Little Rock Ball Club (1857)

The Little Rock Ball Club was a wicket club based Little Rock, AR in 1857 prior to the introduction of baseball in Arkansas.


Wicket was an early American bat-and-ball game that preceded baseball. The game primarily resembled cricket, with the exception of being played with a much larger ball that was bowled toward a lower, wider wicket.1


The Little Rock Ball Club was organized in the spring of 1857 with Isaac Thomas Cates Jr. as Secretary.2


"A goodly number of our citizens have formed themselves into a ''Ball Club.'' Having been made an honorary member, and still further complimented by being chosen as Umpire, we felt in duty bound to attend on Saturday evening, although we had on us at the time, a nasty, little, sneaking dumb ague. The game being played was ''wicket'', one new to us, but easily comprehended. We found quite a number present, embracing sober sided business men, professional men, young men and boys. Dr. Huey and Mr. Tate were the bowlers on one side --Dr. Case and McCowan on the other. We remained about half an hour, and almost laughed off our bad feelings --we really enjoyed it. To look at the length of McCowan's legs we should have put him down at six, but he was good for a fraction under three minutes. Hines was fully up to 2:40 on the shell road. We are glad to see this Club formed, and trust it will increase in numbers. It will have the effect of bringing about a good state of feelings among us. Here we got to see each other, somewhat after the fashion that our Great Creator designed we should be moulded [sic] in. these kind of plays carry us back to our boyhood --make green our hearts, open their fountains, and in short, make us better and wiser. We hope that on some pleasant Saturday afternoon, a very general invitation will be given to the ladies to attend, though we do fear, in such an event, some of our young friends would burst a blood vessel." - Arkansas State Gazette and Democrat, 4/18/1857, p.2.3

“We publish below a resolution passed by the Little Rock Ball Club. We hope the ladies, weather permitting, will honor them with their presence. We are authorized to say, that the parties we pitted against each other at the last meeting will contend for the palm at the next meeting. It was a close thing before, and both sides are sanguine of success: A meeting of the members of the Little Rock Ball Club, on Saturday, the 25th of April, the following resolution was adopted: Resolved: A general invitation is hereby extended to the citizens of Little Rock, and the ladies in particular, to attend and see the games of the Club, on Saturday evening next, the second of May, at 3 o’clock. By order of the club, I. T. Cates, secretary" - Arkansas State Gazette and Democrat, 5/2/1857.4