Thursday, June 08, 2006

June 8th, 2006

Weather Week Continues

So the headline is cheating a little--ok, a lot. But this is worth it, on a couple of levels. The inspiration for "Weather Week" was the first rain out, which I blogged on a few days ago. In that entry I wrote that the game might be legend, since much of early baseball is. That second part is true, but I can now say for sure that the game is not legend, and is almost surely the first rain out ever. I am sure of that information on account of an e-mail I receieved from Scott Sanders, the Archivist at Antioch College (more on that in a bit). With Scott's permission, I'm reprinting his e-mail to me here:

As the Antioch College Archivist, I can confirm that the rainout in question was no legend. The Red Stockings schedule for that year is on display at the Reds Hall of Fame in Cincinnati, and our college Nine is listed as the first game. It was a rematch of a practice game we played at the Red Stockings home park, the Union Grounds (there's a train station there that's now a museum) in April. They scheduled a handful of tune-ups against local clubs before their big debut, and Antioch College played in one of them. The Red Stockings owner, Aaron B. Champion, had been an Antioch student in the 1850s, so he's probably a good reason why we were first on the schedule. Of course, back then we were just a few hours away by train, and what with their second game scheduled in Mansfield, OH, Yellow Springs where Antioch is located is kind of on the way. Newspapers of the time (primarily the Cincinnati Commercial Gazette) confirm that the Red Stockings went to Yellow Springs on the 30th, stayed the night at our finest hotel (ok, the only one), but were unable to get in the next day's game due to rain. The team went on to Mansfield and history from there. The Reds Hall of Fame Hall of Famer director Greg Rhodes wrote a fine book about that season called The First Boys of Summer which I highly recommend.

Being the helpful sort that he is--and he most definitely is, Scott also managed to answer another one of my questions from the blog:

The tiny Protestant sect that founded [Antioch College] called themselves simply "The Christian Church," and they named their college after the Antioch in Syria, where the book of Acts says the disciples of Jesus were first referred to as Christians. It's all this guy Antiochus' fault. He was this ancient ruler who named all this stuff after himself, hence the multiple Antiochs.

So we can now close the book on a pair of mysteries, with a big assist (and a big thank you) to Scott.

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