Sunday, July 15, 2012

SEC Fan's Guide to Mizzou Baseball: Mizzou Baseball Roots

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 studeny 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 inaccessible.  I have been able to find some records in a late 19th century campus newspaper titled the MSU Independent. (Note that in those days the school was commonly referred to as Missouri State University).

Advertisement from the
MSU Independent, 1886
Baseball (MSU Independent, 2/8/1886)
On the 30th of January last there was a meeting of quite a number of baseball enthusiasts held in the Engineering building for the purpose of considering what plans should be laid for the coming baseball season. A committee composed of Professor Place, C. E. Dewey, and J. H. Lay was chosen to solicit aid from all University students in order that the baseball team might be fully equipped in the spring.
This year the chances are very favorable for establishing baseball on a firm basis, and if this could once be accomplished those that are in position to know, say, that baseball would then be entirely self-sustaining.

It is very evident that this year the Athletic Association is not able to assist baseball and it is for this reason that it was decided to ask the help of the students by subscription. Something like $100.00 will be needed to fully equip the team.

We must have a team placed in the field early this year and one that is able to meet all comers. Challenges fiom Michigan University. Rush Medical College of Chicago, and from a college in Illinois have already been received, and now that we have an athletic field we probably could get Kansas to attempt to retrieve her shattered fortunes in a contest on the diamond.

It all depends upon the start; it is early now, but not too early for work. Wake up, everybody. Sign your name to the subscription paper when presented for whatever amount you feel able to give, and the success of the baseball season is assured.
Local News (MSU Independent, 4/17/1887)
The Missouri-Kansas baseball match to be played on Rollins field, the afternoon of May 6th will be the star game of the season. Both teams are looking forward to the game as the struggle of the year.

Missouri has a better team on the diamond this spring than has been known for years. The Kansas team ranks in baseball where her football team does in its department. Our boys expect to hold up our end, and we are confident will make an excellent showing.
Since the game is to occur in the afternoon of the day of the interstate contest, the visitors will all have arrived, and. of course, will attend. Society will be out in full force, and with an exciting game in anticipation, the the event will certainly be of unusual interest.
The Athletic Field (MSU Independent, 4/8/1899)
The Board of Curators has ordered that the athletic field be placed in good order; Messrs. Rollins and Rothwell being placed in charge of the work. A new layer of cinders is being placed on the straightaway track, and the same will be done for the one-four- th mile circular track. It is to be hoped that the committee in charge will see that the base ball field is fixed up, as it is the poorest excuse for a diamond that could possibly be found. It needs a layer of soil placed on the infield so as to avoid the uneveness which at present causes water to stand around first and second bases.
SEC Baseball Fan's Guide to
Mizzou Baseball
For anyone who would like to read more about the early years of Mizzou Baseball, there are several posts here at on the subject.

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