Friday, June 22, 2018

The Lone Stars of 1891

The Knoxville History Project posted a year ago about The Origins Of Knoxville's Bicycling. They mentioned a
Charles Porter, a black man, ran his own bicycle shop on North Central near the White Lily building by 1898, and was in the bike business for several years. He later founded the Lone Star Bicycle Club, which bought, sold, rented, and repaired bicycles on East Jackson, near Florida Street.
The words "Lone Star" rang a bell with me.  In 1891 both cycling and base ball were of interest the city of Knoxville.  The front page of the March 22, 1891 edition of The Knoxville Journal spoke of reviving the local baseball team and the formation of a new cycling club.

The Knoxville Bicycle Club held regular meetings, hosting picnics and other social events.  They had committees on badges ("entirely of gold and will represent a bicycle.  The Letters K.B.I.C. are neatly interwoven at the center."), uniforms ("entirely black with the exception of the belt, which will have a small gold strip running through the center of it"), and quarters ("The building on Church street, just east of Gay and opposite Dr. Boyd's office was finally agreed upon as the home of the club.").  Organized and active according to The Knoxville Journal of March 18, 1891.

On the baseball side of things a player named Dreschell was brought in as the manager of the Knoxville Base Ball Association team, known as the Reds.  That was probably Benjamin F. Drischel.  The team disbanded by the end of May.

Filling the void was the Lone Star ball club.  I can find a few articles that mention the team in 1879, but I'll share here what I found for them in 1891.  They are only mentioned for a few weeks at the end of June and early July.

Knoxville Daily Journal - June 26, 1891

Knoxville Daily Journal - June 29, 1891

Knoxville Daily Journal - June 30, 1891

Knoxville Daily Journal - July 3, 1891

Knoxville Daily Journal - July 5, 1891

Knoxville Daily Journal - July 6, 1891

The July 3 article mentions two players by name, Cheatam and McEwen.  I have looked at the Knoxville City Directory for that year and was not able to determine a first name for either of those men.

Was the term Lone Star somehow connected with the African-American community?  Were there other Lone Star teams across the nation?  Questions that I'd like to know the answers to.

images from

Friday, June 8, 2018

KICO Baseball Team

The Calvin McClung Digital Collection currently has 294 items tagged with the word "baseball". Four of those items are show below.

KICO baseball players
at Calvin McClung Digital Collection
C.M. McClung Historical Collection, Knox County Public Library

A typical description of these KICO players is:
KICO baseball players. Three men wearing KICO baseball uniforms, standing on field with bleachers in background.
I've looked at these images over the years, never knowing what KICO stood for. A bit of research leads me to believe it is the Knoxville Iron Company.

The Knoxville News would sponsor amateur baseball leagues in the 1920s. In 1925 they had two divisions, Division No. 1 (19 teams) and Division No. 2 (29 teams).

The Knoxville News - June 29, 1925
The Knoxville Iron Company were crowned champions in September of 1925, defeating Corryton for the title.

The Knoxville News - September 21, 1925

The Knoxville News - September 21, 1925

The grandstands in the background are most likely those of Caswell Park, looking down the third base line towards home plate.  My best guess is that these photos were taken in the mid to late 1920s.

I don't know the names of the men, but they have a place in Knoxville baseball history.