Country Ball: Big Teams in Small Towns

This article was written by Marty Payne

This article was published in the The National Pastime: Monumental Baseball (Washington, DC, 2009)


It was a hot summer day in 1897 when hundreds of fans of the Federalsburg Club in Maryland gathered for a game. This small town of barely a thousand people was proud of their team. Little did they know that three of the young teenagers taking the field for them that day would soon be in the major leagues. Jack “the Whirlwind” Townsend was from across the border in Delaware, and had developed a blazing fastball throwing rocks to knock apples from trees. It was his way of enlivening the mundane chore of feeding the pigs on his father’s farm. Behind the plate was Bob Unglaub. Unglaub grew up two blocks from Oriole Park and worked his way from the knothole gang to bat boy and mascot of the Baltimore club. He learned the finer points of the game shagging flies for the likes of John McGraw, Hughie Jennings, and Wee Willie Keeler. Down on third base was Chappy Charles. He had left New Jersey as Charles Achenbach and turned up in Federalsburg as Raymond Charles. How and why did these three young men and future major-league players end up on the baseball team of this small, rural community, seemingly so far off the beaten track?

Baseball became a competitive sport among the towns of the Eastern Shore of Maryland soon after the “unpleasantness between the states.” It was supposed to pit the best young men each town had to offer against each other, and for a time, this amateur philosophy prevailed in these small towns. But accusations of the use of “imported” players, or “foreign men,” as they were often called, began to surface as early as the 1870s.

Baseball teams in country towns did not play a set schedule in the early years. They would send out “challenges,” sometimes by newspaper, letter, or telegraph. In 1873, Cambridge sent a “midnight wire” to challenge the team in Seaford, Delaware, the next day. When they arrived at 10:00 A.M., they found that the Delaware team would not take the field until 3:00 P.M., once the trains brought in their “imported” players.1

In 1878, the Easton Club quietly inserted three Baltimore players into their lineup against St. Michaels, Maryland, in a “friendly game,” including the Baltimore battery of Tucker and Roche. When Easton faced Queenstown a few weeks later, it was the same Baltimore battery they employed against these self-styled champions of the Eastern Shore.2

Opponents accused the Easton Club in 1884 of bringing in one of the best semipro pitchers from Baltimore. Easton defended the use of Mr. Jones, saying he recently moved to the area and was “engaged in farming.”3

A few years later, Cambridge, Maryland, accused Easton of “putting up a trick” of using another Baltimore battery in their bitter rivalry, but Easton wasn’t the only guilty party. The game was delayed for several hours as the two sides negotiated which of each club’s professionals would be allowed to play.4

But the attempted clandestine use of “foreign men” would soon give way to competition and economics. The beginnings of such open use came from an unlikely source.

Washington College is located in Chestertown, Maryland, situated on the banks of one of the many tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay. During this era the college had a student body of but seventy to eighty young men. From 1865 to the late 1880s the usual opponents were local amateur nines, but they also began to develop a rivalry with St. John’s of Annapolis. The Maryland Intercollegiate Athletic Association was formed in the 1880s in order to determine a state champion in various sports. The little college soon found itself drawn into a more collegiate schedule competing against larger and more talented schools, such as Johns Hopkins University, Maryland Agricultural College (University of Maryland), Syracuse University, and the University of Pennsylvania.

There were no restrictions on paying college players at the time. One opponent, New Windsor College, was described as having players from all over the country and backed by a hired battery, while few of the players on the Deichman School squad were said to be enrolled there.5

In 1891, the college was faced with an important game against their rival, St. John’s of Annapolis. Dick Hawke was making the rounds as an arm for hire on the local circuit, so the college “secured” his services for the St. John’s game. The faculty quickly imposed a rule that only college students be used, but when their second baseman was injured, they allowed an imported player to fill the position. All pretenses were swept aside. Three years later Hawke, after pitching the first major-league no-hitter from the modern pitching distance, was holding out on the Baltimore Orioles, and it was fully expected that the college could secure his services for their season. Unfortunately for the college, Hawke and Baltimore reached an agreement.

In 1892, the college signed a local pitching star, Al Burris, and teamed him with the twenty-five-year-old catcher and assistant coach, Dave Zearfoss. Both would see action in the major leagues. Burris got his chance in 1894 in a one-game shot with the Philadelphia Nationals. He was made coach and athletic director when he returned, though still a student. As long as Burris was in charge, he continued using imported players. Newspapers speculated if a player would be “secured,” or when another might “arrive.” Local future major-league players like Homer Smoot and Jack Townsend were signed, as Burris found additional talent on local semipro teams like Chappy Charles and Bob Unglaub. While playing under his real name for a number of town teams and the college in the late 1890s, Bob Unglaub was paid $40 a month under his middle name of Alexander for the University of Maryland.

It was through the 1890s that the transition from amateur to openly professional teams took place. While the college was not the first on the peninsula to use imported players, they appear to have been the first to use them openly. One of the reasons baseball was of such high quality is that the region was not as isolated as one might first imagine from its geography. The Pennsylvania Railroad had bought up all the independent lines on the peninsula, and a fleet of steamboats plied the Chesapeake Bay, forming an efficient network of transportation. In the 1890s there were bumper crops of peaches and wheat, while new canning techniques had created a national and international market for seafood of the bay. These commodities were shipped by rail to Philadelphia and New York and across the bay to Baltimore by steamboat, and then westward via the B&O Railroad. While much of the country was mired in recession, the money in these rural towns was flowing and the citizens were willing to spend it on baseball.

Although running an independent professional team at this level was rarely a moneymaking proposition, most towns insisted on a top-notch team, not only for the local fans but also for the people and attention it could attract to their towns. Many towns on the bay advertised themselves as resorts to the people of Baltimore and Philadelphia, with beaches, bay breezes, swimming, fine food, and hotels. It may have been the same attractions that helped lure baseball players from nearby metropolitan areas and beyond.

THE TALENT

These country towns, avid for baseball and ranging in population from a few hundred to three to four thousand, found a number of sources for stocking their rosters. Small towns were the first step for young teenagers venturing on a professional career. Areas known for the quality of their teams attracted their attention. Young aspirants would send their résumés to towns known for their quality teams. From Sadie McMahon in 1886, to Nick Maddox, Buck Herzog, and a host of others in the early 1900s, to Eddie Rommel in 1916, many youngsters traveled to the peninsula to begin their professional careers. After claiming the championship of Maryland and Delaware in 1907, Cambridge received over a hundred applications the following spring.6

Semipro players from nearby metropolitan areas were also drawn with either seasonal or short-term deals. The Eastern Shore drew much of its talent from Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia, and Wilmington. Lefty High, Otis Stocksdale, Jimmie Mathison, and Stub Brown were among the many city semipro players and major-league participants who also played on shore teams. Major-league teams often dipped into these environs for quick-fix substitutes when needed while they were on road trips.

Another source of talent was the nonroster reserve players from the major-league clubs in the region. These players were not technically on the major-league roster but were kept close by if injury or poor play called for their services. In the 1890s there were major-league teams in Baltimore, Washington, and, by 1901, two in Philadelphia. Sometimes these players would appear on their own team such as the Baltimore “Yannigans,” but nonroster players were often allowed to play for independent teams as a way to stay in shape. Charlie Gettig and Zeigler of the Giants both appeared on the shore in this fashion.

Nor was Organized Baseball known for its generosity in paying its players at any level, and many realized they could make as much, if not more, playing outlaw baseball. Many of the outlaw leagues were of minorleague caliber, but some players with major- or minor-league talent opted for town teams. Art Rooney, future owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, turned down a major-league contract because he could make more money playing semipro ball.7

Bob Unglaub sat out major-league baseball in a dispute over his minor-league contract and made almost double the salary he received in the major leagues while playing in the outlaw Tri-State League. Mike Cantwell pitched for Cambridge, Maryland, for two years in 1915 and 1916 before going to the big leagues. He returned in 1921, and many doubted his return, but a local paper reported, “But he is positively engaged. He’s pitching independent ball this year.”8

A three-year record of 1–6 and an ERA of over six runs a game may have influenced his decision. As late as the 1950s, local lore has it that Dickie Porter, a home-bred major-league veteran, was of the opinion that at least one of the regional semipro teams at that time was as good as most Class B minor-league squads of those years.

Independent teams were also an option for the disgruntled holdout. Many were of the minor-league variety, but not all. In 1917, Ty Cobb threatened to play for the independent professional team of a wealthy manufacturer if his salary demands weren’t met. His threat was taken seriously, possibly due to Home Run Baker’s precedent. At the peak of his career in 1915, Baker was locked into a three-year contract with the A’s while the Federal League was throwing around big money. Unable to extract a raise from Connie Mack, Baker chose to “retire” to his farms and “hit a few around with the boys.” Baker played for independent teams that year in Upland, Pennsylvania, and the Easton Diamondbacks in the newly formed independent Peninsula League. As if that weren’t enough, Baker played for several other town teams in what were billed as “Home Run Baker Days.”

Major-league players were sometimes given permission to play on such teams. Buck Herzog played for Seaford, Delaware, in a series against Cambridge, Maryland, in 1908 while playing in sixty-four games for the Giants that season.9

Cambridge tried to hire pitchers Joe Corbett and Dad Clarkson for a big game with rival Salisbury, Maryland, in 1896. But Corbett was scheduled to go against Cleveland, and it was reported that the journeyman Clarkson “had no idea of losing a reputation in a country town.”10

Small towns were not intimidated when trying to attract major-league talent for their fans.

Country ball was often the last stop of the professional journey for aging veterans. In 1904, Steve Brodie of the old championship Orioles was brought in to play for Cambridge in the waning days of the Eastern Shore League.11

In 1907, the town of Hurlock, Maryland, was looking for a way to quiet the bat of the torrid-hitting Frank Baker in their series against Cambridge, and found their answer was the crafty, soft-tossing, left-handed Frank Foreman. The “Waverly Wonder” had started his major-league career in 1884 and appeared in four of the five major leagues that had existed to that point.12

Through thirty years of quality country ball, the Eastern Shore of Maryland produced a number of homegrown products for the major leagues. After the brief stint of Al Burris in 1892, it was Homer Smoot and Frank Baker during the Deadball Era, including the brief two-game shot of Jim Stevens with Washington in 1914. By 1921, a new crop of talent was getting their start on these independent rural town teams, including Dickie Porter in Princess Anne, Maryland; Vic Keen in Snow Hill, Maryland; Frederick “Doc” Wallace of Church Hill, Maryland, and Washington College; Jake Flowers, in Cambridge, Maryland, and Washington College; and Jimmie Foxx in Goldsboro, Maryland, and Sudlersville, Maryland.

Between 1886 and 1921, nearly fifty future, former, and contemporary major-league players have been identified as having played on the professional town teams on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. This may be a conservative count, considering that many played under assumed names, either to protect their amateur status, or their reputation at a supposed higher level of competition. Some may have just lied to their parents about their summer job. Not all parents of that era wanted their sons to grow up to be ballplayers.

THE TEAMS

Baseball was arguably at its best on the Eastern Shore of Maryland between 1900 and 1921. Crumpton was a crossroads village of only a few hundred people. In 1902, their team was described as “a pitcher from Philadelphia, a catcher from Baltimore, and a team from God knows where.”13

Contemporaries usually referred to baseball in these towns as “amateur.” Later historians tend to lump it into the realm of semipro baseball. Actually, the teams ranged from purely amateur to partly professional to totally professional. It varied from town to town. It could change in a given town from year to year, month to month, even week to week, depending on finances and opponent. Perhaps the best description of country ball comes from a local newspaper in 1903:

The prospects are that there will be more baseball seen on the Delaware and Maryland peninsula than ever before in the history of the national game. The country papers give evidence that from Wilmington to Cape Charles clubs are being formed in every town and village where nine players can be gotten together . . . towns are making big preparations to put ball teams in the field, and some good sport can be expected. At some of the above mentioned towns only local men will be used, but in others foreign talent will be employed. Some of the people on the Eastern Shore are getting their baseball ideas so well up in “G” that they are not satisfied with local material. They want good baseball and enthusiasts are willing to pay for it. It is safe to say no better baseball is seen anywhere then on this peninsula, in towns of similar size and this season will not probably be behind former ones.14

While an obvious boast, there are a few teams whose quality warrants some attention. The previously mentioned Washington College featured future big-league players Al Burris, Dave Zearfoss, Chappy Charles, Bob Unglaub, Homer Smoot, and Jack Townsend through the 1890s and early 1900s. While the Salisbury and Cambridge clubs featured players from Philadelphia and Baltimore during the decade, they were hardpressed to match the future success of the Federalsburg youngsters. But the 1900s brought an influx of talent up and down the peninsula.

The Ridgely Club of 1904–5 may have featured five major-league players with an all-big-league infield at one point. Their captain and second baseman was Baltimore native Buck Herzog, who went on to a thirteen-year major-league career and a managerial stint in Cincinnati. He conceded his natural position at short to his old teammate at the University of Maryland, Si Nicholls. Nicholls was playing in Ridgely after a brief appearance with Detroit in 1903, promising his parents he would give up the unsavory future of professional baseball. It was a promise he could not keep. Nicholls was starting at shortstop for the Philadelphia Athletics by 1907. Pitching and playing outfield was Sam Frock of Baltimore, who would later appear in Pittsburgh, including their 1909 World Series season. At first base was Baltimore and peninsula semipro stalwart Bill Kellogg, who would later see action in the big leagues as a utility fielder for Herzog in Cincinnati. Young Frank Baker was signed as a pitcher and outfielder but saw little action until the third baseman was injured.15 Matthews does not mention the year. Baker did not sign with Herzog and Ridgely until 1905. The author could find no Ridgely box scores for that season. Herzog, Frock, and Nicholls appear in the 1904 box scores. Kellogg was a stalwart of these town teams throughout the early 1900s, appearing for several, often in the same season, and could have played for Ridgely in ’05. Nicholls played for Piedmont, West Virginia, in ’05, and Frock for Concord of the New England League. However, this does not necessarily preclude their appearing for Ridgely that year as well. Nicholls also played in Pocomoke that year, and it was a fluid baseball environment.

Within three years, all but Kellogg were playing in the major leagues. The leap from country ball to the majors did not seem that far.

The Eastern Shore League of Maryland formed in 1904, attracting many quality players to the three participants in Easton, Salisbury, and Cambridge. Cambridge led the teams in major-league players with Al Burris and Pete Loos of Philadelphia, Buck Herzog, and Stub Brown of Baltimore, Chappy Charles of New Jersey, and former Oriole Steve Brodie, although all didn’t appear at the same time. Easton may not have had the numbers, but they had a former and future major-league pitching duo in Johnnie “Brownie” Foreman and Nick Maddox, both of Baltimore. Maddox impressed Pittsburgh in his tryout with the club and in his third game for them, on September 20, 1907, threw the first no-hitter in the club’s history. The next year he tied for the team lead with 23 wins with future Hall of Famer Vic Willis, who was from Cecil County on the upper shore. Maddox made significant contributions in the 1909 World Series.

A picture of the 1905 team from little Pocomoke, Maryland, shows Home Run Baker, Si Nicholls, Al Burris, Chappy Charles, and possibly Jack Townsend. Many players sold their services up and down the peninsula in the same season. Bob Unglaub appeared for Washington College, Federalsburg, Cambridge, and Crisfield, Maryland, the latter where he met his future wife. Financial mobility was one of the luring attractions of independent baseball. Many played for two or more peninsula teams while playing for metropolitan clubs as well. In 1921, Vic Keen pitched for five semipro teams, including his hometown club of Snow Hill, and it is estimated that he appeared in approximately fifty games while racking up as many as 450 innings, including a win over the Negro Hilldale Club of Philadelphia. He earned a contract with the Chicago Cubs in August and attributed his lackluster performance the rest of the season to a tired arm.

It wasn’t until 1915 that a local team could match the rosters of the first few years of the early 1900s. That was the year the independent Peninsula League formed. Home Run Baker was sitting out a year in a contract dispute, and one of the teams he played for was Easton. His teammates included future major-league players Jack Enright and Joe Knotts, both of whom also played with Baker for Upland, Pennsylvania, but Easton could only muster third place in a four-team league. Seventeen-year-old Eddie Rommel was the star pitcher for Seaford, Delaware; Doc Twining was the star pitcher in Salisbury, Maryland.

THE PROOF

There were times when these country teams proved themselves against stiff competition. In 1878, the Wilmington Quicksteps of Delaware were a highly touted independent club who often played against National League teams as the latter traveled the circuit. The Quicksteps had won a number of these contests against major-league clubs. It was said they “came down like wolves on the fold” to Salisbury for a best-of-three-game series with the Salisbury club. A witness later described the event, “The Quicksteps went out turning handsprings and throwing somersaults. They had padded their team with Lafferty, of the famous Athletics, and two or three other league players. They thought they had a picnic, and they had, but Salisbury had strengthened by getting Tucker, a curve pitcher, Roach, catcher, and Groves 2b, from Baltimore. In the presence of about 1,000 of our best citizens the battle began.”

Salisbury swept the overconfident Wilmington club in two games. The Quicksteps were so incensed with the losses they immediately proposed for a series on neutral grounds in Dover, Delaware. They would play for the then-princely sum of $500. Colonel Graham, a Salisbury backer, immediately met the bet, with the stipulation that the rosters be frozen to those who had just completed the games. Wilmington withdrew their challenge against the country town.16

During the 1870s and ’80s, games with Baltimore-area teams were infrequent, and local teams were usually outclassed. But this quickly changed. By the 1890s, one local scribe went so far as to declare he was “fairly disgusted” with the quality of teams coming from Baltimore. Washington College clarified a rare 5 to 4 loss to a city team by saying they were beaten by the Lutherville–Johns Hopkins University–Baltimore City–State of Maryland–Base Ball Combination.17

In 1896, the semipro Starlights claimed the championship of Maryland in a Baltimore newspaper based on their recent exhibition victory over the world-champion Orioles. They were willing to take on all challengers, and Salisbury responded. When the dust settled on the Salisbury field, Starlight manager Jimmie Mathison conceded that Salisbury was indeed “hot stuff” and the best team in the state following a lopsided 14–0 loss. Pumped up by the victory, Salisbury boasted, “we are the best team in the state, excepting the Orioles, and we are not afraid to tackle them.”18

They then challenged the Baltimore Orioles to a game, with the enticement of a trip to the resort of Ocean City, Maryland. There is no evidence that the world champions accepted the offer.19

Next it was the Baltimore Yannigans in 1897, featuring nonroster reserves of the Orioles, including Elmer “Herkey Jerkey” Horton and Dan McGann, and managed by Wilbert Robinson. They didn’t expect the stiff contest offered by the Chestertown Club. The locals had imported a pitcher named Lattimore, also known as the “Virginia Wizard.” The Yannigans were leading 3–1 in the ninth when the local team rallied with men on the corners and one man out. The Yannigans then became embroiled in a protracted argument and walked off the field. “The truth of the matter was that Horton, a league pitcher, came over expecting a cinch and was disappointed and determined to end the game in a ‘kick’ rather than go home defeated by a country club.”20

Peninsula teams held their own against highly touted barnstorming teams like the Nebraska Indians in 1906, the Cherokee Nationals in 1907, and the Chinese Nationals of Hawaii in 1913–14. There were also regional aggregations like the Stricker All-Stars and Kilduff’s All-Stars.

While teams from the Eastern Shore of Maryland continued to dominate metropolitan semipro and all-star teams through the early 1900s, it was in 1915 and 1916 that participants of the independent Peninsula League showed just how good country ball could be. Salisbury won the Peninsula League championship in 1915. They were met at the train station after their clinching victory by a brass band. The team presented sponsor W. Gordy with an autographed ball tied in ribbon of team colors of black and gold, and they were provided supper at the Elks Club. Mayor Bounds announced in his speech that all the players would always be welcome in the town. The young ladies of the town then presented the team with a twelve-foot-long orange and black pennant that read, “Peninsula League Champions 1915,” which was unfurled from the fourth floor of the B&L Building. But they weren’t done just yet.

They arranged to end the season with an exhibition with the Philadelphia Athletics, who featured Napoleon Lajoie. It finished the season with the dismal record of 43–109, but it was still a big-league team coming to town. Twenty-five hundred fans packed the stands at Gordy Park on an unusually hot late September afternoon to watch Doc Twining pitch the local club to a 6–3 win over Connie Mack’s A’s. One of the Athletics players was heard to remark as he walked off the field that they “hadn’t played in front of a crowd that size at Shibe Park all season.”21

A year later the Cambridge Club filled in an open date on the league schedule to play the high minor-league Baltimore Orioles. A local paper reported that Jack Dunn’s squad was “soundly clouted” in the 8–2 Cambridge victory.22

THE AGRARIAN MYTH

Baseball’s roots lie in the rudimentary ball-and-stick games of an agricultural society, but the phenomenon, as we have come to know it, came out of the cities. Modern baseball gained definition in the New York Game and quickly spread to other metropolitan areas. Baseball, it has been argued, reflected the country’s new urban and industrial persona. By the early 1900s, however, the perception of baseball in our culture seems to have returned to its rural beginnings. Historian Richard Crepeau referred to it as the Agrarian Myth, but it may not have been a myth.23

Popular and sporting publications of the era seemed to instinctively grasp the importance of baseball in rural communities and its subsequent impact on Organized Baseball. Many writers, well into the 1920s, pointed out that the best pitchers, past and present, as well as the better-position players, came from farms and rural towns. Off-season interviews with star players were as likely to depict the rustic setting as delve into the personality of the subject. Bozeman Bulger of the New York Evening World described his ten-hour rail trip to interview Home Run Baker in 1912, remarking, “those trains run by sight and stop whenever the engineer sees something of interest.” Bulger was greeted by Baker at the “little burg” of Cambridge with, “Somewhat to the bush, eh?”24

It was well known among scribes that the best way to approach the taciturn Baker for an off-season interview was to catch him after a successful day of duck hunting. Rural communities, as reflected by their newspapers, considered baseball “their” game.

Even urban-born players seemed to cultivate this rustic image. Babe Ruth, the ultimate Baltimore bar rat, was one of them. The former city street urchin went to great lengths to portray himself at work on his Massachusetts farm, playfully posing at his chores for the media. Another Baltimore native, Buck Herzog, began his career as a young player-manager for the Ridgely club in 1904, where he married a local girl and later purchased a farm with his baseball earnings. There he sowed his own crops, raised chickens and purebred dogs, and enjoyed horseback riding and fox hunting. He was quick to point out that this was not a bit of posturing, and his was a real working farm. It was said his automobile rarely left the garage.25

Steven Reiss’s doctoral dissertation may provide clues as to why people on the Eastern Shore of Maryland boasted that they had better baseball than other towns of similar size in the country, and why many believed in the agrarian myth.26

Reiss provides a chart that indicates over thirty percent of major-league players of the era came from towns of less than a thousand people. Extending the towns to populations of five thousand show that 49.9 percent of the major-league players came from communities like those on the Delmarva Peninsula, while 4 percent came from cities of 100,000 or more. The region had an expanding economy and an avid baseball-fan base. This enabled the town teams to attract local and regional talent. The feature that made the country ball on the Delmarva Peninsula different from many other regions was their location near the metropolitan areas of Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia, and Wilmington. They were in a unique position to attract players from the two major demographic sources of talent for the major leagues.

Many believed that the most wholesome heroes of the game came from rural areas. Home Run Baker repeatedly told the press during his 1915 holdout that he was content working the family farms as he was playing baseball, and everyone knew he meant it. Five years later, he sat out another season in order to take care of his children following the death of his wife. Baker was admired as a man of integrity with the proper priorities. Such players were considered the backbone of our society, and the source of our nation’s virtues and strength. Urban players were influenced by this perception. Whether real or romanticized, many saw rural towns and country ball as the heart and soul of American society and baseball.

 

This article is adapted from “Country Baseball on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, 1867–1921,” by Marty Payne, in The Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and Ethical Culture (2002).

 

Notes

1 “Base Ball,” Dorchester Herald-News, 26 July 1873.

2 For the use of the three Baltimore players on Eastern Shore teams see “Base Ball on Friday,” Easton Star, 6 August 1878, and “Base Ball-Queenstown Easton,” Easton Star, 24 September 1878.

3 “The National Game,” Easton Star, 17 June 1884

4 For accounts from both sides see “Base Ball,” Dorchester Democrat-News, 20 August 1887, and “Base Ball,” Easton Star, 20 August 1887.

5 Untitled, Chestertown Transcript, 26 April 1894.

6 “Meeting of Cambridge Base Ball Association,” Cambridge Daily Banner, 22 May 1908.

7 See Harold Seymour, The People’s Game, 3 of Baseball (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990), 266–70.

8 Untitled, Cambridge Daily Banner, 2 July 1921.

9 “Base Ball News,” Dorchester Democrat-News, 4 July 1908.

10 Reported in “Wind Up with Cambridge,” Salisbury Advertiser, 29 August 1896.

11 “Baseball This Week,” Salisbury Advertiser, 10 September 1904.

12 See “Baseball This Week,” Dorchester Democrat-News, 30 August 1907, and “Cambridge Team Winning Streak,” Dorchester Democrat-News, 10 August 1907.

13 “With the Baseballists,” Chestertown Transcript, 24 May 1902.

14 “Sporting Notes,” Chestertown Transcript, 2 May 1903.

15 The possibility that all five played together comes from Starr Matthews, “‘Work and Win’ Is Motto of Clever Charley Herzog,” Baltimore Sun, 12 March 1911.

16 An unknown author wrote a series of articles on the history of baseball in Salisbury in The account of the series with the Wilmington Quicksteps appeared in “Gossip on the Diamond,” Wicomoco News, 13 August 1903. Although the year of the series is not mentioned, this author has conjectured 1878 as when this game took place. It was a “fever season” when enthusiasm ran high, and the Baltimore battery of Tucker and Roche had appeared on at least two other Shore clubs that year.

17 “Base Ball,” Salisbury Advertiser, 15 August For the Washington College complaint see Chestertown Transcript, 14 June 1894.

18 See “Our Club Accepts Challenge,” Salisbury Advertiser, 18 July 1896, and “Base Ball,” Salisbury Advertiser, 25 July 1896.

19 Untitled, Dorchester Democrat-News, 25 July 1896.

20 “Notes on the Diamond,” Chestertown Transcript, 12 August 1897.

21 The championship celebration is in the Wicomoco News, 15 September For the game against the Athletics see “2,500 Turn Out to See A’s,” Wicomoco News, 25 September 1915.

22 “Cambridge 8; Baltimore Orioles 2,” Cambridge Daily Banner, 16 August 1916.

23 Richard Crepeau, “Urban and Rural Images in Baseball,” Journal of Popular Culture 9 (1975): 315–21. As late as 1925, some were still espousing baseball’s rural roots and An example of this perception is found in “Country Boys in the Big leagues,” Literary Digest 85 (18 April 1925): 602.

24 Bozeman Bulger, “Home Run Baker’s Rise,” Literary Digest (16 April 1912): 718–21.

25 Starr Matthews, “’Work and Win’ Is the Motto of Clever Charley Herzog,” Baltimore Sun, 12 March 1911.

26 Steven Reiss, “Professional Baseball and American Culture in the Progressive Era,” (Ph.D. , University of Chicago, 1974). The themes of Reiss’s dissertation on the Progressive movement tie in to the “agrarian myth.” If the “swing” cities of five to ten thousand are included in the rural calculations, over 54 percent of major-league players came from small towns. If included in the metropolitan equation, urban players total a little over 50 percent. See also David Quentin Voigt, American Baseball: From Gentleman’s Sport to Commissioner System (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1966).

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