We Defy Competition

Match Report: Holstons Wilt as Machinists Claim Their First Battle for Knoxville, 10-8

This past weekend a number of base ball enthusiasts gathered at the Three Rivers Rambler depot on the west side of town near the college to board its special express. At the same time, scores of wagons passed through the countryside along the Thorngrove Pike. The cavalcade of horsepower converged at Colonel Ramsey’s splendid garden shortly before the noon hour. As rooters both young and old found shade under the trees or pitched their tents, the Knoxville Holstons and Emmett Machinists loosened up by tossing and striking the onion. A buzz resonated in the air and ran around the Colonel’s plantation, accompanied by raised eyebrows as Grizzly, the match’s arbiter, called the proceedings to order and announced the recent history between the clubs. The match was the fourth meeting between these two clubs. The Holstons held a 3-0 advantage over their local adversaries in the series; however, the most recent game played two weeks prior had gone down to the wire, decided by a single ace.

The latest installment in the Battle for Knoxville commenced with the bat toss which was won by the Machinists, who deferred to the Holstons. The throng had hardly settled back for an afternoon of thrilling base ball when Samson, wielding his club’s leading ace-making willow, stepped to this dish. As one last Spring breeze blew down the East Tennessee valley and through the garden, the Holston muckle’s timber sliced through the atmosphere, violently striking the onion. Samson and his bewitching locks must have cast a spell on the Machinist scout for he appeared frozen in left field as the ball roared over his head and landed dangerously close to foul territory. As the Machinist raced to the brush to retrieve the blazing vegetable, Augie and Little Skeeter rounded the sacks and called for Samson to seek shade rather than remain at third. Before the ball reentered the infield, Samson rang the bell for his second 4-sacker in as many matches. The Holstons plated two additional aces in the fourth thanks to Augie’s decisive hot ball to center in which Doc rounded the sacks from first, followed by Little Skeeter’s sacrifice slow bounder to first that provided Augie safe passage home. After three and half frames, the Holstons had deposited five aces into their account whereas the Machinist maintained a zero balance as the Holstons’ scouts took handsomely to their rivals’ balls.

But the wheels came off the Holstons’ wagon in the bottom of the fourth as they wilted in the garden, failing to tag their way out of the inning by obtaining the third hand dead before the Machinists made them pay. This would be the Holstons’ undoing as their adversary would net half of their aces in this manner. Moreover, the Holston willows cooled off and they struggled to get through their roster. The Colonel proved lightning quick on the sacks while the mighty willows brandished by Rip, Grasshopper, and Mongo dealt a decisive blow over the course of a few innings.
As the eighth window opened, the score stood Machinists 10, Holstons 5. Having come from behind two weeks ago, the Holstons licked their chops as they began to work through the roster with Little Skeeter and Samson making their second orbits around the sacks to close the gap to three. Unfortunately, the Holstons soon found themselves in the middle of the roster and these willows proved resistant to well-placed line balls. In the ninth, Sour Mash snuck across the dish to get his club to within two as Freight Train and Rip frolicked in the field with one another after the latter tagged the former out. Down to their last hand dead, Butter Bean sent a hot bounder directly toward Biscuit who received it on the bound to close the match.

Grizzly called the ballists together and announced the score 10-8 in favor of the Machinists who claimed their first victory over the Holstons. Laurels went to Biscuit for his stout defense at the pitcher’s point and the Colonel for stirring his stumps around the sacks. Rip, Grasshopper, and Mongo were acknowledged for their ace-making timber. On the Holstons’ side, Samson claimed honors for striking his second 4-sacker in as many matches and being responsible for four Holston aces.

As the summer arrives, the Holston club will take a much-needed rest. While some plan to travel during the national holiday and others pray for amnesia after a difficult first half of the season, one notorious Holston seemed eager to get back to his farm and lounge in his cow trough. In the meantime, rooters of the national game in the East Tennessee valley will have to wait patiently until July 9 until base ball is played once again in Colonel Ramsey’s garden.

Game Stats

Match Report: Holstons win a barnburner against the Machinists, 22-21

Rooters of the national game in Northeast East Tennessee were recently treated to a special match between Knoxville’s two base ball clubs–the Holstons and the Emmett Machinists. Both clubs have struggled this season. Winless in its first four matches, the Holstons were nearly disemboweled in their last match against the Travellers of Brentwood. Meanwhile, the Machinists have been denied a victory since opening day. The Knoxville ballists met on a lovely garden at Rocky Mount and were greeted by a throng of spectators, many of whom eagerly sought the signatures and an opportunity to take a likeness with the sporting gentlemen. Some in attendance were unfamiliar with the game that has only recently arrived in this state. Therefore, a number of the ballists mingled with the crowd prior to the match to introduce the novices to the rules of the game. Both clubs began to warm up an hour prior to the match; however, a few of the ballists preferred to remain in the shade with the spectators as the mercury soared into the upper eighties. One Holston welcomed the summer-like heat and humidity. Grinning ear to ear he observed that the Holston Club had lost but one match in such conditions during its first two seasons.

The ballists assembled at high noon for introductions. By this time there were more than two hundred rooters lining the first sack side of the garden and among the trees near the foul line in left field. Upper East Tennessee’s Congressman, currently at home during the summer recess in Washington, hurled the first onion directly over the dish followed by calls to “sign him up.” Pickaxe presided over the bat toss that went in favor of the Machinists, who preferred to take the field first, batting at the bottom of each inning.

The fans did not have to wait long to see the onion struck well and scores of aces tallied. The Holstons nearly checked off their roster in the first inning as they plated four times. The Machinists then took a turn at the dish and their willows proved to be as equally efficient as those wielded by the Holstons as they bested their rivals by an ace. The second frame witnessed as many aces as the first; however, the Holstons took a commanding lead over the Machinists as they managed eight complete orbits around the sacks capped off by Samson’s first 4-sacker of the season, a clean home run unassisted by poor fielding. The high scoring nature of the match was not evidence of poor defense on the part of the scouts in the field but rather a result of scores of well-positioned long balls that exploited the gaps in both club’s defense. After two innings, the score stood 12 to 6 in the favor of the Holston Club.

Few expected the blazing number of aces to continue for more than a couple of innings; however, the Machinists began showing sand and made their sacks tallying four aces each in the next two innings. Moreover, the Holstons’ combination of stingers, bounders, sky balls, and the occasional moon onion kept the Machinists dancing from left to right on the field of battle as the former scored one ace in the third and two more in the fourth. Yet the ballists with red K’s proudly stitched to their chests squandered the opportunity to extend the lead leaving four potential aces stranded on the sacks as some were caught napping while another tipped out to the catcher. The wheels of the Holstons’ wagon appeared to come off as they failed to reach home dish from the 5th to the 7th inning, retired in order by the stout Machinist defense in two of the three innings. Meanwhile, the Machinists methodically chipped away at the Holstons’ lead with an arsenal of bug bruisers and cloud hunters to either field that kept their adversaries in the garden guessing. After seven, the Machinists had climbed out of the hole they dug themselves to take the lead, 16 to 15.
A barnburner ensued as the last two frames opened. The Holstons’ willows were awakened from their momentary slumber in the top of the 8th as Samson, Cannonball, and Lefty rounded the sacks to reach home dish and put their club two aces clear of the Machinists. It is quite possible the Holstons may have scored more; however, Doc’s skimmer failed to clear the infield and became ensnarled in the defensive perimeter laid out by the Colonel between third and shortstop thus catching Papaw out as he made his run from second. Having dug themselves out of a deep hole once before, the Machinists steeled themselves for the task at hand. They responded in kind as they opened up a battery of line balls and bounders that were beautifully missed as they escaped past the Holstons’ infield defenses. Doc Archer, Counselor, Moon Calf, and Rip each scored to turn the Machinists’ two-ace deficit into a two-ace surplus.

As the final frame opened, Butter Bean stepped to the dish and appeared to send a shooter past second sack but Doc Archer raced it down to rob the Bean of his fifth hit of the match. Next up was Doc, who looked for redemption following his debacle in the 8th. He sent yet another bounder toward the Colonel at third; however, this time the Machinist basetender would have to deliver a cannonball toward first to put the Holstons down to their last hand dead. The Colonel took the onion on its second bound and hustled the ball to Rip at first as Doc stirred his stumps, kicking the chalk of the first sack line up with his moccasins. Doc beat the throw and managed to effectively apply his brakes to prevent forward motion from carrying him off the sack. Then Augie delivered a sockdolager to center field that led to the second Holston clean home run of the match. A buzz of excitement reverberated throughout the throng as Doc and Augie plated to even the score at 20. Molasses then sent a sky ball that barely cleared the pitcher and was tracked down by a hard charging Doc Archer from second who put on a juggling exhibition of the onion for the fans before bringing it to rest in his hands. The inning nearly ended when Samson’s two bound bug bruiser to short was fielded handsomely; however, the throw was not quick enough to catch Samson and his bewitching locks out at first. Fortune smiled yet again for the Holstons as Cannonball’s timber struck the onion in a way that it hit a hair in front of the dish and took a wicked spin forward approximately ten feet confounding Kong, the Machinist catcher, who could not track it down before the Holston father-son duo made their sacks. Lefty, the Holston wrong-sider, then stepped into Biscuit’s dew drop and sent a hot ball to left field that rolled for a double, thus permitting Samson to score and Cannonball to take a leisurely stroll into third. As if further proof that providence was shining on the Holstons, Stove Pipe delivered a bounder directly to the Machinist shortstop whose throw to first fell short, taking a hard bounce over Rip’s head enabling the Holston striker to take second sack and Cannonball to reach home dish. The Holstons run came to an abrupt end when Bugle Boy’s cloud hunter was gobbled by Mongo in left. Yet the Holstons’ four aces was enough for a 22 to 20 advantage.

The ninth frame was only halfway closed. The Machinists needed two aces to extend the match, three to win. It did not seem a tall order for they had already scored either four or five aces in half of the innings played. Biscuit led off with a daisy cutter fielded by Molasses at third; however, the throw to first was mishandled and ended up among the spectators, thus granting the Machinist striker an express ticket to second. The Colonel then sent a deadly stinger that nearly amputated Stove Pipe’s right arm at second before his ball piddled into the outfield. Biscuit raced home to get the Machinist within one ace while the Colonel, representing the tying ace, jogged into second. With no hands dead, the Holstons’ scouts prepared to tighten their defenses between the sacks and deep in the garden. Grasshopper sent a cloud hunter that was fielded on the fly by Lefty at short for the first out. Next, King Kong swung at a high pitch that resulted in yet another cloud hunter that sailed just left and beyond the third sack into foul territory; however, Molasses tracked it down on the fly for two hands dead. Finally, Haymaker took several looks at Papaw’s battery of pitches before striking a beautifully delivered dew drop that was sent skyward, hunting the clouds above Rocky Mount and beyond, before reentering the earth’s atmosphere. As Haymaker’s moon onion descended to the earth, Lefty exclaimed, “I’ve got it!” Lefty’s cry was loud enough to be heard by his faithful fans in Knoxville, who were no doubt huddled around the telegraph office on Gay Street awaiting reports from the field. The sound of a pin drop could be heard across the garden as all watched Lefty race from his position at short to gobble the Machinists’ huckleberry at second thus securing the Holstons their first victory of the season.

After a fierce contest waged over nine grueling innings, the adversaries on the field of battle embraced one another as gentlemen and friends playing the game they love. Pickaxe announced the score as 22 to 21 in favor of the Holstons and called for spectators of all ages interested in striking the onion and running the sacks to take a turn at the dish. Several of the ballists delayed the trip back to Knoxville to toss the onion with a number of young enthusiasts of the national game.

The Machinists’ captain has challenged the Holstons to a rematch in Knoxville on Colonel Ramsey’s garden at high noon on June 18. Rooters of the national game should clear their calendar as this match promises to be yet another hard fought contest between gentlemen of honor and civility.

Game Stats

Match Report: Holstons Fall Victim to the Travellers’ Hornet’s Nest, 26-4

The Holstons recently made their first visit to Nashville’s Capitol garden to play the Travellers Club of Brentwood, who had sought a rematch after losing to the former club on a soggy field in Knoxville last summer. During the introductions of both clubs, the trained eye of an avid enthusiast of the national game in Tennessee might have immediately noticed two things. First, the Knoxville club appeared shorthanded. Scores of rooters were overheard along both sides of the garden inquiring as to the whereabouts of Augie, Butter Bean, Lefty, and Samson, the Holstons’ most feared muckles. Second, it did not escape anyone’s attention that both Cannonball and Hawkeye were wearing casts on their hands. Cannonball reportedly suffered an injury from an incoming onion during a match at Chattanooga two weeks prior; however, mystery swirled throughout the Capitol grounds as to the origins of Hawkeye’s wrapped left hand. Nevertheless, both ballists took the field.

Turtle, known for showing sand in a Nashville Maroons uniform, walked out into the garden dressed as a dapper gentleman ready to officiate the match as arbiter. The game was a one-sided affair from the opening bat toss that favored the Travellers. The garden was fit for the eye of the Middle Tennessee ballists as they wielded some stout timber, taking dead aim as they fired one volley of onions after another toward a bevy of trees and bushes in a rather short right field. The result, an unenvious task for Cannonball stationed in the hornet’s nest. The Travellers plated 11 after 2 innings whereas the Holstons struggled to work their way through the roster. In the top of the 3rd, Bugle Boy and Doc’s willows caught fire and both managed a complete orbit of the sacks as the Holstons finally got to ring the bell. With the exception of one inning, the Travellers continued to ring the bell. Cannonball and Molasses tallied two additional aces for the Holstons in the 8th; however, the Travellers plated 15 more times for a total of 26 aces (one ace was initially recorded in the 7th but on further review was not scored as a Holston scout had caught the striker’s ball on the bound).

Turtle presented the Professor with the game ball after the conclusion of the match. As many spectators departed the city, a few Holstons remained behind to take likenesses and speak with Middle Tennessee’s hardiest rooters. This reporter overheard a few of the Knoxville ballists discussing landscaping plans in right field prior to the next match that the Holstons are scheduled to play on the Capitol garden. At four losses in as many matches this season, the Knoxville boys are still looking to score their first win and hope to do so in their next match against the Emmett Machinists at Rocky Mount.

Game Stats

Match Report: Late Flurry of Lightfoot Aces Halt Holstons Comeback

The Knoxville Holstons recently traveled south to Chattanooga via the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad for a match game of base ball against the Lightfoots in the first match of the Downstream Series of the inaugural Tennessee River Cup. Last season both clubs split their matches and their respective rooters expected yet another hard fought contest. A hearty crowd assembled as early as an hour prior to the first pitch to catch a glimpse of the excellent specimen of East Tennessee ballists as they warmed up by tossing the onion and swinging their willows.
The match commenced with each club tallying an ace in the first inning. The Lightfoots put 2 aces between themselves and the Holstons after 2 innings before scoring 3 additional aces in as many innings. The Holstons plated 4 aces in the bottom of the 6th to square the match at 7 aces and, albeit briefly, managed to stop the hemorrhage of Lightfoot aces. However, the home club halted the Holstons comeback as their willows caught heat in the 8th and 9th innings as 11 Lightfoots orbited the sacks. The Holstons found themselves in a pickle heading into the last frame and managed only 2 aces as Samson (formerly known as The Kid) and Gasser plated to trim the final deficit to 9. Pickaxe, the match’s arbiter, presented the game ball to Mac, the Lightfoots captain and announced the final tally in favor of the Lightfoots over the Holstons, 18-9.

The Holstons have yet to secure a victory after the first three matches of the season and found themselves tied at the bottom of the standings. As the gentlemen ballists exhibited civility by greeting one another with congratulatory handshakes following the match, Molasses, the captain of the Holstons Base Ball Club, challenged the Lightfoots to a second match to be played in Knoxville at Colonel Ramsey’s splendid garden in the summer. The match is expected to be played on August 21 at noon and will be the first game of the Upstream Series in the Tennessee River Cup. The Emmett Machinists of Knoxville and the Mountain City Club of Chattanooga will play the second match with the winners of both games playing for the Cup.

Game Stats

Match Report: Highland Rim distills the Holstons, 6-3

A match game of base ball was played Saturday between the Highland Rim Distillers and the Holston Club of this city. The Middle Tennessee ballists were looking forward to a third win in the same number of matches against the Holstons on their home grounds at Colonel Ramsey’s splendid ball field a few miles east of Knoxville. The Colonel and his Cousin were on hand to welcome the ballists and scores of of rooters of the national game to his plantation. Overcast skies at high noon when the match commenced gave way to a beautiful East Tennessee spring day by the midpoint in the match.

Keen observers noted that the Holstons roster appeared depleted. Several among the throng were heard inquiring as to the whereabouts of Butter Bean, the home club’s beloved former captain, who was nowhere to be seen. Other missing ballists included co-captain Cannonball, Gasser, and Bugle Boy. An additional loss occurred shortly after the match began when Stove Pipe suffered a wound on the field of battle after gobbling Nips’ huckleberry.

The Holstons jumped out into the lead after Augie made his base and Lefty followed with a corker that the Distillers had some trouble handling which permitted the former Holston to tally the first ace. Doc set the tone at the pitcher’s point in the first two innings as his battery of onions confused the Distillers who failed to get past first sack. However, the Holstons’ wagon wheels came off in the third as Cornstalk of the Highland Rim led them with a shooter off his timber. Cornstalk and Piccadilly Willy tallied two aces in the third, followed by Dapper in the fourth, and two more by Cracker Jack and Cornstalk in the fifth. After five innings, the Distillers led the Holstons 5 to 1. Beginning in the sixth, the Holstons’ stout defense returned and with the exception of Cactus stirring his stumps around the sacks to tally the Distillers’ sixth ace in as many innings, the Holstons’ scouts and basetenders kept them off the scoreboard. Molasses and Sour Mash won laurels in the field for the Holstons as they took handsomely to the Distillers bloopers and daisy cutters. The Holstons managed to tally two additional aces thanks to Augie and Freight Train’s ginger on the sacks in the sixth and ninth innings respectively; however, the home team’s lack of hot balls in this season’s first two matches is further proof that the Holstons’ timber has yet to awaken from a long winter’s slumber.

The game closed near 2 p.m. The score stood as follows: Distillers 6, Holstons 3. Each club formed in line and the result was announced by “Waffle House,” the match’s arbiter who presented the game ball to Old Hoss, the captain of the Highland Rim Club. The winning ballists then saluted the Holstons for a well-played match.

A couple Distillers deserve special mention for their pluck and artistry at the dish. Crackerjack and Cactus treated East Tennessee’s rooters of the national game with a plethora of sockdolagers. Gingerbread also won laurels for his ginger behind the dish as he fielded a few Holston tip outs and a wicked long ball that drove in two aces.

Despite the Holstons shortcomings at the dish, Lefty exhibited his well-known muckle power which enabled Augie to unleash his blazing speed as he made two complete orbits around the sacks. Several Holstons gobbled the Distillers’ huckleberries thus showing the sand in the garden that the club is well-known for as last season’s league-leading stoutest defense, which the Holstons’ captain acknowledged as a promising sign for the club going forward.

Game stats

Reckless BBC of Maryville Score card

Recently our friend and fan, Mark Aubrey, shared a score card of the Reckless BBC of Maryville circa 1876.  This may change the way the Holstons keep score.

If you are a fan of base ball history, we recommend you give Mark a follow at @mdaubrey on twitter or following his blog, Old Knoxville Base Ball.


Match Report: Mountain City Climbs Over the Holstons, 11-3

Report copied from Wings, Mountain City Captain and 3rd sacker: It was a beautiful day for the start of the base ball season. The sun was high and bright with clear skies, giving promise of warm days ahead. There was still a bite in the cool spring air with a game time temperature of 52 degrees.

Mountain City Base Ball Club won the bat toss and took their defensive positions. The big willows of the Holstons showed up in the first inning and tallied two aces. Mountain City then took to the dish and somehow managed to score 5 aces in the bottom of the first. Both teams showed some rust and first match jitters.

The remainder of the match was a defensive battle. For the Holstons, Samson covered center and left field with ease and Cannonball was a blockade at the 3rd sack. Sour Mash and Samson hit the onion well and put runners in scoring position several times. They had one ace in the 2nd inning, however the Holstons would cease to tally another ace the rest of the match.

For Mountain City, Taco in left field, Sweet Feet in center, and Mighty Bandit at short stop continuously made great defensive plays, including a double play by Bandit and Cowbell. At the dish, Taco, Bandit, Pepper, and Sweet Feet all had a great showing. Mountain City was able to slip in a few more aces for a final tally of 11-3 in favor of the Mountain City club. Taco was awarded the game ball.

Game Stats

Holstons in History: 1867 State Champions


Each September, the base ball clubs of the Tennessee Association of Vintage Base Ball gather at Carnton Plantation in Franklin, Tennessee, to play for the championship of the state and the right to hold the Sulphur Dell Cup. It’s a Tennessee base ball tradition with roots extending back to at least 1867. In September of that year, the Holston Base Ball Club of Knoxville played for the “championship of the State” in a hotly contested, best-of-three series against the Mountain City Base Ball Club of Chattanooga.

The first mention of the championship series occurs in the September 5, 1867, Knoxville Daily Free Press  and is an account of match one, played on Tuesday, September 3, 1867, in Chattanooga:

B.B.—The great match game at Chattanooga for the championship of the State, between the “Holston” club of this city, and the “Mountain City” club of Chattanooga, came off on Tuesday, and resulted in the defeat of the former by a score of 79 to 50. The Holston boys complain very much of the umpire, and do not hesitate to charge him with partiality in his judgments. They speak highly of the general treatment they received. The second in the match will be played at Knoxville on the 16th inst.:


Holston Base Ball Club


Runs Outs
Williams, 2 b., 8 2
Putnam, 1 b., 7 2
Miner, p., 4 3
G. White, 2 b., 5 2
R. Armstrong, s. s., 5 3
A. White, c. f., 5 5
H. Armstrong, c., 9 1
Homer, l. f., 4 4
Cleage, r. f., 5 4
Total 50 27


Flies caught 2; R. Armstrong, 1, F. Armstrong, 1. Fouls caught 15; F. Armstrong, 4, Williams. 5, A- White, 4, G. White, 1, Cleage, 1. Passed balls, 22. Home Runs, 2: Williams 1, Clenge 1.


Mountain City Base Ball Club


Runs Outs
Wilber, c. f., 13 0
Lowry, p., 9 3
Blakely, 1 b., 11 2
McCraeklin, c., 8 5
Sherman, l. f., 8 4
Johnson, 2 b., 6 2
Marfett, 3 b., 7 6
Brown, s. s., 8 2
Ross, r. f., 8 3
Total 79 27


Flies caught, 5: Johnson, 3, McCracklin, 1, Brown, 1. Fouls caught, 12: McCracklin, 8, Wilber, 4. Passed balls, 10. Home Runs 4: Wilber 2, Blakely 2.


Time, 4 hours.


Umpire, Charles C. Siegfrid.


Scorers, H. L. W. French, Holston; J. J. Lynch, Mountain City.


This is the first game for the championship of the State. The second game to be played in Knoxville.

The Holstons 29-run loss stung for 13 days until match two came off on Monday, September 13, 1867, in Knoxville; the recounting of this match appeared in the September 18, 1867, edition of The Knoxville Whig:

Base Ball.—The lovers of the national game had quite a lively time in our city last week. Some time ago a match game for the championship of the State was agreed upon between the Mountain City Club of Chattanooga, and the Holston Club of Knoxville. The first of three games was played at Chattanooga, in which the Mountain City was victorious. The game here was the second of three, and resulted in favor of the Holston by a score of 52 to 31. The final game will come off at Cleveland or Chattanooga in a short time.


On Friday night a concert was given to the Mountain City boys at the Lamar House, which is spoken of as quite a success. They were escorted to town on their arrival here on Friday morning by the different clubs of this city in full uniform, headed by the Knoxville Brass Band, and were entertained at the Bell House during their sojourn here. On Saturday a match game came off between the Knoxville and City Clubs of this place, in which ­the city club was victorious.

Tied at one match a piece, the Holston Base Ball Club and the Mountain City Base Ball Club played the decisive game at a neutral site in Athens, Tennessee, on Saturday, September 21, 1867. With little fanfare and withholding the score of the final match, The Knoxville Whig made the following announcement on September 25, 1867:

The Holston Base Ball Club Victorious.—The third of the match games between the Mountain City Club of Chattanooga, and the Holston Club of Knoxville, was played at Athens on Saturday last, in which the Holston were the victors, and is now the champion club of the State. Three cheers and a “tiger” for the Holston.

Indeed, three cheers and a tiger! It’s a cheer that resounded in Tennessee in the late-1860s, and if you listen closely, it still echoes each September on the fields of Carnton Plantation, as communities from across the state root on their favorite clubs in the Tennessee Association of Vintage Base Ball’s Sulphur Dell Tournament!

Holstons in History: July 4, 1867

The results of the July 4, 1867, match game between the Holston and Emmett Machinist base ball clubs appear in the July 6, 1867, Knoxville Daily Free Press. Although full rosters are not included, the article does reveal that the Emmett Base Ball Club [alternately referred to as the Machinist Base Ball Club] was comprised of railroad workers. The article also chronicles an injury of note: the aptly-named William Hurley being struck at the pitcher’s point, “full in the face,” by a ball off the bat of the Holston’s Sam Luttrell.

The Afternoon of the Fourth.—After the close of regular exercises on Thursday, the Holston and Emmet Clubs favored the people with an opportunity of witnessing a friendly game of Base Ball between the two clubs on the grounds of the Knoxville club. The game was witnessed by an immense crowd of spectators and was played with much spirit. It was closed at the 5th inning, when the score stood Holston 65, Emmet 12.


The Emmet Club has been organized but a short time and is composed of machinists and operatives in the Railroad shops. They have had as yet but little practice, though they have plenty of muscle and activity, and with a little more training will be able to compete with the champion Holston for the right to hold the bat.


During the game Mr. William Hurley was severely injured by being stricken full in the face with a ball from the bat of Mr. Sam Luttrell. The ball was driven with such force that Hurley, who was at the pitchers post, was knocked down and so injured that he could not continue the game.


Holstons in History: July 2, 1867

On July 2, 1867, the Knoxville Daily Free Press mentions the Holston Base Ball Club in connection with the festivities scheduled to occur in Knoxville on July Fourth. Besides challenging the Machinist Base Ball Club for bragging rights in Knoxville, the “famous” Holston Base Ball Club was also set to announce which of its players’ would challenge a grocer-by-day/Olympian-by-night to a one-mile footrace!

The Fourth.—In addition to the published programme for the [illegible] and more sedate citizens of our town, we learn that other parties will celebrate the day in manner to give


“The mind of desultory man,
Fond of novelty and change,”


the fullest scope to enjoy itself.


It is said that the junior member of a well known and popular grocery [buyer?] of our city will hazard his well earned fame as an Olympian in a race of one mile against thorough-bred and “to the manor born” member of the “first 9” of the famous Holston, whose name is announced as for the [sic] coming when the hour comes.


On the same day, a match game of Base Ball, for the championship of the city will take place between the [M?]achinist club of Knoxville, and the Holston club.


These divertisements [sic] are, of course, not intended to interfere with the published programme in this issue.

The “published programme” for the Fourth includes a procession with the following order: Knoxville Brass Band; “Orator of the day,” Mr. Ford; civic authorities of Knoxville and East Knoxville; “Car with Thirty-seven young ladies representing the State of the Union;” state military; citizens in carriages; and delegations from abroad.

The article also notes that the fireworks purchased from Philadelphia had arrived in town at much expense.