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New West Bay City Base Ball Park (1890)
Bay City-Saginaw Base Ball Club (Hyphens)
The park was located west of Henry Street, near Sage Library.
  • Transcribed (March 2007)
  • Articles:
  • Work begins on new ball park.
  • Dedication and first game in new ball park.

    The Bay City Tribune - April 25, 1890.

    THE BASE BALL PARK
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    It Will Need Repairing Before It Can be Used.
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    The Ball Tossers are Practicing Very Industriously.
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    The base ball team will tenant a lot west of the water works building on Henry street, West Bay City. This fact was finally settled this morning. The ground is not a level tract but teams will be put to work immediately leveling the premises. This will furnish a sand surface and to give the plat a sufficient hardness clay will be intermingled with the sand and the entire surface will be rolled every day until satisfactory results are accomplished. Base ball patrons will therefore gaze upon a skin field on May 13 when the season opens in this end of the valley. Mr. Fisher, who has the project in charge, says he will have the grounds seeded and the return of the team the facial expression of the park will be greatly improved. The work of transforming the Sage lot into suitable resort for base ball and its enthusiasts will be pushed rapidly. The grand stand will be much more pretentious than the one at Athletic park, Bay City. The street car service from the east-side of the river will be most admirable. Cars will leave the east end of the bridge every five minutes and will run directly to the grounds without change. The trip will consume five minutes. The enterprising West Bay Cityans will aid the local management in an effort to make the exhibitions desirable for feminine enthusiasts. There are many ladies on both sides of the river who have expressed a solicitude that the environments may be such that they may be able to attend. The salvation of the game rests greatly with the ladies and President Pettapiece and the West Bay Cityans are quite alive to the fact. The team is being given hard practice on the Saginaw grounds under careful tutelage of Manager McArthur. Some changes in the playing composition of the team are necessitated by the engagement of McShannic, who will play third base. Weir, who was scheduled for the corner, will be transferred to short and little Craves will chase sky scrapers in left field. The arrangement of the team, therefore, will be: Hamilton, first; Day, second; Weir, short; McShannic, third; Craves, left; West, center; Spindler, right. Reports to this paper show that Day and Hamilton are doing especially fine work. Craves is ill, West has failed to prove very promising as yet while Weir, at short, is doing nicely but his hitting ability is a matter of some question. Stein is fast expelling the winter’s stiffness from his joints and will be much speedier than last year. Zell is working carefully. Brown, the brilliant young catcher, has acquired a splendid form but Arundel is not throwing either with speed or accuracy. McShannic will join the team at Hamilton, Ont., next Monday, where the first championship game will be played.

    President Pettapiece desires this paper to correct a misapprehension under which the public seems to be laboring. “The team,” he says, “will be known as the Bay City-Saginaw club, not West Bay City-Saginaw as the papers are assuming. The directors and officers of the team are located on the east side and over half the subscriptions are contributed by Bay Cityans. Our arrangement with Mr. Fisher and the West Bay City people is to play games there if they will provide grounds and assist us financially. This they have done in royal style and we are now in good shape for all emergencies. But the franchise is for Bay City, not West Bay City, and if the club is a success game s will always be played over the river.”

    The Bay City Tribune - May 16, 1890 (page 5).

    SIXTEEN TO EIGHT.
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    The West Bay City Base Ball Park Was Dedicated.
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    The Hyphens Severely Trounce The Bisons.
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    By 3:30 o’clock they had begun to there. Fifteen minutes later they were assembling in large and ceaseless installments. About every kindred in the county and every tribe in the Tenth District had sent representatives. Spencer O. Fisher was among ‘em. He wore a dark, fatigued looking overcoat that would have fitted pretty well had it not been buttoned without regard to the sartorial effect. Mr. Fisher had a ruffled silk hat tenanting the outskirts of his cerebrum. He stood in the middle of the thoroughfare, opposite the ball park, where his crimson ears were pumping, every now again, masculine humanity environed in overcoats and halos of expectation. Mr. Fisher gave orders unceasingly. He shouted like an auction jeweler, when the gentle wind girded its loins and began to hump itself, so to speak. He told T. F. Shepard that, be gad sir, he guessed he’d get up a team of the old regime and play somebody or something.

    “Alas, alas, Fisher,” sighed the district attorney, as he screwed one eye toward the gate, ”I never though you’d become a ball crank.”

    “Well, I’m not,” retorted the ex-congressman, “but if I couldn’t turn up my pantaloons, take off my coat and vest and play a blamed sight better game than you could, I would retire for six months on a prairie grass diet.”

    Expectantly humanity kept right on coming. It came so fast that it stepped upon its predecessor’s heels. It wore overcoats, shawls and heavy ulsters. By and by the West Bay City alderman, headed by the mayor, materialized and were soon lost in the crowd within the gates. A band in fiery red uniforms came buoyantly along. President Pettapiece appeared on the scene chewing a flavored tooth-pick and finally, away up the street, another brass band was seen and heard. The Salzburg musicians were coming hither blowing whole scales of sharps, flats and naturals into the crisp air. They know their business, too. Every mother’s son of ‘em was red in the face and animated about the eyes. Three or four carriages followed their wake with the chivalry of the afternoon sprawled indolently about the cushions. The crowd, that now made the grand stand and bleachers groan with its presence, stood on its tip-toes and shouted like a drowning man on his second ascent. It rather stunned the ball tossers. There were more good natured faces than the teams had seen all season. There were over three thousand people looking at them. Even the band’s dulcet cadence were drowned in the fortissimo of human vocal endeavor. The players disembarked and were soon upon one of the prettiest ball fields that ever was hugged by a board fence. The players said so, and then began to prance about as though it were good for them to be there. The constantly augmenting populace slowly infringed upon the fresh green turf. It gradually extended about three sides of the field, with a liberal garniture of the small boy. Over in left field the line was impeded by a balloon that was as inflated as a fat man in the last stages of dropsy. It wasn’t a real first-class looking balloon. It looked like an unwashed phenomenon. Its complexion was akin to the physiognomy of the Saginaw river in the spring. But the crowd didn’t seem to mind. All eyes were now turned upon this great vacuum of condensed gas. Even the ball players stopped practicing. A whoop and the balloon began to scoot toward the dull, cloud laden-sky. There was a man attachment to the balloon. Just as the spectators became aware of the fact the man came back to earth via a parachute. The balloon seemed lonesome and descended a moment later of its own free will. All this didn’t amount to much, but the crowd wasn’t critical. It again devoted its time to the athletes. The Hyphens wore suits about the color of an ash barrel, black hose and caps. The Buffalos had navy blue knickerbockers and shirts with red trimmings. The Bisons were altogether the more powerful looking aggregation. The catcher was as fat as a corn fed Berkshire. There was a lot of avoirdupois lumbering about first base and the whole landscape was reeking with a panoramic spectacle of brawn and muscle. Hamilton, of the Hyphens, is about the only local ball tosser who has taken thought as to his stature. The others are short and fat, and tall, and slender or just so-so. There was a great deal of delay and the anxious multitude had plenty of opportunity to determine all this. So far as appearance went it was bank stock to a deceased lottery in four languages and three brogues. Shortly before 4 o’clock Wesley Curry, who used to be a pitcher away back in the swaddling days of the late decade, who has umpired in about every base ball league that ever arranged a schedule, who had dodged beer glasses, insults and cushions, turned up alive and beaming, radiant in a gray, negligee coat, a snippy looking cap and so sorrel moustache. There was no nonsense about the dedication of the park. Mr. Curry went over to Manager McArthur, examined a chilly looking geranium upon the lapel of the later’s coat, filled his nostrils with its aromatic fragrance, borrowed a base ball, got over by the plate, made an inverted V of his legs and told the athlete to play ball. They did so for two and one-half hours. There was a great deal more quantity than quality about the contest. Old, Sol came out from behind a steel gray could just to see what it was all about. Perhaps such cranks as Fred Hall, C. A. Learons, at cetera, at cetera, saw in the sun-light gentle glow with its promise of babbling brooks, twittering Richard birds and all the sorceries of spring, an elixir that would infuse life and zeal into the anatomies of the nine young men who wore the gray. If they did they were away off their reckoning. Nobody would have had the temerity to call it a good game. It was absolutely without a thrilling feature save when big Hamilton lifted himself in the air after the manner of a Hindoo fakir and appropriated a liner headed for Midland. Dunning, the hungry looking Bison twirler pitched like a lumber scow in a Saginaw bay storm. Whenever he did propel the ball within hailing distance of the plate it was lambasted with great eclat. Shepard started to pitch for the home team but, being ill, he swapped jobs with Zell in the third. Zell wasn’t a radiant success. By grace of Zell the Bisons joined the local batsmen in knocking the animation out of the ball. The Hyphens opened the ceremonies with five unearned runs acquired through three bases or balls, two hospital hits and some errors. The Bisons inaugurated their batting with a trio of runs secured by Rooks’ double, a base on balls, Burke’s single and a very saffron error by Zell in left field. In the third the Hyphens did the prettiest batting of the game. McShannic opened with a single and after Brown had been retired. Weir got a half nelson on the out curve, converting it into a single sending McShannic to third. Weir stole second. Then the midget Craves popped a little hit to right, McShannic scoring and Weir galloping to third. Craves promptly migrated to second. Day sent in Weir with a pretty single and Craves scored on Hamilton’s out to left. Day had meanwhile got to third and when West was given his base and had the who herd of Bisons chasing him on the base line, the little second baseman made a brash steal home. At this point the Hyphens had the red legs beaten into a batter and all interest in the game had ceased. A man in tights the color of pink soda water tried to get up some excitement during the game by walking a taut rope, but the crowd was too cold to be interested. The score:

    Bay City A.B.R.B.H.S.B.P.O.A.E.
    Day, 2b 4212320
    Hamilton, 1b 52101100
    West, c.f. 4111110
    Shepard, p & l.f. 3321220
    Zell, l.f. & p 6130172
    McShannic, 3b 6220120
    Brown, c. 5000700
    Weir, s.s. 5232133
    Craves, r.f. 3313000
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    Totals 411614927175
    Buffalo A.B.R.B.H.S.B.P.O.A.E.
    Andrus, r.f. 5120000
    Rooks, c.f. 5120000
    Coughlin, 3b 3100120
    Burke, l.f. 5230201
    Pettee, 2b 4211220
    Quinn, 1b 51011711
    Connors, s.s. 5010081
    Dunning, p. 5010073
    Outfield, c. 3000531
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    Totals 4089227237

    Earned runs – Bay City, 4, Buffalo, 2. Two base hits – Shepard, Zell, Andrus, Rooks, Burke, Dunning. Double plays – Weir, Day and Hamilton. – Hit by pitched ball – Brown, Craves, Burke. Wild pitches – Dunning, 5; Zell, 1. Struck out – Day, Zell, Brown, Craves, Rooks, Conners, Dunning, Oldfield. Base on balls – Day 2, West 2, Shepard 3, Craves, Hamilton, Coughlin 2, Oldfield. Time, 2:30. Umpire – Wesley Curry.

  • Related References & Pages

    Historical Note:
    West Bay City was created out of the villages of Salzburg, Wenona and Banks. In 1905 it merged with Bay City on the east side of the river, forming present Bay City.
    Related Pages:
    {Sports Pictorial}
    People Referenced
    Andrus**
    Arundel*
    Brown*
    Burke**
    Connors**
    Coughlin**
    Craves*
    Curry, Wesley (umpire)
    Day*
    Dunning**
    Fisher, Spencer O.
    Hall, Fred
    Hamilton*
    Learons, C.A.
    McArthur, (Mgr.)
    McShannic*
    Outfield**
    Pettee**
    Pettapiece,
    Quinn**
    Rooks**
    Shepard, T.F.
    Spindler*
    Stein(?)*
    Weir*
    West*
    Zell
    * - Hyphen's player
    ** - Buffalo's player
    Subjects Referenced
    Athletic park
    Bay City
    Buffalo (Bisons) team
    Hamilton, Ont.
    Hyphens team
    Midland, MI
    Richard birds
    Sage lot
    Saginaw, MI
    Saginaw bay
    Saginaw river
    Salzburg musicians
    Street car service
    West Bay City, MI
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