Oklahoma's few and fine sports historians have pointed towards the year of 1904 as being the first, most consistent year of professional base ball competition to be played in Oklahoma City. The Metropolitans, as they were called at that time, were quite competitive and actually considered champions of the Southwestern League in 1904.
Being one of curious mind over matters that contributed to the solid foundation of Oklahoma City's start-up in professional baseball, I set out to seek the embryo of this infrastructure and discovered there were years previous that included some well organized, properly scheduled and travel ready entities existing and representing Oklahoma City on base ball diamonds throughout the Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas areas.
With em•bry•o being described as "an unborn or unhatched offspring in the process of development," it is my belief I have found just that in regard to Oklahoma City's professional base ball inception. While scanning over page sixteen of the May, 12, 1889, edition of the Omaha Daily Bee, I read "the Oklahoma base ball club has not yet been organized. R. E. Volver has put in a ball or two with a swiftness and accuracy which would indicate who was to be the pitcher." Recognizing this comedic approach of reference to "R.E. Volver" as being (revolver) just twenty-five days post the rampant Oklahoma Land Rush of '89, this is actually the first published thought of Oklahoma base ball found within my parameters of research targeting Oklahoma City's genesis.
Historians flourish with pride from being able to share real time cutting edge new verifications but nothing to date exists to offer anything other than town ball guestimation for the year of 1890. One can only feel flourish from making up the word guestimation, but, newspaper documentation for a real attempt season organized and played in a professional manner in 1891 offers enthusiasm for those few interested in the true genesis of Oklahoma City base ball.
The first published reference of an Oklahoma City base ball game is found in the July 25, 1891, edition of the Oklahoma Daily Times-Journal. "The Wellington Mail of Thursday says that 'Walter Franz of this city and Lee Phillips of Winfield will constitute the battery for Stillwater, O.T., base ball club in the games with the Oklahoma City Club on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of next week. With such a strong battery, Stillwater's chances of winning are good.' The indications, therefore, are good for an excellent game. Our boys will have to put up their best licks."
The July 31, 1891, edition of the Oklahoma Daily Times-Journal reports: "It rained all day yesterday. This would not be a matter of particular note in Oklahoma except for the fact that it prevented the second base ball game between Stillwater and Oklahoma City. There were some expectations that the Hawks would put up such a game that would worry the Pirates to overcome. and a great many were disappointed. The Stillwater boys returned home on the noon train yesterday, well satisfied with the treatment in this city, and will be back later in the season to play a couple more games. It is an excellent team and puts up an excellent game.
Today the Pirates and the Gainesville club will cross bats. The latter club is here and is an excellent one and a good game is expected. The game will be called at 3:45 p.m. sharp. Turn out and help the boys out, besides seeing a good game."
The August 01, 1891, edition of the Wichita Daily Eagle reports "the base ball clubs in Oklahoma are getting into the fact that the visiting club gets the best treatment when it is beaten." Within the same edition is found, "The Oklahoma Pirates have done up the Stillwater Hawks. The base ball complication in Oklahoma is getting almost as interesting as the capital fight."
The August 06, 1891 edition of the Oklahoma Daily Times is headlined with "BASE BALL TODAY." A sub liner reads "THE WINFIELD TEAM VS THE PIRATES THIS EVENING." A secondary sub liner reads "Today the Ladies will be Admitted Free–The Game to be called at 3:45 Sharp."
The Oklahoma Daily Times continues with "The Windfield team arrived on the 12:30 train this morning and are a fine looking set of young men, they are all 'men' and not 'kids' and their last game before coming to Oklahoma was with Wellington (Kansas) and resulted in a victory for Winfield by a score of 4 to 2, thus it will be seen that the Pirates will have to 'play ball' if they win from the boys from the Sunflower state.
The boys here expected to have a hard fight to win from Winfield and have devoted some time in getting themselves in shape to win, and yet there is no victory until it is won.
As per agreement the Winfield club will play three games with the Pirates. Gorsuch and Bennett will occupy the points today for Winfield while Kittle and Jennison will do the battery work for the Pirates.
Today admission to the ground will be free for all the ladies, but everybody is cordially invited to attend. Come out and se one of the best games ever played on the home grounds.
The game will be played at the ball park east of the city. Game is called at 3:45. Following is the names and positions of players.
The August 16, 1891, edition of the Fort Worth Gazette reports "the Gainesville base ball club played Oklahoma City their second game today, resulting in a score of twelve to four in favor of Oklahoma City. The Gainesville boys leave for Guthrie in the morning to play Guthrie tomorrow."
The September 09, 1891, edition of the Wichita Daily Eagle reports "the last game between the Guthrie and Oklahoma City base ball clubs came out 13 to 13" while noting "thirteen was an unlucky number for both sides this time."
The September 11, 1891, edition of the Wichita Daily Eagle reports on the September 10 base ball match between Oklahoma City and Wellington, Kansas. "The game today between the Wellington Maroons and the Oklahoma City Pirates resulted in defeat of the boys from the territory by a score of 6 to 3. Kittle, Blackburn and Bennett occupied the points for the Oklahoma City club, while Fournier and Frantz were the Wellington battery.
The September 13, 1891, edition of the Wichita Daily Eagle reports that "the Wellington base ball club 'paid' a Denver pitcher $100 to beat the Oklahoma City Pirates" while indicating "he did it." This referencing the previously mentioned 6 to 3 loss by the Pirates to Wellington on September 10 of 1891.