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Usually by July baseball is in full swing. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed that this season but Major League Baseball (MLB) players have finally reported to “spring” training and it looks like the 2020 baseball season will happen. The Historical Collections department of the HS/HSL is celebrating this unusual beginning to the MLB season by throwing it back to 1898, when the University of Maryland had an athletic association. The association supported teams in ice hockey, football, track, polo, and baseball. The teams were made up of men from across the schools of dentistry, medicine, and law.
In April 1898, a unique opportunity occurred allowing the University of Maryland Baseball Team to play the professional Orioles Baseball Team, at what was then Union Park. The previously scheduled Orioles games against Montreal were cancelled for April 13 and 14 and the managers of the two teams met and agreed to play back-to-back nights.
In the first game, on April 13, 1898, the professional Orioles team beat the University of Maryland “nine” by a score of 15 to 0. The Baltimore Sun reported rather fairly on the one-sided game by praising the efforts and skill of the University team against the professionals. The article praised the pitching of F. Talbott Brooks, School of Medicine Class of 1900 and cited a few errors in fielding as the reasons for the loss. Unfortunately, the University of Maryland team was unable to redeem themselves the following evening, as the game was called off due to rain. However, the University of Maryland team was given a shot at redemption the following April, playing the Orioles in an 18 to 0 defeat.
The University of Maryland team played five collegiate games in the 1898 season with a respectable record of three wins, one loss, and one tie. Members of the team included representation from each of the three schools. Members were second baseman, Milton M. Whitehurst, School of Medicine Graduate of the class 1899; short stop, [Jesse] H. Whitehurst, School of Medicine graduate of the class of 1900; first baseman, George L. Hicks, School of Medicine graduate of the class of 1898; catcher and first baseman, T. Owings, School of Dentistry member of the class of 1901; third baseman, Frank O’Donnell, School of Medicine member of the class of 1898; left fielder, William H. Smith, School of Medicine graduate of the class of 1900; catcher, William R. Pond, School of Dentistry graduate of the class of 1899; center fielder, Frank M. Widner Jr., School of Law graduate of the class of 1899; right fielder, Neilson Poe, School of Law member of the class of 1900; and pitchers: M. Walters, School of Dentistry member of the class of 1900; F. Talbott Brooks, School of Medicine graduate of the class of 1900; and William Bullock, Maryland Athletic Club player.
Bones, Molars, and Briefs. 1899. University of Maryland: Baltimore. Retrieved from: http://hdl.handle.net/10713/2450.
“Orioles and Students.” The Sun; Apr 14, 1898; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Baltimore Sun, pg. 8.
“Real Baseball.” The Sun; Apr 13, 1899; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Baltimore Sun, pg. 6.
“Unexpected Opponents.” The Sun; Apr 13, 1898; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Baltimore Sun, pg. 6.