Updated: Oct 9
Complied by Tom Vanasek in August 2020
Many in New Prague will fondly recall the sometimes intense rivalry New Prague had with Montgomery in athletics that existed for decades. It existed as far back as the summer of 1896 when the New Prague Banners baseball team beat the Montgomery 9 at the local ball field.
However, few will mention Jordan as a fierce rival similar to Montgomery. Such was the case that summer when not only the teams, but the fans and even the two local papers stoked the coals of the rivalry.
The New Prague Times disputed a Jordan Independent article which describes how the New Prague Banners lost a recent home game to Jordan. Among other things, it claimed Jordan used older than claimed to be players, disputed every umpire decision, and how impeccable the Jordan team performed.
It stated the Jordan article contained nothing but defamatory language, that the editor’s brains of the Jordan paper would fit in a large thimble and is a disgrace to the press fraternity. It ended with a challenge: “We are sure the overwhelming confidence of your ballplayers would be materially altered if you come down and play an honest boy’s game. If you don’t believe it, try us!”.
The Jordan Independent responded with a $50 Challenge Game, and claimed New Prague in fact had “9 men and 9 umpires” to play against the young boys of the Jordan Grays. They accused New Prague of using vulgar language, and for only showing up with one ball. The following week the New Prague Times printed a response from the NP fans disputed all of this, claiming Jordan Mgr. Casey told NP Mgr. Newcomer to go to h#ll, and that one side could quit anytime they were ahead. The New Prague fans claimed, of course, Jordan quit the game early, took their one ball and went home.
Finally, the paper promoted the local game of the season on July 2nd, 1896 at the local ballfield between ‘the Fats and the Leans’. Players for the “Fats” : C.J. Newcomer, M. Schreiner, F.H.Arnold, Chas. Mickus, Thos. Hovorka, Dr. J. Landenberger, T.F. Vanasek, F.S. Vanasek, John Hovorka. Players for the “Leans” : J.J. Remes, Fr. Klima, Jos. Topka, Thos. Johnston, Jacob Vrtis, Dr. E.E. Novak, Bud Ballinger, John Bruzek, M.J. Simmer.
Not sure if any of these players were on the New Prague Banners baseball team.