“Baseball in the District,” is the name we have assigned to our project to document the early baseball history for Washington DC. This book documents the 1888 season. The book follows a detailed chronological narrative, every game is covered. This is how the player’s were viewed during their times. Information about the players is presented to give you a unique view of the season. Local papers and sporting publications are used in order to give the reader a perspective of the era. Historical events are presented as they happened.
Our series to date
1877 to 1885 Renaissance
1888 Robert Hewitt Joins the Great Majority
1889 Ward Sold
1890 to 1891 The Dark Ages
1892 to 1899 The Wagner Years
1900 to 1904 An Orphan in an Upstart League
1918 Uncle Sam’s Game
At the start of the season Washington is put on notice that unless the team improves it might be dropped from the National League. The season begins with a highly successful tour of Dixie. High hopes return with the team and even non-baseball cranks and croakers are excited. But the team falters out of the gate and the respected owner Robert Hewitt, is gravely ill.
This forces his young son, Walter, to take control of the team. He does so reluctantly, preferring to run the families large grain and feed business. By default the team is under the control of Treasurer Luther Burket, best known for his infamous run from the law in 1890, and a rotation of players. When the team puts a 40 year old Civil War veteran with no prior major league experience in the box the chaos surrounding the can no longer be denied. Walter Hewitt calls on Ted Sullivan, perhaps the best talent scout in the game. Ted is a great General Manager but a poor choice to manage a team.
Short on talent, especially pitching, the team staggers through a season, once again a tail-ender. Poor performance on the field and the fifty cent tariff on the part of the League keep cranks and croakers down. The season is notable for the emergence of Dummy Hoy. He sparkles during the spring, overcoming the doubts of many and turns into a real find.
After the death of his father at the end of August young Walter is on his own. Can he make the decisions that will turn Washington into a winning franchise and insure the survival of the franchise in the League? Meanwhile trouble is brewing between the powerful League and the Player’s Union under the leadership of John Ward.
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