Ye Olde Student Life

Baseball games on campus were rained out this week. Despite Claremont’s notoriously sunny climate, it turns out rain cancellations have been a proud tradition since 1889, when Pomona College fielded its first baseball team. “Records in the ‘Student’ for 1889,” TSL reported in 1925, “show that only a very few games were played and most of these were called off on account of rain or because the sun got so low it hurt the other team’s eyesight.” What stoicism.

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BALL TEAM STARTED IN ’89 – HAD NO ELIGIBILITY RULES

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Apr. 20, 1925

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Baseball was started in Pomona College in the fall of 1889 as nearly as Dr. George Sumner can remember, for he was score keeper and official batter for field practice. In those days Pomona was only a prep school and the men of all ages and sizes turned out on the diamond, which was located about in the middle of what is now Marston “Quad.” Everyone played and everyone furnished his own suit, consequently every suit was of a different cut and color.

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Of course there was no coach, nor any athletic organization, so those who played after classes did so just for the fun of playing. The best player was elected captain and he chose the catcher and an organizer and the three of them picked the team. Once in a while a professional player would come to Claremont and he would usually stay for a day or so and give the team instruction. There was no age limit and there was no rule about not being eligible on account of low grades.

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Robert Loucks was the pitcher of the first baseball team. He lived in Pomona and was considered the best pitcher in Southern California, for he played on the different professional teams around here. His two brothers both attended Pomona and one of them wrote “Hail, Pomona Hail.”

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Sherman Day, ’94, was the catcher for the first team. Louie Androus and Charles Eells were also on the first nine. In those days, Dr. Sumner explained, the catcher played back from the base and caught the balls on the bounce and the pitcher played farther from the plate also. Then they did not count fouls as strikes. Other than that the rules have changed very little.

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Records in the “Student” for 1889, show that only a very few games were played and most of these were called off on account of rain or because the sun got so low it hurt the other team’s eyesight.

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However the records show that the “Pomont Toughs” [sic] were the chief opponents and this is the schedule:

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November 2, 1889—College vs. “Pomona Toughs” 17-7

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Nov. 11, 1889—College vs. “Pomona Toughs” 12-11

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Jan. 5, 1889—College vs. “Pomona Toughs” 6-4

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Jan. 22, 1889—College vs. “Pomona Toughs” 16-12

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The diamond was regraded and the next game was with the Ontarios, students of Chaffey Agricultural College and they were defeated 16-13.

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Games were played with Azusa and Throop. Riverside expressed a desire to play but they had no team.

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— Compiled by Sam McLaughlin PO ’16

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