In The Big Inning …

Houston's Baseball Tree Was Not Without Buffaloes Forever.

In the 1861 beginning of Houston “Base Ball”, there were no Buffaloes, no paychecks, and no players. Organized several weeks beyond the Texas secession from the Union, base ball had to wait for the end of the Civil War before it really took off as the most popular sport in town, but the seeds of love for the game had been planted early.

Contrary to popular theory, Houston already knew about baseball prior to the Civil War. It was not one of those southern cities that only learned about baseball through the experiences of returning Confederate veterans who had been exposed to the game as prisoners of war.

Remember. Houston’s founders, the Allen brothers, came here from New York in 1836. They brought with them other New Yorkers and they continued to attract new settlers from the northeast section of the country that was already involved in the evolution of baseball. For all we know, the first Houstonians may have been playing some kind of baseball from the very start, and certainly from beyond the 1845 date of the Cartwright-rules game that came into fashion on the Elysian Fields of New Jersey. It is most unlikely that the founding group that met in the upstairs room above J.H. Evans Store in Market Square on the night of April 16, 1861 had never played a single game of base ball on Houston soil prior to that evening.

If only F.A. Rice were here for five to ten minutes borrowed time from his eternal tour of eternity beyond the grave, he could clear up  lot of questions for us. F.A. Rice was the man the new HBBC elected as their first president on that now documented date of the group’s formation. He could clear up so much for us with even a few nods of the head. Unfortunately, that’s not how this thing works.

All we know for sure from that little newspaper clipping about the April 1861 foundation of the Houston Base Ball Club is that organized interest in the game existed in Houston at least as early as the beginning of the great Civil War.

Unfortunately, the graves and their occupants cannot be summoned to help us flesh out most of the unreported details.

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: