“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Florence in Hampshire County, Massachusetts — The American Northeast (New England)

The Florence Eagles

The Florence Eagles Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, May 23, 2013
1. The Florence Eagles Marker
Inscription. The Florence Eagles were once one of the legendary teams of early baseball history. In 1865, as the Civil War drew to a close, the Army of the Potomac had its own championship team composed mainly of youths from Western Massachusetts. One of the teamís members wrote to a friend in Florence suggesting that when they returned home they could play a local team. Almost immediately, young men from several area teams joined the Florence Eagles. The Eagles met the team of returned veterans on August 1, 1865, and as the Courier reported, “To the surprise of nearly everyone, the Eagle was victorious.” Among the players that year was Luther Askin, thought to be the first African-American to play on an integrated baseball team in the nation.

Throughout the rest of the summer, the Eagles played teams from Conway, Amherst College, Easthampton, and Haydenville—all of which they won. Over the winter of 1865-66, the Eagles attracted as many as 100 members. With so many supporters, the Eagles could afford to challenge clubs from outside the area. They traveled to New York to compete against the two most powerful clubs of the day, the Brooklyn Excelsiorís and Brooklyn Atlantics---and not unexpectedly lost. It was no shame for the Eagles to lose to the Atlantics by five runs on November 5, 1866, since the Atlantics were regarded
The Florence Eagles Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, May 23, 2013
2. The Florence Eagles Marker
as national champions.

In 1867, the Eagles defeated teams from all over the Northeast---Greenfield, Pittsfield, New Bedford, Meriden, CT, New London CT, and elsewhere. Recognized as the champions of Western Massachusetts, the Eagles were invited to Boston to play against four other teams from the eastern part of the state. The Eagles advanced to the finals against the Tri-Mountain Club of Boston, but soon decided that the umpire was biased in favor of the home team and after several disputed calls forfeited the game. The Eagles did not field a team in 1868 or thereafter but the record of the Eagles stands some 60 games played, of which they lost only 7, five of them (including the forfeit in Boston) to the strongest teams in the nation.
Erected by Historic Northampton.
Location. 42° 20.117′ N, 72° 40.4′ W. Marker is in Florence, Massachusetts, in Hampshire County. Marker is at the intersection of Park Street and Meadow Street on Park Street. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Florence MA 01062, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Entrepreneurs and Philanthropists (here, next to this marker); The Anti-Slavery Community (here, next to this marker); Florence Manufacturing
The Florence Eagles Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, May 23, 2013
3. The Florence Eagles Marker
Four markers on one stand
(here, next to this marker); Cornet Joseph Parsons (approx. 2.6 miles away); Hatfield (approx. 2.7 miles away); Hadley (approx. 2.9 miles away); Holyoke Range and Skinner State Parks (approx. 4.8 miles away); a different marker also named Hadley (approx. 7.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Florence.
Categories. African AmericansSports
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. This page has been viewed 386 times since then and 71 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234.   3. submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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