Monday, October 22, 2007

The Glorious Uncertainty Of Baseball

On May 30, 1875, a baseball game was played at the Compton Avenue Ballpark in which, according to the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, "the glorious uncertainty of base ball was never more thoroughly illustrated..." The Reds regulars took on "a picked nine sailing under Empire colors" that included Pud Galvin, Tom Dolan, Charlie Levis, and Jim Spaulding. Spaulding was the only player on the team that I can confirm was a member of the Empire Base Ball Club.

The Reds, who had jumped to a 5-0 lead in the first, were cruising along with an 11-3 lead when the wheels came off in the bottom of the seventh inning. The first seven men the Empires sent up to the plate reached base. A poor throw by Art Croft turned a lead off single into a double. A grounder to pitcher Joe Blong should have resulted in a out at third but umpire Lip Pike called the runner safe. A runner reached first on a strikeout when the ball got away from Silver Flint. There was three passed ball and four stolen bases. The Empire scored ten runs, five of them unearned, and took a 13-11 lead. To add injury to insult, Flint took a foul ball to the face and was down for fifteen minutes.

The Empire overcame an eight run deficit and ended up winning the game 16-12.

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