Monday, June 24, 2013

"The Great Base Ball Match" of August 1865 in Washington, D.C.

The above baseball boxscore appears front and center on the front page of the oldest newspaper I own — the August 29, 1865, edition of The Philadelphia Inquirer. There is a five-deck headline for the article, which states:

"WASHINGTON, Aug. 28. The Grand Baseball Tournament. Which has been for some time past in preparation commenced this afternoon on the grounds south of the Presidential Mansion. The match to-day was between the National Base Ball Club of Washington and the Athletic Base Ball Club of Philadelphia, which resulted in a victory for the Philadelphia club over their 'national' opponents.

"The sport attracted an immense concourse of spectators, upwards of ten thousand being within the inclosure [sic]. Among the visitors were the officers of the President's household, and many distinguished civilians, as well as military and naval officers. All seemed deeply interested in the proceedings. There was also a stand exclusively for the ladies, and a fine band of music was in attendance. The day was all that could be desired, being clear, cool and pleasant, and everything combined to render the scene exceedingly interesting and exhilirating [sic]. ...

"The Philadelphians were entertained in the kindest and most hospitable manner by the Washingtonians. Carriages were provided in the morning, and the Athletics visited the various public buildings and the Capitol, where the Werz [sic] Court martial was in session, where they got a glimpse of the prisoner.

"They also called the President, but were unable to obtain and interview, owing to the President being engaged at the time. To-night a complimentary supper was given to the Athletics at the National Hotel by their Washington friends, where speeches were made and there was a good time generally between the victors and the vanquished. To-morrow the Athletics go to Baltimore, to play the Pastime Club of that city."

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