The West Baden Sprudels, a black professional team managed for four years by the great C. I. Taylor and starring such players as Dizzy Dismukes, George Shively, and C. I.’s brothers Ben and Candy Jim, played their home games in Sprudel Park. This was an amazing structure, part of the luxury West Baden Springs Hotel complex, that consisted of a baseball field circled by an enclosed, elevated bicycle track, with the hotel’s dome—the largest freestanding dome in the Western Hemisphere—looming in the background.
Kevin Pope has been able to collect some photographs and other materials related to the Sprudels. Among these items is the following postcard, showing the Sprudels inside the park sometime from 1910 through 1913:
The postcard is unfortunately too blurry to identify anybody for sure, although I will guess that the guy kneeling in the center with the collie mascot is C. I. Taylor. He appeared in this 1920 photo of the Indianapolis ABCs in a very similar posture (albeit without a dog):
I can confirm that a couple of these guys did indeed appear for the Sprudels in 1911: Luther O’Neal (catcher) and Sutton (no first name, first base). The others could include Albert Toney, Big Jim Norman, Leonard or Roland Griffin, W. Higbee, Hub Alexander, and Lou Oliver, all players around this time for the French Lick Plutos (the Sprudels’ archrivals), Indianapolis ABCs (C. I. Taylor’s next team), Birmingham Giants (Taylor’s previous team), or Chicago Union Giants. The $30 or $40 paid to everybody but “Griffen” sound like a week’s or maybe a month’s pay; Griffen’s $3 must be for one game.
In addition, Kevin has a much later version of the French Lick Plutos, the 1931 “Pluto Red Devils of French Lick and West Baden”:
The ’31 Pluto Red Devils were themselves probably not a top drawer professional club, but they did play the Louisville White Sox of the Negro National League:
(Louisville Courier-Journal, May 31, 1931, p. 39)
And Kevin has also run across some photos of a black fraternal organization from the same area, ca. 1910, perhaps showing some of the men associated with the ball club (though I don’t recognize anyone):