For most of the second half of the 19th century, baseball was the king of sports at Notre Dame. Games were played in the spring and fall and at special events such as Founder’s Day, Commencement, and field days. The students organized baseball clubs, complete with directors (usually faculty or staff members) and students filling the traditional officer positions of president, treasurer, and secretary. An 1894 topographical survey of campus shows five baseball fields and one football field at Notre Dame. Certainly pick-up games also occurred on good-weather days elsewhere on campus.
Star of the East Baseball Club Team, including John Nester, Crawford, T. Mall (?), McNulty [Anthony or Joseph], and James Rahilly, c1885
Some clubs only lasted a season or two, while others remained organized for many years. The more successful teams included Juanita, Enterprise, Star of the East, Star of the West, Excelsior, Mutual, Young America, University Reds, and University Blues. The most famous player to come out of the Notre Dame Baseball Clubs was Adrian Constantine “Cap” Anson, who was a student from 1866-1868 and a member of the Juanita team.
Full page from a scrapbook with a photo of the Minim Baseball Team, 1889, and the University Blues Baseball Club
In the 1890s, Notre Dame assembled a varsity team to compete against teams from other colleges and universities. The growth of the student population at the end of the 19th century necessitated more dormitories, which transformed the look of intramural athletics at Notre Dame. Students formed an allegiance to their dorm and their place of residence was a part of their identity. They formed teams with fellow dorm-mates and took the name of the hall as their team name. In the early part of the 1900s, competition was fierce between the teams from Sorin, Corby, Carroll, Brownson, and Walsh Halls, as the names of Juanita and and Excelsior faded into the history books.
Star of the West Baseball Club, Champions of Notre Dame, 1872.
Individual portraits of Leo McOsker, Samuel Dum, William Dum, Charles Berdel, Brother Camillus, Charles Dodge, Dennis Hogan, Peter Reilly, Charles Hutchings, Benjamin Roberts, Mark Foote, and Frank Arentz [or Arantz]