The Indianapolis Baseball Club supplanted Galesburg in the InterState League on June 1, 1880, inheriting a 7-16 won-lost record.
General manager Harry T. Smith signed seven new Indianapolis players on the team’s first day. Burlington was the league leader with a 17-7 record, followed by Evansville (15-9), Terre Haute (14-10), Peoria (10-12) and Quincy (8-17).
Fans in Quincy were determined to help its team improve. A movement was afoot to require Quincy players who were not married to “take board” at the place of residence so the manager would know how each spent his spare time.
Five days earlier, Terre Haute played one of its best games of the year: “a brilliant all around game . . . [against] the Peorias. There were many brilliant plays on both sides but due credit should be given [Eddie] Mars, the ‘pretzel’ twirler, for his extraordinary work in the box has never been equaled on the home grounds.”
Mars pitched a four-hitter while George McVey and Hercules Burnett each hit a home run for Terre Haute.
Meanwhile, rumors surfaced that dissention was affecting the Terre Haute players’ ability to communicate with Manager Phil Reccius, an eight year major league veteran from Louisville. The Terre Haute Gazette reported that, by June 9, Reccius had been in a quarrel with “everyone on the team.”
Dan Sweeney and shortstop Jim Behan, two of the team’s most popular players, notified the club’s board of directors that they would “no longer play with the present manager.” Apparently all but one director felt Reccius no longer was the best choice to serve as field manager.
A board of directors meeting was called for 5:30 p.m., June 10. While the meeting was still in progress Reccius got wind of it and submitted his resignation, claiming he was ill. The resignation was not accepted but Reccius was suspended without pay.
Catcher Andy Kolley was named to replace Reccius as interim field manager and twin brother John Reccius, an outfielder, and shortstop Joe Broderick were given outright releases. Broderick promptly signed with Indianapolis.
While there were frequent personnel changes among the team roster, Burlington and Evansville remained atop what later was renamed the Western InterState League. Terre Haute and Peoria struggled to reach third place in the league.
The Terre Haute Gazette published special editions of its daily newspaper within an hour after Terre Haute vs. Evansville game in Terre Haute to provide a full account of the intense rivalry.
On July 3, Terre Haute signed George W. Brackett as the team’s new field manager, succeeding temporary manager Andy Kolley.
That was not the most exciting event in the league. Indianapolis was forced to forfeit its game with Evansville when four players refused to play unless their salaries were paid. Charles Krehmeyer, a former Terre Haute player, was the head umpire who awarded a 9-0 forfeit victory to Evansville.
Neither Evansville Manager Harrington nor Indianapolis General Manager Smith were able to convince enough Indianapolis players to constitute a complete team.
The Indianapolis team played its home games at Coy Park.
Terre Haute hosted and defeated Indianapolis on July 9 but that was the final game of the season for the capital city squad.
The Terre Haute Gazette was among the newspapers criticizing Indianapolis when directors of that club decided to end its season rather than attempting to reassemble a team if only to preserve the name of the team and the franchise
Efforts were hurriedly employed to find a team willing to join the InterState League. The first choice was Fort Wayne, considered a first class baseball city. Unfortunately, it had a city ordinance which prohibited games being played on Sundays. Decatur, Ill. also was contacted.
Manager Brackett arrived in Terre Haute July 4 to begin his managerial duties and sat on the bench as the local team destroyed league leading Burlington, 7-3. Brackett’s presence seemed to instill the home team with confidence. Zim Dougan limited the visitors to four hits while his teammates collected 13.
A.L. “Al” Spink of The Sporting News considered sponsoring a club in St. Louis to play in the InterState League. After much consideration, The Sporting News team did not join the InterState League but played Sunday exhibition games against members of that five-team league, with competition commencing on July 9.
The official Six Team standings after One-Half season (July 9, 1890):
Evansville – Won 39, Lost 18; Burlington - Won 37, Lost 21; Terre Haute - Won 28, Lost 26; Quincy – Won 27, Lost 30; Peoria – Won 23, Lott 26; Indianapolis – Won 11, Lost 44.
Terre Haute began the second half of the InterState League race, consisting of five teams, with a jolt and dominated throughout the season.
On July 12, Terre Haute scored 13 runs in the top of the seventh to defeat Quincy, 20-11. On Aug. 9, the locals swept an exhibition double header over Syracuse of the American Association, 9-2, and 10-2.
The second half of the abbreviated InterState League season prematurely disbanded Aug. 17 with Terre Haute leading the official Team standings: Terre Haute – Won 14, Lost 9; Quincy – Won 14, Lost 12; Evansville – Won 14, Lost 15; Peoria – Won 11, Lost 14; Burlington – Won 11, Lost 16.
According to the Reach Guide of the 1890 American Association of Baseball, the neglect and mismanagement which prevailed everywhere in the league also infected the clerical department.