Baseball history — 1894 Glens Falls Athletics

Maury Thompson
10 min readFeb 22, 2024

The Athletics, the semi-professional baseball team of the Glens Falls Athletic Club, was back for a second season in 1894.

The season opened May 26 with a 5–2 loss on the road, in a game which demonstrated that the best caliber team does not necessarily win.

“The Athletics went over to Palmer Falls last Saturday to open the baseball season with the F.A. Smiths,” The Morning Star of Glens Falls reported on May 28. “They made twice as many base hits and not as many errors as the Palmer Falls team and were defeated.”

The Athletics mostly played teams from nearby communities, but the Glens Falls team did host a midseason challenge from a prominent national touring team.

The goal of that game was more about drawing baseball fans — and revenue — than it was about winning.

“A game of baseball has been arranged for Saturday afternoon of this week between the Athletics, of this village, and the Cuban Giants of New York,” The Morning Star reported on June 25. “The game will be called at half-past four o’clock on the Warren Street grounds.”

The Cuban Giants was known both for its athletic and entertainment ability.

“Frank Grant, the shortstop, will be with them, and Clarence Williams, who does the coaching, is as good as a circus. He is a natural-born comedian, and he keeps the spectators in a row,” The Morning Star reported on June 28.

It was the third time The Cuban Giants had played at Glens Falls in recent years.

The Cuban Giants won the game 16–6.

“The game was one sided,” The Morning Star reported on July 2. “The home players were not a match for the colored players at any stage of the game.”

There was not a set schedule or league standings.

Games were arranged on an individual basis, often with short notice.

“A telegram was received yesterday morning from the manager of the F.A. Smiths of Palmer Falls asking for a game on the Warren Street grounds next Saturday,” The Morning Star reported on Sept. 7. “As Manager Robertson is away, the Athletics were obliged to decline.”

New competition

The 1894 season brought new regional competitors for The Athletics.

“A new baseball team has been organized here and will be known as the Sandy Hill baseball nine,” the Sandy Hill, now Hudson Falls, correspondent reported in The Morning Star on May 28.

P.G. Holbrook was elected manager and Frank Goodfellow captain of the new Sandy Hill club.

“The club will go into training at once, and will soon be in readiness to do battle on the diamond with the Athletics and Palmer Falls and other teams,” The Morning Star reported on May 30.

Another new team at Fort Edward

“The newly organized baseball team, ‘The Eldridges,’ will go to Cambridge today to play the team at that place,” the Sandy Hill correspondent reported in The Morning Star on June 21, 1894. “The team (from Fort Edward) will appear in their handsome new gray uniforms that were purchased for them by … The Eldridge House. The suits were cut by S. Englander and made by Mrs. Nelson.”

Apparently a second team from Fort Edward was organized later in the season.

“Fort Edward has organized a ball team, and having secured what they consider a crack battery, will play their first game with The Athletics on Thursday of this week,” The Morning Star reported on Aug. 28.

Rematch with Palmer Falls

The Palmer Falls team came to Glens Falls May 30 for a rematch.

“If the boys play in any such shape as they have been showing in practice, Palmer Falls will have hard work to score,” The Morning Star reported. “Owing to the last game there is considerable feeling, and the Athletics claim that they are going to play ball from start to finish.”

The Athletics did not live up to the hometown newspaper’s boasting.

“Under a cold, cloudy sky, in a chilly air that shriveled up the arms of the pitchers so that neither of them could get any speed in their balls, the Athletics were defeated yesterday by a score of eight to four,” The Morning Star reported on May 31. “The rain drizzled along all through the game, making the ball very slippery and hard to handle. … That shutout that the Athletics talked about has been postponed; the frost killed it.”

Recruiting a pitcher

“The Sandy Hill baseball club has the services of William Cussin of Albany to act as pitcher. The club expects to play with the Athletics on the Warren Street grounds on Friday,” The Morning Star reported on June 12.

“Sandy Hill against Glens Falls on the Warren Street grounds this afternoon. The game will probably be a close one,” The Morning Star reported on June 12.

Sandy Hill won 19–14.

“There was a good deal of ragged playing done on both sides, although the local team rather excelled in that respect.”

The Athletics demonstrated “much improved playing” when the team defeated Sandy Hill 9–0 at the Warren Street field on June 21.

“The game yesterday was entirely different, as it was marked by hard hitting, clever base running and sharp and brilliant fielding on the part of Glens Falls,” The Morning Star reported on June 22.

“The Eldridges baseball team, comprised mostly of many of the members of former Fort Edward Stars, defeated the Athletics yesterday at Warren Street field 11–8.”

Sandy Hill was back at Glens Falls to face the Athletics on July 4.

“The Sandy Hill boys, in view of the fact that they were shut out last time, have strengthened up considerably, while the Athletics will put their strongest team on the field. Both teams mean to win,” The Morning Star reported.

Sandy Hill won 15–12.

Financial struggles

Good baseball did not necessarily translate to a sustainable bottom line.

“The Sandy Hill baseball team settled up their affairs last night and disbanded,” The Morning Star reported on July 6.

The club reorganized on July 7, with M.C. Allen as the new sponsor.

The Athletics defeated Fort Edward 18–10 in a game played July 10 at the Washington County Fairgrounds.

“The ball game played on the Washington County Fair Ground yesterday between the Fort Edward team and the Athletics, while not a scientific exhibition, yet see-sawed back and forth in a way that was quite exciting for the spectators,” The Morning Star reported on July 11.

“In the eighth and ninth innings the Athletics developed a hitting streak. … It had a very soothing effect on the noise, which up to that time had been deafening. It subsided until it was quiet as a grav yard. Except for the occasional chuckle of a Glens Falls rooter as the runs chased each other over the plate.”

Mighty Schenectady team

Schenectady was scheduled to play at Glens Falls on Sept. 12.

“The Schenectady City ball team, who play here this afternoon at half-past two, are recruited from the Edison shops, which employ over 2,000 men, and they are said to play a very strong game.”

The Athletics won 24–8, as Schenectady destructed from a 1–0 lead after the third inning.

“After that they were not in it with the Athletics, who had taken the measure of the pitcher and knocked out of his box by a series of terrific hits,” The Morning Star reported on July 13. “O’Connor, as usual, got in his pet home run, and all the boys hit the ball and ran the bases until they were tired.”

Rowdy crowd

The Athletics, playing on the road “in good shape”, defeated Palmer Falls 19–12 on July 17.

“It was a good hard-fought game, and, barring the treatment by the crowd the Athletics had nothing for complain of,” The Morning Star reported the next day. “The umpire was fair, but the crowd, or a part of it, tried to win by booing and cat-calling. But that kind of work didn’t rattle the Athletics in the least.”

The captain of the losing team was a poor sport.

“One feature of the game was the refusal of Galligan, the captain, to give the ball to the winning team, but, as the manager of the Palmer Falls kindly repaired the oversight by giving the boys a new ball, they can’t complain of the treatment at all.”

Palmer Falls brought in some ringers, making them temporary residents, for their Aug. 4 game at Glens Falls.

“They (Palmer Falls) sent to Troy and have four of the Delaney baseball team, who are residents of the town for the time being,” The Morning Star reported.

Glens Falls, as well, picked up a pitcher from the Delaney team.

The Athletics won 7–2.

“The ball game Saturday between the F.A. Smiths and the Athletics was as clean and scientific an exhibition as has been seen on the grounds this year,” The Morning Star reported on Aug. 4. “For the Athletics, everybody played gilt-edge ball, a fine one-handed catch of a fly by Woods in centerfield, and Murray’s fielding at third base being especially good, while O’Connor and Leggett knocked the ball over the fence for home runs.”

The Athletics recruited McGraw, “the hard-hitting third basemen of the Delanos, of Troy,” to strengthen the team for its 3:30 p.m. game that day against the Howlands, The Morning Star reported on Aug. 13.

Security measures were in place in case fans became rowdy.

“The grounds will be staked and roped off, and arrangements have been made for proper police protection.”

The Howlands won 12–10.

“The ball game yesterday started out with a clear sky and a bright prospect for the Athletics. McGraw hit the first ball pitched for two bases, and two earned runs were scored by the Athletics in the first inning. Three more were added in the third by a homerun hit of Sullivan’s, over the fence, and the Glens Falls rooters looked happy,” The Morning Star reported on Aug. 14. “But in the fifth inning a cloud came up from Sandy Hill, … and mixed in with some errors of the Athletics, resulted in the Howlands scoring five runs.”

Palmer Falls returns

The Athletics were set to play the F.A. Smiths of Palmer Falls at Glens Falls on Aug. 16.

“They have again strengthened their team and say they are going to keep at it till they down the Athletics,” The Morning Star reported.

Palmer Falls was ahead 22–18 when the team walked off the field, claiming it was too dark to continue playing safely, resulting in a win for The Athletics, based on a technicality.

“The Athletics contended that it was light enough to finish the game,” The Morning Star reported on Aug. 16. “The umpire ordered the game to go on, and gave the Palmer Falls team three minutes to decide to play or not. As they left the field, refusing to finish the game, he gave it to the Athletics by a score of 9 to nothing.”

Bringing in a pro

The Athletics recruited Tim Marshall, who had played professionally with the Binghamton Bingos, to join the team for its game Aug. 18 at Lake George against the Lake House team.

The Athletics won 9–0.

“The ball game at Lake George on Saturday between the Athletics and the Lake House team was a pretty contest for six innings, but in the seventh inning the Athletics bunched six base hits and ran away from their opponents,” The Morning Star reported on Aug. 21.

The Athletics defeated the Howlands of Sandy Hill 19–5 on Aug. 23.

“When the Howlands ball team yesterday started off hitting Marshall (the Glens Falls pitcher) for two earned runs in the first inning and put out the first two men who went up to bat for the Athletics, the cheering by the Hillers was loud and enthusiastic,” The Morning Star reported on Aug. 24. “But when the next three men of the Athletics got three bases and Home Run Whitney knocked the ball so far into the corn field that it never came back, and in the third inning Sullivan made another run … a dim suspicion crossed the minds of the friends of the Howlands that this was not their day.”

On Aug. 25, the Athletics, playing on the road, lost 16–4 to the F.A. Smiths of Palmer Falls.

Red-hot fight

“Don’t forget that the ballgame between the Howlands and Athletics at three o’clock this afternoon will be a red-hot fight,” The Morning Star reported on Sept. 1.

The Howlands won 6–5.

“The ball game on Saturday between the Howlands and the Athletics was a nip-and-tuck race from start to finish, and the spectators were kept on edge at every moment,” The Morning Star reported on Sept. 3. “In the ninth inning they could not be restrained, but got on their legs and joined in the game with all their lungs.”

The outcome and enthusiasm levels were different in a Labor Day matchup.

“In a very tedious game of ball at the Warren Street grounds on Monday, the Howlands of Sandy Hill were defeated by the Athletics of Glens Falls by a score of 12 to 5,” The Morning Star reported on Sept. 5.

On Sept. 17, the Howlands defeated the Athletics 8–5.

“After another of the annual see-saw games between the Howlands and the Athletics, the hard luck of the Athletics produced the usual result, and Sandy Hill won again,” The Morning Star reported on Sept. 18.

At the fair

The weather wasn’t the only change when a rain-delayed game between the Athletics and the F.A. Smiths at the Warrensburg Fair started over the next day.

The F.A. Smiths of Palmer Falls improved their caliber of play, although the Athletics still prevailed.

Fair management may have been the most thrilled, reaping two days of admissions from baseball fans instead of one.

The Athletics were leading 9 to 1 in in the fourth inning on Sept. 20 when the afternoon game was stopped because of rain.

“The Athletics wanted to finish the game in the rain — only one more inning — but the Smiths objected, asking only for a fifteen-minute rest till the shower passed by,” The Morning Star reported on Sept 22.

After an hour of rain, it was decided to call off the game until the next morning.

The Athletics wanted to resume play at the point the game was called, but the H.A. Smiths insisted on starting over with an entirely new game.

“This being left to the fair management they decided the whole game should be played over.”

The Athletics won 11–7.

Season closer

“The ball season closed in a flood of glory — from a Sandy Hill point of view — last Saturday, with the final game between the Howlands and the Athletics,” The Morning Star reported on Sept. 24.

The Athletics led for much of the game, but the Howlands scored three runs in the sixth inning and four in the seventh to win 13–10.

The Athletics and the Howlands played 11 games over the season, with the Howlands winning 8 of the games.

The Howlands finished the season with 13–3 record, in total.

Note: The season statistics are incomplete because July 19–30 issues of The Morning Star are missing from The Post-Star archives.

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Maury Thompson

Freelance history writer and documentary film producer from Ticonderoga, NY