Louisville Magazine

JUL 2016

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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Page 33 of 112

LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 7.16 31 In early 1886, Charles W. Hines — who was well known in Louisville's burgeoning post-war African-American community as a political canvasser, education activist, newspaper correspondent and saloon keeper — purchased the Falls Citys, a "colored" semi- pro club founded three years prior. Te team had emerged as a powerhouse among a large handful of other local black clubs by traveling extensively, from the lower South to the upper Midwest, according to historian, author and Society for American Baseball Research member James Brunson. Under Hines' direction, the Falls Citys amassed some of the best hardball talent in the region. While attracting crowds numbering in the hundreds (that was substantial back then) and cultivating vigorous rivalries with other black teams like the Claytons and Old Honestys, the Falls Citys also crossed bats with local white teams. From its headquarters on 10th Street, the club, quite simply, took on all comers. "Te Falls City champions added another victory to their long list yesterday afternoon," the Courier-Journal reported in September 1886 after the squad beat a team known as the Sterlings. "Te club is composed of the very best colored talent in the country and if the players could be kept together a season or two, the nine would certainly develop into a formidable rival to almost any aggregation." Anchoring the Falls Citys was pitcher James Combs, a steamer in a tobacco factory. From the mound, Combs frequently stared down the best baseball squads the region had to ofer. When the Gordons of Chicago came to Louisville for a three-game series in July 1886, Combs took the hill one day after the Windy City squad had clobbered the local nine 25-10. Combs mowed down the Gordons, and the Falls Citys notched a 31-7 plastering of the Chicago squad. While the club burnished its reputation, Hines and his squad embarked on one of their most pioneering endeavors — the construction of an 8,000-seat grandstand and ballpark at the intersection of 16th and Magnolia. Te stadium, according to Brunson, "was the only recognized black ballpark owned by blacks, as far as we know, in the country." Since 1993 Thank you for voting us as a fnalist for Best Local Brewery! Five time Best of Louisville Winner leveerestaurant.com varanese.com riverhouselou.com

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