My name is Steve Scarpa. I am a lifelong Elm City guy and a recovering journalist. Don Mattingly was my favorite as a kid, I think the 1996 Yankees could slaughter the current crop of players, and there aren’t enough books in the world for me these days.

I’ve written about sports all throughout my varied journalism career. I’ve spoken to a major league pitcher making a difference (Making a Pitch for Life, June 09, New Haven), to a young hockey player getting his first shot at the big time (Living the Dream, March 2009, New Haven Magazine, and journeyed back into history to take a pulse of a local Hall of Famer (The Spitball Wizard, Meriden Record-Journal).

A word about the research methodology on this blog. In no way should the facts here be considered comprehensive in any way – I am relying on the microfilm archives of the 1875 New Haven Daily Palladium and New Haven Evening Register, found in the Ives branch of the New Haven Free Public Library. I also have found information about the club in the New York Times archives, Boston Globe archives, and in the online newspaper records of the Library of Congress. The Connecticut State Library is a great online resource. Baseball-Reference.com is invaluable for statistical research. I am also using Paul Batesel’s Players and Teams of the of the National Association, 1871-1875, a great source for biographical information. David Arcidiacono’s overview, Major League Baseball in Gilded Age Connecticut, was also a good read.  When I do come across research about the topic online, I make sure to credit and link to the appropriate websites.

I’ve on augmented my research with some biographical information from the Baseball Hall of Fame’s research library. I also have a ton of my own books, which I refer to on occasion.

Think of what you read here as first hand skeletal research, with a bit of my own meanderings for good measure.

I also want to thank the writer of the baseball blog The Greatest 21 Days, whomever he is. That project, the well-researched, well-written nature of it, encouraged me to tackle this one.


New Haven Daily Palladium, 1875.

New Haven Register, 1875.

David Arcidiacono, “Major League Baseball in Gilded Age Connecticut,” McFarland and Co, Inc., 2010.

Paul Batesel, “Players and Teams of the National Association: 1871-1875,” McFarland and Co., 2012.

Bill James, “The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract,” The Free Press, 2001.

Peter Morris, “A Game of Inches: The Story Behind The Innovations That Shaped Baseball,” Ivan R. Dee, 2010.

Peter Morris, “Catcher: How the Man Behind the Plate Became an American Folk Hero,” Ivan R. Dee, 2010

David Nemec, “Major League Baseball Profiles: 1871-1900,” Volumes I-II, University of Nebraska Press, 2011.

Harold Seymour, “Baseball: The Early Years,” Oxford University Press, 1960.

Mike Shatzkin, ed., “The Ballplayers,” William Morrow and Company, 1990.

John Thorn, “Baseball in the Garden of Eden,” Simon and Schuster, 2012.

Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns, “Baseball: An Illustrated History,” Knopf, 1994.


15 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Steve. Great great blog. I have one question. The drawing of the ball park that you have on the header of your blog does not seem to correspond with the street names that are historically associated with the location of Hamilton Park, the home field of the Elm Citys. Can you confirm or explain?

    • Hi Jeff – thanks for the kind words and for the interest. You are correct that the header doesn’t correspond to the location of Hamilton Park. The New Haven club played its first couple of games at Hamilton, which was Yale’s primary athletic facility at the time, because its new home park on Howard Avenue wasn’t completed, either due to lack of funding or inept management. This is the posting where I address some of that situation: https://spelvin56.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/new-ball-field-for-new-haven-the-elm-citys-get-ready-for-howard-avenue/

      It is also possible that the failure to finish Howard Avenue in time for the season resulted in the firing of the club’s business manager, Willis Arnold: https://spelvin56.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/the-elm-citys-force-out-gm-days-before-the-season/

      I appreciate you checking out the blog and if you have any thoughts or insights, please feel free to share them.

      All my best,

      • Hey Jeff –

        I’ve seen postcard renderings online of the entrance gate to Hamilton Park and I believe photos exist in Yale’s archives of games being played there (they might be online through the Beinecke library.) I’m sure that the New Haven Museum probably has maps of the park, which was also used for football and horseracing, I believe, but I haven’t seen any. If I come across them online I’ll post them.


  2. Hi Steve, I am the artist and designer behind the new 19th century baseball site called Threads Of Our Game. The site features uniform renderings for all teams big and small between the years 1856 and 1900, each based on visual or written documentation. I have recently posted renderings of the 1875 New Haven uniform based on descriptions from your blog and another researcher in Connecticut. I am looking for your feedback on this rendering or also any information you would be willing to contribute. Check out Threads. Thanks, Craig


    • Hi Craig –
      Thanks so much for writing! Firstly, I have to say that your website is really interesting! It really brings these ancient teams to life. In regards to your rendering, it looks pretty spot on to me, given what both Arcidiacono has contributed (he’s the true expert in these matters), and what I’ve read in the Register and the Palladium. The only thing I envisioned differently, based on contemporary newspapers’ emphasis that the uniforms closely resembled Hartford’s, is that the name would have been horizontal across the bib. However, its pretty clear that it wouldn’t have fit that way. I didn’t find any team photos at the Hall of Fame Library, and I am going to check the New Haven Museum at some point to see if I can find anything, but until the day comes when something tangible unearths, I would say yours is the definitive rendering of the uniform! Thanks so much for reaching out! Do you mind if I do a blog post about your site?
      ps One very small thing – my last name is spelled Scarpa

  3. Hi Steve,

    Great blog, came across whilst researching Tommy Bond. As I am Irish I’ve developed a great interest in Tommy Bond. Have you any more information on him? Like how he got to America from Longford? Did he arrive due to the Irish Famine?


    • Hi Graham –

      Good to hear from you. Sorry to say I don’t have any specific information on how Bond came to live in America. David Nemec’s research indicates that Bond was born in Granard, Ireland in 1856. Nemec also said that while Bond was extremely successful in the early day of professional baseball thanks to his “rise ball,” he had trouble making the transition to greater pitching distances pioneered in the 1880s. Injuries and ineffectiveness ended his career by 1884, even though he was the highest paid player in the game less the a decade before. According to researcher Paul Batesel’s book “Players and Teams of the National Association,” Bond briefly umpired in the National League after his career ended at 28 years old. He then coached at Harvard and worked in the Boston assessors office. He died in 1941 and is buried in Forest Hills Cemetery in Boston. Batesel also says that Bond was a graduate of Holy Cross College. I suspect that Bond was as good or better than some of the other 19th century pitchers in the Hall of Fame, but at this remove of time its a bit too difficult to place him in proper context.

      Hope this is helpful!

      • Thanks Steve,

        Quite an interesting character he is, pity there isn’t more information about him. Thanks a million though for informing me of all available information on him, you sure do know your stuff.

        Best wishes,

  4. Great Blog, and great research. I’m writing a bit off topic. My grandfather managed a team called the New Haven XY’s (amateur or semi-pro, I’m not clear) in the late 20s or early 30s. One of the teams featured Albie Booth (Future Yale football all-American). I have one team photo from the period. Wondered if you had run across any information on the team or could point to resources?

    • Hi Tim –

      Thanks for the kind words. Unfortunately I have not encountered anything about that particular team. I would suggest the archives of the New Haven Register from that time period found at the New Haven Free Public Library – Booth’s skill and local fame might have lent itself to interesting coverage. The New Haven Museum could also have some information. The Beinecke Library has a very good online digital archive that might have something. Finally, Sam Rubin wrote a book about the history of baseball in New Haven. Perhaps he has something there. Sorry I don’t have anything specific, but it sounds like a great project.

      Best of luck

  5. I am Bridgeport baseball historian and have info on Tricky Nichols. Please send me your email if you would like me to forward. Check out my website for Bridgeport baseball info. There was a lot of overlap of players and games between New Haven and Bridgeport.

    • Hi Mike – Great to hear from you! I checked out your website and it looks as if you are doing a ton of interesting work on Bridgeport baseball (the O’Rourkes are fascinating)! I would love to learn more about Tricky Nichols – I have a soft spot for him. I have to go through my files, but I believe I might have his death certificate from the Hall of Fame archives. I’m happy to pass it along – you can reach me at steven_scarpa@yahoo.com. Thanks and I wish you the best in your work! Steve

  6. I am attempting to write a comprehensive article on ‘The Home Fields of the Big Four’, the great pre-Ivy League college football pioneers (Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Penn). I say ‘attempt’ because I’m always turning up new facts. In the lore of the sport, venues were referred to in the passing, so how was I to know–thanks to this and other OL sources–how important Hamilton Park was? Thanks for your efforts, including those posting. My piece should appear in the College Football Historical Society Journal in August or later..

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