1885 January

3rd  The recently disbanded Cleveland team (NL) release their players. The Blues sell durable George Pinkney, Doc Bushong, John Harkins, Pete Hotaling, Bill Krieg, Bill Phillips and Germany Smith for at least $4000 to the Brooklyn Trolley Dodgers.

6th  Millionaire Henry V. Lucas purchases the Cleveland club and plans to fill the vacancy in the NL with his own St. Louis Maroons.

10th  At an NL meeting, St. Louis is admitted to the League, Cleveland’s registration is formally accepted, and Detroit has its request to remain in the NL granted, leaving only one opening for 1885.

The NL approves Harry Wright’s 5-year-old idea of a flattened bat. The idea will be greeted with little enthusiasm, and it will quickly fade.

As noted by Jerry Molloy, The “New York Clipper” reports that Paul Hines, an outfielder for the Providence club, and resident of Washington, D.C., had been challenged to catch a ball dropped from the top of the Washington Monument, a distance of “over 535 feet from the ground.” The “Clipper” calculated the “natural philosophy” involved, and warned Hines of the danger he would confront in attempting such a foolish stunt. “Hines would probably prefer to stop a pistol ball when it was coming down, hurtful as it would be to his hand, than to interfere with it when it left the barrel. It would be a good idea for Hines to first practice both ways with the pistol ball. If he likes it, he will certainly enjoy the baseball which, by the time he can see it, will be coming at a ‘stand-from-under’ gait of 140-ft. a second. It will not weigh much when it starts on its journey, but, great Scott, there is a rule of natural philosophy that will tell Hines before he begins just how many dozens of pounds it practically will weigh when it lands on his sconce, in case he fails to judge it correctly.” The “Clipper” thought that if Hines thought matters through, there was “a possibility that Paul is not going to fool much with a baseball around the base of the Washington Monument.”

15th  At a Union Association meeting held in Milwaukee, only 2 clubs show up, Milwaukee and Kansas City. It is decided to disband the league.

16th Brooklyn signs several players from the late Cleveland club, inking Hotaling, Phillips, Harkins, George Pinckney, Smith, and Krieg.

17th The New York Clipper reports that Paul Hines cancels his Washington Monument ball-drop exhibition. “The experiment of trying to catch a ball thrown from the top of the Washington Monument has proved to be a failure. The ball reaches the ground with such great speed that it indents the ground almost as much as a heavy cannon ball would dropped from a proportionate height. The fact is that, independently of the difficulty of judging the ball balling from such a height, the speed is too great to allow of any one holding it when it nears the ground.”

20th  The AA is reorganized, with clubs from St. Louis, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Brooklyn, Louisville, New York, and Baltimore.