“Well, the Torontos have been here. And they have made their mark – in fact, they made twelve of them if the writer’s memory is not at fault”
Hamilton Spectator. June 12, 1885
It had not been a good week for either of Hamilton’s two franchises in the professional Canadian baseball league. Once the Clippers and the Primroses had been tied for first place.
For the Primroses, a game in front of 500 home town fans at Dundurn on Thursday June 11, 1885 was an embarrassment.
The opposition, the Torontos, did not win, as much as the Primroses lost the game:
“The game yesterday started off nicely. The play was good enough on both sides. The Primroses, however, had a decided advantage, and held it until near the close of the game, when they experienced one of their peculiar, unaccountable and remarkable seasons of rattle. They went all to pieces.
“Fly balls were muffed, wild throwing was indulged in, and errors made so fast that the scorers could not keep track of them – the Torontos at the same making runs at about the same rate.
“O’Neil, the Primrose catcher, was responsible for the loss of the game. This young gentleman is a good, sharp, accurate player, and it was, to say the least, surprising to observe his conduct on this occasion. He dropped easy foul flies, had too many passed balls, threw wild to second when a man was at third, dropped balls sent to him to cut off runners at home plate, and did pretty much everything that a catcher should not do
“The condition of rattleness into which the Prims were thrown was something fearful. There did not seem to be a cool head in the party.”1
1 “The World of Sport :Items of Interest to the Noble Fraternity”
Hamilton Spectator. June 12, 1885.
While the Primroses lost to the Torontos 12 to 9, the Clipppers were playing a road game in the Forest City, London. Over 1,000 spectators cheered the Londons, and jeered the Clippers, vociferously throughout the game. Final score – Londons 7, Clippers 4.
In the Notes section of his report on the baseball games, the Spectator included the following short observations:
“It snowed in London yesterday.
“It was Hamilton’s day off yesterday.
“O’Neil is the most anathematized man in the city.
“The Primroses are ‘rattling’ fine players.
“Hamilton people begin to have some respect for Toronto and London.
“Hamilton sits in sackcloth and ashes today; but she keeps her picnic suit on hand.
“The star of empire moved both eastward and westward from Hamilton yesterday.
“Come now, Messieurs les Primroses, brace up! You can play ball – why don’t you do it?
“Manager Henigan ought to take the Primroses down to the Beach and feed them with sand for a week.
“A cold wave struck the Hamilton teams yesterday and temporarily paralyzed them. But they’ll be back on deck again.
“The president of the Torontos went down on the field during the game. The flash of his jewelry dazzled the Primroses, and they wilted.
“There were not many Toronto people at the game at Dundurn yesterday, in numbers, but, in volume of applause, there were millions of them
“Among baseball men in the city, there was a general and intense feeling against O’Neil last night. The opinion was freely expressed that he threw the game. It will take a good deal of fine playing on his part to redeem himself in the eyes of the Hamilton public – if he wants to, which is open to doubt.”1
Over at the Wentworth County Court House, Judge Sinclair stopped proceedings to berate one of constables on duty, saying:
“I wish those constables who have squeaky boots on, would not walk around so much. It seems to me that the constables around this court make more noise than other people. How can a man talk with such a row going on?”
Silence was the result of the judge’s comment.
The grand jury which had served throughout that particular assize presented a following written report in which they congratulated Wentworth County for the comparative lack of crime within its borders.
The grand jury also reported on their the required visits they had to make to the Asylum for the Insane, the City Hospital and the County Jail;
“Your jurors found everything connected with the management of these institutions in first class order. The buildings were scrupulously clean, and the food supplied to the inmates excellent. . Your jurors found in the jail and city hospital several insane patients, who, your jurors think, should be removed to some place where they can be better attended to.”2
2 “County Court : General Sessions of the Peace Before His honor Judge Sinclair”
Hamilton Spectator. June 12, 1885
While the Grand Jury report was generally favorable, there was an issue which was not to their collective approval:
“Your jurors think that so long as the law makes it part of the duty of grand jury to visit public institutions, the municipality ought to provide suitable conveyance for the purpose, and not, by paltry economy unworthy of this wealthy county, make citizens in performance of public duties pay money out of their own pocket.”2
In June 1885, the longest-serving Hamilton Police constable, and the wearer of badge number one, was an Irishman, and well-known and much-beloved character, Peter Ferris.
Here, in full, is a story about Peter and his dog which appeared in the Hamilton Spectator of June 12, 1885:
“Peter Ferris, philosopher and policeman, patriarchal and majestic in mien and manner, has a dog. He keeps it chained in the backyard of his house. People who have seen the dog, describe it as a bully sort of a young fellow, and it is quite evident from the dog’s appearance that, when he undertakes to do anything, he does it with a here-I-stick-or-die air about him that is very convincing. Albeit, when he has no particular business on hand, he is as quiet, and serene and peaceful as the little lambs that gambol gleefully in the grassy meadows; and the murmur of his voice is seldom heard at dreary or any other midnight’s witching hour.
“But yesterday morning Mr. Ferris received a postal card, inscribed as follows:
‘Hamilton, June 10. Peter Ferris. Dear Sir : You would confer a great benefit on your neighbors if you would keep your dog quiet in the sleeping hours of the night. Hoping you will take the hint. Yours, a Lover of Quietness.’
“Mr. Ferris objects to receiving pseudonymous postal cards. And he shrewdly guesses the reason for this. The neighbors all say the dog is quiet. But Mr. Ferris keeps in his back yard, along with the dog and chain, and various other things, an apple tree. The fruit on it is of a particularly fine quality. The youngsters love to steal it. Putting two and two together, Mr. Ferris concludes that the card emanated from some young man whose ambition is to steal apples, and who will be suddenly choked off in his attempt by the energetic bull dog. He has been on the police force too long to be fooled by any postal card.”3
3 “Peter Ferris’ Dog”
Hamilton Spectator. June 12, 1885.