Page:America's National Game (1911).djvu/86

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A very interesting story of one of these matches is preserved in the files of Wilkes' Spirit of the Times. Writing for that old time popular sporting periodical, Captain Frank Pigeon, pitcher of the Eckfords, of Brooklyn, thus chronicles the first match game in which that organization participated, and which was played at the Old Red House grounds, September 27th, 1856, with the Unions, of Morrisania. It will be noted that up-to-date journalism had not "caught on" sixty years ago as it has to-day. The report of a game of Base Ball nearly a year and a half old would hardly be regarded as news in this century of the world's progress. Captain Pigeon wrote:

"A year ago last August a small number of young men of that part of the city known as 'The Island,' were accustomed to meet for the purpose of enjoying the game. Being shipwrights and mechanics, we could not make it convenient to practice more than once a week; and we labored under the impression that want of practice and our having so few players from whom to select a nine would make it almost impossible for us to win a match even if we engaged in one. However, we were willing to do the best we could if some club would give us an invitation to play. But, alas, no such invitation came, and we began to doubt seriously if we were worth taking notice of.

"Still, we had some merry times among ourselves; we would forget business and everything else on Tuesday afternoons, go out on the green fields, don our ball suits, and go at it with a rush. At such times we were boys again. Such sport as this brightens a man up, and improves him, both in mind and body. After longing for a match, yet so dreading (not a defeat—we were sure of that) a regular Waterloo, we finally, through sheer desperation, expressed a wish to play the winners in a match between the Baltic and Union Clubs of Morrisania.

"The Unions won, and signified their willingness to play us. Well, we had got what we wanted—a match; and then, what? Why, we would have to do the best we could. The day came at last, on which we were to meet the conquerors of the Baltic; and nine determined, but badly scared men, whistling to keep up their spirits, might have been seen wending their way to the Red House. It would be difficult to describe the sensations we felt that day—such an