A brief email discussion with Tom Shieber, Larry Lester, and Lawrence Hogan last week led me to look up the very first known box score for a game between African American baseball teams—so I thought I’d post it.
(Weekly Anglo-African, December 10, 1859, p. 3)
On November 15, 1859, the Henson Club defeated the Unknowns 54 to 43 on November 15, 1859. They were both Brooklyn clubs—the Hensons, named after their founder and pitcher, Robert Henson, were from Jamaica, where this match was held, and the Unknowns were from Weeksville, a community founded by black freedmen just 20 years before. Randall Brown has pointed out that the wording of the item (“another victory for the Henson”) suggests that this was not the first match between the two teams.
This box score was published in the Weekly Anglo-African, a New York periodical that in 1859 was full of discussion of John Brown’s recent raid on Harpers Ferry. A couple of years later the same paper would serialize one of the earliest African American novels, Martin Delany’s Blake; or, The Huts of America, which followed one man’s travels while organizing a massive rebellion against slavery.
(In case anyone was wondering, this is certainly NOT a new find—it has been known to historians for quite some time.)