The B'STORMERS compete in the cosmic Underleague and are comprised of circus side-show acts. A variety of freaks and oddities, P.T. Barnum discovered, fascinated people to the extent that they would pay money to look at them.

1998 Bigtopia Barnumstormers
Bass Craig BDavis Lake Mack MoungPhoset Stratton
Wilkinson Zarate
Akers Augur Bowen Campbell Chang&Eng Coffey HDavis
Lentini LibberaJ&J MaPhoon Orloff Peteroff Tripp Wells
Manager Coaches G.M. Owner Park
Kelly Crowninshield Lind Rice Jacobs Barnum Bigtopia Dome

The Barnum Stormers 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 it compassion or something else we feel?

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Credits and References


Carrie Akers

Ms. Akers was a dwarf who weighed about three hundred pounds and stood 35 inches tall.


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.


Jonathan R. Bass

A popular sideshow attraction was the "Ossified Man". He was said to have turned to stone before he died.


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.


Jane Campbell

The "Connecticut Countess", Ms. Campbell weighed 628 pounds.


Chang & Eng

The twins were born in Siam (Thailand) and came to the United States in 1829. In addition to appearing at Barnum's American Museum, they married the sisters Sarah and Adelaide Yates, and fathered twenty-two children. They died in 1811 in Mt. Airy, North Carolina. Chang died first, Eng followed shortly afterwards.


James W. Coffey

Known as the "Skeleton Dude" he was average in height, but weighed in at only 70 pounds.


John Hanson Craig

One of the largest men who ever lived. At eleven months he weighed 77 pounds. At two years of age he weighed 206 pounds. He weighed 405 pounds at thirteen and 601 pounds when he turned 21. On his twenty-fifth birthday, Mr. Craig weighed a massive 725 pounds. He reached his maximum weight of 907 pounds when he was 37. At age 38, Mr. Craig died. He left behind one child, and Mrs. Craig, who was a normal 122 pound woman.


Barney Davis

In 1882, Barnum billed Barney and his brother Hiram as the "Wild Men of Borneo". He portrayed them as wild and ferocious beings. In fact, the brothers were affable, gentlemen of subnormal mentality. They were, however, endowed with greater then average strength. Crowds were amused when the little men would easily pick up six foot men. Barney's show name was Waino. He was born in England in 1827 and died in Ohio in 1912.


Hiram Davis

In 1882, Barnum billed Hiram and his brother Barney as the "Wild Men of Borneo" and portrayed them as wild and ferocious beings. In fact, the brothers were affable, gentlemen of subnormal mentality. They were, however endowed with greater then average strength. Crowds were amused when the little men would easily pick up six foot men. Hiram's show name was Plutano. He was born on Long Island, New York and died in Ohio in 1905


Etta Lake

The "Rubber Faced Girl", Ms. Lake could be found touring in a variety of side shows at the turn of the century.


Francesco A. 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.


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.


Vantile Mack

Billed by Barnum as the "Giant Baby", Vantile weighed 257 pounds at seven years of age.


Ma Phoon

Hirsute individuals have always been a staple of the side show. Ma Phoon, like her son Moung, was enveloped from head to toe in thick hair.


Moung Phoset

Son of Ma Phoon, Moung was, like his mother, completely enveloped in thick hair from head to toe.


Ivannow Orloff

The "Translucent Man". It was possible to observe the circulation of Count Orloff's blood in his veins and arteries.


Theodore Peteroff

Known variously as "Jo Jo the Dog-Faced Boy" and the "Human Sky Terrier". His appearance explains these monikers


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.


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.


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.


Thomas Wilkinson

Mr. Wilkinson sported a five foot beard.


Lucia Zarate

One of the world's smallest of the small. Fully grown she weighed five pounds and stood twenty inches small.

no playing record

Emmet Kelly

A tramp clown, Emmett Kelly was one of the most famous of American clowns. In 1957, he ran away from the circus to play baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

no playing record

Jacob Crowninshield

Captain Crowninshield, from Salem, Massachusetts, earned a place in the history of circuses when on April 13, 1796, his ship America sailed into New York Harbor with a three year old female elephant. This was the first time anyone had seen an elephant in America. Captain Crowninshield had purchased the animal in India for $450. Soon after her arrival the elephant was sold by the Captain to a Philadelphia businessman for $10,000. A paper trail of announcements indicates that the elephant toured the United States until 1815.

no playing record

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.

no playing record

Dan Rice

Born Daniel McLaren in 1823, Dan Rice was a great American clown. Despite his popularity, Dan died broke in Long Branch, New Jersey in 1900. In 1863 the sculptor Leonard Welles Volk chiseled a marble bust of Dan Rice. Apparently it is in the Harry Hertzberg Circus Collection at the San Antonio, Texas Public Library.

no playing record

Lou Jacobs

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.

Barnum played cosmic baseball as a firstbaseman for the Paradise Pisces between 1989 and 1994. He compiled a career batting average of .276 with 68 homeruns. The Barnum Stormers have been created, in part, to honor the great American Barnum.

Home Field

Bigtopia Dome

17,118 seats

John and Alice Durant. Pictorial History of the American Circus. A.S. Barnes & Co., New York. 1957.

Picture Credits

Barnum Museum: Lind
Davis Brothers, courtesy of Alton Hall Blackington

Brown Brothers: Libbera

Cristiani Brothers Circus: Big Top Park

Harvard College Library: Mack

Museum of the City of New York: Feejee Mermaid

New York Historical Society: Campbell

New York Public Library: Barnum Beetle

Peabody Museum (Salem, Massachusetts): Chang & Eng, Stratton, Crowninshield

Princeton University: Lake, Wilkinson

Ringling-Barnum Circus: Jacobs

San Antonio Public Library: Akers, Augur, Bass, Bowen, Coffey, Hanson, Lentini, Ma Phoon, Moung, Orloff, Peteroff, Tripp, Wells, Zarate, Tom Thumb Ticket, Barnum Museum Ticket, Rice, Barnum

Sports Illustrated Magazine: Kelly (photograph by John G. Zimmerman)

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Bigtopia Barnumstormers- 1998 Official Team Roster
Published: February 13, 1998
Updated: July 8, 2003; March 15, 2007
Copyright © 2003 by the Cosmic Baseball Association