Here's another instance of Mark Twain popping up in an unexpected context,
this one much better documented than the tale of his Martin guitar. This
article appeared a while back, and maybe some of you are already aware of
it. But for those who aren't:
The 1994 edition of _The National Pastime_, an annual publication of the
Society for American Baseball Research, contains an article by Darryl Brock
called "Mark Twain and the Great Base Ball Match." Knowing that Twain was at
least marginally a baseball fan, and that Hartford once had a major league
team, I had always wondered if it would be possible to document his presence
at a game, and that's what this article does. It was a big one too: the
Hartford Dark Blues of the National Association (the first major league) had
started the season with twelve wins in a row, and on May 18 they hosted the
defending champs, the Boston Red Stockings, who had won sixteen games
without a loss. Twain and Joe Twichell were among the 9,000 fans who watched
the Bostons win, 10-5.
The best part of the story occurred two days after the game, when this ad
appeared in the _Hartford Courant_:
"TWO HUNDRED AND FIVE DOLLARS REWARD -- At the great base ball match on
Tuesday, while I was engaged in hurrahing, a small boy walked off with an
English-made brown silk UMBRELLA belonging to me and forgot to bring it
back. I will pay $5 for the return of that umbrella in good condition to my
house on Farmington avenue. I do not want the boy (in an active state) but
will pay two hundred dollars for his remains.
SAMUEL L. CLEMENS"
And by the way, Darryl Brock is also the author of a novel called _If I
Never Get Back_, an odd sort of time-travel tale in which the narrator finds
himself traveling with the Cincinnati Red Stockings of 1869, the first
admitted all-professional team. I mention it because Mark Twain figures
prominently in a subplot, and he's portrayed in reasonably accurate fashion.
[log in to unmask]