Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The McClung's Baseball Team

On July 9, 2015, the McClung Museum of Natural History & Culture put the following on its facebook page.

The post was accompanied by the following photo.

Courtesy McClung Museum of Natural History & Culture, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

It got me thinking about the team.  I'm familiar with most of the major teams in the region during that time, and it didn't ring any bells.  The McClung family was prominent in the physical formation and the economic life of Knoxville.  I assumed that the the team pictured was part of an industrial or city league.  I'm haven't sharpened my equipment or uniform dating skills in quite some time, but the style looked like it could have been from the late 1890s to the early 1900s.

I was able to make my way to the Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection to do some research in their holdings.  I first looked in the vertical file stacks.  Thanks to the wonderful staff downtown I finally found some folders about the C. M. McClung company.  Newspaper clippings, anniversary booklets, things like that.  Interesting stuff, but nothing that talked about a company baseball team.

Then to the newspaper microfilm.  I first looked at the Knoxville Tribune from the summer of 1898.  I found some baseball articles, but nothing on the McClung's team.

Then I started searching the Journal & Tribune from the summer of 1902.  Bingo!

On page 5 of the July 18th edition of the Journal & Tribune I found a schedule for the City League.

Six teams would be playing forty five games from the middle of July to the middle of October.

The teams were:
  • Brookside
  • Knoxville Foundry and Machine Company
  • Shamrocks
  • South Knoxville
  • C.M. McClungs
  • Y.M.C.A.
They would spend their Saturdays playing on the grounds of Brookside Mills, Somerset, and Chilhowee park.

Journal and Tribune - July 18, 1902

Looking through the 1901 Knoxville City Directory I found that H.C. Gildard was probably Henry C. Gildard, a foreman at the Brookside mills.  He lived at 1347 Chestnut.

J.T. O'Connor is a bit harder to identify.  There were several James and Johns.  The only J.T. was a John T. O'Connor.  He worked as a driver (and later a clerk) at the Jung Brewing Company.  He boarded at 304 N. Central.

T.P. Condon might have been Thomas P. Condon, who I found in the 1901 Knoxville City Directory.  He was working for the So rwy (Southern Railway) and was boarding at 931 Asylum Ave.  Something in my gut tells me this isn't the guy.  I don't find him in the 1900 US Census in Tennessee nor in other local City Directories.

Looking through the 1902 Knoxville City Directory I found an advertisement for C.M. McClung & Co.

Knoxville, Tennessee, City Directory, 1902
Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

In the near future I'll share how the McClung's team fared and how the league finished.

You'll note that I didn't directly answer the question that was posed.  I know that a baseball team sponsored by C.M. McClung & Co. played in the 1902 Knoxville City League.  I don't know if the above photo is of that team. 

My new mantra is: There's more research to be done.

My thanks goes to Linsday Kromer of The McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture for permission to use the team image and to the staff of the Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection for their assistance (and patience) in helping guide me in my research.

UPDATE (July 24, 2015): Christine Johnson from the McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture shared this additional information:
On the back of the negative are the words,
"McClung Baseball Team
Glass Plate Neg.
Orig. Photographer - McCoy
313 Gay St."

No comments:

Post a Comment