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Sports in Madison County



As early as 1858 Alton and Upper Alton had baseball teams. The competed against each other on the "Alton Club Ground," located in Middle Alton (this was also called "State House Square," where Alton had set aside land in 1833 in the failed prospect of becoming the State capital. Much later in modern times, a circle with a fountain was created. This circle is located in Middle Alton, at the intersection of Central and College Avenue, near St. Anthony's Hospital).


In 1884, the idea of building a baseball park was put forth, and by 1886 the original Sportsman Park was built (which included fencing and a grandstand). The park was located on the south side of Broadway, near the Illinois Glass Works, in what was called "The East End". Many baseball and football games were held at the Sportsman Park between Alton, East Alton, Upper Alton, Fosterburg, Western Military Academy, St. Louis and more. By May of 1906, Sportsman Park land was sold to the Illinois Glass Works, where the new owners erected a large warehouse.

By 1911, a new Sportsman Park was constructed on the north side of Broadway, where the Alton Plaza Shopping Center would later stand. This park continued with many ballgames and other events. I'm not sure of the closing date of this new Sportsman's Park, but in 1946 a garment factory and Presley Groves' tented roller skating rink existed on this site. In 1957 the Alton Plaza was constructed there.


Photo of original Alton Sportsman's Park (shown in the left hand corner), built in 1886 near the Illinois Glass Works (shown to right right) :










Source: Alton Weekly Courier, June 24, 1858

Some time since we noticed the organization in our city [Alton] of a baseball club. Since then, the Club has played from one to three games every week, the regular games being played on Friday afternoons, and the members have become very expert. Last week they accepted a challenge to play a match game with the Upper Alton Club. The game was played on Saturday afternoon, by twelve picked men from each Club, upon the Alton Club ground in Middle Alton, the latter winning in five innings, by one hundred and thirty-four rounds. The game stood at the close:  Alton Club, 224 rounds; Upper Alton Club, 90 rounds. We are told, however, that the Upper Alton boys played at a disadvantage, being on strange ground, and three of their best players being sick. It is admitted by some of the members of the winning Club, that had the advantages been equal, the contest would have been a close one, and the result perhaps entirely different. We presume it will be tried again.




Source: Alton Telegraph, September 7, 1866

At the match game of baseball played at Litchfield, August 30, 1866, between the "Prairie" of Litchfield and the "Active" of Alton, the following was the score:




Forrester, pitcher 0 Outs, 11 Runs Baldwin, catcher 6 outs, 2 runs
Finch, 3rd baseman 2 outs, 9 runs Perrin, 1st baseman 2 outs, 5 runs
McWilliams, catcher 8 outs, 7 runs Sloman, centerfield 3 outs, 5 runs
Tuttle, leftfielder 3 outs, 6 runs Morrison, 2nd baseman 2 outs, 5 runs
McAllister, rightfielder 5 outs, 5 runs Kellenberger, 3rd baseman 3 outs, 3 runs
Zink, centerfield 2 outs, 7 runs Dobelbower, rightfielder 4 outs, 4 runs
Ayers, 2nd baseman 3 outs, 8 runs Clement, pitcher 4 outs, 4 runs
White, shortstop 4 outs, 6 runs Smith, shortstop 1 out, 5 runs
Hood, 1st baseman 5 outs, 5 runs Schweppe, leftfielder 3 outs, 3 runs





Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, April 8, 1884

The question of arranging grounds for a baseball park below the city near the Glass Works is again being agitated. We learn that there are many persons who would contribute liberally for such a purpose should they receive assurance that the project would be pushed to completion. As this city has numbers of skilled baseball players "lying around loose," so to speak, and as this point is the centre of aesthetic culture in that line, there is nothing to prevent the success of a determined effort to make a park for the purpose mentioned, and it is hoped that an association will be organized to push the matter. Strictly athletic sports at proper times and seasons should be encouraged and commended, as they tend to the physical improvement of those who take part in them.




Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, May 31, 1886

The Anchors of St. Louis arrived in town this morning and played Beall Bros.' newly uniformed nine at Sportsman's Park this afternoon.




Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, August 6, 1886

The looked-for event, the game of baseball between a Hunterstown club and the Gossrau nine came off yesterday at Sportsman's Park and was well contested in the presence of a large number of spectators. The Musicians took their instruments and rendered some quick steps to enliven the occasion. The nines were arranged as follows:

Musicians:  Louis Yager, Catcher; Winter, first base; Mold, second base; Hoppe, third base; Levi Yager, pitcher; Ernst, right field; Wutzler, left field; Meyer, shortstop; Tensor, centerfield;

Hunterstown: William Weber, catcher; Craigen, first base; A. Kramer, second base; Seibert, third base; Fecht, pitcher; Synar, right field; Paul, left field; Hartmann, short stop; J. Weber, centerfield. 

The game was called at 3:45, the Musicians at the bat. They made 4 runs on this inning and then retired. Their opponents made no score on their first inning, and the Musicians again took the bat and made one run. In the second inning of the Hunterstown club, Fries was called to the box, took pity on the Hunterstowners and "assisted" them to make 9 or 10 runs. Tonsor catcher.  When the Musicians went to the bat the third time in order to equalize matters. Synar pitched for a short time and the harmonious nine made 3 runs. A shower of rain came up before the game closed, and an adjournment took place with a score of 11 or 12 to 13. The scorer made it 12 to 13, the Hunterstown nine having been "assisted" too much in the second inning. There was good play on both sides. The opponents of the Musicians showed themselves adepts, the most of them, at ball playing, their regular battery being excellent. The Harmonious Nine surprised the spectators by their performance on the diamond field, the battery, Levi and Louis Yager, playing like professionals. The Hunterstown club were in uniform: red caps, red stockings, purple and white striped knee breeches. The other club were in sober brown and black, except Vonder Mold, who sported a stunningly variegated cap on a lawn mowed head.



Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, May 16, 1893
The Weem's Laundry Base Ball Club was organized last evening, and the St. Louis Browns will now have all they can do to hold their prestige. Following are the names of the players: Fred Fox, c.; Johnnie Horn, p.; Dick McGrath, 1st b.; Lee Brenner, 2d b.; Will Coyne, 3d b.; Jim Goudie, s.s.; Will Culp, 1. f.; Mike Dwyer, r. f.; Mike Monaghan, c. f.. The Weem's Laundry folks will furnish uniforms for the club.




Source: Edwardsville Intelligencer, October 22, 1895

The baseball championship of Madison county, which the papers of Alton so enthusiastically claimed for the Altons, has taken a rapid shoot toward Edwardsville. The famous clubs met for the first games of the last series Sunday, and the Altons sustained two overwhelming defeats. At no time in either game did the visitors exhibit evidence of their ability to win. They did fairly good fielding in the first game, but were unable to hit. They hit well in the second because Wheeler was in for the second time, and there was no necessity for him to throw his arm off, but they went to pieces in the field and fell easy victims to our hard hitters. The first game was called at 10:20, and owing to the chilly weather was not very largely attended. For the Madisons, Will Wheeler was in the box. In the absence of Schulze, the regular catcher who is a mail carrier in St. Louis, and had to take an examination Sunday, Will Kane of Collinsville played the position, and did as well as the old veteran. The battery work was splendid. Only four hits were made off Wheeler and he struck out five men and gave only three bases on balls. Kane caught without a passed ball and threw four men out at second. Nichols, at short, played a steady game, and the old members of the team played good ball as usual. For the Altons, Nagle and Bund did the battery work. Nagle pitched a much better game than did Phenom Smith in the afternoon. Servis played in the field for the visitors, otherwise the team was as it has been playing. The Madisons scored two in the first inning. After Hackett went out, Wheeler was given a base and Winklemeier lifted the ball over the right field fence, both scoring; Alton scored one on two errors, and tied the score in the third by getting two bases on balls and one hit. In the fourth, the Madisons added another on an error and two bases on balls, and in the fifth made six by hard hitting, assisted by two errors and two bases on balls. This completed the run-getting, and with the score 9 to 3 at the end of the seventh inning the game was called to give the men time to get dinner. The second game was called at 2:30 o'clock. The afternoon attendance was only fair. Winklemeier was put in the box for the Madisons, but he retired after the second inning, although the visitors had made only one hit off him. His arm was not in condition. Wheeler succeeded him, and Winklemeier went to right, taking S. Henry's position. The other members of the team played in the same positions as in the morning. Wheeler started in to pitch good ball, but the two games were too much for him and the visitors found him quite freely in the latter part of the game. However, there was no occasion for him to strain himself. Smith, the man who the Belleville Clerks considered a phenomenon, started in to pitch for the visitors, but as on one occasion before, he was knocked out of the box in the seventh inning. He was hit safely twelve times in six and one-half innings, including three long drives for three bases. Granville finished the game and he was touched up for two singles and a double. Runs were made so fast in both games that the playing became uninteresting.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 10, 1899

William Wilson, manager of the Alton baseball club, was here yesterday making the necessary arrangements for the appearance of his team, April 30, the opening date. The club will be named the Alton Blues. The team is to equal any club ever in this city, and they will undoubtedly be liberally patronized.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 24, 1899

Manager Charles Wilson of the Alton Blues was in Alton Sunday and stated that the new Alton team is now organized and ready for the opening game at Sportsman's Park, to be played next Sunday. The St. Louis Athletics, who will play the Alton's next Sunday, is one of the very best of amateur teams in St. Louis. When these two strong teams meet, there will be an interesting game, and with a fine day there will be a large crowd in attendance. The coming of the new team has set all the local fans to talking, and great interest has been created. The team has suffered some changes by some of its good players entering other teams, but their places have been filled by some of the best men obtainable, and there is no doubt that the team is a strong one. The players are: Charles Gass, catcher; Thomas Gillon, pitcher; Frank Meeks, first base; Thomas Morrison, second base; Will MOrrison, third base; Paul McSweeney, shortstop; James Zoellers, left field; Al Hiob, center; Will Kieth, right field. An Alton player, Will Kuhn, will be extra man to play in emergencies.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 27, 1899

Smith's Academy baseball team of St. Louis will play the Western Military Academy team at Sportsman's Park Saturday afternoon. The St. Louis Browns broke their winning streak yesterday by dropping a game to the "Orphans" of Chicago, the score being 7 to 6. The St. Louis team apparently had an easy victory up to the last inning, when Wilson, who was on the rubber, broke down and gave a base on balls and four hits to the "Orphans." The new St. Louis club has a record of seven games won and one lost, and stands at the head of league teams. At Sportsman's Park, there will be a big crowd to witness the opening game between the Alton Blues and the St. Louis Athletics. With a first-class team in Alton and a pennant winning team in St. Louis, baseball interest is supplanting every other amusement in this section of the country.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 1, 1899

The Alton Blues lost their first game Sunday, but in such a defeat there was no disgrace, and in such a victory there was great glory. The score was 5 to 4 in the ninth inning, and McSweeney died on third base, preventing a tie. Up to the sixth inning the game was as pretty a game as has been seen in Alton in all time. The grandstand and bleachers were filled with an enthusiastic crowd of revelers. During the first part of the game the weather was threatening and a high wind prevailing, but the game went right along and then it was when the boys did their best work. About the sixth inning the pitcher of the Blues partially went to pieces, and some of the boys became slightly rattled. McSweeney, the old Alton favorite, was there as shortstop, and he was just the same old McSweeney. In the sixth inning three of the Blued died on base after three runs had been made. Then the Athletics turn came, and they made four runs in the same inning. Gillon was replaced by McSweeney after this, and the Athletics couldn't hit the ball. Each team made one run before the ninth inning and at the close of the first half of the ninth, the score was 5 to 4.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 6, 1899

The Alton Blues have been strengthened for the game with the Columbias tomorrow, by the addition of two new men, Wryoski and Popps, both pitchers. The weak spot in the team last week was the pitcher, and the weak spot has been braced up. The game with the Columbias will come off at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Sportsman's Park.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 8, 1899

The St. Louis Columbias came to Alton Sunday to try to do with the Alton Blues what the Athletics did last Sunday. They returned home Sunday night without doing anything, except making three runs, while the Blues made 13. From the start the game belonged to the Blues. Doble was easy for the Blues, and in the first inning five runs were scored by the home team. The Columbias' errors made their defeat worse than it should have been. They made one error after another, and freely let the Blues' men on base tally up runs. Frank Wryoski of Cape Girardeau spent Sunday for the first time with the Altons. He is a new acquisition, and a valuable one too. He is said to have a delivery like a shot, but his pitching yesterday was not so fierce as it would have been had there been a necessity for it. It was the opening game of the season for the young pitcher, and he save his arm. Gass, the catcher, is a hot favorite. He plays a good game at all times. His batting is something terrific and about equally divided honors with Zoellers, who had little difficulty in finding the sphere and putting it where he wanted it. There was over a thousand in attendance at the game, and the manager of the team is very well satisfied. The game next Sunday will be with the new Belleville Clerks, a team organized to take the place of the old Clerks, who are now the Altons.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 22, 1899

The Alton Blues won a great game from the Consumers of St. Louis Sunday. It was the prettiest, snappiest and quickest game of the season at the park, and was played in just 90 minutes, one of the shortest amateur games on record. The diamond was in bad shape, but that did not affect the game to its disadvantage. There were fewer errors in the game than have been known at any game this year at Sportsman's Park, and all the players seemed to do their very best. The score was 10 to 4.  O'Connell, the new acquisition of Manager Wilson, is a star pitcher. He held the Consumers down to only a few hits and made himself a hot favorite at his first appearance in Alton. Gass covered himself with glory too, both offensive and defensive. He made two three-base hits and some good single-baggers. He was at his best behind the bat and was almost perfect. Meeks played a fine game at first base and has a star record as a first baseman. Johnson, of the Consumers, pitched a good ball, but the Blues had little difficulty in solving his twists and batted him unmercifully for a while. The umpire was John Hunt, an old baseball man who has been engaged for the season. The game next Sunday will be with the Athletics of St. Louis, and the following Sunday the St. Charles Browns will play here.




Heavyweights play against "skinnies," and umpire carries a big revolver to back up his decision!

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 28, 1899

The game between the Fats baseball club and the Leans was played at Sportsman Park this afternoon. When the game was proposed by the Fats, most people thought the heavy weights were bluffing, but they meant business, and the game was the real thing. Fun for the crowd and for the players was the main object, and the Woman's Home treasury benefit was a secondary matter. The fun at the game was fast and furious. It began at the Fats' headquarters in Ben Few's hotel at 1 o'clock, when the big fellows began to drop in there to dress for the afternoon. The fats wore blue overalls, white shirts, yellow caps, and red and green striped stockings. The weights of the Fats as they stood ready to play the game was said to be 2,275 pounds for the nine, not counting in the weights of the substitutes. Ben Few, the one-armed pitcher of the Fats, weighed 266 pounds, and Frank Leyser, the seventeen years old first baseman, tipped the scales at 307 pounds. George Few, the catcher, brother of Ben, weighted 227 pounds; John Elenbaugh, second base, 222 pounds; Ed Scheffel, third base, 212 pounds; George Dickson, shortstop, 223 pounds; Mayor Young, centerfield, 211 pounds; John H. Boals, left field, 219 pounds; J. M. Giberson, right field, 266 pounds.  A. L. Daniels, the umpire for the Fats, had 229 pounds to back up his decision and a big revolver he wore in his belt. W. D. Barnard, the Upper Alton druggist, was captain of the Fats and registers 262 pounds avoirdupois [body weight]. Each of the Fats carried a little paper umbrella to keep off the sun's heat.


The lineup of the Leans was: R. W. Stanton, captain; Thomas Goudie, catcher; Rev. H. M. Chittenden, pitcher; LeRue Boals, first base; F. L. Stanton, second base; Raymond Hatfield, third base; Dr. G. A McMillen, shortstop; R. D. Patton, left field; Ira Garstang, right field; T. H. Kauffman, centerfield.  The Leans wore the natty blue-gray suits of the Alton Blues that were made without regard to fitting the long frame of the Stantons and Ira Garstang.


The Fats rode to the park in a big wagon drawn by four horses, while the Leans crowded into a wagonette. The Juvenile band headed the procession. The Fats carried a banner that read on one side, "Watch Us Skin the Skinnies," and on the other, "Champion Baseball Aggregation, Captured in Borneo, Imported at Great Expense."  The procession started at 2 o'clock and the program began at 2:30. The crowd at the park filled nearly every seat.


 The Fats went to the bat and scored 9 runs. The Leans scored 11. In the first inning the following Fats scored: George Few, Ben Few, Dixon, Leyser, Eilenbach, Scheffel, A. W. Young and J. M. Giberson. The Leans scored: Goudie, Chittenden, Boals, McMillen, Hatfield, Kauffman. Young, Turk and Garstang made outs. In the second inning the Fats were shut out. The Leans that scored in this inning were: Chittenden, Boals, McMillen (home run), and Kauffman. Jim Young, Garstang and Goudie made outs. At the close of the second inning, the score was: Fats 9; Anti-Fats 14.


Part of the show was a tight rope walker who was captured by Ben Few. The fellow was dressed up in gorgeous apparel, and tumbled to the ground every other step. As the wire was only three feet above the ground, his falls were not serious. The first part of the program at the park was omitted.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 10, 1899

The attendance at the ballgame at Sportsman's Park yesterday was the largest of the season. The tickets taken in at the gate numbered 2,030. The Alton Blues are money-makers, and Alton helps them out. It was a lucky win for the Blues, as the St. Charles series is most profitable and an extension of the series will make the two teams money.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 19, 1900

A meeting of the Alton Baseball Association was held yesterday, and all the land belonging to Sotier and Straube was leased for the baseball park. The fences enclosing the park will be moved back on the south side, and a place will be provided there for carriages of patrons of the park. It is possible that a grandstand for ladies will be erected back of the catcher.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 6, 1900

From St. Charles comes the story that the Alton Blues may lose their captain, Paul McSweeney. The Monitor says:  "From present indications the St. Charles baseball club will lose its old famous reliable second baseman, Billie Kuehne, better known as 'The Count.' There is not a rooter in St. Charles but what feels bad about the loss, for 'The Count' always greatly 'counted' in a baseball game, and did much in giving us the scalp. Kuehne at present is working for the Hargadine-McKittrick Wholesale Dry Goods Company of St. Louis, and as that company will put a strong club in next season, they have pulled him into the team. He can't get out of the job, and although he likes St. Charles and her rooters, he will have to play ball for his employers. Alton, our old time rival, is also hard hit under the belt, and the queer part of it all is 'the blow that almost killed father' comes from the same source. Paul McSweeney, the famous Alton Blues captain of last season, the same who made such a beautiful spin on his head the day Bode ran into him at Alton, also works for the Hargadine people, and they have nailed him to play on their club. Alton and St. Charles can shake, in this, their sad hour of affliction."  Mr. George Sauvage of the Alton Baseball Association was seen today and said he does not believe McSweeney has any intention of leaving the Blues. McSweeney is a popular favorite with Alton fans and he prefers coming to Alton to playing elsewhere.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 13, 1900

The baseball park fence had a close call for destruction by fire last evening, and Eliot hose truck was called out to put out the flames. Boys smoking cigarettes at the south side of the park set fire to the grass near the fence, and the fire communicated to fence. Only a little damage was done.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 2, 1900

The Alton Baseball Association held a meeting yesterday and elected the following officers: Alex McBride, president; James J. McMullen, secretary and treasurer; C. A. Wilson, manager; Paul McSweeney, captain; James Mullen, John Weber and George Sauvage, directors. The season at Sportsman's park will be opened April 22 with a game between the Blues and the Hargadine and McKittricks of St. Louis.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 9, 1900

As the Telegraph announced one month ago, Paul McSweeney will not play with the Alton Blues this season. The announcement was flatly contradicted by Manager Wilson at the time, who said McSweeney would not play with the Hargadine and McKittrick new team, but the first information was correct. It was given out yesterday that the Blues catcher had decided to leave the team because of pressure of his employers to join the team organized among their employees in the store. Swartz will do all the pitching for the team and Fairback will exchange places with Meeks. Either Lee Garvin of Jefferson City or Stein of the Belleville Clerks may go in as catcher of the Blues, and both are good men.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 16, 1900

Phil Kavanaugh, who will be center fielder, and Manager Charles Wilson of the Alton Blues, were in Alton yesterday. The Blues will open with the St. Louis Spaldings next Sunday afternoon. Frank Pears will be umpire during the season, and the following is the lineup: Stein, catcher; Schwartze, pitcher; Fairback, first base; Tom Morrison, second base and Captain; Griffin, short stop; Ricks, third base; Hiob, left field; Kavanaugh, center field; Zoellers, right field; Meeks, general utility man. The Blues will come to Alton Saturday afternoon, and will don the blue uniform for practice at the park.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 23, 1900

The Alton Blues started the season yesterday in the way the rooters wish them to travel without deviation this season. The team was stiff and not in its prime form, but the material was there and the spirit that made the Blues champions last season. The players were up late the night before, and with the usual stiffness of athletes after lack of practice, the boys were not able to make the showing they made last year, but they were all right. Some admirers of Schwartz say he has better control of the ball in its puzzling down's and out's than last season, and Fairback showed he has lost none of his old time batting ability when he lined out a few to keep his hand in. Stein, the new Hannibal catcher, gives evidence of being a very good man on the team and a find of great importance to the Alton fans. In the seventh inning, the Spaldings were so far behind they could never catch up, and Manager Wilson put William Zimmerman, a new man here, in the box for trial. All the runs of the visitors were made off the new man in the two innings, but there is probably better stuff in Zimmerman than he showed yesterday.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 26, 1900

Ther Spalding Catholic Club Baseball team has been organized with the following players: J. Riley, catcher; C. Conley, pitcher; B. Garstang, first base; G. Bruner, second base; H. Chalk, third base; W. Cremen, shortstop; S. Toole, right field; J. Crivello, centerfield; J. Burton, left field; S. Sneeringer, manager.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 27, 1900

The Western Military Academy baseball team was defeated by the St. Louis University team at Sportsman's Park yesterday afternoon. The Western's pitcher, Scott, was not in good form and was hard hit, while his team gave poor support. The University pitcher was hard hit also, but was better supported, and the outfielders played an errorless game. The Westerns will play Smith Academy Saturday.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 17, 1900

The baseball team of Western Military Academy tendered an informal reception last evening to the graduates who came from their several homes to teach the undergraduates "how to play ball." Out of sheer gratitude, the cadets hastened to do them honor by giving the informal.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 18, 1900

Hackett, the Jacksonville twirler who pitched against the Alton Blues last Sunday and made such a good record, will wear a Blue uniform Sunday and will play here with the Alton team as long as he gives satisfaction. The deal was closed yesterday at Jacksonville by Manager Wilson. Manager Sheble of the Hargadine-McKittrick team, which will play here Sunday, says his team is putting in much time in practice and that they go to Athletic park every afternoon to practice for Sunday's game. He says their rooters, 200 strong, will come up with the team Sunday and will bring brooms and tin horns and they say that the way they will root will make the Alton men green with envy. Hackett says the St. Louis rooters will not have a chance to put their horns to their lips and that they will have no need for the brooms unless it is to brush the dirt from their clothes after the game is over. The Alton rooter is becoming famous and the visitors will bring the choicest selection in St. Louis to compete with them for first honors. Manager Wilson says he thinks Sunday's game with Paul McSweeney's team will be the best of the season up to date.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 21, 1900

Fully 2,000 persons saw the Alton Blues give the Hargadine-McKittrick team of St. Louis a fearful drubbing at Sportman's Park Sunday, defeating them by the score of 27 to 2. The Blues gave a great exhibition of batting, finding the ball for thirty safe drives. "Big Bill" Fairback made a terrible drive over the centerfield fence, scoring the first home run made on the local grounds this season, thereby winning a few boxes of cigars, a hat, a pair of trousers and other articles too numerous to mention, offered by Alton merchants. Paul McSweeney played by far the best ball for the visitors, and he was the only one on his team that could do anything with Hackett, the new pitcher signed by Alton last week. Hackett had no chance to show his real ability as a twirler, as he was not called upon to exert himself, but he showed he had plenty of reserve curves that could be made to deceive better batters than the victims of yesterday. Al Warner umpired his usual faultless game. Next Sunday Jake Bene's new East St. Louis team will oppose the Blues.



John W. "Wee Willie" Sudhoff, St. Louis Cardinal Pitcher




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 28, 1900

Jake Hene's new East St. Louis team were the guests of Charley Wilson's Alton Blues at Sportman's Park Sunday afternoon, and before the usual large crowd the two aggregations put up the banner game of the season. The visitors were re-enforced by "Wee Willie" Sudhoff, the Cardinals' pitcher, and he twirled a brilliant game. Hackett began for the Blues, but in the middle of the third inning he was forced to give way to Frank Pears. Hackett had worked in four games for the Jacksonville Central League club the past week, and he was all out after starting the contest. In the first inning East St. Louis team scored on Winter's single and steal and two outfield flies. In the third, after Hackett had given Burke a base on balls and that player had stolen second, being counted on Taff's safe hit, he was relieved by Pears, who put out the next three batters and yielded but one hit in the remaining six innings. Alton's lone run was scored in the sixth on Taff's miss of Burke's throw, giving Zoellers second. A short safe hit by Stein sent Zoellers to third. On an attempted double steal Zollers was out at the plate, and Stein reached third. Fairback's slow tap to Vien tallied Stein. In the seventh inning Phil Kavanaugh put the ball over the fence, but it was declared foul by Warner, who gave the Blues' the worst of a close decision. Griffin, Hiob, Vein and CArney besides the pitchers, carried off the honors.  Final score:  East St. Louis 2.  Alton 1.


[According to Wikipedia:  John William (Wee Willie) Sudhoff (September 17, 1874 - May 25, 1917) was a starting pitcher in Major League Baseball who played in the National League for the St. Louis Browns (1897-1898), Cleveland Spiders (1899), St. Louis Perfectos (1899) and St. Louis Cardinals (1900-1901), and with the St. Louis Browns (1902-1905) and Washington Senators (1906) of the American League. Sudhoff batted and threw right-handed. He was born in Saint Louis, Missouri.]






Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 4, 1900Jack Crooks

Almost 2,000 enthusiasts attended Sunday afternoon's game at Sportsman's Park, between Charley Wilson's crack team [Alton Blues] and the Trenton aggregation.  "Wee William" Sudhoff, who had given the local band its one defeat of the season last Sunday, was on the firing line for Trenton, and he tried hard to duplicate his feat of a week ago. He was up against a hard game, though, as the Blues, re-enforced by Jack Crooks, the well known former big leaguer, went after his slants savagely and won the game easier than the score of 8 to 7 shows. Trenton's final three tallies came in their ball of the ninth inning, and their brief rally was ended through a swiftly completed double-play, started by Hicks and going via the Crooks route to Pears, who was on first. Crooks secured one safe drive and tallied two runs. In the field, he had the unusual number of sixteen chances, and accepted the all without an error, taking part in three double-plays. Percy Griffin put up his usual neat game at short, and Pears' first base play was of high class. Schwartz was touched up fairly lively, but received good support and was never really in danger. Stein back him up in splendid shape. Sudhoff twirled a good game for the visitors and fielded his position splendidly, accepting eleven chances and shutting off several well intended "singles." He was well supported by Wolff and Skinner, the others putting up a very weak defensive game. Al Warner umpired faultlessly.


[Note:  In 1889, Jack Crooks (shown in photo) of Omaha became the first known professional player to hit four home runs in a single game.]




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 6, 1900

The ball game tomorrow between the Police and the Fats promises to be an interesting affair. The Police will be led by Mayor Young and Chief of Police Volbracht. The Police nine have so long wielded the club that no doubt they will be able to do some hard slugging. They have had a good deal of practice legging it over hill and dale, so that they ought to make good base runners. The number of catches they have made in their time ought to make them experts behind the bat and in fielding. The way they steal home on crooks will give them the necessary experience in stealing bases. And the Fats - what shall we say of them? They are daisies, every one of them, especially Squire Few. There are four of them who weigh on an average of 250 pounds each, viz: Andy Greble, Henry Geeser, John Tonsor and Ellis Barnard. Woe betide the policeman that happens to collide with one of these giants. He will think that the Alton Limited had struck him. All the Fats have had previous experience, and in this they are ahead of the Police. Squire Few may again be called upon to umpire the game, and if he does it will be plain sailing and easy victory for Fats. We would rather have the Squire on our side as umpire than have the New York Giants or any other aggregation. The object of the game is not wholly fun, while there will be fun and to spare. Two very and deserving charities are the beneficiaries - the Woman's Home and the Hospital. Our citizens should turn out and enjoy an old fashioned game of ball, and help on most worthy institutions. The lineup will be:


G. Root, 240 lbs, catcher; Few, 265 lbs, Greeble, 220 lbs, pitchers; McDow, 235 lbs, 1st base; W. Glassbrenner, 200 lbs, 2nd base; J. Elinbaugh, 225 lbs, 3rd base; L. Glassbrenner, 225 lbs, left field; George Few, 235 lbs, center field; H. G. Giberson, 212 lbs, right field; E. Scheffel, 215 lbs, shortstop.  Subs:  A. Millen, 240; Henry Leyser, 235; John Tonsor, 275; Ellis Barnard, 240.  Waterboys: Henry Tonsor and John Kramer.



H. Spaet, catcher; A. Mayford, pitcher; Capt. Fitzgibbons, 1st base; Tom Green, 2nd base; F. Volbracht, 3rd base; Green Parker, left field; Mayor Young, center field; John Winkler, right field; George Welch, shortstop.  Subs:  B. Fahrig; William Thomas; Henry Satgast; James Colman.  Waterboys: T. Jones, Thomas O'Leary.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 8, 1900

The Fats again demonstrated they are ball players, notwithstanding their cumbrous size, by defeating the night police in the game at Sportsman's park yesterday afternoon. The score was 17 to 18 in favor of the Fats. The night police went to pieces in the sixth inning, and allowed the Fats to pile up runs in such numbers as to overcome the lead the Police had, and the officers never caught up again.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 18, 1900

The Alton Blues took the first game of the series with St. Charles yesterday by a score of 9 to 3, and 2,100 people saw them do it, the number including many of the admirers of the St. Charles team who had come over on a special train to see their favorites wallop the baseball park with the Blues until the earth would be covered with the remnants of their hides. The rooters for St. Charles were at their best, but they had little chance to vent their enthusiasm, the course of the game perforce corking up their choicest "roots" in their throats. It was a disappointed crowd that went home to St. Charles after the game, and no doubt the despair in the Missouri town was deep and dark last night. The visitors confidently expected to defeat the Alton boys. Young was not at his best, however, and he was found for 12 base hits while Schwartz was touched for only 8 in a game where both sides had on their batting clothes and frequently found the ball. Davy Young began to be ineffective in the fifth inning when the Altons solved the mystery of some of his slants, and hits were many. Maloney, the much vaunted pitcher of St. Charles, was not given a trial.  Long before the game started the crowd had filled the grandstand, and hundreds of people filled the vacant space before and around it to the topes that had been stretched to keep the people out of the field. It was the biggest attendance in the history of the park. The two teams played superbly, considering the early stage of the season. Schlem for the visitors was a stone wall at third. Stein for the Blues played a pretty game, and both Kavanaugh and Schwartz covered themselves with glory. Once Kavanaugh was on third after a three base hit and the catcher was returning the ball from home to the pitcher. Kavanaugh started down the home stretch on a steal, and succeeded in making his score before the ball could be returned to the catcher. Kavanaugh is making a great reputation among the local fans as a stealer of bases, and is credit with being a base kleptomaniac. Schwartz never pitched better, and did much to win the game. Next Sunday the Blues will journey to St. Charles to try the same thing on the Browns on their home grounds.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 22, 1900

The Christian Brothers baseball team of the Upper Alton High School has begun practice for a coming engagement with the Jerseyville High School team in the near future.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 5, 1900

The Alton Blues defeated the Oakland team, formerly of Matoon, Wednesday afternoon in the shortest time that the game was ever played at Sportsman's park. The attendance was large and the crowd saw the best game of the season, both sides playing with a remarkable fewness of errors. The Altons made three errors and the visitors made none. The score was 3 to 1. The Oakland team put up by far the best game of any club that has been seen on the local diamond this season, and made the locals play hard all through the game to win out.  Zoellers' home run drive over the right field fence, and Jack Rick's hitting and base running set the big crowd wild. Schwartz, who pitched a masterly game, was ably supported by Stein. Pears made a sensational double play unassisted in the first inning that got the Blues out of a tight hole. The visitors' best work was done by Keefe at third and O'Connell at short, they accepting fourteen chances between them. Al Warner umpired. Next Sunday the Blues will go over to St. Charles to play the second game of their series.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 21, 1900

The baseball teams from Venice and Edwardsville that will play at Sportsman's Park tomorrow will have a large number of friends with them to see the game. A large number will come from the county seat and the game will be an interesting one in that the team is made up of many of the old Madison players that won all the games they played when they were in their prime. The Venice team is a good one too, and will be accompanied by a large number of rooters.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 28, 1900

The Lemps and the Anheuser-Busch baseball teams played a match game yesterday afternoon at Sportsman's Park for the benefit of Henry Schreiber, and incidentally to settle a question of supremacy that has been a contested claim of each team. The score shows the dispute as to supremacy was well grounded, and neither side had an easy thing in the game. The score was 8 to 9, in favor of the Lemp team.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 30, 1900

The Blues and St. Charles Browns played two of the prettiest games ever played at Sportsman's Park Saturday and Sunday, and as a result the Blues won both, giving them the championship of their class of Illinois and Missouri, also giving Alton seven straight games from St. Charles. The contest was a heartbreaking one, Saturday. Neither side seemed able to score a decided advantage throughout the game, and up to the close of the tenth inning it was anybody's game. Startling plays were the order of the day, and both sides distinguished themselves. St. Charles was playing with the energy of despair, and the Blues realized they had a tough proposition. St. Charles deserves credit for the excellent game they put up, while the Blues covered themselves with glory. Zoellers in the right garden slid ten feet on his hands and knees and caught a low line drive that made every fan there catch his breath in surprise. Kavanagh's base running and O'Connor's game at third were some of the features of the Alton side, while Frank Pears pitching was good. In the Sunday game the playing was phenomenal, while most interest was centering about the magnificent pitcher's battle. Invincible Carl Schwartz was opposed by McDermott, formerly of the Clevelands and the Louisvilles. Schwartz gave no free passes to first, and McDermott let five Blues walk. Meeks, the rejuvenated Blue, did some terrific hitting and excellent first base work. Ricks did some sensational hitting. The score for the Saturday game was 6 to 5 in ten innings. The score yesterday was 5 to 2, the two runs being made in the eighth inning by the visitors.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 1, 1900

The Spalding club is making arrangements to hold a field sports exhibition at Rock Spring Park next Wednesday, at a picnic to be held at the park that day. The Spalding Tigers are getting themselves into form for all kinds of contests in the line of field sports.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 6, 1900

The beating the Alton Blues gave the St. Charles team is taken as a public affliction in the village, and nearly every fan in the place is wearing crape or a long face. The latest to be heard from was Bob Bode, the tall first baseman of the old Browns, who extends in his letter to St. Charles fans his sincerest sympathy. He says: "Am very sorry Browns lost games to Alton, thereby losing the championship. It's tough luck to have Alton rub it into our boys in Brown. They are hard ones to beat, especially with their own umpire. Extend my sympathy to Manager Hoehn and tell him 'it ain't what you used to be, it's what you are today.'"




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 18, 1900

The game tomorrow between the Blues and the St. Louis Globes will be a good one. The Globes have strengthened their team by adding some new players, recruited from the ranks of professionals, and the team will be much stronger than the one that came here early in the season. McDermott, who pitched for St. Charles and has made a good record, will be here as pitcher for the Globes, and he has selected all the Globe's players for tomorrow's game. He expects to win the game, too. Winters, right-field, played with Montreal last season, and refused to sign with the Canadians this season. Clifford played center for Hillsboro, and is well known to Alton fans. The line-up for the two teams for tomorrow's game will be:


Altons:  Stein, catcher; Schwartz, pitcher; Meeks, 1st base; Ricks, 2nd base; O'Connor, 3rd base; Griffin, shortstop; Hiob, left field; Kavanaugh, centerfield; Zoehlers, right field; Peals, substitute.


Globes: Clifford, catcher; McDermott, pitcher; O'Brien, 1st base; Erman, 2nd base; Corcoran, 3rd base; Wilcox, shortstop; Riley, left field; Flood, centerfield; Winters, right field; Carney, substitute.


[The Gobes were defeated by the Blues, 6-4.]




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 11, 1900

A baseball game will be played Thursday, September 20, at Sportsman's Park for the benefit of the Merchant's Carnival fund. Will Bauer is getting up two teams to be made up among the clerks of the city, and tickets to the game will be sold for 25 cents. Every person in the city will be expected to buy at least one ticket, and as many more as he can possibly be prevailed upon to take. It is proposed to raise a big part of the money for the carnival fund by means of this baseball game.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 17, 1900

The Blues set Alton baseball wild Sunday by defeating the crack Danville, Illinois club of the Central League. It was the most exciting and hard fought game ever played in this city. Alton made a Garrison finish, winning out in the ninth inning, after one man had been retired. The big crowd went wild with delight, throwing hats, coats and umbrellas in the air, and carrying Jack Ricks, who drove in the tying run and scored himself on a wild throw with the tally that gave Alton the game. The game consisted of some brilliant playing on both sides at times, though neither team played steady ball. Both pitchers were touched up rather lively when hits meant runs, but Schwartz had by far the better control, retiring several of the Danville batsmen on strikes, while Popp was wild, giving seven bases on balls. Final score:  Alton 10; Danville 9.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 24, 1900

The Alton Blues baseball team will close their season with a game at Alton, October 14. Manager Wilson has arranged for a game with a team of professionals headed by Frank Genkins of the Cleveland team, which Genkins is picking out from the best material obtainable in the vicinity of St. Louis. The following Sunday the Blues will travel to Memphis, Tennessee to play the crack Memphis team, which has been negotiating for some time to secure a game with the Alton team. The Blues have had a very prosperous season this year, and its percentage of games won will be high. Manager Wilson says that the prospects of the formation of a league of baseball teams of South St. Louis, Belleville, East St. Louis and St. Charles, with the Blues as one of the members, are good. The proposition has been well received by all the teams to which it has been made.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 1, 1900

The Blues were defeated Sunday at Sportsman's Park by the professionals from St. Louis in an exciting ten-inning game, 8 to 4. The Blues held a commanding lead up to the ninth inning, when the visitors tied the score on a couple of costly errors, followed by two safe drives. They scored four more in the tenth on two bases on balls, a base bit and a wild throw to the plate that got lost in the "bleachers." The features of the game were Genins' sensational catch of Cavanaugh's hard drive to deep left-center. Winkehneyer's home run over the fence and Kane's base running. O'Connor and Stein played the best ball for Alton.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 18, 1901
It is announced by members of the Alton Baseball Association, which was disbanded a few months ago, that the association will be reorganized, and that the Alton Blues Baseball team will have another season at Sportsman's Park in Alton. It was announced at the time of the disbandment that the club would probably not be reorganized, owing to lack of interest on the part of Alton fans the latter part of the season, which made the Blues a failure as a financial investment during 1900. The Alton fans have been so urgent in their requests that another season be tried that a meeting will be called. Charley Wilson, who has been manager of the Blues since the team was organized, will not be with the Alton Blues during the season. His place will be filled by the appointment of another manager, probably James J. Mullen, who was a prominent stockholder in the Alton Baseball Association, and an old baseball player. It is stated that the team will be strengthened by some new players, and most of the best players of last season who were with the team, and are still available, will be engaged for the coming season. Some of the best semiprofessional players in St. Louis will be taken into the team, and the Blues will be made as strong as it is possible to make them. The management has the reputation of paying good salaries, and good men are assured. It will probably be part of the new policy of the association to take the Blues away from Alton to play more frequently, in order to insure the appearance of better teams to play return games.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 6, 1901

The management of the Alton Blues is making haste to secure contracts with the players who will wear the blue uniform this season, and it is announced that some of them have already signed. Betts, the new pitcher, who will take the place of Schwartz who has gone to St. Charles, and Ricks, who will play second base, have signed for the season, and it is expected that by tomorrow afternoon, when a meeting will be held by the directors, that all the members of the team will have signed. Manager Mullin is in correspondence with all the players in St. Louis who are desired, and answers are expected from there before tomorrow morning. The season at Alton may be opened the last Sunday in April or the first Sunday in May. Last year the season started the last Sunday in April. A first-class team is promised Alton fans this year.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 8, 1901

A meeting of the Alton Base Ball Association was held yesterday for the purpose of considering the organization of the club for the season, and to take account of what players can be counted upon for the Alton Blues. Every point in the team has been filled except short stop, and Manager Mullen hopes to have a good man in that position in a short time. Letters were received from all the players who had been counted upon to join the Blues, and acceptances were the rule. Henry Stein of Hannibal, catcher; Herrold Betts of St. Louis, pitcher; Frank Meeks, first base; John Ricks, second base; Arthur Granville of St. Louis, third base; Charles Gast, Joe Zoellers and Al Hiob in the outfield. The team will be as strong as last year, although Schwartz has signed as pitcher for St. Charles.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 30, 1901

The Spaldings baseball team was organized last evening at the Alton Catholic Club rooms, and the following officers were elected: Bayard Davis, manager; Ed Cremens, Captain; C. C. Ruberstein, treasurer and corresponding secretary. The team is one of the strongest amateur teams in the city, having the pick of the best players in all the best clubs in the city.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 1, 1901

Roy Swain, catcher on the first baseball team of Shurtleff, was struck in the eye by a ball yesterday and was rendered unconscious for some minutes. There will be no injury to his eye.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 6, 1901

The Alton Blues and the St. Louis Bohm Bros. teams played ball yesterday in Sportsman's park - that is the Blues played ball, the Bohm played bum, but were permitted to make two runs to encourage them a little. The new members of the Blues are good men, and with a little practice will prove invincible to all such amateurs as can be found in Edwardsville, St. Charles, St. Louis and other villages of that class. Donahue of the Bohm's did some very fast work as short stop, as did also Pennington, third baseman for the visitors. The honors of the day for speedy and effective work for the Blues were captured by Granville and Ricks. The score was Blues 6, Bohm Bros. 2.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 11, 1901

The Spaldings, Alton's recently organized baseball club, will go to Litchfield tomorrow and open the season with the Litchfield Lightnings. A great many rooters will go up with the following players: Kuennemen and J. Berner, catchers; Cremen and Demuth, pitchers; Ashlock, 1st base; Demuth, 2nd base; Dooling, 3rd base; Brady, shortstop; Dooley, left field; Noonan, center field; Kennedy, right field.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 10, 1901

The Alton Blues suffered their first defeat Sunday at the hands of the St. Louis Diels. It was a rattling good game for a while, but the local team went into the error making business while the visitors turned their attention to making good hits, and the result was disaster. However no team can win all the time and the encouraging record made by the Blues ought to spur them to great deeds in the future.  Blues players:  Zoellers, Stein, Ricks, Granville, Cass, Meeks, Barrot, Close, Betts.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 10, 1901

The Bluff City Brewery baseball team went out to Godfrey and walloped the Godfrey club by a score of 25 to 15, Sunday. Batteries: Alton team - Stillwell and Mitchell. Godfrey - Doyle and Hermon. The feature of the game was the remarkable batting of Stillwell and Barr of the Alton team, and Frank Squire of the Godfrey team. The B. C. B. team will play at Delhi next Sunday, and at Moro the Sunday following, and if any one else wants a game with the club, the wants will be supplied by addressing E. A. Stillwell, care Alton Roller Milling Company.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 2, 1901

Harold Betts, the pitcher for the Alton Blues, has left the team. His place will be filled in the game Thursday with the Globes by Charles Gass. Al Hiob will be with the Blues Thursday also. The Blues will go to St. Charles Sunday, East St. Louis the next Sunday, and Quincy the following Sunday.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 5, 1901

The Alton Blues defeated the St. Louis Hargadine-McKittrick team Sunday by a score of 19 to 5. There was nothing much for the Blues to do only do as they please to win. They pleased to do some good ball playing. The batteries were Stein and O'Connell for the home folks; McSweeney and Rily for the visitors.  The Alton Browns defeated the No Names at Rock Springs park by a score of 7 to 25. Hoehn and Threde of the Browns made a great double play. The Spaldings defeated the Mexico Stars, Sunday. The Stars being eclipsed by a score of 13 to 1 - pretty nearly as bad as Bryanism. The Mohawks defeated the Cherry Streets. Score 5 to 3.  An Upper Alton picked team played with the Godfrey boys Saturday afternoon on the College campus, and the latter were defeated by a score of 15 to 14.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 22, 1901

Manager J. J. Mullen has booked no game for Sunday, and there is nothing definite as to when another game will be booked. The patronage of recent games has not been sufficient to encourage the management to maintain the team, and not being millionaires they do not feel able to keep up a good team at the expense of their own private purses. Manager Mullen stated today that the old-time rooters have fallen off in their devotion to the team, and that the attendance is so small that the team is going in the hole slightly. It is not decided that the Blues will be disbanded.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 11, 1901

The Amusement Committee of the colored K. of P. have secured Sportsman's Park for a baseball contest in connection with their emancipation celebration here Monday, September 23. It will be the first time colored ball teams ever played there. Two games will be played. At 1:30 p.m. the Alton team will play Granite City, and at 3:30 St. Charles, Mo., will try conclusions with Granite City.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 12, 1901

Fosterburg News - Last Sunday our "invincible" Browns crossed bats with the Big Four team of Bethalto, on the Fosterburg diamond, and we can safely say it was one of the best if not the best game that has been played here this season. Robert Pfaff was in the box for our team, and struck out fourteen of the Big Four players. The Browns have not lost a game this season, and have played several visiting teams, the Woodburns, Key Wests, and Big Four are among the teams that have met defeat at the hands of the Browns. The score was 14 to 6.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 24, 1901

Andrew Hart, pitcher for the colored baseball team from Newport, that played at Sportsman's park Monday afternoon, broke his right arm between the shoulder and the elbow while throwing the ball. He had thrown the ball once before and felt no inconvenience. When he delivered the ball the second time, his arm fell limp and a doctor was summoned. Dr. Bowman made an examination and pronounced the bone broken off squarely. Hart says his arm was never broken before, and this fact makes the accident a curious one. The force of the throw must have caused the fracture. Hart's arm was set and he was sent home. The score of the game was 10 to 11, in favor of Newport.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 7, 1901

The Alton Blues took the championship of Illinois and Missouri yesterday in the closing game of a series of five games between the Blues and St. Charles Browns. The Blues made some glaring errors, but as they won out in the ninth inning, the errors are forgiven. Breitenstein pitched for the Blues, and his part of the game was very satisfactory. In the first half of the ninth inning the St. Charles made one run that tied the score, and Blues played out the last half, making another run that made score 7 to 6, in favor of Alton. The game was witnessed by a good-sized crowd. Next Sunday a team of professionals may come here to play the Blues.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 21, 1902
An indoor baseball club is being organized in Alton among the young men who take active interest in athletic sports. The members of the indoor baseball club will probably be the members of the old Olympias, Imperials, Black Hawks and one other bowling club. The young men have secured permission to use the city hall, and last evening they held their first meeting in the hall to make preparations for beginning the games. The teams consist of eight players, there being no short-stop, but the teams will have a dozen players each in them from which to select men to make up the eight. There will be four clubs, and they will play a series of games for championship honors. Monday night the players had a practice game, and say they found the game a very good one. They have placed wire screens over the windows in the city hall to avoid breaking the glass, and they have laid out the floor for the games. The bases are 27 feet apart. The ball used is a large one, of soft material, and the game is played similarly to the national game of baseball. The young men who are interested in the formation of the indoor baseball league will hold a meeting next week to effect a permanent organization and to elect officers. The organizers of the indoor baseball league asked the permission of the City Council to use the city hall for the game this winter, and permission was given. Meetings will be held once a week, probably on Monday nights, and the only expense to the players will be the cost of replenishing the carbons in the electric lights.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 21, 1903

The opening game of ball in Alton in the Trolley League series next Sunday in Sportsman's park, between the St. Charles Browns and Alton Blues, will be one of the best games seen in Alton for years probably. Both teams are in good form and each is determined that the other must lose. That feeling insures good ball playing. The Altons have been greatly strengthened and the club gives every evidence of winning a great bunch of laurels for itself and Alton this season. In speaking of this opening game, the St. Charles Cosmos says: "Next Sunday a railway excursion will be run from here to Alton, Ill., in order that our rooters may attend the opening game of the Trolley League. Rummel's Military band and many of our prominent citizens have signed the list to go. St. Charles wants the game and will get it. Hill and Heininger are getting down to business. Louie says there will be something doing at Alton next Sunday."  Mike Woodlock has been signed to play shortstop and Riordan will play in right field after the close of his early season with the Christian Brothers team. Otherwise, the Alton team will be strengthened by the addition of new players wherever it is found possible to make improvements.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 31, 1905

The Alton Blues lost their game with the Triple A team at Jerseyville Sunday. The score was 9 to 4. Many of the local fans went to Jerseyville to see the game.  A game was played yesterday afternoon at Forkyville, near Upper Alton, between the J. H. Mann's club and the Burlingtons. Neville and Steigler did some fine work for the Mann's team, and succeeded in keeping the list of Burlington runs down to three. The Mann's team made ___ runs. The manager of the latter team, Walter Schwartzbeck, would like to hear from any amateur clubs desiring a game. Fosterburg defeanted the Upper Alton baseball team yesterday by the score of 13 to 8.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 22, 1906
The end of this week will mark the end of the throne on which the baseball fan sat for many a day and many a year, passing judgment on the deeds of the heroes of the green diamond. The bleachers has furnished a seat for the real fans, those whose enthusiasm could not be burned out by an August sun, nor chilled by the early frosts of the Fall before the game was ended for the season. It was the place where the real critics and where the "sure things," the old true-penny of the managers sat, who could always be counted on to find money enough to see a game of baseball even if the pantry at home did suffer. The grandstand played a minor part, but was none the less a fixture of the old baseball park. Manager W. M. Sauvage, who has charge of the May festival to be given at Sportsman's park, said today that he would tear down the bleachers and the grandstand and clear the whole grounds to make room for the shows which will be put in there by the Gaskill Carnival Co. The Illinois Glass company, having purchased the baseball park to be used as a site for a new office building, the grandstand and bleachers once taken down, will not be rebuilt. It will be the end of the baseball park as a ball park. If a new diamond is to be secured it must be found east of town, perhaps at the old Chessen race track.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 12, 1913
E. Harry Decker, many years ago the star catcher on a star Alton baseball team, who caught Al Warner in the memorable game in which Alton defeated the Drummond Horse Shoes by a score of 9 to 5, has been sent to the state prison at San Quentin, Cal., for forging checks. The poor fellow has been an inmate of Kankakee and other institutions for the insane in the past on similar charges, but it seems the Californians did not believe he was "daffy." Decker on his first trip to the plate clouted a three bagger on Paul McSweeney, and each time up hit safely. He also caught the game at Hannibal two weeks later, coaching Warner splendidly to another great victory, 9 to 4. The famous "Eagle Eye" Jack Beckley only secured a lone single out of a total of four hits. A dispatch from Los Angeles says: E. H. Decker, who was arrested at Los Angeles under the name of Earl H. Davenport, for passing forged checks, was found guilty by a jury in Judge Willis' court and sentenced to serve three years in the penitentiary at San Quentin. A plea of insanity was set up, and it was shown that Decker had been an inmate of the Elgin and Chester, Ill. asylums. It was claimed that while playing with Pittsburg in 1891 he was hit in the head with a ball pitched by Bobby Caruthers, then twirling for Brooklyn, from the effects of which, it is claimed, he has never recovered. Decker had played ball with Philadelphia, Detroit, Indianapolis, Toronto, Macon, Keokuk, Jacksonville, Decatur, and other clubs, and is said to be the inventor of the safety catchers' mitt now in general use. It is also said that he has invented a pneumatic mitt that is to be placed on the market next spring.

[Note: According to the website Evolution of Baseball Catchers Equipment: "Mitts were a taken-for-granted part of catching. The earliest documented use of a glove by any player occurred on June 28, 1870 and that was by a catcher. A sportswriter for the Cincinnati Commercial cabled his office, [Doug] Allison caught today in a pair of buckskin mittens, to protect his hands. Historians quibble over whether Harry Decker or Joe Gunson first used the padded catcher's mitt in the 1880′s The "Decker Safety Catcher's Mitt," a contraption that was basically a glove stitched to the back of a round pad that covered the palm of the hand. These gloves were literally flat pillows that got their pockets broken in on the job at the expense of the catcher's palm."

See more on Harry Deck at]



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 16, 1913


Laverne Chappell, who was auctioned off to the White Sox for $15,000, the highest price ever paid for an outfielder in professional baseball, was in Alton today for a short time on his way to his home in Jerseyville...Chappell, who is only 21 years old, played with the Greenwood team in the North Side [Alton] as his first appearance in a baseball team away from home at McClusky. He is well known in Alton because of the good work he did with the Greenwood team. He will join the White Sox team in Chicago Friday, and make his debut as a big league player. He is expected by the White Sox management to make good, as is shown by the big price that was paid for his release from the team where he had been doing star work. It is the fact that Chappell is a hard-hitter, as well as a star outfielder, that makes him valuable, and he is young and ambitious and ought to make good....

[Note: Chappel played for the Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, and Boston Braves. He died at the age of 28 in an army camp from the Spanish Flu, in 1918, and is buried in the Oak Grove Cemetery in Jerseyville, IL. See more info at ]



IRELAND, JOHN Failed to Rally From Shock of Blow on Head with Baseball, and Surgical Relief is Planned
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 30, 1913
John Ireland, the member of the East Alton Blues who was struck with a ball pitched by John Balster in the game between the East Alton Blue and the Bethalto team, was removed to St. Joseph's Hospital this morning for an operation to be performed by Dr. J. N. Shaff, to remove the pressure of the skull from the brain. The pressure of the skull is believed to have formed a blood clot there, as he bled at the nose all night last night and paralysis of the brain set in. It is hoped that the operation will relieve the injury. The surgical operation was performed because there seemed to be a depression in the skull where the ball struck Ireland, and the surgeons believed that there had been a fracture of the inner table of the skull, which had caused the blood clot to form. By trephining the skull and draining away the blood clot, it was believed it would be possible to relieve the pressure and permit the young man to regain his normal senses, and be relieved from the paralysis which would inevitably disable him, at least partially, unless the pressure was taken away. The operation was performed late this afternoon and the surgeons believed it would be successful.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 16, 1922

Jack Holiday, right-hander, who this spring had a tryout with the St. Louis Browns, and who was sent by that club to Meridian, Mississippi, and later went to Terre Haute and Bloomington of the Three-I League, will be in the box for the Blues, Sunday, against Collinsville. Manager Jack Butler of the Blues today received a telegram from Jack saying the hurler will be here. When it was learned that Holiday might be traded by the Bloomers, Butler immediately got busy and made the wires hot by his telegrams, with the result that Holiday will be here. Sunday's defeat has caused Butler to get into action. Another change on the club is planned, but what it will be Butler will not state. He merely said a change was coming, but when the Telegraph asked what it was, replied with his characteristic smile. It may be announced in a few days.









Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 21, 1901

A billiard tournament will be given at the Alton Commercial Club rooms in which only the members can participate. Additions are being made to the accommodations and conveniences of the Commercial Club headquarters, and others will be made in the near future. It has been decided to raise the initiation fee to $15, and to reduce the membership dues to one-half what they are now. The rooms have become very popular as a resort and the members are making strangers in the city feel quite at home in the neat club quarters.








Elite Ten Pin Alleys


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 9, 1899

This evening the championship contest between the Dewey's and Olympia bowling clubs will begin. The series is to be rolled in the Luer bowling alleys, and is to consist of five games on each of three evenings. The second game will be rolled Thursday evening, and the third some evening later. Both clubs are in prime condition from steady practice, and it is predicted the score will be close and high. Neither side is saying much, a sure indication that both have a wholesome respect for each other.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 1, 1899

Alton is to have another bowling alley. The Olympia Club has had plans prepared for an alley to be built on First Street [Front Street] that will cost $400. The Olympias were the victors in the recent contest with the Dewey Club, and now claim the championship of Alton. The bowling rage is still on the increase in Alton, with no evidence of subsiding. There are two good alleys now, the Luer Alley on Washington Street and the Maverick Alley on Piasa Street.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 3, 1900

The St. Louis druggists bowling club will come to Alton Saturday evening to bowl a match game with the Olympias. The St. Louis team have a high record, having made an average of 50 in recent games.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 17, 1900

Monday night, Jan. 22d, the Deweys and Mystics meet on Luer Alleys in Upper Alton for the first five of a series of 10 games between the two clubs. The Mystics are a new club, and this is their first match game, but the boys are quite enthusiastic and may give the club after which our great Admiral was named a good argument.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 9, 1900

A cocked hat tournament, to be participated in by the Imperials, Wednesday, Deweys, Olympias, Royals and Black Hawks will be started this evening on the Olympia alleys. The games will be bowled on the Luer and Olympia alleys. Each team will consist of five men, and will bowl 50 games during the tourney.








Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 4, 1900

The new bowling alleys of the Turner Society have been completed and will be opened Monday night to the members of the society. Since the improvements were started at Turner Hall, many applications for membership have been received and interest in the society is renewed. The alleys are the finest in the city.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 1, 1900

A meeting will be held this evening at the Kremer Alleys for the purpose of forming a bowling clubs' league. The probability is now that the league will consist of the Black Hawks, Olympias, Imperials, Mystics, Monarchs and the Eagles, the latter a new club organized recently. The plans for the league are that all members shall be handicapped in bowling contests. It is proposed to roll two series of 75 games each during the winter.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 27, 1900

St. Louis and Alton bowlers rolled in an interurban contest Saturday night at the new Kremer alleys. Among those who came up from St. Louis to participate in the match were some of the crack bowlers of St. Louis, who were collected by Joe Shaw, a former St. Louis crack who has come to Alton to live and will manage the new alleys. The St. Louis men were all old friends of his, and were supposed to have come here to take the scalps of the Alton men. But Alton men can bowl some too, and the result was a light shade in favor of the Alton team. The St. Louis men were Arthur Mitchell, the champion of St. Louis; Fred Goetz; Jim Winters; Buck Owen; E. Parmlee Goessling; Linneworth; and H. and L. Gillenwater. A big crowd saw the contest and it was a merry gathering. The bowlers were in good spirits and after it was over they partook of a supper that had been prepared for them. The twenty bowlers were divided into four teams, two from Alton and two from St. Louis, which rolled against each other on the four alleys, he teams with corresponding numbers opposing each other. Arthur Mitchell of St. Louis won the prize offered for high score in a game. "Buck" Owen and Goessling were high men for the St. Louis teams. Joe Shaw, a former St. Louis crack, and Louis Berner excelled for the Alton teams.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 2, 1900

The Alton Cocked Hat League consisting of the Imperials, Eagles, Mystics, Monarchs and Olympics, was organized last evening at the Kremer alleys, and a schedule of 60 games to be rolled in the first championship series was made up. The following officers were elected:  Harry Malcom, president; William Schmidt, secretary; James Corbett, Harry Christoe, John Zerwa, Harry Malcom and Will Schmidt, directors. The league is organized on the handicap basis, each member to be handicapped according to his last record, and the handicap to stand until the end of the series. No handicap shall exceed eight pins, and the handicaps shall be revised after the close of the first series according to the record of the rollers.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 10, 1901

The members of the picked team that will represent the Alton Cocked Hat League in the match game at Hannibal are practicing for the event, and there is great interest locally in bowling circles over the approaching meeting of the two teams. Some good scores will probably be made. The boys will leave Saturday morning and will have a good time in Hannibal, as they will be the guests of the Hannibal bowlers. Joe Shaw will captain the bunch of bowlers and is certain of bring back laurel wreathes for his town.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 15, 1900

An organization of the young ladies of Alton who are fond of the sport of bowling was formed this afternoon at the Grand Alleys on Second street [Broadway], where the first meeting was called. The plan is for the club to hold regular meetings every week for practice, and the young ladies hope to become expert bowlers before the end of the season. They have had a little experience in the game and like it so well that they have decided to become enrolled in the list of bowling enthusiasts. Those who bowled this afternoon were Misses Mary Watson, Jessie Stanford, Harriet Phinney, Annette Schweppe, Mary Johnston, Estelle Yager, Ruth Hanna, Lillian Root, Mamie Crowe, Cole, Mrs. J. E. Duffield, Mrs. Stewart, Mrs. A. C. Mills, Misses Ellen Smith, Mamie Phinney, Isabel Norton, Jessie Roper. The club will probably consist of forty members, and will hold meetings every Wednesday afternoon.




Kremer Bowling Alley, Alton, ILALTON BEATS HANNIBAL

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 15, 1901

The Alton bowlers took three out of the five games at Hannibal Saturday night. The Alton boys were not used to the alleys, they having been constructed for tenpins and too smooth for Cocked Hat. After the Alton men got down to business, however, they soon picked up and took the second, fourth and fifth games. The Altons were said to be much the best bowlers of the two. The match was witnessed by two hundred people.  Bowlers were Corbett, Kunn, McKinney, Schultz, and Shaw.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 1, 1901

Joe Shaw has received and accepted a challenge from the Enterprise bowling club, the champions of the St. Louis Cocked Hat League, for a match game between the high men of the club and a picked team from the Alton League. The match game will come off at the Kremer alleys, May 17, Corbett, Bitzer, McKinney, Kann and Shaw.





Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 2, 1901

At a meeting of the Bum Bowlers Club last even, the following averages were made:  J. Budde 35 1/2; Morganroth 31 1/2; F. Budde 30 1/2; Kessner 17 1/2; Chessen 38 1/2; Darragh 22 1/2; Kremer 34; Yeakel 33.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 10, 1901

The Olympias closed their bowling season last evening with a sociable game on the Kremer alleys. Joe Shaw's side won the contest by reason of having a ringer on the team. The Olympias will give an outing next Saturday, and will go up the Illinois river on the Transit.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 14, 1901

A good sized crowd of dyed-in-the-wool bowling enthusiasts gathered at the Kremer alleys last night to root for their favorite teams in the first match of the roll-off between the Eagles and Imperials, for the Kremer cup and the championship of the Alton league. Both teams bowled from scratch, and the result was a 4 to 1 victory for the Eagles. Players for the Eagles: Zirwes, Ebrhart, Hack, Cobsck, Ditzer, Putze.  Player for the Imperials: McAdams, Pieper, Berner, Flynn, Corbett, Kles, Daugherty.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 31, 1901

The Bum Bowlers opened the season of 1901-2 on the Kremer alleys last night. There were 3 games. The first one went to the Buddies by two pins, the second to the Chessens by two pins, and the third to the Buddies by one pin. The averages were as follows: Budde 42 1-3, Kremer 44 1-3, Chessen 43 2-3, and Morganroth 42 2-3.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 25, 1901

Bowling at the Kremer alleys is under full headway this week. To make some of the match games and practice games more interesting, some Thanksgiving day prizes will be offered. For the best highest single game bowled between now and Wednesday evening, a 20 pound turkey will be given. One 20 pound turkey will be given for the five highest successive games; also one 20 pound turkey for second highest game. All the Alton bowlers are invited to come to the Kremer alleys and participate.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 30, 1901

Bowling will be again the popular amusement in Alton in a short time. Joe Shaw has been organizing some teams to enter the Cocked Hat league, and with the assistance of some admirers of the game, he has secured six teams. The Imperials will not roll this year, owing to many marriages among the members. The unmarried members, including Jerry Flynn, who has signed with the Eagles, have gone into other teams, and the Imperials have disbanded. The names of the clubs to be in the Alton Cocked Hat league this year are not ready for announcement. One week from tonight the Crescents of the Central league, and the Van Dykes of the Mound City league, will clash on Kremer's alleys in Alton.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 5, 1901

The Van Dykes and the Crescents, leaders in the Mound City and Central Bowling Leagues of St. Louis, cannot settle their respective claims on any St. Louis bowling alley, and have selected the Kremer alleys in this city on which to settle the controversy as to which is the better team. The very best bowlers in St. Louis compose the teams, and the contest will undoubtedly be an interesting one. Following is the line-up: Van Dykes - Brunswink, Cake, Meier, Bergland, Exxe.  Crescents - Richart, Griffin, Nummann, Stark, He___.  A lot of rooters will accompany each team. On next Thursday evening, the Hunterstown bowling club will be treated to a turkey banquet by one of their members, Harry Schuelle, who won a fine bird at Turners Euchre party a few weeks ago, and has been putting additional fat on its drumsticks ever since. The Olympias will bowl this evening on the Kremer alleys.  It is said the Ladies Bowling Club of last year will be re-organized in a few days, and "party day" leagues secured on some alley - probably the Grand - which will give the ladies the exclusive use of the alleys on particular days.









Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 12, 1900

It is reported that the cinder path built by the Alton Cycling Club from North Alton to Godfrey is being used as a wagon road by some country people. The farmers along the path who have found it a convenience as a foot path are up in arms against its destruction, and in some places fence posts have been sunk in it to prevent the use of it by wagons.









Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 15, 1900

The Jolly Six Fishing club will hold a field day program tomorrow at Rock Spring park, the occasion being the annual outing of the club.








Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 25, 1900

The Alton Rough Riders, a new football team, and the Carondelet team, will play a game Sunday afternoon at Sportsman's Park.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 4, 1901

A meeting was held last evening to organize the Spalding's football eleven. Over twenty applications of persons desiring to join were received, and it was decided to defer the formation of the eleven until a test was made of the material that is on hand. The first practice game will be played Sunday afternoon at Rock Spring park. The average weight of the team will be over 140 pounds, and some of the players are well experienced. If a southern Illinois league is organized, the Spaldings will represent Alton. If no league is formed, the Spaldings will bring teams to Alton to play here.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 2, 1901

The first game for the Spalding Tigers in the Interstate League will be played tomorrow afternoon at Sportsman Park [Alton], with the Staunton team. The game will be called at 2:30. Following is the line-up:


Staunton:  Mise, right end;  Valentine, right tackle;  Snell, right guard;  Morrissey, center;  A. Schmidt, left end; C. Snell, left tackle;  J. Smith, left guard; Sawyer, quarter; Pherego, r h back;  G. Smith, l h back;  J. Schmidt, full back.


Spaldings:  Derr, right end; Smith, right tackle;  O. Smith, right guard;  Murphy, center;  J. Crivello, left end;  Garde, left tackle; Burton, left guard; Hartmann, quarter; Jewett, r h back; Rice, l h back; Hubburd, full back.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 21, 1901

Upper Alton News - On Saturday afternoon at Sportsman's park, the husky team from Blackburn University will line up against the Shurtleff college eleven in the annual gridiron contest between these two rival institutions. Blackburn has some old scores to settle with Shurtleff, so that from the kickoff till the call of time the fight promises to be a pretty one. Reports indicate that the Carlinville boys are a heavy lot, but speed and training are expected to win the day for Shurtleff. The Shurtleff team had its last hard practice this afternoon and tomorrow will only run through signals.




Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 29, 1901

In the game of football played in Springfield yesterday between the High School team of that city and the Shurtleff College players of Upper Alton, the latter were defeated by a score of 11 to 9, on the field at Spring and Laurel streets. Large crowds attended the contest and rooted enthusiastically for their favorites. The battle was full of interest to the 500 people present. It was stubbornly fought and it would have been a difficult matter at any time to predict the outcome. Shurtleff's teamwork was superior to Springfield's, and the visitors made repeated gains through the home team's line. They were held only twice for downs and did little fumbling. Melin, Seifert and Crowe for Springfield, and North, right end for the Upper Alton men, were the stellar players. During the progress of the second half, Seifert was laid out by a blow on the head, and Funderburk was substituted.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 2, 1919
When the Alton and Staunton city football teams lined up at Sportsman's Park yesterday, each team had a man whom nature probably did not intend for a football player. But not withstanding this fact, both men played in great fashion. On the Alton team was Irby Winkler, proprietor of a garage at Fourth and Piasa street, who plays left tackle. He has but one arm. He is one of the stars of the Alton team, and played great football with the city team of a few years ago. Yesterday he was one of the mainstays of the Alton line, and secured many tackles with his one arm. On the Staunton team was a deaf and dumb mute, Williams by name, who played left tackle. Williams is known here, having lived here for a time. Though he could not hear signals, Williams played a good game. He was playing opposite one of the stars of the Alton team, Mayford, but did all that could be expected of a man facing a player of Mayford's ability. It took the crowd some time to discover that on one team was a deaf and dumb player, but when it was discovered Williams was cheered. Winkler has always been a favorite in games here because of his great playing with but one arm.







Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 22, 1900

The members of the Piasa Gun club held their annual meeting Thursday evening for the election of officers, and the election resulted as follows: H. M. Schweppe, President; A. J. Howell, Treasurer; F. C. Riehl, Secretary; Fred Schiess, Field Captain.   The members of the club are preparing to hold a shoot at the club range on the Fourth of July, which will be open to all shooters, and an invitation to every person who can handle a gun is extended. Targets will be thrown for one cent each, and no kind of powder will be barred, nitro and black powder both being admissible. The shoot is merely for pleasure, and is open to all. Mr. F. W. Olin of the Western Cartridge Co., gave to the club last evening a gold medal that is to be offered as a trophy to be competed for by Madison County shooters upon the Piasa club range. The championship medal must be defended once a month, and the person winning the medal most for a year will become the owner of it. The medal will be a Madison trophy and will carry with it the championship of the county and the club.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 5, 1900

The Piasa Gun Club celebrated the day at its range in Douglass Park on State street with a free-to-all shoot, and there was a good attendance of lovers of the sport. One of the most interesting events of the shoot was the handicap contest for the medal presented by F. W. Olin, to be contested for on the Piasa Club grounds for the local championship. The shooters were handicapped by the most expert being given a less number of possible targets and being required to break at least 30 to qualify. The small handicap was 65, and the largest was that of F. C. Fiehl, 33. Of the sixteen men who entered the contest, only eight qualified: Messrs. Lane, Montgomery, Seely, Schweppe, Collins, Bowman, Melling and Bowman. In the first tie shoot of possible 10 targets, Lane, Howell, Seely, Schweppe, Bowman and Bowman made 10 straight; Collins and Melling made 9. In the second tie shoot of a possible 5 targets, Lane, Howell and Seely made the 5, and Schweppe, Bowman and Bowman made 4. In the last event, a miss-and-out, Lane won the medal, breaking a straight 25, Howell going out on 4 and Seely on 8. At the close of the shoot, Mr. Lane was challenged to shoot for the medal on the club grounds on July 13, and he will on that date meet a half dozen marksmen who covet the gold medal and the local championship.








Wood River Driving Park


Wood River Driving Park Hotel, in Alton Junction (or East Alton)



Source: Alton Telegraph, March 29, 1872

Considering the state of the track, through the heavy fall of snow on Friday last, one of the best quarter races ever ran was at the Wood River Driving Park last Saturday. A short time ago Mr. Ed Nevill, the proprietor of the hotel and park, purchased the celebrated race horse "Blind Weasel," and immediately matched her against Mr. Hastings' "Fleet Foot," the race to come off on the 23d inst., independent of the weather. The horses were brought on the track promptly, when a hitch arose as to the choice of track, but Mr. Nevill finally consented to Mr. Hasting's terms. The horses were taken to the Quarter Pole, and after a little delay in starting, the word was given to go. The Grey got the start by 3 feet, but in six jumps she got up to him. They ran neck and neck until passing the grandstand, when the mare shot away from the Grey, and after a most exciting contest, the Weasel won the race by five feet. So even was the race thought to be that what betting took place was even.



Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, September 2, 1879

A lively foot race took place at the Wood River Driving Park last evening. The contestants were H. V. Clark and B. Wortmann. Distance two miles. The first mile was made in eight minutes. Clark won the race.



Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, September 4, 1962 and Alton Telegraph, July 2, 1976   (in copyright)

The Wood River Driving Park, considered one of the first harness racing tracks in Madison County, was established by Zephaniah B. Job. The track was located near the Alton junction of the Indianapolis & St. Louis Railroad, now known as the "islands" in East Alton. Job had a horse farm which covered over two-thirds of what is now East Alton. At the Driving Park was a hotel.










Source: Alton Telegraph, January 5, 1866

Nearly all young people of both sexes, who can spare the time, have taken to skating as a diversion. The passion for it prevails now as extensively in the winter, as the rage for baseball does in all other seasons. It is a graceful and fascinating amusement, and when moderately indulged in, must be healthful and invigorating. But it is rather too fascinating. When the young girl who has just learned to skate, or is yet learning, gets the gleaming steel blade under her feet, she rarely feels disposed to take them off until she is utterly tired out, or the shades of night overtake her on the ice. By giving way to this desire for skating long after a proper and prudent enjoyment of the exercise has elapsed, a great deal of harm is done. The skates, if not properly strapped, soon check the healthy circulation of the blood. The feet are chilled by contact with the metal of the skates, which is in contact with the ice, and soon get benumbed. All this time the body being in active motion, the circulation is quickened everywhere except in the feet and ankles. This, it will be seen, reverses one of the cardinal maxims of health, viz.: to keep the feet warm and the head cool. Young men and young girls in vigorous health can stand this for an hour or so without much harm; but four, three, or even two hours of the sport under such conditions is certain to do damage sooner or later. During the last skating season we heard of more than one case of death traced directly to such imprudence, and quite a number of cases of serious illness. There is another matter that these unwise young skaters should be warned about. Used to their warm, palatable and regular meals at home, they go to the skating ground, let the hour for meals go by, satisfy themselves with a few cold sweetcakes, or frequently nothing at all, when the animal forces need more than usual, and so derange the whole digestive system. This aggravates the damage done by the prolonged and unusual exercises. In every way this excessive indulgence works harm. Parents, guardians, and all persons of mature age, should therefore impress it upon young persons to take it moderately.


Source: New York Clipper, November 16, 1907/1908
The Crawford Skating Rink has opened its doors for the season.








Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, January 12, 1881

Mr. William R. Robertson has made extensive arrangements for opening his Roller Skating Rink at Mercantile Hall tomorrow evening. Roller skating is a pleasant and healthful social recreation.



Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, October 9, 1882

The skating rink opens at Armory Hall tonight.



Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, March 22, 1883

Mr. W. A. Judson of Paris, assisted by Prof. C. C. Hager, are conducting a skating rink at Armory Hall.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 28, 1906
Go into the roller skate egg-race at the Crawford hall in Upper Alton tonight. Those who enter for the race will each carry an egg in a spoon. Come and see the fun, and get into the race.







John J. Rooney, WrestlerBIG WRESTLERS ARE HERE

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 1, 1901

John J. Rooney [shown in photo at left], the policeman from Chicago, and Robert McDonald, the Canadian champion wrestler, are in Alton and are preparing for the big match that will come off tomorrow night at Temple theater. Rooney said today that he is in the best of condition and is confident of success. Neither McDonald nor Rooney have ever suffered defeat, and both will go into the contest tomorrow night to win. Rooney is a magnificent specimen of manhood. He measured today, at the age of 32, and tipping the beam at 108 pounds - 52 inches at normal; chest expanded, 45; biceps, 14 1/2; forearm, 141/2; thighs, 21; calf, 15 1/2; neck 18. He made an offer to throw any ten men in the city who could be pitted against him and he would pay $25 to any man who would stand against him fifteen minutes after his match with McDonald. Rooney is at Pieper hotel, and McDonald is at the Madison. McDonald is in prime form and is as fine a specimen as Rooney. He is a fine-looking, big fellow, and is in the best of condition. Both men promise a first class exhibition and say Alton was fortunate in securing such an important match.



Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 3, 1901

The fiercest wrestling match ever held in this part of the country was that between John J. Rooney and Robert McDonald at Temple theatre last night. The Chicago policeman and the Canadian champion had records of never having been beaten, and neither could afford to lose. Both men were in no pleasant frame of mind when they started to wrestle, and the feeling toward each other was not softened when McDonald claimed Rooney had intentionally fouled him a few minutes after the start, and Rooney declared McDonald was "faking," and had not been hurt. Then the contest was started in deadly earnest, and every second that followed was filled with hard struggling. The match was catch as catch can, no holds barred. The men were desperate and both were on their mettle, being evenly matched in agility, size, weight and experience. Time after time Rooney broke from McDonald's best holds, and the Canadian was equally hard for the big policeman to handle. The battle was a scientific one all the way through, and the giant wrestlers were at a tension the whole time. The strangle-hold did the work both times for Rooney. He threw McDonald in 22 minutes the first time, and 24 minutes the second time. Rooney says it was the worst fight of his life, and McDonald is the best man he ever went against. When the second fall was gained, the loser was almost helpless, having been strangled almost to unconsciousness before he would give up, although Rooney gave him several opportunities to yield. The Canadian has real pluck. The match was for $250 a side and the box office receipts.






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