The Scio College baseball team of 1895 was reputedly one of the best amateur teams to ever come out of east central Ohio.
The team won 16 of the 17 games it played that season, defeating teams from the Twin Cities, Carrollton, Cadiz and Mingo Junction.
“The old Scio team was noted for its hitters and many an aspiring pitcher met his waterloo before that aggregation,” the Cadiz Republican newspaper said in 1906.
Its pitcher, John Hillary Swaim, known as the “Invincible” Swaim, later went on to have a career in the major leagues.
Scio College, a Methodist-run school noted for producing preachers and missionaries, had never had a baseball team until the fall of 1894. It played one game that year, against a team from Timothy Bottom, a small community located between Cadiz and what is now Tappan Lake. Timothy Bottom had gone three years without losing a game, and it had no problem defeating the inexperienced Scio College boys. Timothy Bottom won 12-8 its closest game of the year.
Supporters of the two teams replayed the game over and over in the columns of the Cadiz Republican throughout the winter months. So a rematch was inevitable.
Scio organized a team in the spring, anchored by Will, Emory and Rupert Beetham the three sons of the Rev. John Beetham, a Methodist minister.
The team started off on the right foot, beating Bowerston by a score of 7-6 and Cadiz, 12-7. Emory Beetham pitched both games.
Swaim, aa 6-foot 6-inch farm boy from Westchester, joined the team soon after and was on hand when Scio traveled to New Athens on May 18 to play the Franklin College baseball team.
“The Franklins presented a formidable appearance nine heavy, muscular fellows, dressed in white football suits,” the Cadiz Republican reported. “The SCs (Scio College) rather eclipsed them, however, in their new black suits and white caps, but presented a remarkable contrast in size.”
The Franklin College players were no match for Swaim, who had never played baseball before. Scio won 42-9.
The following week was the long awaited rematch between Scio College and Timothy Bottom, played on the Scio College grounds.
Swaim struck out half of the Timothy Bottom players who stepped up to the plate six men in two straight innings. Scio won the game, 5-1. Timothy Bottom’s only run was by its star, Ike Grimes, who hit a home run through the center field fence.
“It took hot work, but nevertheless, the college team did mow the famous Timothy Bottom last Saturday afternoon and now declare that, even if they don’t get the second crop, they have hay enough to feed the elephant all winter,” a Scio supporter wrote in the account of the game in the Cadiz Republican.
In June, Scio suffered its only defeat of the season, losing to Cadiz by a score of 21-7. The following day, Scio played Timothy Bottom at the Haverfield farm near Cadiz, defeating its arch rival 13-8.
“The gate receipts at the Scio-TB game last Saturday afternoon, held three miles in the country, were about $40, which shows that 300 men paid to see the game, while about 300 more ladies and boys, and a number of men who never pay to see a game unless in enclosed grounds, show that the crowd numbered about 600 people,” a correspondent for the Cadiz paper wrote.
That June, Alonzo Miller Young, a brother of the famous Denton “Cy” Young, joined the Scio College team as its catcher. He was a great hitter.
The college team manhandled the Dennison shop nine on July 6 at the college grounds. Dennison nearly suffered a shutout, losing by a score of 31-1.
“It can be said without any doubt that the Scio College nine is the best amateur nine in the immediate vicinity of Dennison,” the Uhrichsville Daily Chronicle commented. “They have an excellent infield and are good batters. Will N. Beetham, the captain and manager, deserves a great deal of credit for the excellent manner in which he has built up the college team.”
On July 9, the Scio team traveled to Carrollton, where it defeated the Carrollton team by a score of 11-5. Carrollton brought in Ed Beadle of the Columbus Inter-State League as its pitcher, but he only lasted five innings. Two other pitchers replaced him, including a man named Coleman.
“He was receiving the same dose when the roughs of Carrollton crowded onto the field and stopped play,” the Scio correspondent for the Cadiz paper reported. “We had scored two runs in the eighth, had a man on second and one out when the game was stopped.
“They claimed that our umpire robbed them, but anyone who knows Frank Holland will know how to take the news.”
Scio was now viewed as the champion team of Carroll, Harrison and Tuscarawas counties.
On Aug. 1, a correspondent from Scio reported that Swaim had left the Scio College team. “His ability was of too high an order to be limited to a local team, and he has been signed by the Twin City club,” the correspondent wrote. “Mr. Swaim is a gentleman, and we all wish him success.”
That brought to an ended the 1895 season for Scio College.
Swaim turned professional in 1896, pitching for a team in Fort Wayne, Ind. There, he won 38 of 50 games. He then went to play for the Washington Senators in 1897 and 1898 before suffering a nervous breakdown.
Alonzo Young had a short-lived career as a professional baseball player. It ended when he collided with another player.
The Beetham brothers all had distinguished careers outside of baseball. Will was an educator for more than 50 years. Emory was a missionary in Africa and president of Scio College until its merger with Mount Union College in 1910. Rupert served as speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives and Ohio’s prohibition commissioner.
Some of the members of the 1895 team reunited to play a game against the current Scio College baseball team on commencement day in June 1906. “The team of ’06 easily won the game last week, as the former players were not in practice,” the Cadiz Republican reported.
Jon Baker is a reporter for The Times-Reporter and can be reached at email@example.com.