Cy Young and the Hickory Bottoms of Hopedale

26 Jun

Before entering his twenty-first major league season in 1910, Cy Young “wrote” and article for the American Press Association about his career—most of the articles that appeared under Young’s byline were written by Sam Carrick of The Boston Post.


Cy Young

Regarding his age, Young said:

“I am getting sort of weary of this “Old Cy” business.  I stand for what the women say on the question of age when they say they are just as old as they feel.  That’s me…But I guess most folks know I have passed the forty mark (Young had just turned 43).”

Next, Young talked about “The Hickory Bottom team.”

“Never heard of that team, hey?  I started playing ball with them, the good old Hickory Bottoms of Hopedale, Harrison County, Ohio.

“I had been pitching hay, playing ball with some of the farm hands, and we were having quite a time of it.  A little place called New Athens…had a college (Franklin) and some 500 folks.  They were rather chesty when it came to playing ball, and when the boys would drive into town on a Saturday afternoon we would watch the college boys play ball.

“They didn’t look much to me, so I got our farmer boys in line, and we hunted a long time for a name.  Big Stillwater and Little Stillwater were two creeks close by, and we thought we would call ourselves the Stillwaters but some of the fellows kick on that.  As we lived in part of the county called Hickory Bottom and our first bats we made ourselves out of good old hickory trees, we took up the name of the Hickory Bottom Baseball Club, and then we started.  Say, we didn’t do a thing to those college boys,  we just ate ‘em alive.”



From there, Young said, the Hickory Bottom farmers went to Cadiz, Ohio:

“I was down to pitch, and all I could do was a throw a ball like—well, I could throw ‘em some in those days.  Did have an out curve, I guess, but I just counted on speed.  The Cadiz team had been cleaning up everything from Wheeling, Steubenville and on down the river, and to think the Hickory Bottom team would lick them!  Why, say it was a joke to those fellows.”

Young said of the game:

“We played on a side of a hill.  Never was a ball ground quite like that.  The only thing anywhere near level was the run from first to second.  You had to run uphill to first, uphill from third to home and downhill from second to third.

“The Cadiz team had a fellow they called Home Run Grimes.  He played shortstop, and his record was a home run or two every game.  Say, I fanned that fellow every time he came to bat, and we won 12 to 1.  Funny how they got that one run!.  It came in the second or third inning.  I forgot which.  But some of the Cadiz sports got to betting that I would blow up or kill our catcher, and that made me hot again. So I kept firing the balls in sort of reckless-like, and I hit two fellows, and one man got a base on balls. I hit the next fellow, and that forced in a run.  Then I settled down, and we won hands down.

The Cadiz Republican gave me a big write-up on the game, and the Canton manager got hold of it and  booked me.”

Young signed with the Canton Nadjys of the Tri-state League in 1890

“The boys told me how I went into professional ball on a hay wagon and there was a heap of truth in it at that.”

2 Responses to “Cy Young and the Hickory Bottoms of Hopedale”


  1. “None of Them Were Slick Enough to Carry the Dutchman’s Glove” | Baseball History Daily - July 20, 2018

    […] “Cy (Young) once said that Ty Cobb, Wagner, Napoleon Lajoie, Ed Delahanty, and Cap Anson were the best all-around hitters he ever faced.: […]

  2. Things I Learned on the Way to Looking up Other Things #25 | Baseball History Daily - August 15, 2018

    […] Denton (Cy) Young […]

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