A Trip Up Mt. Washington
The first recorded baseball game on Cape Cod was played in 1865 in Sandwich. Did you know that possibly the first recorded baseball game played on Mt. Washington was just 13-years later in 1878?
The game was played on August 7, 1878 on the Cow Pasture (a level area at 5500 feet located between Ball Crag and Nelson Crag)) near the seventh mile-post on the carriage road, according to a letter written to the Editor of the “Among the Clouds” newspaper.
The letter went on to say that the game was played between teams from the employees of the Glen Coach Company and the Mt. Washington Railway.
“Extensive preparations were made for this game,” the letter writer noted. “The ground being cleared of rocks and the base lines laid out.”
The game began at 3:15 PM with plenty of spectators on hand to watch.
“The railway nine went to bat first,” the letter explained. “Mr. Taylor batting a terrific ball over the head of Mr. Philbrook, center field towards the Gulf of Mexico. Amid tremendous cheering Mr. Taylor reached third base in safety, and would have scored a home run, had not Mr. Philbrook, by wonderful exertion, secured the ball just as it reached the edge of the Gulf, and assisted him out at home base. The next two batters were put out on flies to Mr. McCormick at short-stop and Mr. Dresser at second base, and the nine was out without a score.
The same misfortune awaited the Glen nine, the principle feature of the playing being a beautiful fly catch by Mr. Morrill, right field. In the second inning Mr. Judkins, captain of the railway nine, made a remarkable heavy bat, sending the ball through the top of a coach standing at the other end of the field, and scored a home run. The two who followed him struck out. Mr. Horne made a run on errors, and Mr. Butterworth was put out by the catcher on a foul tip. Mr. Sands, captain of the Glen nine, excited universal admiration by a home run in the second inning. Messrs. Cameron and Twitchell each scored a run, and at the close of this inning the score was 3 to 2 in favor of the carriage road.
In the third inning both side became dissatisfied and disgusted with the umpire’s rulings, and during the dispute which followed, rain began falling and the game was broken up. It was unanimously resolved to adjourn to Tuckerman’s Ravine, where a reception was given the players by their friends, in the spacious and elegant parlor of the Snow Hotel.”
It looks like baseball reporting hasn’t changed much in 131 years. Maybe it’s a little less formal with none of the Mr. stuff anymore. Fields are still prepared before a game and fans still come out to watch and cheer. Players and managers are still “dissatisfied and disgusted” (at times) with the umpires and it isn’t uncommon to retire to Tuckerman’s Ravine (or wherever) for a cold one after the game.
Most games today last longer than three innings and it still does rain, sometimes it seems for days. We have learned that playing baseball on a mountain is probably not the best idea, what with high winds, fog (or clouds in this case) and the chance of toppling off a cliff chasing after a fly ball and I don’t know if I’d want to play a game of baseball after climbing a mountain. I might be tired.
I think I’d start the game a little earlier than 3:15 PM. But maybe it took the players and fans most of the morning to climb or ride up the mountain. Likely, there were a lot of rocks to clear for the field and that could have slowed them down. Getting home (or to the bottom of the mountain) after the game could be dangerous, especially if it was getting dark. Mount Washington in places can be a pretty straight pitch down. Overall the game hasn’t changed much (except no more mountains), nor has the reporting.
Note: “Among the Clouds” the Mt Washington mountaintop newspaper was founded in 1877 and was published daily in the summer months. The newspaper continued to publish until June of 1908 when a fire completely destroyed the paper’s offices. “Among the Clouds” returned in 1910 and continued to be published at the base of the mountain until 1917.
The views and opinions in the Enterprise blogs are those of the author and are not neccessarily shared by Falmouth Publishing.