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Very Early Game in Illinois Involves Joliet, Lockport?

Salience Incomplete
Location Illinois
City/State/Country: Joliet, IL, United States
Immediacy of Report Retrospective
Age of Players Adult

"There were well established teams throughout the state of Illinois as early as those of Chicago, if not earlier.  The Lockport Telegraph of August 6, 1851, tells of a game between the Hunkidoris of Joliet and the Sleepers of Lockport [IL]."



Federal Writers' Project -- Illinois, Baseball in Old Chicago, (McClurg, 1939). page 1.  [From GBooks search for <"Joliet and the Sleepers">, 3/28/2013].


This entry appears to be in error caused by a mistake in binding local newspapers, and the cited Telegraph article may have appears as late as 1880.

From a 5/24/2013 email to Protoball from Bruce Allardice: 

I've found proof that the 1939 WPA report on an 1851 game between Lockport and Joliet is incorrect. Below is what I've added to the Lockport entry in protoball:

 "The book "19th Century Baseball in Chicago" (Rucker and Fryer) p. 13 asserts that the Lockport Telegraph of Aug. 6, 1851 reported on a game between the Hunkidoris of Joliet and the Sleepers of Lockport. The book credits a 1939 WPA report on early Chicago area baseball for this.

The authors are correct in what the 1939 report said. However, the 1939 report was incorrect. I talked to the librarian at the Lockport Public Library who told me that the 8-6-51 issue of the Telegraph was mistakenly bound with a newspaper from many years later, and that the Hunkidoris game article is from a newspaper 30 years later."

I also looked at a microfilm copy of the 8-6-51 issue of the Lockport newspaper, and found no mention of baseball.

Too bad, If it had been true, it would have been the first verified baseball game outside the New York area.

The librarian (now retired, and volunteering at the Will County Historical Society) is familiar with the issue, but can't remember what newspaper or date the Hunkidori game was mentioned in.


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Submitted by John Freyer
Submission Note 19CBB posting of 5/28/07 and email of 2/14/13


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