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The New York Times, April 9, 1889


Baseball heretofore has been regarded as an athletic game in which music and a desire to dispute the umpire have been potent factors. But that is all a mistake. Baseball is an intellectual pursuit, which is indulged in only by gentlemen of the highest mental calibre, and by those whose minds have undergone a singularly-stringent training in the matter of intellectuality. This fact was established last night at a dinner given in the great banquet hall at Delmonico's to the players whose tour through various foreign lands gave the American national game a world-wide fame.

The banquet hall was jammed with people and enthusiasm and champagne went hand-in-hand. Champagne sometimes got the better of enthusiasm, but the intellectuality of the gathering was its most conspicuous feature. Among the speakers calling the deepest and heartiest cheers from the lungs of the listeners were Mr. "Baby" Anson and the Hon. Chauncey M. Depew, Mr. "Johnny" Ward and the Hon. Daniel Dougherty, Mr. "Jimmy" Manning and Alfred C. Chapin, Mayor of Brooklyn; Mr. "Freddy" Pfeffier and Judge Henry E. Howland.

Gov. Hill of New York, Gov. Bulkeley of Connecticut, Gov. Green of New Jersey, and Mayor Grant were to have added to he pleasure of the evening, but each sent a letter of regret affirming that baseball was the noblest and most exhilarating, intellectual game that man had ever devised.

Mayor Chapin was the first speaker. The fact that he hadn't seen a game of baseball for 25 years seemed to weight upon Mr. Chapin's mind, and he said he only felt justified as appearing at this flow of reason by the fact that Brooklyn was familiarly regarded as the birthplace of baseball, and he lived in Brooklyn.

Mr. "Baby" Anson was considerably embarrassed when he rose to his feet, but was also thankful that he had been permitted to assist in teaching the world what it most needed to know, and Mr. "Johnny" Ward seemed glad of the opportunity given him to display his singularly correct knowledge of the English language.

Other speeches were made by gentlemen to whom the less intellectual habit of talking was most familiar, and the erudite persons present made generous allowance for their shortcomings. They were Mark Twain, Mr. Depew, Mr. Dougherty, Erastus Wiman, Judge Howland, J. Seavor Page, and Mr. William H. McElroy.

Mr. De Wolf Hopper and Mr. Digby Bell, gentlemen who combine an intellectual knowledge of baseball with a physical knowledge of how to be funny, came in late and made speeches.

Some of the names of these members ought to be given that they might henceforth be regarded as patrons of high art. Besides those already mentioned there were present Macgrane Cox, C. T. Dillingham, Commodore James D. Smith, Frank Millett, Clay M. Greene, Joseph J. O'Donohue, Hons. S. Beattie, Theodore Roosevelt, Elliot Roosevelt, Paul Dana, Arthur T. Sullivan, Judge H. A. Gildersleeve, Hermann Oelrichs, and Col. John A. McCaull.

The baseball season has begun.

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