Totally Genuine Baseball History: The Fans of 1879

Today my mind’s butterfly briefly lighted on years prior. Strange, since I really don’t have any reason to acknowledge the past. I’m a millennial, apparently, and us millennials are always looking toward the next millennium. We are the voices of the year 3000! If I do look into the past, or even the present, really–if I ever engage my immediate reality for even one damn second–I do so with precise questions herding me forward like the mutant weasel and/or turtle that I am. Questions like: What can I destroy with words? Also, if possible, can I maim and sully the work of someone long dead? Can I misinterpret sociolinguistic context to defame and dog someone who probably worked hard to earn their living? Can I unduly amend someone’s creative property without reasonable justification? Can I make unusual and amusing if somewhat nonsensical lists? If yes to any of these then I will consider the past, albeit briefly and while drinking Svedka, the official vodka of 2033.

This lengthy lead-in was certainly not meant to be a tip-off that the following excerpt from the June 9, 1879 edition of the Providence Evening Press is in any way altered or marred. I guarantee you this is screenshotted straight from the internet without permission. As with many of the tweets and repostings of relevant writing on NotGraphs, this appears in its ~*~Original Form~*~. I post it only because I wish to give you, readers who are not millennials, insight into the ongoings at 19th century base ball games. I, personally, tipped back in my chair and ululated with shock as I read this. The following excerpt is a description of the crowds as they made their way to the ballpark to witness the Providence Grays host the Chicago White Stockings:


Wow! What a scene! Definitely some weirdos back in 1879! Definitely some 21st century weirdos, there! Somehow!

OK yeah this was silly. What I do genuinely recommend is combing through old newspapers using Google’s news archives. Pick a player you want to know more about and then search for his name during his playing years. At the very least,  read the play by play recap of the Chicago v. Providence game linked earlier and see if you can picture the action, be-stached ballplayers and all. It’s fascinating to get a glimpse at baseball culture 134 years ago. In most ways it’s really not that different, at least for me, because I always attend ballgames in full formal attire. O history, how I love thee.

I MEAN… JUST KIDDING! I am 1000% a zealot of the future! I’ve applied to live on Mars six times! My house is so futuristic it’s already a dystopian wasteland! I’ve legally changed my name to Destiny Prospectus Future-Prescient! Have you ever tried to get through a film from prior to 2009? Unwatchable! Just absolute trash. Yeah! The past sucks! Why would anyone time travel to the past where there isn’t texting? Why wouldn’t you just time travel to the future where it’s better? And then once you’re there, time travel to a more distant future? And then get back in the time machine, smash the console, and become a permanent wisp of temporal flotsam? That’s what I would do! It’s the millennial way!

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Zach is an egregious malcontent whose life goal is to literally become the London Tube. @itszachreynolds.

9 Responses to “Totally Genuine Baseball History: The Fans of 1879”

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  1. Zach Reynolds says:

    My millennial score was 74 :(

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    • Darkstone42 says:

      56, although this was largely because I had an atypical past 24 hours…

      In any case, I don’t know what characterizes any of the generations anyway, nor do I have much interest in finding out, so I guess it doesn’t matter, does it?

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      • AC of DC says:

        Just to see what the quiz entailed, I went through it, and scored an 18, which according to them means I am slightly more hip than a Boomer. Of course, the questions tended to be rather silly and little capable of gleaning much insight — as you note, quite a difference a day could make.

        I was more struck by the final graph’s indication that, in its definition, “Millenials” included people presently in their early 30’s. I know that generational titles are not well-defined and those on one end of a “generation” can vary tremendously from those on the other, but I had previously understood the term to suggest children of the 90’s, particularly those soon to enter, now attending, or having recently graduated from college, since that subgroup tends to have the ready cash to affect market trends sufficiently to earn them a label.

        Point is: Whether or not one’s childhood was entirely within the era of perpetual connectivity seems, in my studies, to be a strong dividing line.

        I will close with the following joke about PED’s, Carson Cistulli, masculinity, and the Big Red Machine.

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  2. 2ndedition says:

    I never realized that Weird Al was that old!

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  3. Nicholas says:

    Weird Al is timeless, dude.

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    • Darkstone42 says:


      And if I’m not mistaken, he actually comes from a long line of accordionists, so perhaps this Weird Al is an ancestor of his, and he took on the moniker to honor his family tree…

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  4. Big Time Timmy Jim says:

    “Utter malarkey!”- Abner Doubleday

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  5. Old Hoss Radbourn says:,1345561&dq=radbourn&hl=en

    I was “most ably supported by Gilligan, the first catcher Providence has ever had who has proved invulnerable to the temptations of drink.”

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  6. beaver-toothed rune says:

    “Gypsy acrobats poured liquid fire onto marmosets as Rutherford B. Hayes tinkered with a sagamore’s weanis”…..?

    – hopefully ‘weanis’ means nothing like what it sounds like because President or not, if I was a sagamore I wouldn’t want my weanis ‘tinkered with’. No sir. Mr. President.

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