“Be gentlemen, gentlemen, even if you are defeated a thousand times”

Behold! An elusive, comprehensive, newspaper account of an early Nashville base ball match providing some context to the 1866 season and the landmark Cumberland/Rock City rivalry. This clipping from the October 1, 1866, Nashville Press and Times, provides us with several outstanding nuggets.

  • The two clubs played four and only four matches that season, at least by the time of this match. Now we know more about what not to look for.
  • Shortstop J.L. Sullivan of the Cumberlands played with a (presumed) case of cholera! He survived, but this was no ordinary illness. During the fall of 1866 several hundred Nashvillians a week died from this disease.
  • Fielding was very poor (not all that surprising).
  • John Dickins hit two home runs!
  • And of course the bit about gentlemanly conduct and “respecting the umpire.” This passage confirms our historical ideal of the gentlemanly ballplayer as well as the reality of heated amateur competition.

The city editor of the Press and Times, Capt. Edward Metcalf, was a founding member of the Rock City Club, although he seems by this time to have removed himself from active participation in the matches. In several previous games he acted as scorekeeper for his club.

DailyPressTimes_10011866_pt1 DailyPressTimes_10011866_pt2

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