Baseball in New Orleans
In July of 1859, seventy-five young New Orleanians came together to form the seven teams that comprised the Louisiana Base Ball Club. They played their games in the fields of the de la Chaise estate on the outskirts of New Orleans near present-day Louisiana Avenue. As America's population grew through immigration, so did the popularity of what the largest newspaper in New Orleans, the Daily Picayune, called in November of 1860 "the National Game." Baseball quickly replaced cricket as the city's most popular participant sport.
In 1887, local businessmen and promoters secured a minor league franchise for the city of New Orleans in the newly formed Southern League, beginning the city's 73-year love affair with the New Orleans Pelicans. From Shoeless Joe Jackson, to Hall of Famers Dazzy Vance, Joe Sewell, Bob Lemon, and Earl Weaver, to today's stars such as Jeff Cirillo and Lance Berkman, the road to the majors brought many notable players through New Orleans. From these early beginnings to the present-day New Orleans Zephyrs of the AAA Pacific Coast League, local fans have continued the tradition of baseball in New Orleans.
About S. Derby Gisclair (New Orleans, Louisiana Author)
A lifelong resident of New Orleans, S. Derby Gisclair is a member of the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR) and its 19th Century, Minor Leagues, Deadball Era, Oral History, and Pictorial History Committees. He heads the Schott-Pelican Chapter of SABR in Louisiana and is also a Sustaining Member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and is on the Nominating and Selection Committees for the Greater New Orleans Professional Baseball Hall of Fame.
He is the author of several books including BASEBALL IN NEW ORLEANS (Arcadia Publishing, 2004), BASEBALL AT TULANE UNIVERSITY (Arcadia Publishing, 2007), THE OLYMPIC CLUB OF NEW ORLEANS - THE EPICENTER OF PROFESSIONAL BOXING, 1883 - 1897 (McFarland & Company, 2018), and EARLY BASEBALL IN NEW ORLEANS - A HISTORY OF 19TH CENTURY PLAY (McFarland & Company, 2019). His next book, THE DIXIE SERIES, 1920 – 1958, is expected to be available in 2020.
He has written numerous articles for New Orleans Magazine and 64 Parishes Magazine (formerly Louisiana Cultural Vistas) and is a frequent contributor to 64 Parishes Encyclopedia, the online encyclopedia sponsored by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities with more than sixty entries submitted to-date. Derby also authored the site’s introductory essay on Sports and Recreation. He is currently compiling material for a history of the New Orleans Pelicans and a pictorial history of boxing in New Orleans. He also offers websites on the history of baseball -- New Orleans Baseball, SABR – New Orleans, and Southern Association Baseball.
Having recently retired, Derby will now have more time to devote to updating his websites when he is not watching, researching or writing about baseball or his other favorite sports, horse racing and boxing. He and his wife Claire split their time between their homes in New Orleans and Destin, Florida.