Tenney: Baseball and Christmastime in Tombstone, Arizona

From SABR member John Tenney at Base Ball in Arid Land on December 3, 2014:

December is here! With all of the hustle and bustle of the Holidays upon us, we turn back towards one of the earliest towns to support a base ball nine – Tombstone.  Originally a boom town for silver mines founded in 1878 near the San Pedro River, had seen by  January of 1881 a town  growing at a rapid pace complete with two newspapers, an opera house, saloons and hotels for weary travelers. 

Amongst the holiday entertainments offered was base ball, the emerging national game.  In February of 1881, a fore runner of the club featured below would receive a challenge from the Tucson B.B.C. printed in the pages of the Tombstone Epitaph and also appearing as far as the Arizona Weekly Gazette in Phoenix. It took the rest of the year for the boys in Tombstone to organize a full club despite the constant taunting supplied by newspapers in Tucson and Phoenix.  The Tucson and Tucson clubs wouldn’t face each other on the diamond to settle the score until May 12, 1882.  Tombstone, led by mining engineer George S. Rice, would lose the opening match to Tucson, after a hard fought affair that saw the end of the match – bottom of the 9th inning specifically, post-poned until the next day due to darkness.  The delay did little to change the fortunes of the valiant ballists from Tombstone.  They eventually acknowledged defeat by a final tally of 22 to 14.  The game report printed on the next day by the Arizona Daily Star heralded the match as a “Great Base Ball Contest” going on to credit both clubs for their tenacity and courage displayed on the diamond. 

Read the full article here: http://baseballinaridland.blogspot.com/2014/12/baseball-and-christmastime-in-tombstone.html

Originally published: December 3, 2014. Last Updated: December 3, 2014.