From The Sporting News, February 4, 1899
This was sent to me by Davis Barker. It sure makes you wonder when the term “farm club” really began.
FARM FOR BOSTON
Worcester Will Get the Champions’ Surplus Players in 1899
Worcester, Mass., Jan. 20th— Special Correspondence:— A plan for the farming Boston’s reserved ballplayers is outlined in today’s Telegram: The general impression among Worcester baseball enthusiasts is that the Worcester Eastern League team will be the farm for Boston National League team, should Worcester farm some of Bostons’ utility players and some of its reserve stock, it is believed the team in this city would be at the head of the Eastern League.
I think the term could possibly go back as far as 1884, when the Reserve League played. I’m not at all sure, but because a number of National League clubs for a league made up of their “reserved players.” I believe the league lasted over half a season. After I finish the 1900 California League compilation, I just may compile stats for that league. And, of course, keep an eye open for the terminology they used back then.