Brooklyn Excelsiors Baseball Team, 1860
Baseball history photo: Excelsior Club of Brooklyn 1860 (left to right): Thomas Reynolds, SS; John Whiting, 3B; Jim Creighton (holding ball), P; Henry D. Polhemus, 2B; Aleck T. Pearsall, 1B; Edwin Russell, LF; Joe Leggett, C; Asa Brainard, LF; and George Flanly, CF.
Excelsior Captain Joe Leggett's sure-hands allowed Creighton to deliver the ball with little concern that the ball would be “muffed.” This duo was an important factor in leading the 1860 club to a 19-2 record and the National Championship in the opinion of 19c Base Ball.
George Flanly began playing at the age of 14 in 1858, on the Niagara Club of Brooklyn with 17-year old Jim Creighton.
John Whiting, who also migrated from the Niagara Club with Creighton and Flanly, began regularly making base balls in 1861.
When the Civil War began 91 members of the Excelsior Club volunteered, although none of the first nine. In the winter 1862 Aleck T. Pearsall, who was a physician, volunteered for the Confederates. He became a Brigade Surgeon in Richmond, Virginia and even attended to some Union prisoners including members of the Excelsior Club. When this information reached Brooklyn, the Excelsior Club expelled him.
Brainard became the main Excelsior pitcher after the passing of Creighton in 1863. He remained with the club until the 1867 season when he moved to the Knickerbocker Club then finished the season with the Olympic Club of Washington (DC). In1868, he played for the Cincinnati Club, referred to as the Red Stockings or Bloody Claves, splinting time between second base and pitching. The following season he was the regular pitcher for the undefeated Cincinnati Club as well as the 1870 club when he pitched a reported 440 innings. He played for three teams during the first four seasons of the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players from 1871 through 1874, before retiring with a personal pitching record of 24-55.
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