Lacrosse games began in Los Angeles during the 1800s

After having researched so much Minnesota history on lacrosse I felt compelled to turn that research back to my home town, Los Angeles. Sure enough there it was, just a decade after Minnesota settlers started playing in 1883, it was LA’s turn in 1891.

Unusual as it may sound to the right coast, the game of lacrosse was also played on the left coast in the 1800s. The sport was introduced in Los Angeles with a game between LA and Riverside.

On August 13, 1891 a lacrosse team from Riverside traveled to Los Angeles to play game of lacrosse in the City of Angels. The game was played at Agricultural Park.

The visiting team, Riverside, wore white jerseys with black stockings, while LA wore the opposite colors with black jerseys and white stockings. Guess they hadn’t heard about the solid versus stripes standards of the day.

The game started to what most described as a game of “shinny” with the ball remaining on the ground a lot. No goals occurred for the first twenty minutes, until the Los Angeles team managed to get the ball between the goal posts. Riverside would answer 13 minutes later and the score was 1-1.

The reports show that the players improved throughout the game and soon passing the ball started to occur and the Los Angeles team went on to win with a score of 3-1. Keep in mind games were always played to a 3 goal limit. Basically lacrosse was a match game. Each game was to one goal. When a goal was scored the game was over. A match was best 3 of 5 games. So the first team to score 3 goals won the match.

I was able to find the rosters for both teams that played that day.

SoCal Lacrosse


Los Angeles        Position               Riverside

Dr. Kannon          Goal                      J. E Beamer
Dr. McDonald     Point                     W C. Mott
Duncan                Cover Point          H. Perry
J. Osgood             1st Defense         W.D. McDonald
Stewart                2nd Defense        C. Castleman
A. Delude             3rd Defense        Chris.  Dole
E. McCarter          Center Field        Kennedy
Gerdes                 1st Home             R. F. R. Strange
Eberle                   2nd Home           P.Cattleman
C. Way                   3rd Home            F. Copley
J. Robertson         Outside Home     J. Lyons
E. Webb                Inside Home       Carl Derby

What is interesting is the roster includes the McDonalds. Now a McDonald family helped found the St. Paul National Lacrosse Championship team, but left on bad terms after loosing the National Championship to New York in 1885. Could it be this same McDonald family moved to Los Angeles after the loss to New York?

This will need some more investigation.

Los Angeles would go on after this game to join the West Coast Lacrosse League and started playing games with its sister city in San Francisco.

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