Before proceeding to the next DMB World Series, I thought I’d post about the baseball world tour that Albert Spalding put together at the end of the 1888 season.
It was initially billed as Spalding’s Australian Baseball Tour, but Spalding had more nefarious plans. He put together an All Star team named the All Americas, that was to play his Chicago White Stockings in a series of exhibition games, starting in Chicago, moving west across the United States, and then sailing to Australia via Hawaii for another batch of exhibition games.
Half way to Hawaii with a captive audience on the cruise liner Alameda, Spalding pitched his idea to expand the tour to Europe, Egypt, and Great Britain. Surprisingly all the players and their entourage didn’t throw him overboard and head back home. They agreed to turn their Australian adventure into a world tour.
Spalding’s goal for this tour was to spread the great “American” made game of baseball to the 4 corners of the world and use this opportunity to expand his sporting goods empire by marketing his bats, balls, gloves, and uniforms.
Chicago White Stockings:
Jimmy Ryan, Bob Pettit, Marty Sullivan, Cap Anson, Fred Pfeffer, Ned Williamson, Tom Burns, Tom Daly, Mark Baldwin, and John Tener. Spalding himself would oil up his right arm and do a little pitching.
Ned Hanlon, George Wood, John Ward, Fred Carrol, James Fogarty, James Manning, Tom Brown, Billy Earle, Ed Crane, John Healy, and Manager George Wright.
Players that only played in the American leg of the tour were: Ed Hengle, Silver Flint, Hermann Long and George Van Haltren.
Accompanying the players would be several journalists, servants, wives, a comedian by the name of Frank Lincoln, world famous aerialist Professor C. Bartholomew, and mascot Clarence Duvall.
Fred Carroll, George Wood, Tom Brown, Jim Manning. Middle Row: Ned Williamson, Fred Carrol, Cap Anson,
Albert Spalding, John Ward, Jim Fogarty, Harry Simpson. Front Row: Clarence Duvall(Mascot), George Wright,
Ned Hanlon, Billy Earle
As usual, mustaches rule, and where the heck is Tom Burns looking?
The 1st game was played on 10/20/1888 in Chicago, and headed west via the Burlington Route Railroad with their new Cosmopolitan dining cars. They played games in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Des Moines, Omaha, Denver, Salt Lake City, San Francisco and Los Angeles among others. Along the way ballplayers on a train would do what ballplayers do; raise hell, play practical jokes and in general do everything in their power to annoy their fellow passengers. The main culprit was James Fogarty. He spread the “joy” to fellow players, management, and passengers alike. Inspired by some wolves that he saw while en route, he formed the “Order of the Howling Wolves” Whose sole purpose was to howl and wail at every opportunity. They even had their own little song:
“We are the Howling Wolves,
And this is our night to howl,
And we howl thus: Wooo!!!”
It’s no Macarena, but it’s probably just as annoying.
They set sail for Hawaii on 11/16/1888 aboard the aforementioned Alameda. The practical jokes may have subsided a little during the voyage, do to rough seas, and the accompanying sea sickness. But do to a longer than anticipated voyage the tour arrived late to Hawaii. Their scheduled games could not be played, because their time of departure could not be postponed, and do to the no Sunday games rule they were not allowed to play, despite special pleading from Spalding. The players were still treated to a lavish luau with King Kalakaua. It was a testament to Spalding’s ambassadorial skills that the natives didn’t include the players on the menu.
Safely aboard the Alameda, the tour headed to Australia. With a quick stop in New Zealand, the tour arrived in Australia on 12/14/88. They played 11 games down under, with stops in Melbourne, Sydney, and Adelaide, playing games on Xmas Eve, as well as New Years day.
While in Adelaide the dashing, and daring Professor C. Bartholomew got a chance to perform his aerial act. Dangling from a hot air balloon from a height of approx. 2,000 feet, the one-eyed dare-devil performed on a trapeze that was dangling beneath the balloon. He then leaped from the balloon strapped to a parachute. Unfortunately for the Professor his parachute failed to deploy properly and he slammed into the chimney of a nearby hotel. He unbelievably suffered only minor injuries, but was reluctant to perform for the remainder of the tour.
The Dashing Prof. Bartholomew
I have that same outfit.
Continuing the tour they set sail once again, heading northwest. They played in Cairo with the great pyramids of Ghizeh in the background, and the Sphinx looking quietly, yet stoically on. The players had a contest to see if anyone could throw a ball over the Cheops pyramid, but at 450 feet high it proved impossible. They also climbed all over the Sphinx for a photo op and threw baseballs at it’s right eye. Practices that would be considered felonious today.
After his White Stockings played a particularly bad game against the All Americas, Cap Anson apologized to the Sphinx for their poor play. It is not known what the Sphinx said in reply.
Stops in Naples, Rome, Paris, London, Glasgow, Belfast, and Dublin among others, would follow. Spalding tried desperately to get a game played in the Roman Coliseum, but was denied. Tours of the cities and their landmarks, as well as lavish banquets were held at every opportunity. Debauchery and mayhem was also on the menu.
The bird had no comment.
The tour returned to the states on April 7th 1889 to a heroes welcome. Games were played in New York Baltimore, Boston, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland before heading home to Chicago. All tolled they travelled over 30,000 miles and played 56 games, in 13 different countries, with the All Americas winning 29, the White Stockings 23, with 3 ties. While in England Spalding refused the offer to have his players play in a cricket match, for fear of embarrassing themselves. But they did play a game against a Rounders Association team and beat them handily 18-0, a game that was mercifully called after 1 inning.
The reviews from the different countries ran the gamut from boredom to confusion, from complimentary to unflattering. England was especially critical with comments of “Appears childish”, “A silly game” , “It is rot”, and “….don’t understand the game…..I don’t want to…”
Australia seemed to enjoy the game more than any other country. With a typical headline reading, BASEBALL TAKES HOLD; NOW FIRMLY ROOTED IN AUSTRALIA.
All in all the around the world tour, despite losing money should be considered a success. The players had an experience of a life time, and Spalding was able to bring the game he loved to the four corners of the world.
To learn more about this tour I recommend -Spalding’s World Tour by Mark Lamster. A detailed account of the tour, the players, and the games played.
This is one of the reasons I wanted to do this blog. This World Tour has been all but forgotten by today’s fan. It’s stuff like this that sets baseball apart from any other sport. It’s history, is really a part of American history.