Item #140945510 Female baseball team recorded in the hotel register at St. James Hotel, Springfield Ohio, September 1, 1879. Women's Sports.
Female baseball team recorded in the hotel register at St. James Hotel, Springfield Ohio, September 1, 1879

Female baseball team recorded in the hotel register at St. James Hotel, Springfield Ohio, September 1, 1879

Springfield, OH: [No Publisher], 1879.

A rare piece of ephemera documenting women's baseball in the 19th century. Bifolium inscribed on four sides, covering guests who stayed at the hotel in the first week of September, including the eight members of the Red Stockings of New York, and the same number of Blue Stockings of Philadelphia, identifying each by name and position: catcher, first base, pitcher, second base, right field, left field, and manager; with the note, "Female Base Ball Club, Game at 2:30 this P.M." large sheet boldly inscribed, naming New York players Misses M. Stacey, M. Addison, T. Sheldon, R. Howard, K. Moore, L. Gray, J. Arnold & K. Taylor; and Philadelphia players Misses E. Clifford, G. Lostbaum, J. Howard, A. Brooks, M. Pierce, B. Lewis, M. Harding, and H. Howard. Very Good, with some discoloration, boldly written and easily read. 17 1/2" x 11 1/4".

The following is taken from an article in the September 2, 1879 issue of the Springfield [Ohio] Republic Times:

"The party of abandoned creatures professing to give exhibitions as Female Base Ball players about the country came here yesterday (Monday,) and after being driven around town on show, proceeded to the base ball grounds on the Fair Grounds and played a few innings of a burlesque base ball game. There were only eleven of the players, so-called, and a difficulty arose in consequence as to making even sides. It was finally arranged by putting the biggest and smallest player on the same side, giving the odd one to the other. The score was 999 to 1,001 when the game closed on account of darkness. A couple of hundred reprobates, who would be ashamed to let their wives and grown-up children know where they were, crowded the home plate and foul ball lines, and a sprinkling of rising young candidates for penitentiary records gazed upon the game from the seats. There is nothing to be said of this part of the exhibition, excepting that it was more degrading than anything that has struck the town since the last 'living statuary' show. A beer stand did a good business near the diamond field, the 'boys' seeing to it that the players did not go thirsty."

Our reporter then goes on to explain a fight that began next, between the team business manager, Clark Frankhouse, his assistant, and a young Black man named Ben Hayes. A follow-up piece on the following day declares Hayes sustained only minor injuries. "The only real damage by the affair has been to the peace and dignity of the city of Springfield." (Copies of newspaper reports included with lot.)

Debra Shattuck, author of the book Bloomer Girls said in an interview:

"The earliest female professional baseball teams [including] the Female Blue Stockings of Philadelphia and Female Red Stockings of New York (1879)–were comprised of teenagers and young women drawn primarily from the ranks of circus and theatrical troupes. Few had experience playing baseball. They spoke of their uniforms as "costumes," mimicked mannerisms of male players ("kicking" at umpires, for example), and purposely incorporated humor into their games (forming bucket brigades to relay balls in from the outfield, skipping around the bases, etc.)."

. Item #140945510

Price: $7,500.00

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