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- 1 1773.3 Ball-Playing by Slaves Is Eyed in SC
- 2 1797.3 Fayetteville NC Bans Sunday Ballplaying by African-Americans
- 3 1797.5 In NC, Negroes Face 15 Lashes for Ballplaying
- 4 1802.3 New England Woman Sees Ballplaying in Virginia, Perhaps by "All Colors"
- 5 1805.6 In SC, Some Slaves Use Sundays for Ballplaying
- 6 1810s.5 Harvard Library Worker Recalls Occasional Bi-racial Ball Play in Harvard Yard
- 7 1820c.30 Early African American baseball
- 8 1831.1 A Ball Club Forms in Philadelphia; It Later Adopts Base Ball, and Lasts to 1887
- 9 1831.6 Ban in Richmond Threatens Fine, Whipping
- 10 1840s.32 Ballplaying by Slaves is Part of a Normal Plantation Sunday in GA
- 11 1850s.1 Accounts of Ballplaying by Slaves
- 12 1850s.37 Near Richmond VA, Games of Round Cat and Chermany
- 13 1850s.39 African-American Girl Sees Base Ball at Elysian Fields
- 14 1855.36 African American Clubs Play in NJ
- 15 1858.63 Another Early African American Club
- 16 1859.6 African-American Game is Played by "Henson Club" July 4 and/or November 15
- 17 1860c.4 Four Teams of African-Americans, All in the NYC Area, Are Reported
- 18 1860.61 Colored Union Club Beats Unknowns, 33-24, in Brooklyn
- 19 1862.102 First Inter-City AA Game?
- 20 1865.8 First Integrated (Adult) Club Takes the Field?
- 21 1866.2 Early African American Club in Philly Plays Initial Game Agains Albany Visitors
- 22 1867.1 New York and Philly Colored Clubs Hold Championship -- Philly Win Is Disputed
- 23 1867.2 Colored Clubs Play in Philly: Frederick Douglass Attends a Game
- 24 1867.14 NABBP Draws Color Line
- 25 1869.3 Inter-Racial Game in Philadelphia
- 26 1869.10 In Reconstruction SC, Riot Follows a Ball Game
- 27 1869.14 First Known Inter-racial Game of Base-Ball
- 28 1871.2 Battery Sought for African American Club in St. Louis
- 29 1874.1 Firsts recorded African-American club in Louisville
- 30 1875.1 Convention of "colored" clubs in New Orleans
- 31 1876.1 First recorded African-American game in Richmond
1773.3 Ball-Playing by Slaves Is Eyed in SC
"We present as a growing Evil, the frequent assembling of Negroes in the Town [Beaufort, SC] on Sundays, and playing games of Trap-ball and Fives, which is not taken proper notice of by Magistrates, Constables, and other Parish Officers."
Tom Altherr, Originals, Volume 2, Number 11 (November 2009), page 1. Tom sees this reference as "possibly the earliest which refers to African Americans, slaves or also possibly a few free blacks, playing a baseball-type game [although it is not clear if it involved any running], and playing frequently. Beaufort SC is about 40 miles NE of Savannah GA, near the coastline.
1797.5 In NC, Negroes Face 15 Lashes for Ballplaying
A punishment of 15 lashes was specified for "negroes, that shall make a noise or assemble in a riotous manner in any of the streets [of Fayetteville NC] on the Sabbath day; or that may be seen playing ball on that day."
North-Carolina Minerva (March 11, 1797), excerpted in G. Johnson, Ante-Bellum North Carolina: A Social History (Chapel Hill NC, 1937), page 551; as cited in Thomas L. Altherr, "Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," Base Ball, Volume 2, number 1 (Spring 2008), page 29.
1802.3 New England Woman Sees Ballplaying in Virginia, Perhaps by "All Colors"
[A (April 25, 1802)] "Saw great numbers of people of all ages, ranks, and colours, sporting away the day -- some playing ball, some riding the wooden horses . . . . , others drinking, smoaking, etc."
[B (May 9, 1802)] "the inhabitants employed as they usually are on Sundays, some taking the air in coaches, some playing at ball, at nine pins, marbles, and every kind of game, even horseracing."
Diarist Ruth Henshaw Bascom had moved from New England to the Norfolk area in 1801.
[A] A. G. Roeber, ed., A New England Woman's Perspective on Norfolk, Virginia, 1801-102: Excerpts from the Diary of Ruth Henshaw Bascom, (Worcester MA, American Antiquarian Society, 1979), pp. 308-309.
[B] A. G. Roeber, ed., A New England Woman's Perspective on Norfolk, Virginia, 1801-102: Excerpts from the Diary of Ruth Henshaw Bascom, (Worcester MA, American Antiquarian Society, 1979), pp. 311.
Tom Altherr comments that while Mrs. Bascom disdained such activities on Sundays, she had "left valuable evidence of the seemingly commonplace status ball play had in her day in the South. Moreover, despite the ambiguity of her [May 9] diary entry, African Americans may have been playing ball, perhaps even with whites."
1805.6 In SC, Some Slaves Use Sundays for Ballplaying
"The negroes when not hurried have this day [Sunday] for amusement & great numbers are seen about, some playing ball, some with things for sale & some dressed up going to meeting." -- Edward Hooker
Edward Hooker, Diaries, 1805-1830: MS 72876 and 72877, Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford CT; per Thomas L. Altherr, "Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," Base Ball, Volume 2, number 1 (Spring 2008), pages 29-30. Tom [ibid, page 29] describes Hooker as a recent Yale graduate who in 1805 was a newly-arrived tutor in Columbia, SC.
Tom Altherr says "this may be the first recorded evidence of slaves [see p29/30] playing ball.
How about the evidence in 1797.5?
1810s.5 Harvard Library Worker Recalls Occasional Bi-racial Ball Play in Harvard Yard
"During my employment at Cambridge [MA] the College yard continued without gates. The Stage passed through it; and though I was very attentive to the hour, I could not always avoid injury from the Stage horn. Blacks and Whites occasionally played together at ball in the College yard."
William Croswell, letter drafted to the Harvard Corporation, December 1827. Papers of William Croswell, Call number HUG 1306.5, Harvard University Archives.
Supplied by Kyle DeCicco-Carey, 8/8/2007.
Finder Kyle DeCicco-Carey notes that Croswell was an 1780 Harvard graduate who worked in the college library 1812-1821.
1820c.30 Early African American baseball
Excerpt of interview with "A Colored Resident. Henry Rosecranse Columbus, Jr."
"The bosses used to come and bet on the horses, and they had a great deal of fun. After the races they used to play ball for egg nog.”
Reporter—“Was it base ball as now played?”
Mr. Rosecranse—“Something like it, only the ball wasn’t near so hard, and we used to have much more fun playing.”
Kingston (NY) Daily Freeman, August 19, 1881, "A Colored Resident. Henry Rosecranse Columbus, Jr. Some Incidents in the Life of an Old Resident of Kingston."
1831.1 A Ball Club Forms in Philadelphia; It Later Adopts Base Ball, and Lasts to 1887
The Olympic Ball Club of Philadelphia unites with a group of ball players based in Camden, NJ
Orem writes: "An association of Town Ball players began playing at Camden, New Jersey on Market Street in the Spring of 1831."
Orem says, without citing a source, that "On the first day but four players appeared, so the game was "Cat Ball," called in some parts of New England at the time "Two Old Cat." Later accounts report that the club formed in 1833, although J. M. Ward  also dated the formation of the club to 1831.
Orem notes that "so great was the prejudice of the general public against the game at the time that the players were frequently censured by their friends for indulging in such a childish amusement."
* * *
In January 2017, Richard Hershberger reported (19CBB posting) that after more than five decades, the club disbanded in 1887 -- see Supplemental Text, below.
The Olympic Club played Town Ball until it switched to modern base ball in 1860. See Chronology entry 1860.64.
* * *
For a reconstruction of the rules of Philadelphia town ball, see Hershberger, below. Games were played under the term "town ball" in Cincinnati as well as Philadelphia and a number of southern locations (for an unedited map of 23 locations with references to town ball, conduct an Enhanced Search for <town ball>.
* * *
The club is credited with several firsts in American baserunning games:
 1833: first game played between two established clubs -- see Chronology entry 1833c.12.
 1837: first team to play in uniforms -- see Chronology entry 1837.14.
 1969: First interracial game -- See Chronology entry 1869.3.
* * *
[Orem, Preston D., Baseball (1845-1881) From the Newspaper Accounts(self-published, Altadena CA, 1961), page 4.]
Constitution of the Olympic Ball Club of Philadelphia [private printing, 1838]. Parts reprinted in Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908 [University of Nebraska Press, 1995], pp. 5-8.
Richard Hershberger, "A Reconstruction of Philadelphia Town Ball," Base Ball, Volume 1 number 2 (Fall 2007), pp. 28-43. Online as of 2017 at:
For a little more on the game of town ball, see http://protoball.org/Town_Ball.
The "firsts" tentatively listed above are for the US play of baserunning games other than cricket. Further analysis is needed to confirm or disconfirm its elements.
Protoball would welcome an analysis of the US history of town ball and its variants.
It seems plausible that town ball was being played years earlier in the Philadelphia. Newspaper accounts refer to cricket "and other ball games" being played locally as as early as 1822. See Chronology entry 1822.3.
Is it accurate to call this a "town ball" club? When was it formed? Dean Sullivan dates it to 1837, while J. M. Ward [Ward's Base Ball Book, page 18] sets 1831 as the date of formation. The constitution was revised in 1837, but the Olympic Club merged with the Camden Town ball Club in 1833, and that event is regarded as the formation date of the Olympics. The story of the Olympics is covered in "Sporting Gossip," by "the Critic" in an unidentified photocopy found at the Giamatti Research Center at the HOF. What appears to be a continuation of this article is also at the HOF. It is "Evolution of Baseball from 1833 Up to the Present Time," by Horace S. Fogel, and appeared in The Philadelphia Daily Evening Telegraph, March 22-23, 1908.
2 Are we certain that the "firsts" listed in this entry predate the initial appearance of the indicated innovations in American cricket?
1831.6 Ban in Richmond Threatens Fine, Whipping
"No person shall raise or fly a Kite, or play at Ball, Bandy, Quoits, or throw stones . . . on any Lane, Street, or Alley or Highway within the City . . . .
-- Richmond VA Ordinance, 1831
"Fines were $3 per offense and 15-20 stripes of whipping for any slave convicted."
Ordinances of the Corporation of the City of Richmond, and the Acts of Assembly Relating Thereto, (Richmond Virginia, 1831), page 116. Per Thomas L. Altherr, "Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," Base Ball, Volume 2, number 1 (Spring 2008), page 37-38.
1840s.32 Ballplaying by Slaves is Part of a Normal Plantation Sunday in GA
"The slaves had finished the tasks that had been assigned to them in the morning and were now enjoying holiday recreations. Some were trundling the hoop, some were playing ball, some were dancing at the sound of the fiddle . . . In this manner the Sabbath is usually spent on a Southern plantation." Emily Burke, Pleasure and Pain: Reminiscences of Georgia in the 1840s (Beehive Press, Savannah, GA, 1991), pages 40-41. Originally published in Ohio in 1850. Text unavailable 11/08 on Google Books.
-- Emily Burke, northerner schoolteacher
Per Thomas L. Altherr, "Chucking the Old Apple: Recent Discoveries of Pre-1840 North American Ball Games," Base Ball, Volume 2, number 1 (Spring 2008), page 30.
1850s.1 Accounts of Ballplaying by Slaves
Wiggins, Kenneth, "Sport and Popular Pastimes in the Plantation Community: The Slave Experience," Thesis, University of Maryland, 1979. Per Millen, notes #26-29.
Note: the dates and circumstances and locations of these cases are unclear in Millen. One refers to plugging.
Can we find out details on the content of the Wiggins monograph>?
1850s.37 Near Richmond VA, Games of Round Cat and Chermany
"There was a big field near his old home where he and the other boys, black and white, had played "round cat" and "chermany" in the summers before the war and had set their rabbit-traps in seasons of frost and snow."
Armistead C. Gordon, "His Father's Flag," Scribner's Magazine Volume 62 (1917), page 443. This fictional story of the son of a Confederate soldier killed during the Civil War is set near Dragon Swamp. (There are two VA places called Dismal Swamp; one is about 85 miles SE of Richmond. The other is about 50 miles E of Richmond.)
The two games named are known as ballgames played in the south. Accessed 2/10/10 via Google Books search (scribners "volume lxii").
1850s.39 African-American Girl Sees Base Ball at Elysian Fields
"Along with chores and family time at home, there were excursions farther afield. Maritcha [Lyons] recalled day trips across the Hudson to the Elysian Fields in Hoboken, where people took in baseball games, had picnics, and revelled in other fresh-air activities."
Tonya Bolden, Maritcha: A Nineteenth Century American Girl (Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2005), page 12.
Maritcha Lyons was born in New York City in 1848.
1855.36 African American Clubs Play in NJ
"BASE BALL -- A match game of Base Ball was played between the St. John's and Union Clubs (colored) yesterday afternoon. Two innings were played when it commenced to rain. The St. John's Club made ten runs and the Union Club only two. The game is to be played again on Friday at 2 o'clock, on the grounds of the St. John's Club, foot of Chestnut Street."
Newark Daily Mercury, October 24, 1855.
Is this the first known report of African American club play of the New York game?
See Supplemental Text, below, for John Zinn's view on this question.
1858.63 Another Early African American Club
BASE BALL MATCH -- The darkies of this village and Flushing determined not to be outdone by their white brethren, have recently organized a Club under the name of the "Henson Base Ball Club" of Jamaica, and the "Hunter Base Ball Club" of Flushing. The first match between these two Clubs was played on Saturday last in Flushing and resulted in the defeat of the Henson Club by 15 runs.
The return match will be played in this village on Saturday next, January 1st.
Jamaica, New York "Long Island Farmer", Dec. 28, 1858
from Richard H: Antebellum African American clubs are not my strength, but I believe that the Henson club was known, while the Hunter was not, at least to me.
1859.6 African-American Game is Played by "Henson Club" July 4 and/or November 15
[A] Report of July 4 game between Henson and Unknown Clubs
[B] "November 15, 1859 - The first recorded game between two black teams occurred between the Unknowns of Weeksville and the Henson Club of Jamaica (Queens) in Brooklyn, NY."
[A] New York Anglo-African, July 30, 1859. Per Dean Sullivan, pages 34-36.
[B] Email from Larry Lester; taken from his chronology of African American baseball, 8/17/2007.
Chris Hauser, in an email on 9/26/2007, estimates that this notice appeared in the New York Anglo-African, and was referenced in Leslie Heaphy's Negro League Baseball.
Note: Can we get text from the sourced citation [A] , and a source for the text citation [B] ? Was this one game or two? How can we find out more about the "Henson club" and the Unknowns?
1860c.4 Four Teams of African-Americans, All in the NYC Area, Are Reported
[A] “The earliest known account of a ball game involving African Americans appeared in the New York Anglo-African on July 30, 1859. In this Fourth of July contest, ‘the venerable Joshua R. Giddings made the highest score, never missing the ball when it came to him.’ Giddings was a sixty-four-year-old white Republican Congressman known for his passionate opposition to slavery.”
[B] "We, the members of the Colored Union Base Ball Club, return our sincere thanks to you for publishing the score of the game we played with the Unknown, of Weeksville on the 28th ult. [September 28, 1860]). We go under the name the "Colored Union," for, if we mistake not, there is a white club called the Union in Williamsburg at the present time." The letter goes on to report a game against the Unknown Club on October 5, 1860. The Colored Union club eventually won with 6 runs in the ninth.
[A] Dean A. Sullivan, Compiler and Editor, Early Innings: A Documentary History of Baseball, 1825-1908 [University of Nebraska Press, 1995], pp. 34-35
[B] New York Sunday Mercury, October 14, 1860, col. 5-6. Cited in Dixon, Phil, and Patrick J. Hannigan, The Negro Baseball Leagues: A Photographic History [Amereon House, 1992], pp. 31-2
The four were the Unknown (Weeksville), Monitor (Brooklyn), Henson (Jamaica), and Union (Brooklyn). Weeksville was a town founded by freedmen. Its population in the 1850s was about 500.
For a sample of a contemporary humorous treatment, see the account of the 1862 game between the Unknown and Monitor Clubs in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Oct. 17, 1862.
1860.61 Colored Union Club Beats Unknowns, 33-24, in Brooklyn
"We, the members of the Colored Union Base Ball Club, return our sincere thanks to you for publishing the score of the game we played with the Unknown, of Weeksville on the 28th ult. [September 28, 1860]).
"We go under the name the "Colored Union," for, if we mistake not, there is a white club called the Union in Williamsburg at the present time."
The letter goes on to report a game against the Unknown Club on October 5, 1860. The Colored Union club eventually won with 6 runs in the ninth.
New York Sunday Mercury, October 14, 1860, col. 5-6.
Weeksville was a town founded by freedmen. Its population in the 1850s was about 500.
How does this game relate to entry 1860.9 above?
1862.102 First Inter-City AA Game?
The following appeared in the Newark Daily Advertiser on September 30, 1862:
"Considerable excitement was created among the "colored" boys of this city yesterday by a base ball match between the Hamilton Club of this city and the Henson Club of Jamaica, Long Island, both composed of the descendants of Ham. The match was played on the grounds on Railroad Avenue, [near today's Penn. Station], in the presence of a goodly number of the "gentler sex," and resulted in favor of the Hensons."
Curious if anyone knows of intercity games between black clubs prior to September 1862 and any thoughts on what claim this game might have as an earliest known. [John Zinn]
Newark Daily Advertiser on September 30, 1862
Curious if anyone knows of intercity games between black clubs prior to September 1862 and any thoughts on what claim this game might have as an earliest known. [John Zinn]
1865.8 First Integrated (Adult) Club Takes the Field?
Luther B. Askin of Florence, MA (a hamlet of fewer than 1500 souls lying about 2 miles W of Northampton and about 90 miles W of Boston) is thought to be the first adult of African lineage to play on an integrated team in a standard match game. The first baseman is listed in box-scores of the first 13 matches played by the Florence Eagles Club in 1865.
Brian Turner, "America's Earliest Integrated Team?" National Pastime,Number 22 (2002), pages 81-90.
Brian Turner (email to Protoball, 2/1/2014), has supplementary data on early integrated play, and he reports that the 1865 game evidently remains the earliest known case of integrated adult play in a standard game.
Florence is recalled as one of the centers of Anti-Slavery activism in those times. The next earliest known instance of integration occurred in 1869 in Oberlin, OH, also a center of Anti-Slavery activism (see Ryczek, When Johnny Came Sliding Home, 1998, page 102). Further instances of early integration might be found in communities that held similar views.
Brian notes in 2014 that juvenile clubs were apparently less unlikely to engage in integrated play, even prior to the Civil War. The son of Frederick Douglass, for instance, is known to have played on a white junior club in Rochester NY in 1859. Luther Askin also played on such juvenile teams prior to the Civil War.
Have any earlier instances of integrated adult clubs arisen in recent years?
1866.2 Early African American Club in Philly Plays Initial Game Agains Albany Visitors
"On October 3, 1866, at the Wharton Street grounds, the Pythians played and lost a match against the Bachelor Club of Albany, 70-15. This game is the only known regular match for he Pythian in their inaugural year."
"In spite of their enthusiasm for playing ball, the Pythian initially had trouble competing out of their neighborhood. Apparently, there was a turf boundary, and the Irish tried to keep the blacks of the inner-city wards from venturing south of Bainbridge Street . . . the 'dead line,' and any movement beyond 'meant contention.'"
For this game, however, a large crowd accompanied the club to the playing ground, and the game proceeded.
Jerrold Casway, "Philadelphia's Pythians: The "Colored" Team of 1866-1871," National Pastime (SABR, 1995), page 121. Jerry's source is the Sunday Dispatch, October 7, 1866.
1867.1 New York and Philly Colored Clubs Hold Championship -- Philly Win Is Disputed
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:
A GRAND DISPLAY BY THE COLORED CLUBS
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:
CONTEST BETWEEN COLORED CLUBS
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
EXCELSIOR VS. UNIQUE
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?
Is this game properly thought of as a national championship?
1867.2 Colored Clubs Play in Philly: Frederick Douglass Attends a Game
[A] "FRED. DOUGLAS [sic] SEES A COLORED GAME. – The announcement that the Pythian, of Philadelphia, would play the Alert, of Washington, D.C. (both colored organizations) on the 16th inst., attracted quite a concourse of spectators to the grounds of the Athletic, Seventeenth street and Columbus avenue, Philadelphia.
"The game progressed finely until the beginning of the fifth innings, when a heavy shower of rain set in, compelling the umpire, Mr. E. H. Hayhurst, of the Athletic, to call [the] game. The score stood at the end of the fourth innings: Alert 21; Pythian, 18. The batting and fielding of both clubs were very good. Mr. Frederick Douglas was present and viewed the game from the reporters’ stand. His son is a member of the Alert."
Note: From two weeks later:
[B] "COLORED BALL PLAYERS. At Philadelphia, on the 19th inst., the Pythians, of that city, played a match game with the Mutuals of Washington, with the following results: Pythians – 43; Mutuals – 44
Pythian: Cannon, p; Catto, 2b; Graham, lf; Hauley, c; Cavens, 1b; Burr, rf; Adkins, 3b; Morris, cf; Sparrow, ss.
Mutual: H. Smith, p; Brown, c; Harris, 1b; Parks, 2b; Crow, lf; Fisher, cf; Burley, 3b; A. Smith, rf; Whiggs, ss.
[A] New York Clipper, July 13, 1867.
[B] New York Clipper, July 27, 1867.
For more on one early African American club, the Pythian Club, see J. Casway, "Philadelphia's Pythians; The "Colored" Team of 1866-1871," National Pastime, (SABR, 1995), pp. 120-123.
1867.14 NABBP Draws Color Line
"...the report of the Nominating Committee, through the acting chairman, Mr. James W. Davis, was presented, the feature of it being the recommendation to exclude colored clubs from representation in the Association, the object being to keep out of the Convention the discussion of any subject having a political bearing, as this undoubtedly had.
The Ball Players’ Chronicle December 19, 1867
1869.3 Inter-Racial Game in Philadelphia
The game between the Olympic and Pythian Clubs of Philadelphia on Sep. 3, 1869, has been cited in 2013 is the first known inter-racial game.
Jerrold Casway, "Inter-racial Baseball-- the Pythians vs. the Olympics", in Inventing Baseball: The 100 Greatest Games of the 19th Century (SABR, 2013), pp. 68-70.
In March 2019 we learned of an earlier inter-racial game game in Ohio: see 1869.14.
These may be the first inter-racial games involving African-Americans. But there was an inter-racial game involving a Polynesian team in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1867. See 1867.17, see Honolulu in Pre-pro baseball, and see the Our Game blog article.
1869.10 In Reconstruction SC, Riot Follows a Ball Game
In July 1869, a party of over 100 people, including a base ball club and a colored brass band, traveled south from Savannah to Charleston SC to play the Carolina Base Ball Club.
Savannah triumphed, 35-17, before a large, mixed-race crowd, which spilled onto the playing field after the game and before a throwing contest was to be held. Police and bayonet-wielding troops were summoned; a melee ensued, and in the process the Savannah band kept playing "Dixie."
Three weeks later, the Savannah Club returned. It won again, 57-36. And again there was violence, but it was limited this time.
Richard Hershberger, The Baseball Riot of 1869, Ordinary Times, February 4 2016. See http://ordinary-gentlemen.com/2016/02/04/the-baseball-race-riot-of-1869/. Richard's own sources are listed at the end of his article.
Richard contemplates whether to call this a base ball riot. "There clearly is an argument that baseball is incidental to the riot." The story shows where sports history and cultural history overlap.
For more on the Savannah club, see http://protoball.org/Savannah_Base_Ball_Club.
1869.14 First Known Inter-racial Game of Base-Ball
"A very interesting game of base-ball was played on the Newtown Grounds on Saturday afternoon, August 7, between the Black Hawks (colored), of Africa, and the Alerts (white) of Plainville. . . . "
The account included a box score showing the Black Hawks as winners, 47-43.
Cincinnati Enquirer, August 11, 1869.
Newtown OH (1880 pop. about 400) is about 10 miles east of Cincinnati, and is across the Little Miami River from Plainville OH.
Previously the September 3, 1869 Pythians-Olympic match in Philadelphia was seen as the first game between a white and non-white club. See 1869.3
1871.2 Battery Sought for African American Club in St. Louis
"To Colored Professionals -- A good catcher and good left hand pitcher are wanted for the Brown Stockings, of St. Louis. A good salary will be given for the season. Address Douglass (sic) Smith, 109 North Street, St. Louis."
New York Clipper, April 8, 1871.
1874.1 Firsts recorded African-American club in Louisville
The Louisville Courier Journal, Sept. 16, 1874 has the first record of an African-American team in Louisville, the Globe.
The Louisville Courier Journal, Sept. 16, 1874
1875.1 Convention of "colored" clubs in New Orleans
The New Orleans Times, Aug. 8, 1875 reports that the Athletic BBC of that city calls of a convention of the "colored" cubs of that city to form a colored club association.
Prof. John Blassingame writes that there were 13 "colored" clubs in New Orleans in 1875.
The New Orleans Times, Aug. 8, 1875
1876.1 First recorded African-American game in Richmond
The first recorded game of "colored" clubs in Richmond is in the Richmond Daily Dispatch, July 22, 1876, with the Lone Star defeating the Reindeer 46-5.
Richmond Daily Dispatch, July 22, 1876