Hoosier Daddy: The Uncollected History of Indiana Baseball, II
Professional baseball in Indiana went on hiatus until the good citizenry back in Ft. Wayne, after 12 years, were finally ready to support another pro team. It was 1883, and at the Grand Duchess a team calling itself the Hoosiers represented Ft. Wayne in the fledgling Northwestern League. They finished seventh (34-50) in an eight-club league, and only lasted one more season as the demised with the Northwestern League itself-they didn't improve in the second season finishing 22-43, in eighth place in a 12-team league.
But a few good things did happen. In 1883, the Grand Duchess in a promotional scheme became only the second site to host a game under lights ever (Methodist College played host to a team from Quincy, Il.). Also, the Ft. Wayne team's presence inspired a team from Terre Haute, a future hot bed for minor-league baseball, to join the Northwestern League in 1884 (and ended up with 15-50 record).
Also in 1884, Indianapolis returned to the majors. The American Association (AA), the NL's then partner in organized ball, was expanding to 12 teams in order to combat a threat from a rival league, the Union Association (UA). The Indianapolis Hoosiers-yes, the name was becoming popular-were born. The team left not much to remember them by. They were 29-78, 46 games behind in 11th place. The one-year franchise quickly faded from memory like the rival UA threat.
The only lasting impression that was left was one of dipsomania. The Hoosiers, apparently, took the "Beer and Whiskey" nickname that the AA had acquired a little too much to heart. They were repeatedly arrested for public drunkenness. They even showed up to games drunk. Worries of drunken rowdiness attended the birth of the next Indianapolis franchise in 1887.