After the Civil War, baseball rapidly became the “national pastime.” As it moved from amateur to professional status, Fort Wayne twice was involved in its professionalization. Baseball historians know that the first professional league game was played in Fort Wayne in 1871 by the Kekionga Club versus the Forest City team from Cleveland. Few understand the role that Treasury Secretary and Fort Wayne resident Hugh McCulloch played in the late 1860s in pushing baseball to professionalization. Political involvement in organized baseball is as early as the sport.
Mark Souder is a graduate of Leo High School, Purdue University Fort Wayne and the University of Notre Dame. Souder was elected to Congress in 1994 and served until June 2010. In addition to writing about politics, Souder has written extensively on baseball history. His work on politics and baseball in New York City, Chicago and Pittsburgh has been included in the National Pastime (published annually by the Society for American Baseball Research). He has also written books on the Boston Red Stockings and baseball in Puerto Rico, as well as forthcoming books on the Boston Beaneaters and the San Diego Padres.
For more information, contact the History Center, firstname.lastname@example.org, 260.424.4419.
This program received funding from a Humanities Initiative Grant