By Thomas Palmer
In the late 1860s, baseball, then usually referred to as “base-ball,” became all the rage in small Midwestern towns.
Galion was no exception. Like the neighboring communities of Mansfield, Ashland, Crestline, and Bucyrus, Galion was soon sporting a club team that took on all competition.
That decade saw the arrival of the Cincinnati “Red Stockings,” the country’s first professional baseball team, which in 1869 played the Mansfield Independents in what many consider to be the first-ever professional game.
Ashland’s team was referred to as the “Red Caps.” Our team had a somewhat more intimidating moniker – the Galion “Resolutes.”
In Book One of The Olentangy Legacy, Dr. Bernard Mansfield looked at the roster of the Resolutes, which included young men who would become important members of the local business community. Included among them were Otho Hays, who would become a bank president and imprisoned in the Edward Flickinger fraud and misappropriation scandal; and Gilbert Stewart, later a successful Columbus attorney and uncle of Nellie Stewart Gill of Gill House renown.
Other players with well-known local names included Arthur Ball, Elias Wimmie, and Erie trainmaster H.A. Cooper.
The Resolutes appear to have started playing in 1867, a year after Mansfield’s first game.
The first mention of base-ball in Galion newspapers took place in July 1867, where a quick story noted the Resolutes’ defeat at the hands of Mansfield, 106-39. That score is certainly an indication that scoring was handled differently in those days.
Case in point – in August of the same year, the Reolutes traveled to play the Red Caps in Ashland. There they went down to defeat by a more respectable score of 46-40. According to a story in an Ashland newspaper of the day, Galion players were well-behaved. “The “Resolute” boys were very gentlemanly and courteous, and played well, but were unsuccessful.” it read.
The box score showed a variety of statistics that are typically not included today, among which were “Flies caught, Flies missed, Fouls struck, Foul bounds caught, Fouls missed, Out on fouls, Bases made on called balls, Passed balls, Wild throwing, Home Runs (Ashland had 11 and Galion had 8), and Left on bases.” It was also noted that the game took four and three-quarter hours to play.
After it was over, the teams “…went together to a local hotel and had a “sumptuous repast,” the paper added. After over four hours of play, they undoubtedly had a strong appetite.
Each Saturday, we share a post about local history. We call this series “Galion History Corner,” and we will be sharing not only stories about our shared heritage but also updates on history news here in southeast Crawford County.
This series is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Bernard M. Mansfield, whose “Your Historical Galion” was a fixture in weekend editions of the Galion Inquirer. Dr. Mansfield was a friend and family physician, and he inspired the current generation of Galion historians to continue his work.
Sources: The States and Union (Ashland); The Crawford County Forum