1888: Some Rough Times at Fair Grounds Park

Fair Grounds Park, 1888 Houston, Texas Original Art Copyrighted By Patrick Lopez

Fair Grounds Park, 1888
Houston, Texas
Original Art Copyrighted By
Patrick Lopez

 

The 1888 Houston Babies were “the Good Guys” in this town back in the day. No doubt about it. If you don’t believe it, read the Houston Post coverage of the first season of the Houston Babies and the fledgling Texas League. “The Bad Guys”, on the other hand, were any team that stood in the Babies’ way on the road to sweet victory, but none more so than the mean and often discourteous Galveston Giants.

Predictably, the perspective on good guys and bad guys identification most often depended upon the location of the newspaper reporting on the game. Sometimes, however, one local newspaper would take published exception to the way another newspaper from the same community reported on matters, if the reporting source felt the other paper was not standing up for their own city – or treating the issue fairly. – Wouldn’t it be nice in 2016 to have another newspaper in Houston again – one that was large enough to wake up the Houston Chronicle every now and then on their often droll and partisan coverage of the news as the only newspaper in town?

Here’s how the Galveston Evening Tribune covered another report, apparently from the Galveston County Daily News, on the alleged miscreant behavior of two Galveston players in a game played against Houston at the Fair Grounds Park prior to this May 1, 1888 Tribune report. The Galveston Evening Tribune column headline on that date read as follows:

PRETTY ROUGH – The Statement Made by The (Galveston County Daily) News as to the Disgraceful Conduct of the Galveston Ball Team – The Report is Not Believed.

And so the article says –

The Galvestons are out on a tour of the state and it was hoped that the players would so conduct themselves, both on and off the field, as to win the respect of the public. It is possible for a man to be a gentleman under all circumstances, although he may not be a ball player. These preliminary remarks are based on reports that have reached Galveston – reports that every lover of the national game in Galveston most heartily wishes may be untrue.

Here are some sample paragraphs from the Houston Post and (they) apply to the Monday’s game.

“Manager Sullivan of the Galvestons wants clean ball playing and will stick fines to Pujol and Stallings for their hoodlumism yesterday.”

“If the umpire cannot manage Pujol, turn him over to the police. People do not pay their money to witness an example of hoodlumism. Nor do ladies occupy the ladies’ stand to hear startling, dirty talk to the umpire.”

The correspondent of the (Galveston County Daily) News at Houston furnishes a lot of stuff this morning that is not only sick(en)ing but untrue. It is pronounced untrue for the reason that the Houston Post of today makes no reference to anything of the kind and it is safe to say that if the Galveston players behaved as the News says they did that the (Houston) Post would have referred to it both elaborately and extensively. The Post says of the game:

“The Houston Babies redeemed themselves yesterday by playing the prettiest game of ball ever witnessed in Houston. They were mad with themselves for playing so listlessly on Monday and to ease their conscience they fairly wiped up the earth with the Galveston Giants. They jumped on (Galveston pitcher) Stallings with both feet and lined him right and left. (Houston pitcher) Flood pitched a beautiful game and was beautifully held by (Houston catcher) Lohbeck. Dunn, the new (Houston) man, showed up strong in the field and at the bat, and is dandy on the coaching line. The other (Houston Babies) players covered their territories in handsome style.”

~ Galveston Evening Tribune, May 1, 1888, Page 5.

And so it was. Another tempest in a teapot went away with the cooling of a road trip, but others would follow, full steam. That’s been the history of baseball, in all of its varied era, time and place beginnings.

Reminder: The Dedication of the Historical Plaque at the Site of Fair Grounds Base Ball Park, Milam at McGowen, is this Saturday, February 20, 2016 @ 11:00 AM. Please join us for this free public celebration of another important moment in Houston Historical Preservation.

____________________

 eagle-0range Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas

https://bill37mccurdy.com/

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3 Responses to “1888: Some Rough Times at Fair Grounds Park”

  1. materene Says:

    Ditto on the comment about the Chronicle, I was using the online viewing for headlines since I don’t live in Texas any longer and they changed their software so it would never run on my system after that and I contacted them and told them about it but it was never taken care of so I just deleted it. I do miss the early reports but like you said too bad there isn’t another paper in town. I like a lot other kids in the early 60s was working after school selling subscriptions for the Houston Press, when it finally went under it was really a sad day, even sadder when the Post died. I guess what I liked most about the Press was them being across the street from that old Chinese market. The route manager would go upstairs to take care of the daily business and we kids would walk across the street and buy some made in China junk . You just don’t forget stuff like that when you get old. ;0)

  2. Tom Hunter Says:

    A minor quibble from an old English major, Bill, regarding the Houston Chronicle’s “droll disinterested coverage.” Disinterested is defined as objective and unbiased. The Chronicle is “uninterested” in covering certain stories, since it is the only newspaper in town.

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      No quibble here, my dear friend and favorite editor. Once I read your expert comment, I also learned that Merriam-Webster goes so far as to define “disinterested” as “free from selfish motive or interest.”

      From here, The Eagle now flies to change the word first used to one that too often fits the Houston Chronicle’s news coverage, with David Barron and Evan Drellich in Chronicle Sports being the two biggest exceptions. The Eagle gives the Chronicle credit for employing both of those two fine journalists and a few others.

      The word “uninterested”, however, still too often cover’s the Chronicle’s lack of concern for our complaints about the poor home delivery service.

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