May 14

Here a fan there a fan everywhere a fan

The 1878 baseball season opens with a 13 to 1 victory by the National Baseball Club over the visiting Baltimore “Cracks.” About six hundred people paid the entrance fee required, and the house tops, fences and trees in the vicinity are filled with spectators, who greet every good play with loud and impartial applause. The game was called at 345PM and the Nationals losing the toss batted first.[1]

“The Nationals score five runs in the seventh inning to win the game. Bannon walked on three balls. Kenney ran for him and stole second and then ran to third on a passed ball by Welsh. Wise saw a third strike drop into Welsh’s basket. Holly got one to suit him and sent a ball to center, on which Bannon scored, the batter seeing first, and was advanced to third on a two-base throwing error by Houck to left. Holly scored on a pass by Welsh, who also gave Sadie Houck a run on a similar error. Barron made second on a hit to left, which Benson vainly tried to clutch, stole third on a pass by Welsh, Dallas fly settled in Tucker’s hands. Barron scored on a hit of Sam Trott’s to first, which Marshall misjudged. Bob Stevens nailed one to left center for two bases, sending Trott to third, who scored on the aerial pass by Welsh. Stevens going to third, where he stayed, as Kenney’s hit was handled in time by Welsh.”[2]

22 April Editorial in the Washington Post. “The Nationals opened the season by a game of ball with a picked nine from Baltimore: A large number of people witnessed it, but, sad to say, by far the greater portion were outside the fence. It is a useless if not a thankless task to speak about a circumstance which is too apt to attend every ball game; but now at the beginning of this year’s play, it may be well to state, that the club depends entirely upon the gate receipts for the means to liquidate the debt incurred by improving their grounds, and also to bring outside clubs to this city, and unless the lovers of this game relinquish choice positions outside the fence and plank down their money and come within, the plans of the club for a brilliant series of games will be seriously crippled.”[3]

The Post ran this earlier in the year. “Based on the success of the team in 1877 the National baseball club having contracted for, has accepted the lowest bid for enclosing their grounds with a new and substantial fence, and seats for 1,500 spectators, which will be commenced on or about  15 March. A portion of the seats will be cushioned and covered; these will be reserved for ladies and their escorts. The uniform will be the same as last year, only, in addition to the blue stockings, the nine will also wear the “Blue Ribbon.” The club has entered the League Alliance and will make two or three Eastern trips, and expect to have many first-class teams here during the season.”[4]

The National Ball Club of Washington having defeated the Astoria Club of the District in the famous series in 1877 are intent in spreading their wings and taking on all comers in and outside the District.  Baseball already hugely popular in the District is at the dawn of a golden age.


[1] Washington National Republican. Nationals Line-up, Hollingshead, Houck, Barron, Dallas, Trott, Stevens, Kenney, Bannon, Wise. Baltimore Line-up, Dulnaey, Welsh, Massieu, Reville, Marshall, Benson, Tucker, Hilde, Haddock. Time 1:50, Umpire WE Stevens.

[2] Washington National Republican

[3] Washington Post