Wednesday, October 29, 2008

19th Century Missouri State University Base Ball

Photo at right: 1891 Missouri State tigers

"Intercollegiate athletics [at Mizzou] dated back to 1873, when a university team played baseball with Westminster College. The game created wide interest, and each spring thereafter the varsity baseball team challenged teams from nearby towns."
(James and Vera Solson, The University of Missouri: An Illustrated History)

"The baseball game with Westminster was an annual affair; on one occasion the Columbia nine arrived in such hilarious mood that they were held under arrest until they identified themselves. They lost the game.....But the story really begins with the organization of the Missouri university Athletic Association in September, 1886, and the appointments of committees to organize two baseball nines and two football elevens. Any real development belongs to the nineties. It is interesting to note that in 1886 the faculty at studetn request named officially the colors of the University. After really serious consideration the faculty settled on crimson and gold."
(Jonas Viles, The University of Missouri: A Centennial History, 1839-1939)

Finding detailed and accurate information on Missouri Baseball prior to 1900 is difficult. The Columbia Daily Tribune, the primary newspaper in Columbia during the 20th centruy, was not in existence until 1902.
Other newspapers came and went during the prior century, and records for those journals are incomplete and sometimes inaccesible.

I have managed, with the aid of the State Historical Society of Missouri, to piece together some records prior to 1900, and will reproduce them here on these pages as time allows.

These newspaper accounts are quite informative and also interesting.

The "lingo" of the time comes through strongly in the newspaper articles. The game is called base ball, not baseball.

And the University itself is referred to as Missouri State University, or M.S.U.

Also, the names of the University leaders of the time read like a list of building names on a current map of MU

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