"If we went with tradition, we'd still be playing without gloves."
--Jim Frey, Cubs manager - on installing lights in Wrigley Field
Fort Wayne Kekiongas History
By Patrick Mondout
The Kekionga Base-Ball Club of Fort Wayne (or "Fort Wayne
Kekiongas") were a short-lived franchise in the National
Association (NA). The team represented Fort Wayne, Indiana and
participated in the first ever Major League game.
The team was founded as an amateur team in the old NABBP
in 1868, but were never a very good team and it is remarkable that they
should hold a relatively important sport in the history of the sport.
The 1870 team was a bit of a joke. They traveled from town to town
getting whacked by the local nines and then went home, waited a week or
so, and then sent out telegrams saying that they had
"reorganized" before heading out for another beating. The March
10, 1871 Chicago Tribune therefore delighted in reporting that the
Kekiongas had announced that they had "reorganized" and that
they "now feel confident of holding their position among the first
clubs of the country during the upcoming season."
The only notable requirement for a team to join the National
Association was a $10 entry fee, and hence an obscure and
soon-to-be-disbanded team from a small town managed to secure a permanent
place in the history of the sport.
David Nemec, the tireless 19th Century Baseball
researcher, has also written a novel called Early
Dreams, which takes place during this era and features real-life characters
such as Cap Anson, George Wright, and Henry Lucas.
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