Managed by Fergy Malone
History, Comments, Contributions
The Keystones name was used by two Philadelphia baseball teams in the 19th century. The first club, also known as the Keystone Base Ball Club was formed on November 30, 1859, by Samuel L. Barnes, who would be the team’s first president. Though it was another club official, Francis A. Frazer who would be the most enduring officer, serving in various capacities, such as treasurer and secretary from the team’s inception until 1867. The team would play its games at 11th and Wharton where on July 4, 1860 they would open the season against the Brooklyn Continentals, and give the team its only win of the season. The Keystones would follow the Philadelphia Athletics in joining the National Association of Base Ball Players in December of 1862. By 1864 these two clubs were the only teams from Philadelphia that were still members of the NABBP.
Unlike the Athletics, the Keystones were not able to establish themselves as a baseball powerhouse, losing games to the Brooklyn Eckfords, and the Resolutes of Brooklyn. In the 1864 the team went 1-6 against other members of the NABBP, with their only win coming against the Camden Base Ball Club of New Jersey, which also saw two losses to the same team. The next year the team would win a team high 10 games (10-10) and in 1867 would see an increase to 21 wins (21-6-1). Unfortunately the team’s success was short-lived as they would win only 5 games for the 1868 season (5-10-1). When the NABBP allowed for teams to turn professional for the 1869 season, the Keystones and the Athletics were the only teams from Philadelphia to go pro. This was a mistake as the Keystones would win only 3 games in their 20 games against their fellow professional teams. The Keystones would end the season with an overall record of 12-21-1. At the end of season the Keystones folded.
The second Keystones team was a member of the short-lived Union Association. The team’s entry in the Union Association marked the second time in professional baseball history of there being three baseball teams from Philadelphia. That year, 1884, saw the Keystones cross-town rivals being the Philadelphia Quakers in the National League, and the Philadelphia Athletics in the American Association. The team was owned by Tom Pratt, a former member of the Philadelphia Athletics and Philadelphia Quaker Citys. Pratt was no stranger to running a team as he worked in the front office of the Quakers in 1882. To manage the team, Pratt brought in former teammate Fergy Malone. A few of the players came from the Athletics, Quakers, Louisville Eclipse and the Baltimore Orioles (NL). Other players had not played major league baseball since the late 1870s and early 1880s. These players came from: the Syracuse Stars, Worcester Worcesters, and Cincinnati Reds. The rest of the roster saw 15 players make their major league debuts at some point during the season.
The team opened the season at home which saw a 14-2 blowout loss to the Boston Reds. The team would get its first win the next day against the Reds. The team would win 2 of its first 12 games, and lost 9 straight. The team would tie this streak two more times during the season. The high point of the season was an 8 game winning streak, but that was quickly erased by the team’s third and last nine game losing streak. Following an 8-5 loss to the Boston Reds, the team withdrew from the league and folded, with a 21-46 record. It should be pointed out that the team was 14-21 at home; its best month was July which saw the team go 9-10. The Keystones also had winning records against Altoona Mountain City (3-1), Chicago/Pittsburgh (5-3), and the Kansas City Cowboys (4-0). Meanwhile the Quakers went 39-73-1 and the Athletics went 61-46-1.
- Peter Filichia: Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebrations of All 273 Major League and Negro League Ballparks Past and Present, Addison Wesley Publishing Company (March 1993)
- John Shiffert: ‘Base Ball in Philadelphia: A History of the Early Game, 1831-1900’ McFarland, Oct 11, 2006