A Cosmic Underleague Team
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.
|Jonathan R. Bass
A popular sideshow attraction was the "Ossified Man". He was said to have turned to stone before he died.
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.
The "Connecticut Countess", Ms. Campbell weighed 628 pounds.
Half-man, half-woman, Mr./Ms. Codona was androgynous before it became stylish.
|James W. Coffey
Known as the "Skeleton Dude" he was average in height, but weighed in at only 70 pounds.
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.
The "Rubber Faced Girl", Ms. Lake could be found touring in a variety of side shows at the turn of the century.
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.
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.
Billed by Barnum as the "Giant Baby", Vantile weighed 257 pounds at seven years of age.
The "Translucent Man". It was possible to observe the circulation of Count Orloff's blood in his veins and arteries.
Known variously as "Jo Jo the Dog-Faced Boy" and the "Human Sky Terrier". His appearance explains these monikers.
Hirsute individuals have always been a staple of the side show. Ma Phoon was enveloped from head to toe in thick hair.
|Grady Stiles III
Son of B'Stormer field manager Grady Stiles, Jr.
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.
|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.
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.
Mr. Wilkinson sported a five foot beard.
One of the world's smallest of the small. Fully grown she weighed five pounds and stood twenty inches small.
|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. Also, father of B'Stormer outfielder Grady Stiles, III
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.
A "white face" clown and originator of the midget automobile act.
|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.
|Bigtopia Dome||Seats 17,118|
The BIGTOPIA BARNUMSTORMERS are the Cosmic Baseball Association's team of sports and freaks of nature. |
Starting Lineup/Batting Order
|1||Ma Phoon, SS|
|2||Francesco Lentini, CF|
|3||Jean-Jacques Liberra, 1B|
|4||James Coffey, 3B|
|5||Eli Bowen, LF|
|6||Charles Tripp, RF|
|7||Billy Wells, 2B|
|8||George Augur, C|
|9||Etta Lake, P|
Sports & FreaksThe Barnumstormers consist of acts that toured with various circuses in the United States and in Europe during the late 19th and early 20th Century. The players represent biological sports, who display a variety of physical deformations. These so-called "freaks" were frequently relegated to supporting themselves by appearing in circus sideshows.
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?
Bigtopia Barnumstormers Season 2002 Official Cosmic Team Roster|
Published: February 4, 2002
Updated: July 8, 2003
Copyright © 2002 by the Cosmic Baseball Association