report Contemporary
Age of Players Adult

From the New York Sunday Mercury, October 6, 1867:

 THE COLORED CHAMPIONSHIP – The contest for the championship of the colored clubs played on October 3, on Satellite grounds, Brooklyn, attracted the largest crowd of spectators seen in the grounds this season, half of whom were white people. The Philadelphians brought on a pretty rough crowd, one of them being arrested for insulting the reporters. They also refused to have a Brooklyn umpire, and insisted upon an incompetent fellow’s acting whose decisions led to disputes in every inning. The Excelsiors took the lead from the start, and in the sixth inning led by a score of 37 to 24. But in the seventh inning the Brooklyn party pulled up and were rapidly gaining ground, when the Philadelphians refused to play further on account of the darkness. A row then prevailed.

The following particulars, as far as the reporters could record the contest, the black members of the organization imitating their white brethren in betting and partisan rancor which resulted from it:

 EXCELSIOR [Philadelphia]: Price, 3b; Scott, c; Francis, 2b; Clark, p; Glasgow, 1b; Irons, cf; Hutchinson, lf; Brister, rf; Bracy, ss.

 UNIQUE [Brooklyn]: Morse, cf; Fairman, p; H. Mobley, c; Peterson, 1b; Anderson, 2b; Bowman, 3b; D. Mobley, ss; Farmer, lf; Bunce, rf.

Excelsior – 42 Unique – 37 (7 innings)

 Umpire: Mr. Patterson of the Bachelor Club of Albany

Scorers: Messrs. Jewell (Unique) and Auter (Ecelsiors)


In the same edition:


The baseball organization among the colored population of Brooklyn, are in a fever of excitement over the advent of the celebrated champion Excelsior Club of Philadelphia, which colored nine will visit Brooklyn on October 3 to play two grand matches with the Eastern and Western Districts, the games being announced to come off on the Satellite Grounds on October 3rd and 4th. These organizations are composed of very respectable colored people well-to-do in this world, and the several nines of the three clubs include many first-class players. The visitors will receive due attention from their colored brethren of Brooklyn: and we trust, for the good name of the fraternity, that none of the “white trash” who disgrace white clubs, by following and bawling for them will be allowed to mar the pleasure of their social colored gathering.


 Sunday Mercury, September 29, 1867: 


Arrangements  have been made between the Excelsiors, of Philadelphia, and two Brooklyn clubs, all colored, to play two games for the colored championship of the United States at Satellite grounds, on the 3rd and 4th of October. We are informed that the contending clubs play a first-class game, and from the novelty of such an event colored clubs playing on an inclosed (sic) ground will excite considerable interest and draw a large crowd.   


New York Clipper, October 19, 1867



The Excelsior Club of Philadelphia and the Unique Club of Brooklyn, composed of American citizens of African (de)scent, played a game at the Satellite Ground, Williamsburgh, on Thursday, October 3d. The affair was decidedly unique, and afforded considerable merriment to several hundred of the “white trash” of this city and Brooklyn. The game was a “Comedy of Errors” from beginning to end, and the decisions of the umpire – a gentlemanly looking light-colored party from the Batchelor Club of Albany – excelled anything ever witnessed on the ball field. Disputes between the players occurred every few minutes and the game finally ended in a row. At 5 ½ o’clock, while the Brooklyn club was at the bat, with every prospect of winning the game, the Excelsiors, profiting by the examples set them by their white brothers, declared that it was too “dark” to continue the game, and the umpire called it and awarded the ball to the Philadelphians. Confusion worse confounded reigned supreme for full an hour after this decision, and the prospect seemed pretty fair at one time for a riot, but the police, who were present in large force, kept matters pretty quiet, and the crowd finally dispersed…





New York Sunday Mercury, September 29, 1867 and October 6, 1867

New York Clipper, October 19, 1867

A shorter account appeared in New York Sunday Dispatch, October 6, 1867

See also Irv Goldberg, "Put on Your Coats, Put on Your Coats, Thas All!," in Inventing Baseball: the 100 Greatest Games of the 19th Century (SABR, 2013), pp. 38-59.


Was the October 4th game played between these African American clubs?

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Is this game properly thought of as a national championship?

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Submitted by Gregory Christiano
Submission Note Emails of 11/17/2013, 11/18/2013, and 11/28/2013


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