1896 Houston Buffs: “No Boozers on This Team”

"BUFFALO WATCHING" by PATRICK LOPEZ Travis Street Park, 1896 "Where Seldom is Heard, An Inebriate Word"

“BUFFALO WATCHING” by PATRICK LOPEZ
Travis Street Park, 1896
“Where Seldom is Heard,
An Inebriate Word”

“No Boozers on This Bus”, or words to that effect, has been around a long time, and, in Houston, it dates to a documentable occurrence in 1896, but probably got rolled off some pundit’s pen or tongue even earlier, if we look deeper for older evidence. Friend and research colleague Darrell Pittman sent this little gem to us today as a commentary from the March 19, 1896 Houston Post. If you’re not counting, that was 119 years ago. – Just think of all the things we have built – and long since torn down in Houston – over that same range of time, without ever laying a deadly hand on the future of baseball as a big league sport in our fair city – forever, we hope.

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CHICAGO WILL PLAY HERE

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Next Saturday and Sunday at the Travis Street Park.

Are those Houston Buffs boozing again?

Are those Houston Buffs boozing again?

Cap Anson

Cap Anson

 Arrangements have been completed with Adrian Anson whereby the “Runaway Colt” will bring his Windy City aggregation to Houston to meet the Bayou City team in battle royal next Saturday and Sunday, at Travis street park. The Houston team was to play the Chicagos in Galveston next Saturday, but it was thought advisable by the management of the Houston Base Ball association to induce Captain Anson to bring his club down here next Saturday and Sunday, so the Cap. was rung up by telephone this morning and was convinced by the eloquence of (Club) President Bailey that Houston is the best base ball town in the State, and that the Chicagos would draw more people in Houston than the World’s Fair drew visitors to the Windy City; so, the Captain accepted and his gigantic form will be seen here on the above named dates.

Manager Garson and Captan (sp) Shaffer had the boys out again yesterday afternoon and all the boys show(ed) up in first class shape. George Reed, the “Adonis” of the Texas League, is in first class shape and is as full of ginger as John L. Sullivan was in his best fighting days.

The dates of the games were changed in order to give the people of Houston an opportunity to see the article of ball the team is capable of putting up, and no doubt large crowds will attend both games. The management is especially gratified in getting Captain Anson to play here Saturday, as the Saturday game will give those who are unable to attend Sunday a chance to see the team play.

The boys had a running race coming in from the park yesterday, and Henry J. Cote, the best minor league catcher in America, beat all the boys, with Charles Becker, the fleet-footed left fielder, a close second.

Jimmy Slagle

Jimmy Slagle

 Manager Garson received  telegram from James F. Slagle, the center fielder of the Houston team, notifying him that he left Brookville, Pa., last Monday, which will bring him into Houston this morning at 5:30.

The baseball enthusiasts of the city who HAVE seen the boys are gratified to see the change in the team, compared with the teams that represented Houston on the diamond in former years, as they are all gentlemanly, and not one boozer on the team.

~ Houston Post, Thursday, March 19, 1896

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ADDENDUM: Thanks to this question from Mark W.: “What was the outcome of the game between the Buffs and Anson’s Windy City team?” – And thanks to the Galveston Daily News for making the line scores of each game so easily retrievable. we must regretfully report that the Houston Buffaloes got blown away by the swiftness and power of the Chicago White Stockings in Game One. The Buffs then rallied with two little, too late in the  Sunday contest. For the record, the crowds hardly came close to Buffs President Bailey’s “eloquent” hyperbole appeal. They hardly rivaled the crowds that rushed to Chicago for the World’s Fair.

As often was the custom in those days, Houston chose to bat bat first as the home team:

Game One Line Score: Travis Street Park in Houston, Saturday, March 21, 1896:

GAME 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F
HOUSTON 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
CHICAGO 1 1 3 0 4 0 2 2 X 13

Game Two Line Score: Travis Street Park in Houston, Sunday, March 22, 1896:

GAME 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F
HOUSTON 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 3
CHICAGO 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 1 X 5

And don’t forget our wonderful SABR book on the rich early history of Houston baseball. “Houston Baseball: The Early Years, 1861-1961” by a diligent and meticulous team of researchers and writers from our Larry Dierker Chapter of SABR is now available through Barnes and Noble and Amazon.Com. – If you are interested in a closer-to-home better deal that helps our future SABR work even more, please contact our chapter chair, Bob Dorrill, to see what he has in stock:

The contact e-mail address and cell phone number for Bob Dorrill are listed below for those of you interested in either the book or membership in SABR:

Bob’s e-mail:  bdorrill@aol.com

Bob’s Cell Phone: 281.630.7151

 

 

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4 Responses to “1896 Houston Buffs: “No Boozers on This Team””

  1. Mark W. Says:

    What was the outcome of the game between the Buffs and Anson’s Windy City team?

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Thanks, Mark! – Chicago took both games. Saturday was a 13-1 romp, but Sunday they had to settle for a 5-3 victory as a late Buffs rally fell short. Because of your questions, I’ve added the line scores of both game to the main body of the column text.

  2. Wayne Roberts Says:

    Should have had more boozers on the Buffs

  3. Trudi Says:

    Spot on with this write-up, I truly feel this amazing site needs much more attention. I’ll probably bee back again to see more, thanks for the advice!

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