Posts Tagged ‘baseball’

Old Sporting Equipment

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013


Above, located in the West Loft of the second floor in the barn, is an old baseball bat created by a sports company that is over a century old. This round, knob-like bat was similar to other bat designs in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In the center, the black oval design reads Wright and Ditson, a sporting-company formed in 1871 that still exists today. George Wright, the co-founder, was a hall of fame baseball player, and Henry Ditson, his partner, was a businessman in Boston. The company not only created baseball bats, but golf clubs and tennis rackets as well. Despite being bought by Spalding in 1892, by the early 1900’s, Wright and Ditson rose to prominence as one of the top sporting purveyors.

George Wright was known as the pioneer in the sport of baseball. Back before Major League Baseball was split into the American and National League, all players played under the National Association. He played with the first professional team, the Cincinnati Red-Stockings as shortstop. In 1868, he received the Clipper Medal as the best shortstop in baseball. In 1876, Wright became the first player in history to bat for the National League. He made his final appearance in the MLB in 1882 with the Providence Grays.

However, Wright despite his Hall of Fame election, was best known for his business-work and the contributions he made off the field. Wright and Ditson still exists today and retails several products, just no longer baseball bats.



Abby Locke’s Splendid Days: A Teenager’s Diary in 1860s Andover (18)

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Abby’s entries from May 1867 continue

Wed. 15:   Mother and Louise went to L. to spend the day and left me all alone.  Hattie came up to stay with me.  In the afternoon we went up town and met all the Old South.  Had a splendid time.  I was introduced to Mr. Gilmore.  He was with me all the evening and came home with me.  Tucker K. wanted to come home with H. but Mr. F staid so close.  We walked over past the Sem before we came home.  There were not many boys there.

Thurs. May 16:   Went to a Tea Party with H.

Friday 17:   School.  After tea I went down to have the little wart on my forehead taken off.  I met Gilmore and K and after E.  She said they had walked up the street 2 or 3 times while I was gone.  They walk up our street [every] night and ever so many more.

Sat. 18:   Went to see Agnes Donald in the afternoon and made a short call on Mrs. Smith.  B and K walked up our street as usual.  Hattie and I were sitting by the (?).  Went to walk a little.

Sun. May 19:  Went to church in No. Andover in the morning and over to Mr. (?) in the evening – the first time since December.

Monday 20 It rained most of the day.  I stayed at home – called to see H after school.  One of her [teeth] is inflamed very much.  She thinks it is an abcess.  There is to be a meeting of the Trustees of Phillips Academy to day to see about taking the boys back who have been expelled.  22 of the Seniors went off to Lawrence and Boston.  I hope G and K w ill [?] wandering round.  I escorted George R and B into the Gymnastic exercises this morning.  They were on the piazza. 

There was trouble on Andover Hill in the spring of 1867.  The root cause of the trouble was the ongoing attempt by Phillips Academy’s irascible and gout-ridden principal Dr. Samuel Taylor to impose pre-War standards of morality on a post-War generation of students, many of whom were men fully grown, and even veterans whose education had been interrupted by the Civil War years.  But that May (with apologies to Meredith Willson), trouble’s capital “T” rhymed with “B,” and it stood for “baseball.” 

Baseball fever swept the Phillips campus in the spring of 1867, and was partly responsible for a student rebellion in May of that year (Currier and Ives, 1866)

Students at Phillips had played a form of cricket or rounders called “the Boston Game” as early as the 1850s.  The first baseball field was laid out in 1864 and the boys began to play interclass games using “New York style rules” before the War ended.  But baseball fever swept the school in 1866, with the enrollment of 22 year old veteran “Archie” Bush, a semi-pro catcher from Albany, who had been a captain in New York’s 95th infantry.  An enthusiastic schedule of intermural games was begun and  Bush organized a game against a team from Tufts College, which was tolerated by Samuel Taylor only because it was scheduled for immediately after commencement.  The Andover Advertiser (on July 27, 1866) reported on the game played by Bush’s nine against the professional Lowell “Trimountains,”  and Abby noted in her diary that her friends Oliver and Willie Perry played ball in their yard on Central Street. 

By the next spring, the game had become, according to Dr. Taylor, a serious distraction.  Matters came to a head one especially beautiful day when a few seniors decided to cut class.  Two of them – Archie Bush and a friend — travelled to Boston to watch a “league game.”  Dr. Taylor, reportedly suffering that day from an especially bad flare- up of his gout, expelled the truants and set the campus in an uproar.  In protest of Taylor’s actions, nearly half of the remaining seniors left campus without permission and went out for an evening dinner in Lawrence, reasoning perhaps that Taylor couldn’t possibly expel them all.  But he could, and he did.  Many of Abby’s boyfriends  (Cassander Gilmore  of Raynham, Massachusetts and Henry Miles “Tucker” Knowles  of Lowell among them)  were embroiled in this series of events that has gone down in Phillips history as the “Student Rebellion of 1867.”  Newspapers across the country (including the Andover Advertiser) reported on the dispute, and as Abby reports, the Trustees of the school were forced to meet to discuss Taylor’s actions.   

Archibald McClure Bush and his cousin James G.K. McClure were the founders of varsity baseball at Phillips

The repercussions of the rebellion were far-reaching.  Yale University declined to accept any of the expelled students without Samuel Taylor’s endorsement, and Phillips’s old-fashioned classical curriculum did not meet the requirement for any other prominent college.  Many of the boys, including Archie Bush, were tutored over the summer and were admitted to Harvard in the fall.  Taylor was infuriated that Harvard would admit students who had not received his blessing, but in the end the controversy forced Phillips to modernize.  On the subject of baseball, however, Taylor dug in his heels.  All interscholastic and off-campus  games were prohibited until his death in 1871.


Photo of the Week

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

This week’s photograph celebrates baseball, “The American Pastime.”  From the 1880s through the early 1900s, Andover boasted a number of local baseball teams including Andover’s Union Team, the Andover Blackstockings, and the Vale Nine.  Neighborhoods, factories, and schools often sponsored local baseball teams.  Many familiar family names appear in the ranks of local baseball teams including, Cronin, Poor, Dearborn, Collins, and Abbott.  The Andover Townsman ran a series of photographs of “old-time baseball teams” from “Auld Lang Syne” in the 1937.  Copies of the Townsman are available at the Historical Society library if you would like to take a look back at Auld Lang Syne yourself.

We don't know the names of the players in this photograph of the Vale Nine.


Photo of the Week

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Today’s photo is a reminder to get outside and enjoy our brief New England spring.  It’s baseball season! This photograph of the Punchard Free School baseball team c. 1900 was taken on the steps of the school.  Notice the one team member in the back wearing the “PFS” jersey.


Punchard Free School was Andover’s first high school. It was founded in 1857 by a bequest from Benjamin Punchard for the construction of a high school. The course of study at the Punchard Free School was decidedly classical: Mathematics, Natural Science, Mental and Moral Philosophy, Latin, Greek, Rhetoric and Logic.

For more information about Punchard Free School, visit the Historical Society’s new exhibit, From Near & Far: 350 Years of Making Andover Home, on display through October 2009.


Weekend Events

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

Many thanks to everyone who came to our two special events this weekend, and to the volunteers who helped plan and host them.


appraisal-2009-helen-sellersFifty people enjoyed Friday night’s What’s It Worth? Appraisal Event with Skinner Auctioneer’s Stuart Whitehurst.  This was Stuart’s fourth appraisal event with the Historical Society and we look forward to welcoming Stuart back again in 2010.  Historical Society Membership Chair Jim Sellers welcomed Stuart with a complimentary membership.  Then Stuart took the floor for a lively and entertaining hour.  The capstone of the evening was a set of four Tiffany silver candlesticks worth over $2,000.  We’re sure everyone who attended the event will remember the difference between a clock and a timepiece, and the significance of the year 1891 to antiques appraisers.


membership-programTwenty people enjoyed Sunday afternoon’s Andover Neighborhood Program on Andover’s historic mill villages. Once again Membership Chair Jim Sellers welcomed guests to the Society to view our new exhibit, From Near & Far: 350 Years of Making Andover Home.  Jim then went on to give his presentation on mill village housing to an appreciative audience.  A number guests became members of the Society and started researching their old houses that afternoon.


We look forward to our next program, our Annual Memorial Lecture, Tuesday, April 14th, 7:00 p.m. in the rotunda of Free Christian Church, Elm Street, Andover.  This year’s Memorial Lecture speaker will be Alan Foulds, who will give a presentation and book signing on “Boston’s Ballparks and Arenas.”


Elaine Clements, Executive Director


Take Me Out to the Ballpark

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009
Author Alan Foulds will give a lecture and book signing Tuesday, April 14, 7:30 p.m.

Author Alan Foulds will give a lecture and book signing Tuesday, April 14, 7:30 p.m.

Yes, we did have 4-6” of snow on March 9th, but spring is just around the corner! With spring comes baseball, soccer, and a myriad of other warm weather outdoor activities.


On Tuesday, April 14th at 7:30 p.m., the Historical Society will host our 29th Annual Memorial Lecture in the rotunda of Free Christian Church, Elm Street, Andover. This year’s speaker will be Alan E. Foulds, author of Boston’s Ballparks and Arenas, which tells the story of the region’s professional sporting past through the venues where the teams played. Foulds will have copies of his book available for signing at the event. His lecture will give an overview of some of the forgotten sports venues in Boston and discuss Andover’s brief fling with major league soccer in the 1920’s.


The Memorial Lecture is given each year in memory of Historical Society members who passed away during the preceding year. The lecture is offered free of charge; location to be announced shortly.