Just as soon as I think I have a handle on the earliest instances of Tennessee baseball, there’s another entire archaeological layer to uncover. This time it’s the Lookout Club of Chattanooga, a club I had thought formed sometime in 1866. My last post mentioned a scheduled match on July 4, 1866, between the Cumberlands and the Lookouts, so I checked the Lookouts page on Protoball.org to see if that match had been added. It hadn’t, but someone had added a mention to a Lookouts article in the March 31, 1866 New York Clipper. See below for that article.
This game was an intrasquad contest, so the May 12, 1866 game between the Cumberland and Rock City Clubs is still the earliest recorded match in the state. But several points jumped out at me as I read it.
- Not only are the Lookouts now the earliest club in the state, but if they had been idle for “over three months,” they would have been formed in 1865. This is new to me.
- If the play was “fully up to the standard of the previous season,” what does that mean? What kind of a “season” did the Lookout Club enjoy in 1865?
- They opened their “spring campaign” with an intrasquad scrimmage featuring seven men to a side. If there was a second club in the Chattanooga area for them to play against, they decided not to do so.
- The two squads combined for five home runs, but given the lack of a third outfielder, one would have expected a higher score than 24-20. If the rules were modified to accommodate fewer fielders, it is not mentioned.
In part two of this post, I’ll dig a little further and see what I can find about the 1865 Lookout season.