Saturday, 7 July 2018

1885-07-01Holiday Baseball

Full evidence of the grip that baseball had on Hamiltonians in 1885 was the schedule of the Canadian Baseball League. Hamilton was the only city in the league to have two franchises, the Clippers and the Primroses. On the national holiday, the Primroses played the Clippers at the Dundurn ball grounds in the morning. In the afternoon, the Clippers played an exhibition game against the Cass from Detroit also at the Dundurn yard, while the Primroses had to quickly travel to Guelph to play an afternoon game with that city’s Maple Leafs team. There was also an afternoon game involving the Torontos playing in London against the Londons.

          In 1885, the local newspapers were generally only a pages long, with only one page reserved for Hamilton local news items. As evidence of the interest of Hamilton residents on the baseball news of the day, the Spectator on July 2, 1885 devoted nearly have of that one page to sporting news, mostly baseball.

Following is that coverage as regards baseball in full, including full box scores.



“This match created much interest among the admirers of the game. The fact that the Woods brothers were to be the battery for the Primroses led many to suppose that the Clippers were to be beaten, and almost everybody thought it quite possible that that result might be attained. There were five thousand spectators, and the Primroses had the sympathy of the crowd. People who had refused to applaud the Wood brothers cheered them vociferously yesterday. It was evident that the crowd wanted to see the Primroses win. Little Richardson, too, when he stepped to the front was received with applause. The game was a good one. There was little choice between the batteries. Both catchers caught well – Moore perfectly. Pete Wood pitched out more men than Chamberlain did, but eight hits were made off Wood, but two off Chamberlain. This fact is partially accounted for by the relative batting strength of the teams. As it was right there that the Clippers had the advantage; they out-batted the Primroses by a very heavy majority. And the Primroses assisted the Clippers’ batting by making errors rather too profusely. The very newest of the men in either team did not show to good advantage. Except Richardson and he is hardly a new man in Hamilton. He was the only man of the team who got to third base. It might be mentioned that only two reached second base, and only four arrived safely at first. The game was characterized by good sharp play, and it was quite evident that both teams played to win. Everybody was thoroughly satisfied that they had seen a capital game, and all Hamilton people are prepared to state, openly, that there two particularly clever ball teams in this neighborhood. Crowfoot umpired and did it well.  The scorer has this to say:

Clippers    A.B.    R.  B.H.  T.B.  P.O. 

 A.  E. Rainey, 3b    4     0      0        0       4     4  1

Andrus, ss                4    1      2        2        1     2  0

Moore, c.                  3     1     1        1         8    1  0

Chamberlain, p.        4     0     0        0         0   9   2

Crogan, lf.                 4     1     1        2         3   0   0                             Stapleton, lb.             4     1     2        2       13   0   0

McGra, 2b.                3     0     0        0          1  2   0

Wilson, rf.                  3     0     0        0          1  2   0

Hoyt, cf.                     4     0     1        1          1  0   0


Totals                       83     4     3        9        27 18  3

Primroses            A.B.    R.  B.H.  T.B.  P.O. 

 Bierbau,2b              4    0      0        0       1      0  0

Richardson, ss         4    0      1        1        2     0  0

Wilson, lf.                  4     0     0        0        1    0  0

P. Wood, p.               3     0     0        0         1  11  7

J. Wood, cf.               4     1     1        2         3    0  0                             

Jones, 1b, lf.              4     0     0        0         2   0   1   

Kirkland, 3b.               3    0    0        0           2   0   1                 

F. Wood, c.                2     0     0        0          1  2   0

Hoyt, cf.                     4     0     1        1         10  0   0

Barnfather, rf.            3     0     1        0           0  0   0


Totals                       29     0     2        3        24 13  13

Clippers ………… 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 0 *      4

Primroses ………… 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0      4

Runs Earned – None

First base on errors – Clippers 8, Primroses 1

First base on called balls – Clippers 4, Primroses 1

First base on Fielder’s choice – Clippers 1, Primroses 0

Reached first base – Clippers, 17, Primroses 4

Total called balls – On Chamberlain, 58, on Wood 83

Struck out – Clippers 8, Chamberlain, Crogan 2, Wilson 2, Hoyt 2; Primroses7, Bierbau, Wilson, 3, j. Wood, Kirkland, F. Wood.

Total strikes called – Off Chamberlain, 47; off P.Wood 42.

Left on base – Clippers 9, Primroses 3

Two base bit – Crogan

Double play – J. Wood to Richardson

Passed balls – Moore, 0, F. Wood, 1

Wild pitches – Chamberlain 1, P. Wood 1

Umpire – Crowfoot, Toronto.

Time of game – One hour and 35 minutes.

Attendance – 5,000

                   THE CLIPPER-CAS GAME

          “The Clippers have had their revenge. A little while ago, they sent a crippled team to Detroit without a catcher, and the Cass club played the Detroit league team and several other big teams against them, and crushed the poor Clippers 12 to 1. Yesterday, the Cass club sent one or two Cass men, the big slugger of the crack Indianapolis league team, and a lot of professional players over here to repeat the performance. But they didn’t. Rooney, a new man, pitched for the Clippers. He is a fat, good-natured sort of fellow, does his work easily and, does not seem, from the reporters’ box to be much of a pitcher. But, all the same, he makes them pound wind in an eminently satisfactory manner, and the hits made off him by the aggregation of sluggers opposed to him were few and far between. It must be that he deceived the reporter. He certainly deceived a large number of heavy batters. The Cass men were overmatched – the Clippers had a catcher – and the Clippers pulled away ahead of them. The seven foot slugger from Indianapolis finally knocked the ball away over the trees and back of the right field crowd. It had been agreed before the game that two bags only should be made of a hit in that crowd; but the tall fellow ran home. Then there were some expostulations. Finally, the Clippers grew generous and gave him the home run. Another man followed with another ball in the same direction, and made three bags. Then there was more expostulation ; but the umpire said that as the rule had been broken, it must stay broken. These performances and some errors judiciously placed by the Clippers, shot the Cass people up to 6 runs, but they staid there – just two behind the Clippers. The game on the whole was not a very brilliant display of ball; but the crow was invigorating. The attendance was probably the largest ever seen at a ball game in Hamilton. Listen to the score:

 Clippers    A.B.    R.  B.H.  T.B.  P.O. 

 A.  E. Rainey, 3b    5     2      3        3       2     2  0

Andrus, ss                4    0      1        1        1     2  7

Moore, c.                  4     2     3        3       11    5  1

Crogan, lf.                 4     0     0        0         1   0   0

Stapleton, 1b             3     0     2        3         8   0   1  

McGra, 2b.                4     1     2        2         3   4   1

Myers,cf.                   4     1     1        1          1  0   0

Rooney, p.                3     0     2        3          0 11   7

Hoyt, cf.                     4     2     1        1          0  0   1


Totals                       36     8    15       17        27 24  12

Cass            A.B.    R.  B.H.  T.B.  P.O. 

 Buckenberger,2b     1    0      0        0       4      3   1

 Poorman, lf.& p.       4    0      0        0        1     3   3

Walker, c.                  3     0     0        0        6    6   5

Thompson, 1b.          4     2     4        9        9    2    1

Rouseau, 3b.             4     2     1        1        2    0   0                             

Robinson, ss.              4    2     1        3         0   0   0   

Lawrence.p & lf.          4    0    0        0          1   2   2                 

Leadley, cf.                 4    0     0        0          1  2   0

Williams, rf.                 3     0     0        0          0  0  0


Totals                       30     6     6       13        24 16  15

Clippers ………… 2 2 0 0 3 1 0 0 *         8

Primroses ……     0 1 0 0 0 0 3 0 2      6

Runs Earned – Clippers 0, Cass 1

First base on errors – Clippers 3, Cass 7

First base on called balls – Clippers 2, Cass 5

First base on Fielder’s choice – Clippers 2, Cass 1

Reached first base – Clippers, 20, Cass 14

Total called balls – On Rooney, 39, on Lawrence 22, on Poorman 40

Struck out – Clippers 5, Crogan, Stapleton. McGra, Myers, Hoyt; Cass 11, Buckenburger, Poorman, Rousseau 2, Robinson 2, Leadley 3, Williams, Lawrence.

Total strikes called – Off Rooney, 49; off Lawrence11, off Poorman 20.

Left on base – Clippers 6, Cass 2

Two bas
Two base hits – Stapleton, Rooney.

Three base hit – Robinson.

Home run - Thompson

Double play – Andrus to Stapleton, Poorman to Thompson to Walker

Passed balls – Moore, 0,  Walker, 2

Wild pitches – Rooney 2, Lawrence 1, Poorman 2

Umpire – Crowfoot, Toronto.

Time of game – One hour and 50 minutes.

                   MAPLE LEAFS v. PRIMROSES

          “Guelph, July 1 – The game here today between the Maple Leafs and the Primroses resulted in favor of the Leafs, much to the surprise of Guelph. The Primroses were strengthened, while The Maple Leafs had to put in the veteran Billy Smith to pitch. It was the first professional game he pitched since the old professional Maple Leafs and Tecumsehs were rival on the ball field. He received and ovation from the spectators as he stepped into the box. The Primroses presented Young and O’Neil as their battery as the Wood brothers, who played in the morning game against the Clippers, were not on the field this afternoon. Barnfather relieved O’Neil after the first inning, and caught the rest of the game. Both side batted freely. The following is the score by innings :

Maple Leafs ………… 0 3 1 0 0 1 1 0  2       8

Primroses ……            3 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0        5


“Poor old London!

“Yesterday was London’s Knight off.

“Richardson has forgotten how to run.

“Stapleton was struck four times by the ball while at bat yesterday.

“The Maple Leafs have some idea of joining the Canadian league.

“Two games and a long ride to Guelph was too much for the Primroses yesterday.

“The blue suits of the Primroses were better filled yesterday morning than ever before.

“News comes of a terrible accident at Guelph. The Maple Leafs have won a game.

“The Torontos are the most fatigued men in the league today. Nineteen times around the bases – Phew!

“Were they really men – ball playing men paid for playing ball – that let another lot of fellows make nineteen runs yesterday?”1

1“The World of Sport : Items of Interest to the Noble Fraternity : How It Was Observed By Hamilton People : Notable Ball Games ”

Hamilton Spectator     July 02, 1885.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

1885-07-01 Holiday

“Canada’s eighteenth national holiday has come and gone, , and it leaves a memory of a cool and pleasant day, of flying flags, of music from many bands, of fire crackers and flaring fireworks, of dust, of ice cream, of soda water, cigars and – beer.”

Hamilton Spectator     July 02, 1885.

The first of July, 1885 was a national holiday in Canada. In Hamilton, all shops, factories, and stores, in fact nearly everything was closed for the day.

One of the very few that workers that did not have the day off was a Spectator reporter, who had the assignment of capturing the events of the holiday in Hamilton. He was busy from the break of day until well after sunset:

“Both early morning and late at night the streets were thronged with people, hurrying to the various attractions in and around the city, hustling to catch the excursion trains and boats for Buffalo, Toronto and elsewhere. But through the middle of the day, the streets were almost deserted. The weather could not have been finer. The sun was shining from a cloud-flecked sky, but a delightfully cool breeze blew through the day and prevented nature’s self-feeder from making things uncomfortably warm. There were happy faces everywhere, and it is safe to presume that the eighteenth anniversary of confederation was thoroughly enjoyed by Canada’s loyal subjects.”1

1  “Our National Holiday : How It Was Observed By Hamilton People : The Big I.P.B.S. Demonstration at Dundurn, House of Providence Picnic, and Other Holiday Attractions”

Hamilton Spectator     July 02, 1885.

The biggest of many attractions in Hamilton, on July 1, 1885 was at Dundurn park where the Irish Protestant Benevolent Society leased the grounds for the day, and provided all sorts of events within, tempting one and all to pay admission at the gate to enter:

“It was a successful event. This society’s demonstrations always are. They make their arrangements carefully and generously, provide excellent attractions, and spare neither pains nor expense to secure the enjoyment and comfort of their patrons. It is a way they have and a way that has made the Hamilton people feel , and know that when the I.P.B.S. undertake to do anything, they do it with all their might, and that in every instance, they can be depended upon to make that particular part of the day’s entertainment which they have under their care, an overwhelming success. It was so yesterday.

To induce ticket buyers to head for Dundurn, a procession containing a band and some uniformed marchers gathered in the city’s core:

“At 1:30 p.m., the Thirteenth band and two uniformed societies, the Royal Scarlet Knights and the knights of Sherwood Forest, formed in procession at the gore and marched to the grounds. They took a large crowd with them, and thousands more filed in through the afternoon.”1

Dundurn Park itself was always an attraction, particularly in the summertime, and it was an animated, jolly place on July 1, 1885:

 “Dundurn was looking as pretty as it well could, and it was crowded with a jostling mass of promiscuous humanity, plentifully sprinkling with white and colored summer dresses, that contrasted well with the more sober garb of the male portion of the audience.”1

Hamilton was baseball mad in 1885, and the managers of the demonstration scheduled two games at Dundurn’s ball grounds, one in the morning, and one in the afternoon, to induce the baseball ‘cranks’ to pay the fee to get into the grounds. The grandstand beside the baseball field, only constructed that spring, would be well-filled for both games.

“The morning game was between the two Hamilton franchises in the professional Canadian Baseball League, the Clippers and the Primroses. The number of people estimated to watch the game was about 5,000. Of especial interest were the three Wood brothers, top level professional baseball players from Buffalo, New York. The brothers had recently left the Clippers, saying that their contract had been broken because the Clippers’ manager had not played all three at the same time in a game, despite them being promised that they would always be on the field together. The Wood brothers had simply decided to break their contract with the Clippers and signed up with the other Hamilton team, the Primroses.

While the morning game was well-attended, the afternoon game attracted more than twice as many, believed to be the largest attendance at a game ever before in Hamilton’s sporting history. Not only was the grandstand completely full, fans circled the field and had to be restrained from getting into the field of play itself. A ball which landed in the outfield crowd was an automatic double, while any ball hit over and beyond the crowd was a home run.

However, as the game was in progress, several other things were happening at Dundurn:

“While the match was in progress, the uniformed societies (each body 23 strong) gave an exhibition drill, and won frequent applause for the excellent manner in which they went through the difficult evolutions they were called upon to perform.

“The Thirteenth band was in the park all day, and furnished the exquisite music that Hamilton people have been taught to expect from it. Melody was also provided during the afternoon and evening by the Lomas family of juvenile musicians. The Thirteenth string band played at the dancing platform for scores of people who tripped the light fantastic until their feet ached”1

In a series of brief descriptions, which appeared under the heading, Notes, the Spectator reporter wrote:

          “The grounds were very orderly. There were no disturbances and no inebriates.

          “The children from the boys’ and girls’ homes were on the grounds during the afternoon.

          “The blind gentleman with the violin and extraordinary vocal powers reaped a harvest of pennies.

          “Mr. J. H. Eager and Mr. Robert Irwin attended to the ticket selling. They did it well, and appeared to be able to keep Barnum’s lightning pasteboard dispenser hustling to keep up with them.

          “ The street car service to the park was excellent, and plenty of accommodation was provided. Mr. M.C. Dickson, the superintendent, looked after it in person, and patrons of the line feel grateful to him for the thoroughly efficient manner in which he did it.”1

By late afternoon, most of the huge crowd which had been in Dundurn Park started to leave, and for a very brief time, there were few people left in the beauty spot:

“Ball match and games at an end, the spectators filed out , for the afternoon was getting unsatisfactorily near 6 o’clock, and thoughts of edibles to dispose of were disturbing the sight-seers. But the grounds were not empty long for the people had scarcely gone out before they commenced to return again. The band and the plumed knights marched up again in the evening. By 6:30 o’clock the grandstand and the grounds were once more filled to overflowing.”1

The evening experience at Dundurn was made memorable for many on July 1, 1885 as outdoor electric lights, still a novelty at the time, were turned on, until the time came to turn then off again:

“The electric lights were in full blast, though they were put out while the fireworks were being set off. The fireworks were all arranged to face the grandstand, and people who chose that vantage point to sit in, had an excellent view of the magnificent display. Mr. J. Pain, of London, England, who was running the exhibition of colored pieces, seems to understand how to do sort of thing pretty well. The effects were novel and ingenious and the colors artistically blended. The bombardment of Alexandria was about the most elaborate set piece of the evening, and brought prolonged applause from the people, whose upturned faces looked very peculiar from the effects of the variegated lights. At 10 o’clock, God Save the Queen sounded from the band, which signified that it was time for all to skip.”1

There were other attractions for Hamiltonians to choose from on July 1, 1885.

At Bayview park at the far west end of Hamilton bay, an immense crowd, who were mainly taken there by the steamer Lillie, enjoyed picnicking, roller skating and outdoor dancing. At Ainslie park, along the line of the Hamilton and Dundas street railway, the Sons of Temperance held a picnic. At the Ocean House, the hotel at the beach strip near the canal, roller skating was a prime indoor attraction, while outdoors, picnic parties on the sand were held and numerous fishermen could be seen trying their luck from shore or out on the waters of lake or bay. Finally, there was the then new Lansdowne Park, on the shoreline of Hamilton bay at the foot of Wentworth street north, where another temperance picnic was held attended by about 600.

However, Dundurn was the place to be for thousands upon thousands of citizens, and it proved to be as popular with all who went there at some time during the day:

“The demonstration was more largely patronized than the average demonstration is, and this is due to the fact that the committee did not provide a multiplicity of attractions, dispensed with speech-making and a long list of games, and had the attractions they had, the best they could procure. The total attendance was considerably over 12,000.”1

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

1885-06-25 Wall Shooting (Part 2)

James Wall was the most important prisoner to appear in Hamilton's Police Court on June 25, 1885, just two days after the shooting incident :

    “The preliminary trial of James Wall, for shooting at Rosa Zoeller with intent to kill, took place at the police court yesterday. Mr. Carscallen appeared for the prisoner, and entered a plea of not guilty. Mr. Crerar, county crown attorney, appeared for the prosecution.

“Rosa Zoeller testified : ‘Live at 109 James street north with my husband. Was out for a drive with my husband until 4 o’clock Monday last. I then went to Mrs. Mason’s on Peter street, and Mrs. Mason and Mr. Davis went for a drive with me. I returned shortly after 8 o’clock and was waiting for my mother-in-law. Wall came out of my house. He came over to me and said, ‘You have been out with Davis.’ I said no, and he pulled a revolver from his pocket and said, ‘You are gone.’ He raised the revolver and pointed at my head . I Stretched out my hand to take the revolver. My hand touched his arm and the revolver went off. He then drew the revolver back and held, but I managed to get it. Before I got the revolver, I saw him shake it. I threw it on the sidewalk and called out for someone to take care of it. Wall took hold of the horse after that, and said I had better clear out or he would have my life. There was a crowd around when he said thes. I said to a policeman present : ‘For God’s sake, take hold of him.’

“Cross-examined by Mr. Carscallen : I had been driving with my husband and had been out from 12:30 o’clock. It was about 8:30 when the shooting occurred. The horse was standing in front of my house. After leaving my husband at home, I drove up to Peter street. Mrs. Mason and Mr. Davis drove with me over to Bayview and then we returned to my house, by way of the Beach. I was sitting in the buggy in front of my own house when I first saw Wall. I was sitting alone in the buggy waiting for my mother-in-law to drive her home. Wall came up and said, ‘you have been driving with Davis.’ I said no, and he immediately raised a revolver and said, ‘you are a goner.’ The prisoner  raised the revolver and I touched his arm. The revolver immediately discharged. I touched him with my right hand. I was sitting squarely in the buggy and the lines were over the dashboard. Only one shot was fired. No one was nearby.

“James Dwyer sworn “ ‘I was at my door on James street on Monday night; saw my buggy at Zoeller’s door. I heard a report like that of a firecracker, then Mrs. Zoeller who was in the buggy screamed and the horse started to run away. I went over and caught the horse. A policeman had already seized it. Wall also had hold of the horse, by the bridle. Heard Wall say, ‘You had better leave town.’ Mrs. Zoeller called out for someone to take hold of him.

“Maud Evans sworn : Saw Wall come out of Mrs. Zoeller’s house, go up to the buggy and say something in a low voice. Mrs. Zoeller said no. I then saw Wall point a revolver. Mrs. Zoeller shouted and caught at Wall’s arm. The revolver went off. Mrs. Zoeller caught the revolver but Wall held it and tried to shake it from her. Mrs. Zoeller got the revolver and thew it on the sidewalk saying, ‘For God’s sake, take it.’

“Cross –examined by Mr. Carscallen : there was only one shot fired; I saw the flash under the buggy as it left the revolver. My sister was standing beside me from the time Mrs. Zoeller pushed Wall’s hand away till II saw the flash, about two seconds.

“Constable Walsh sworn : ‘I heard the shot and a scream immediately afterward; saw the horse running away and ran up and caught it; a man came up to the other side of the horse’s head as I caught it; Mrs. Zoeller was in the buggy; the prisoner came up to the buggy and said, ‘You had better leave the city before tomorrow.’ He shook his fist at her, cursing at her the same time. I went around to arrest Wall for making use of profane language. Mrs. Zoeller called out  to me to take him. He started to run away, and I followed and caught him. He turned around and struck at me, but I held him off. I asked him who fired the shot and he said it was none of my business. I asked him was it the woman in the buggy, and who she was. He said he did not know who she was nor who fired the shot. I took him into a store and looked for a revolver but he had none. He said his pocket was on fire and that a cigar had burned it. I examined his leg and found a flesh wound evidently caused by a revolver. I asked him what had caused it, and he said, ‘It’s none of your business, find out.’

Cross-examined – When he pulled out his posket, the bottom part was on fire. His leg was also bleeding. The wound on his leg was three or four inches long. There was a hole in his trousers below the bullet mark in his leg, apparently made by the bullet passing out. There was no other hole in his trousers.

“O. C. Evans testified that he found the revolver and gave it to Detective Campbell. He heard the woman shout but did not hear the report of the shot. Detective Campbell mentioned the revolver and said he got it from Evans.

“The prisoner was committed for trial at the next assize, bail not being applied for.”

“The Wall Shooting Affray : Jimmy Wall, the Prisoner, Committed for Trial at the Next Assize”
Hamilton Spectator     June 25, 1885.

1885-06-22aWall Shooting (Part 1)

Gunfire on James Street was rarely heard in the 1880s. However, on June 22, 1885, violence manifested by an obsessive rejected suitor caused pandemonium.

Jimmy Wall was widely known as a jig dancer, but also as an odd character. Rosa Voeller was the woman he was obsessed with.

Here is the story of the incident that was the culmination of months of trouble:

 “”A slenderly-built, waxen-faced young woman, of prepossessing appearance, was sitting in a buggy on James street north about half past eight last night, when a man rushed out from a laundry at No. 109, pointed a revolver at her, exclaiming, ‘Now, young lady,

                   You’re a Goner !’

and fired. Passersby were horrified at hearing a shot immediately followed by a woman’s piercing screams and cries of ‘For God’s sake, take it away,’ and soon a crowd obstructed the street.

          “The first shot having failed to effect any injury, the diminutive shooter stepped closer to the woman and attempted to fire another shot. The weapon would not work, and the determined fellow shook it to cause it to fire. The woman made a dash for the revolver, and

                   GRAPPLED WITH THE MAN

and an exciting struggle ensued, during which the weapon went off and the bullet entered the young fellow’s thigh. Grasping  the pistol, the almost fainting woman threw it from her with all her remaining strength, screaming, ‘Somebody

                   FOR GOD’S CATCH IT.’

and almost fell from her seat. The horse was at this time plunging violently and the shootist made a jump for the bridle and clung to the horse. Turning to the woman, he shouted ‘you’d better leave town or

                   I’LL HAVE YOUR LIFE

tomorrow. ‘ Mr. Dwyer, the owner of the rig, sprang to the aid of the woman and assisted her into the house, while constable Walsh took charge of her assailant, but not till after he had made strong resistance and tried to escape.

“The lady is Mrs. Rose Zoeller, whose husband is an invalid, and the man who caused her death was James Wall, better known as Jimmy Wall, the dancer. He is a hatter by trade.

                   THE WOMAN’S STORY

          Mrs. Zoeller says she was acquainted with Wall before her marriage five years ago. When he heard of her approaching nuptials he told her she would have no peace after she was married, and ever since, in various ways, he has done his best to make his prophesy materialize. He at one time boarded for a short period with the Zoellers  and took advantage of his position to annoy the lady of the house. The neighbors have received a number of badly-spelled and ill-constructed letters, filled with scurrilous language calculated to injure Mrs. Zoeller in their eyes, and insinuating that while Mr. Zoeller  was flat on his back, ill with consumption, his wife was altogether too pleasant to Mr. Wall, who was described as the ‘whited-haired boy’ of the family. These charming epistles, some of which have fallen into Mrs. Zoeller’s possession, are alleged to be the work of Mr. Wall himself. ‘I tried to keep what Wall was doing annoying me away from my husband,’ said Mrs. Zoeller, ‘but one day he threatened me in front of my sick husband, and I had to complain of him.’

“The lady says she had been driving during the afternoon with her husband, and after that with some friends. Returning home, before taking the big rig back to the stable, Wall, who was in the house,, visiting her husband, rushed out and attacked her as already stated. She was unhurt, but suffered a terrible shock to her nervous system. She seemed most troubled, however, by the probable effect of the affair upon her invalid husband. She seemed afraid that he would succumb under the excitement of the affair.

“The revolver was recovered where it was thrown from the rig by Mrs. Zoeller and handed to Constable Campbell.

“After arresting Wall, constable Walsh remarked that the shot might have been a bad one to which Wall replied ‘I wish I had shot myself through the gizzard.’ Wall was perfectly sober but very much excited when arrested.’ ”1

1 “Wicked Jimmy Wall : A Little Jig Dancer Tries the Shoot Act – Upon a Young Lady – He Fires Twice and Only Manages to Shoot Himself in the Leg”

Hamilton Spectator     June 23, 1885.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

1885-06-22Baseball in Hamilton

It was just another issue of the Spectator , June 22, 1885, but the sports section (1/3 of the one page devoted to local items) contained three interesting items, which would have caught the attention of local baseball fanatics.

First, the hotly-anticipated first visit of the season by the team from Toronto to play the Clippers at Dundurn park, turned out to be less than satisfying for the Hamilton supporters :

                   SAURDAY’S FRACTIONAL GAME

“Saturday, at Dundurn, for the first time since the revival of baseball in Hamilton, a game was interrupted by rain. The Torontos and Clippers had met for their first contest. The Clippers, weakened by the secession of three of their strongest players, and handicapped by the necessity of playing the remaining men out of position, could not have been expected to play a strong game. They had no catcher, and Chamberlin was compelled to pitch easy little ones that the Torontos batted freely. When the rain came on and the game was stopped, the score stood 5 to 1 in favor of the Torontos. The result gives much encouragement to the Toronto team and its backers, and will assist the baseball boom that has taken passion of that city. As the Clippers lost nothing – the game being no game – it is perhaps just as well that the play turned out as it did. As it was, the Torontos had the best of it. Had the game gone on to a finish ---------------“ 1

1 “The World of Sport : Items of Interest to the Noble Fraternity : A Game of Less Than Five Innings Between the Clippers and Torontos – No Game at London – Miscellaneous Notes”

Hamilton Spectator     June 22, 1885.

The first season of the newly-organized Canadian Baseball League had five franchises, each filled with professional or semi-pro players. Hamilton had two franchises in the league, the Clippers and the Primroses. Then there was the Maple Leaf tem from Guelph, the Torontos and the Londons. Each city had sports writers as competitive with each other in their columns as the teams were on the field. The sports writers in London and Hamilton were constantly bickering with each other :

          HOME RUNS

“ ‘Our esteemed local contemporary and the Hamilton Spectator have got into a jangle as to what constitutes a home run, but finally they have agreed that a home run is an earned run. We don’t like to interfere with such eminent authorities, but we take the liberty of remarking that a home run is not necessarily an earned run.’

London Advertiser.

“One of the eminent authorities is much amused. If the Advertiser be right, then a two base hit is not necessarily a hit upon which two bases are made. If a batter makes a hit that is good for three bases, and gets home on a fielding error, it is not a home run, although he has not stopped running. To make it a little plainer. If a batter gets his first on called balls and a fielder picks up the ball and throws it over the fence, and the base runner shoots right along and scores, it is not a home run. A home run can only be made by batting the ball to such a distance that it cannot be returned in time to put the runner out. These explanations are quite unnecessary in this part of the country, and the Spectator prints them simply with a view of elevating the standard of baseball knowledge in the Advertiser office.”1

The final baseball item in that June 22, 1885 Spectator concerned a contract dispute between the management of the Clipper and three of its players, all three of whom were brothers. Peter, Fred and Jeff Wood were Americans from the city of Buffalo, New York. All were excellent players, with Pete even having played some in the major leagues.


“The rupture between the Wood brothers and the Clipper management seems to be complete. The Woods have a document, signed by the manager, which they claim, constitutes a release. The gist of the document is this : The manager agrees to play the Wood brothers as pitcher, catcher and first base during the season, and a clause is added to the effect that if this arrangement be broken by the management, the document shall immediately become a release.

“On Friday the manager decided that Jeff Wood would not play in the game with the Torontos. This, the Woods claim, is a violation of the agreement, and constitutes the document a release. Manager Stroud claims that an agreement to play a player in a certain position, ‘during the season,’ does not mean that that player shall play that position in every game; but only that he shall play that certain position when he does play. He holds that the document is no release. It is likely that the question will have to be decided by the executive committee of the league. It is unfortunate that this quarrel occurred just when it did. But it is not surprising. There has been a good deal of grumbling on both sides for some time, and an open rupture could not long be deferred. As usual in disputes of this nature, there is a great deal to be said on both sides. The Woods want what they consider to be written in the bond, and the manager very naturally is of opinion that he ought to have something to say about the management of his team.”