The BIGTOPIA BARNUMSTORMERS represent the Cosmic Baseball Association's team of freaks and oddities. Most of these cosmic players toured with various circuses in the United States and in Europe during the late 19th and early 20th Century.





John and Alice Durant in their 1957 book, Pictorial History of the American Circus have written "the public display of human abnormality in its various forms, however grotesque, has always fascinated rather than repelled the majority of people."

The success of the circus sideshow attests to this observation. People were willing to pay to view human oddities. What is the basis of this fascination?

Phineas Taylor Barnum understood the mechanism. The so-called "Shakespeare of advertising" knew that people would pay to see the unusual. In the summer of 1842 he put on display in his new museum the "Feejee Mermaid". This exhibition consisted of a dead monkey's head and torso in a fish's body. Barnum learned that people would pay a lot of money to see it. Real or scam, it didn't seem to matter. On the strength of these types of curiosities, Barnum's museum made a profit of nearly $3,000 in its first year.

Marvelous Human Curiosities. Freaks of Nature. Monstrosities. These were the features that attracted the masses to Barnum's American Museum in New York and to his circus sideshows. An entertainer, an exploiter, humbug or humanitarian? What are we to make of Mr. Barnum? And what are we to make of ourselves? When we view our strangely formed fellow human beings ...is it compassion or something else we feel?







Team Roster

Player   Position
 
George Augur
Mr. Augur was known as the "Cardiff Giant" and he stood nearly eight feet tall and tipped the scales at 360 pounds. Barnum added him to his show while touring Europe in 1844. Augur accompanied Barnum when he returned to the United States in 1903. On November 30, 1922, George Augur died of acute indigestion in New York City.
Catcher
 
Jonathan R. Bass
A popular sideshow attraction was the "Ossified Man". He was said to have turned to stone before he died.
Pitcher
 
Eli Bowen
A legless man, he stood two feet and weighed 140 pounds. Bowen was both a husband and father of four. His good friend was Charles Tripp, the armless man. Together they would appear in various sideshows. Often they would amaze patrons by riding a bicycle built for two.
Leftfield
 
Jane Campbell
The "Connecticut Countess", Ms. Campbell weighed 628 pounds.
Outfield
 
Alfredo Codona
Half-man, half-woman, Mr./Ms. Codona was androgynous before it became stylish.
Pitcher
 
James W. Coffey
Known as the "Skeleton Dude" he was average in height, but weighed in at only 70 pounds.
Thirdbase
 
Grock
Grock was a friendly freak beloved by the other members of the various sideshows he traveled with and by the fans who paid to watch him juggle and cuddle.
Pitcher
 
Etta Lake
The "Rubber Faced Girl", Ms. Lake could be found touring in a variety of side shows at the turn of the century.
Pitcher
 
Francesco Lentini
Mr. Lentini had an extra leg. His oddity was a popular feature in the side shows and he toured with Barnum, Walter Main's circus, and with Buffalo Bill's show. Lentini was married and had three children, two boys and a girl.
Centerfield
 
Jean-Jacques Libbera
Born in Rome in 1884 the Libberas toured with Barnum in 1907. Jacques was a parasitic body living within Jean's body. Jacques had arms, legs, hands and feet. X-rays indicated a rudimentary head was embedded inside Jean's body. Jean was married and fathered four normal offspring.
Firstbase
 
Ma Phoon
Hirsute individuals have always been a staple of the side show. Ma Phoon, like her son Moung (a former B'Stormer), was enveloped from head to toe in thick hair.
Shortstop
 
Vantile Mack
Billed by Barnum as the "Giant Baby", Vantile weighed 257 pounds at seven years of age.
Pitcher
 
Ivannow Orloff
The "Translucent Man". It was possible to observe the circulation of Count Orloff's blood in his veins and arteries.
Infield/Catcher
 
Theodore Peteroff
Known variously as "Jo Jo the Dog-Faced Boy" and the "Human Sky Terrier". His appearance explains these monikers.
Infield
 
Charles Stratton
In 1842, Barnum featured a perfectly formed midget, whom he billed as "General Tom Thumb". The son of a carpenter from Connecticut, "Tom Thumb" quickly became a sensation and earned a lot of money for himself and Barnum. On a European tour, "Tom" met Queen Victoria (three times) and otherwise enchanted European high society with his theatrics. In 1863 he married Lavina Warren, also a midget. A couple of years after the marriage, Barnum, ever the persistent huckster, arranged a publicity stunt claiming that Charles and Lavina had had a child. Pictures and news accounts were made announcing the event. But alas, it was just another Barnum hoax. There was no child. But Stratton became a wealthy man. He owned a stable, a yacht and a mansion when he died at age 45 in 1883.
Pitcher
 
Charles B. Tripp
An armless man, who became a passable painter by painting with his feet. Tripp was friends with Eli Bowen, a legless man. Together they would ride a bicycle built for two. Charles would peddle and Eli would steer. The two men were exhibited side by side for a number of years in a variety of side shows.
Rightfield
 
Billy Wells
Mr. Wells had a triple thick skull, earning him the name "block head". He would stand, unfazed, while brick blocks on his head were pounded with a sledgehammer.
Secondbase
 
Thomas Wilkinson
Mr. Wilkinson sported a five foot beard.
Pitcher
 
Lucia Zarate
One of the world's smallest of the small. Fully grown she weighed five pounds and stood twenty inches small.
Pitcher
 
Team Staff & Management
Grady Stiles Jr.
Also known as the "Lobster Boy" because, like his father before him, a birth abnormality gave his hands a claw-like appearance. He lived a complicated life. Stiles was eventually murdered by a teenage boy hired to kill him by his wife.
Manager
 
Jenny Lind
Swedish-born soprano signed by Barnum to give American concerts. Barnum paid her $1,000 for each of a 150 performances. At the conclusion of her American tour in 1852, gross concert receipts were nearly $700,000.
Coach
 
Lou Jacobs
A "white face" clown and originator of the midget automobile act.
General Manager
 
Phineas T. Barnum
Shortly before he died in 1891 Barnum wrote: I am prouder of my title 'the children's friend' than if I were to be called 'the king of the world'. That he thought he might be called 'king of the world' gives us some insight into this uniquely American figure. Known as the "father of the American circus" and described, after his death, by the Boston Herald as "the greatest showman of all time", Phineas Taylor Barnum was one-of-a-kind. At various times in his life he was a grocer, journalist, marketing wizard, city mayor, college benefactor, huckster, temperance lecturer, and circus owner. He was also married twice and the father of three daughters. His name adorns the popular animal crackers baked by the National Biscuit Company (NABISCO). Throughout his hometown of Bridgeport, Connecticut Barnum-related names abound on streets, parks and buildings.
Owner
 
Home Park Bigtopia Dome Seats 17,118
 
Italics indicates Rookie
 




Bigtopia Barnumstormers







Bigtopia Barnumstormers


  • Coney Island - Freaks
  • Under the Big Top
  • Esa's Virtual Freak Show
  • Review of Side Show
  • Beyond Affliction- Side Show Highlight Page
  • Barnum Musuem
  • P.T. Barnum Biography
  • P.T. Barnum Information
  • P.T. Barnum - King of the Weird
  • P.T. Barnum @ Yahoo!









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    Bigtopia Barnumstormers- Season 2001 Official Team Roster
    URL: http://www.cosmicbaseball.com/01bsr.html
    Published: December 1, 2000
    Updated: July 8, 2003
    Copyright © 2001 by the Cosmic Baseball Association
    email: editor@cosmicbaseball.com

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