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Unexpected Lincoln: Batter Up!

By Edward Epstein

Washington, D.C.

Monday, October 23, 2023

We all know in this age of internet shopping that once you buy something online, algorithms will figure out what interests you and bombard you with offers.

So given my interest in Abraham Lincoln and baseball it was little surprise that an offer to buy a most-unusual t-shirt came my way. I had to have it. It arrived in the mail today.

The Lincoln Abes were a short-lived team based in Lincoln, Ill., in the six-team Class D level Illinois-Missouri League. They played from 1910 to 1914, according to an article about the team on Wikipedia, and won the league's championship in 1912 and 1913. The team went out of business during the 1914 season.

Lincoln, which today is a city of about 13,000, is about 34 miles northwest of Springfield, Ill., putting it in the middle of Lincoln country and a few miles south of historic Route 66. It's home to the Lincoln Heritage Museum. For 157 years it was home to Lincoln College, a small liberal arts school, but it closed in 2022, a victim of falling enrollment due to the Covid pandemic and a ransomware attack that forced the hard-pressed school to pay a $100,000 ransom to regain control of its computer systems.

It was the only school named for Lincoln during his lifetime.

The shirt is one of a series of tees featuring obscure, colorfully named old-time baseball teams available at The two 00s are correct.

Some of the other great names on shirts include the Salem Witches from Salem, Mass., home of the Salem Witch Trials, and the Sheboygan Chairmakers from Sheboygan, Wis. My favorite is the Shenandoah Hungarian Rioters. That team played for Shenandoah Township in Pennsylvania in the late 1880s. The team's home town was the site of coal miners' sometime violent labor unrest. Many of the miners were Hungarian immigrants.

Incidentally, the team name of the Lincoln Community High School sports teams is the Lincoln Railsplitters.


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