Brooklyn - this is where Baseball became great. The word and this game, spread from here for all who came to embrace it. Brooklyn is the true nursery of our game and where it developed as a child and grew to adulthood and conquered our hearts. I'm not being centric. I've been to cities, states, countries and continents. This place holds my heart. I'm thankful for being born here and consider myself lucky. It's not braggadocio. Honest. It truely is my pleasure to want to share it with you. That's all. This is your game too! I just want to show you the BABY PICTURES.
Pack a lunch, dress for a January Trolley ride, but also dress to walk because there will be a lot of that too.
Another sentiment I'd like to forward is, I'm not looking to reinvent the wheel here. All this research has been done. I'm just taking you on the tour. So jump on, grab a seat or a strap...., and let's get outta here.
First Stop: 133 CLINTON STREET Designated Landmark NYC.
In 1974 a plaque provided for by the New York Community Trust was placed designating this corner residence as the original JOLLY YOUNG BACHELOR'S CLUBHOUSE. They later became known as the Brooklyn Excelsiors BBC. The championship of 1860 is somewhat still in debate as to who the real champion of the season was. Some argue the Brooklyn Atlantics were the Champs that year. But for this post's purposes, the B'klyn Excelsiors were the Baseball Champions of America of 1860. The inscription reads:
"This house was the former home of the Brooklyn Excelsiors Baseball Champions of the United States in 1860. Constructed in 1851, the building was once the Jolly Young Bachelor's Clubhouse. The Bachelors evolved into the Excelsiors B.B. Team. One of it's pitchers James Creighton, 307 Henry Street, Brooklyn, is said to have tossed the first curveball. During the Civil War, the Excelsiors introduced the game to soldiers from various states. Because of it's popularity, similar teams were established in other cities. Thus, baseball, as a national sport, can be considered as having it's origins in Brooklyn."
This house is only five blocks south from the the bank where the old Dodger Offices were where the plaque to Jackie Robinson and the mural of Ebbets Field are located. A little more south into the next neighborhood down is one of the sites where the Excelsiors played; Carroll Park in Carroll Gardens.
CARROLL PARK, Carroll Gardens, B'klyn
The next stop is a little deeper south in the neighborhood of RED HOOK. From Red Hook back to the Clubhouse is only about a mile, tiny bit more, maybe.
RED HOOK PARK, Red Hook, B'klyn.
No need to get off the Trolley for this stop. I just wanted to show you the present location as it looks today. Presently, it hosts soccer, football and services high schools from Manhattan cause them Bums aint got enough space. (did I say that?..shhh). As you can see I took this picture a day after a good snowing. The Brooklyn Excelsiors played here from 1859 till 1870. The park is at the southern tip of Court Street. They played here most of the time but like I said they were not exclusive to it. One day, in the not too distant, I plan on doing a feature on Red Hook. It's a little sleepy old water-front neighborhood. They just did one of those MTV shows off one of the piers there, not that I know anything about that.
We're heading to GREEN-WOOD CEMETERY; an incredible place!
GREEN-WOOD CEMETERY founded 1838. 25th Street & 5th Avenue, B'klyn
To cap this post off, I did something I have always wanted to do, but never got around to doing. Do you know I still have never been to the Statue of Liberty? It's true. Why? Because it's there. I'll get around to it one day. Well I procrastinated no more. I went to the cemetery to visit many of our "Fathers of Baseball" where they rest.
Here lies Jim JAMES CREIGHTON Jr. -
..Debated to have thrown the first curve ball..
A brilliant player of his time who died too young 1841-1862.
Brooklyn's first true super-star.
Like I said, I'm not breaking any new ground here, nor do I claim to be. I'm just a regular TrolleyBlogger taking you on the tour. I hope you enjoyed today's ride on the Trolley.
The Brooklyn Excelsiors Baseball Club,
Champions of 1860,
and what remains of them today.
Thanks for riding today!
19th Century Baseball.com
has a lot of information detailing these days.
It's a favorite sight of mine.
Check out Green-Wood cemetery, it's an incredible place.
And buy the book, your library should not exist without it.
Baseball Legends of Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery
by Peter J. Nash
or call: 718-768-7300