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The inaugural year for baseball played among formally organized base ball clubs (BBC) in Kansas and in Kansas City, Missouri was 1866. Little has been written about the events of that year other than retellings and embellishments of a myth created in 1927 about James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok umpiring a game between the Kansas City Antelopes and Atchison Pomeroys to prevent violence during the contest. In truth, the first club organized in the area by local business owners and other professionals was the Frontier Base Ball Club of Leavenworth in November 1865. A few other clubs were organized in Kansas the following year in Fort Scott, Lawrence, Manhattan, and Wyandotte (Kansas City), but not in Atchison. The first club organized in Kansas City, Missouri was the Antelope BBC in July 1866. Members of these clubs initially participated in intramural games, but challenges were soon issued and accepted through newspaper announcements. The first games were played among clubs in the same city, but intercity matches were arranged in October and November 1866. The four clubs participating in these intercity matches were the Frontier BBC and Wyandott BBC in Kansas and the Antelope BBC and Hope BBC in Kansas City, Missouri. The top two teams in 1866 were the Frontiers and Antelopes, who played a home and home series of one game in each city. Each of their games was followed by a sumptuous dinner and other entertainment hosted by the home club. Hickok’s presence was not required to keep the peace. The age of gentlemen’s base ball clubs in Kansas lasted only a few years before town teams composed of the best local players and possibly a few hired ringers became widespread. This monograph describes the inaugural season of intercity baseball in Kansas and adjacent Kansas City, Missouri.


baseball, Frontier Base Ball Club, Antelope Base Ball Club, Wyandott Base Ball Club, Hope Base Ball Club, Leavenworth, Kansas City, Wild Bill Hickok.


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Inaugural Season of Intercity Base Ball in Leavenworth and Kansas City, 1866: Frontiers and Antelopes

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