Carmel Clay Historic Society’s ebook examines Carmel’s baseball historical past • Present Publishing

The book by Carmel Clay Historical Society historian AJ Wright describes the history of Carmel baseball. (Photo submitted)

Carmel Clay Historical Society historian AJ Wright didn’t expect to write a book on Carmel Baseball until he found out how much information was available.

Through research, Wright found information from 736 newspaper clippings.

“If there wasn’t that much information, it would have been a small article or a Facebook post,” he said. “The more I got into it, the more exciting the stories, the rivalries with the Hamilton County teams and the great interest in the teams became. You really supported these teams. Carmel was (then) only a town with 500 inhabitants and the team plays on a semi-professional level. “

The result was Wright’s book, Curtis Bales and the Carmel Baseball Club.

“Boys have played baseball in Carmel schoolyards for at least the 1850s, but there was no record of a Carmel baseball club until 1887,” Wright said. “The club could only play teams that could be reached by horse and buggy or by Monon. After the turn of the century, a network of rural railways using electric trams was built across the state and baseball exploded. The teams could now travel much more efficiently. They organized leagues and expanded their schedules. The Interurban also gave players more mobility. Talented people have joined semi-professional teams outside of their hometown or played for more than one team in a season. “

Carmel had a successful run in the Hamilton County League.

“It was usually an amateur league, but every club added semi-professional and professional players to their squad, which made them very competitive,” Wright said. “Carmel has been fortunate to have a core of strong hometown players, four of whom signed minor league contracts at some point in their careers. They took Carmel to the championship game of the Hamilton County League four years in a row from 1904 to 1907 and won the championship in 1904 and 1907. “

Wright said almost all of the players were from Carmel, including star pitcher Curtis Bales.

One game in particular attracted a lot of attention. On July 6, 1906, Carmel was the host of the Nebraska Indians, a barnstorming team composed mostly of Native American players. The Nebraska Indians had a 151-31-2 record that year, Wright said.

There were a thousand spectators in the park to watch Carmel’s 4-0 win. Bales was the star of the game, allowing the Indians only three hits.

“Bales made such an impression on the Indian manager that he signed him for the remainder of their tour of the Midwest and East Coast,” said Wright. “That same year, Ed Walsh made the novel spitball field famous during the Chicago White Sox World Series winning season. Managers were keen to include Spitballer on their list. As Bales showed his talent across the country, he received several offers from minor league teams. In fact, he got so many that Carmel’s manager Henry Roberts acted as his agent. In the end, he signed with the Indianapolis Browns (the Indianapolis Indians were the Browns from 1907 to 1910). “

The book is available from the Monon Depot or by emailing [email protected] to order a copy.

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