Here are some interesting newspaper excerpts about 19th century base ball that I've discovered during my research of James O'Rourke. Maybe you will find these as interesting and humorous as I have. Feel free to add any unusual 19th century base ball stories as well.
January 14, 1876 Boston Daily Globe ICE BASE BALL
A game of Base Ball was played on the ice at Jamaica pond yesterday afternoon. The game was quite interesting to the numerous spectators present, and was well played considering this as being the first game any of them had played on ice. There will be a second game at the same place tomorrow. (The box score shows the team 'names': "George Wright's side" and "H. Wright's side".)
May 3, 1885 The Washington Post NY BASE BALL PLAYERS ROLLER-SKATE
Nearly all the New York players are expert roller-skaters. There is talk of arranging a match between O'Rourke and Welch, to settle the championship.
September 12, 1888 New York Times FELL UNDER A HORSE
The features of the game were the fly catching of O'Rourke and Duffy. In the ninth inning Duffy made the most remarkable catch of a fly ball that has been seen here this season. He caught it in far centre field and fell under a horse standing on the carriage tracks, narrowly escaping being kicked by the animal.
May 3, 1885 The Washington Post CUSHION FIGHT!
After the game at Sportman's Park yesterday afternoon the little cushions that had been distributed around among the occupants of the stands were showered out onto the field, where an impromptu game of buff-ball was started with about 500 players. For a period of 10 minutes cushions were flying in every direction, fully 100 being in the air all the time. Park policemen was subject to a perfect fusillade of cushions, from which they were only too glad to beat a retreat. Some of the cushion throwers continued their sport outside of the grounds. It was funny for the spectators and very funny for the players.
September 20, 1908 Boston Daily Globe OLD TIMERS GAME
James H. O'Rourke, a second year member of the team still playing ball, has accepted the invitation to join the old fellows, objecting, however, to being considered an old timer. (O'Rourke was 58 years old)
May 25 and 30, 1880 Boston Daily Globe KNOCKED SENSELESS BUT WILL PLAY AGAIN
In the second inning of the Troy-Boston game, John O'Rourke (Jim's brother), in trying to capture Connors' long hit to centre, ran against the fence and was knocked insensible. The sharp edge of the timber cut his throat 4 inches and he was badly injured about the breast. He was carried from the field. Internal injuries were probably received. O'Rourke thinks he will be able to play again in a few days.
November 8, 1875 Boston Daily Globe WIN PLAYING LEFT HANDED
The Boston Base Ball nine played against 9 of the stockholders of the Association, giving them the advantage of five outs to an inning and pitching and throwing left handed and batting with one hand. Yet with these odds the Bostons were victorious by a score of 25-23 in a full nine innings.
May 1, 1875 Boston Daily Globe BLOWOUT 19th CENTURY STYLE
The Bostons played the Old Dominion club of Petersburg, Virginia, today, winning by a score of 46-3.
September 29th, 1918 FINAL GAME AT AGE 68
O'Rourke played his last game at the age of 68 (he died about 3 months later.) He was a member of the Elks of Bridgeport, who played their "antler brothers" of Derby. He invited his old friend, John J. McGraw, the New York Giants manager, to umpire the game. O'Rourke played one last major league game for the NY Giants in 1904 (age 54) and got one hit in 4 at bats.
February 10, 1910 Bridgeport CT newspaper REASON FOR HIS LONGEVITY
"I lived a clean life. I never touched liquor in any form, nor did I ever use tobacco. I always took care of myself. That's the reason I'm playing ball today (age 60), and that is the reason why I can enjoy the game. When I was a member of the big league teams, I made good money and saved it. I did not sport it away as many of the boys do now, who then find themselves, when their playing days are over, with nothing to keep them from want."
...Seeking scan of O'Rourke's N175 Gypsy Queen card...