Written by Cathy Buckley
The following article appeared in the Ruston Daily Leader in the early 1930’s
The next few lines talk about the end of Shiloh and the coming of the railroad to Bernice.
Spalding balls were used for as long as can be remembered. Baseball bats were also of official make. Uniforms were fashioned from bed ticking and caps were secured from some source.
A picture of the Shiloh team taken about 1890 reveals that the team was equipped fully with the exception of adequate protection for the catcher. At that, however, he was blessed with a mask and mitt as good looking as any listed in catalogs today.
Very seldom nine really good players could be assembled for a game, the informer stated and then the fun would start for the fans and players alike enjoyed watching the novice perform. The unusual large score sited in the clipping would hardly do justice to the real brand of baseball of that time and Wainwright declared the large score was an exceptional case.
“Most of the games were real pitcher’s battles and scoring was in few numbers and close”, Uncle Jack informed. “I was pretty darn hard to beat in those days and me and Ruff Pleasant sure had many a round opposing each other.”
“I usually struck out so many that I would think I could handle any of them and that would be the time some batter would step up and sock one a quarter mile with three on base. Pleasant and Thomas and some of the boys had it on some of us in experience since they played at LSU and Mt. Lebanon College.” After laying the crops by, baseball would begin in earnest. On the day of a game between Shiloh and Farmerville or any visiting team the stores would close tight and everybody went to the ballgame.
Sometimes the bar would close too and then the boys with a little too much refreshment would add a side line attraction.
When asked if the umpires were ever given any trouble, Wainwright answered in the negative. He said that all of the rules were the same except for foul balls. They did not count as a strike.
A league of the time was formed informally by Homer, Hico, Farmerville, D’Arbonne, Wards Chapel, Sardis and Shiloh and other communities.
One trip to Shreveport was remembered. The invading party from Shiloh took at least a day of overland wagon or buggy travel to reach Ruston for a train ride to the city. There they dropped a questionably decision against the Shreveport team and some of the boys thought that a little bit of “city licking” won for the hosts.
Cotton picking brought out the limiting of a team from the best players of several nines. Winter time was a wholehearted “stove lecture” of the past summer’s happenings.
Baseball ended in Shiloh in 1899, the year Bernice was established.
Some of the players in Shiloh at that time in addition to Pitcher Wainwright were:
|Walker Elliott, now of Ruston|
|Tobe Grafton, of Bernice|
|Beasley Baker, Physician in Texas|
|Bob Buce of Winnfield|
|Jep Breed, a Mississippi banker|
|Dave Johnson of Epps|
|Miles Davis of Bastrop|
|Jack Buce, now deceased|
|Frank Roberts, catcher|
Cathy Buckley is a native of Union Parish and lifelong citizen of Shiloh. She served as Principal of Spearsville High School for many years until her retirement. Cathy is now the director of the Bernice Depot Museum and a active member of the Bernice Historical Society.