Port Henry baseball season finale in 1883

There reportedly was an antidote for baseball fever in the 19th century — cold weather.

“Baseball has become almost a chronic disease in Mineville, and some of our merchants and professional men have fallen victim to the disease,” the Ticonderoga Sentinel reported on Oct. 19, 1883. “We are in hopes the timely arrival of cold weather will ward off the disease.”

Baseball enthusiasts of the iron ore mining hamlets of the town of Moriah were able to squeeze in one more game, but cold weather and darkness played a role.

The “much talked of game” between the Port Henry Nine and the Witherbee Stars was played on Oct. 20.

“The weather was intensely disagreeable, cold and blustery; both sides went in and played as enthusiastically as if it had been an afternoon in July,” the Sentinel reported on Oct. 26, 1883. But baseball is not a winter game and no effort can make it such; so while there was some good batting on both sides, the fielding was rather poor all around.”

According to The Morning Star of Glens Falls, players on both sides were all over age 60 and did not have experience playing baseball.

“The Nines will be coached by men well posted in the game, who will endeavor to keep the ball and players within a ten-acre lot,” the Star reported on Oct. 18, 1883.

At one point in the game Witherbee was ahead 19–1, but Port Henry rallied and pulled ahead 21–20, at which point the Port Henry team walked off the field and “shrewdly refused” to play any longer because it was getting dark.

“The Stars remonstrated in vain, so the umpire, Mr. Mulroy (reportedly a Moriah farmer) decided the game a draw.”

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Freelance history writer and documentary film producer from Ticonderoga, NY