Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Other Series

During late September and early October of 1886, the Browns and the White Stockings were, according to The Sporting News, "at work arranging for their series of games for the championship of the world." The result of the negotiation was a seven game series with the first three games played in Chicago on October 18, 19, and 20 and then three games in St. Louis on October 21, 22, and 23. If the series was tied after six games, a deciding seventh game would be played "on some neutral ground."

While all the details had been worked out with the Chicagos, there was one small problem. "This arrangement of the world's series interfered somewhat with the local series between the Browns and Maroons." It appears that the Browns had an agreement to play a nine game series with the Maroons in mid-October and that series now was in conflict with the Browns' commitment to the World Series. As a result, Von der Ahe was forced to go back to the Maroons and negotiate a new arrangement. A deal was struck, after a bit of "friendly controversy," to play five games at Union Park on October 14, 15, 17, 26, and 31 and four games at Sportsman's Park on October 16, 24, 28, and 30.

With all the business arrangements taken care of, the first game of the local series was played at Union Park on the 14th and resulted in a 3-0 win for the Browns, led by the pitching of Dave Foutz. The Browns suffered a big scare in the seventh when Bob Caruthers, playing right field and batting third, "injured himself while running from first to second. He wrenched his knee and now says he will not be able to play against the Chicagos in the world's series. He was carried from the ground to a bus and taken to his home." The injury proved not to be as serious as originally thought and Caruthers ended up playing a large role in the Browns' series victory over the White Stockings.

An interesting view of the goings on at Sportsman's Park was offered by a Maroons' fan in the October 25th issue of The Sporting News:

I am a Maroons crank and so far gone that while last Sunday's game was in progress I shouted "Rats" at a Browns crank who was howling at the umpire for doing what appeared to me to be his duty.

I acknowledge that I was ashamed of myself afterwards. Perhaps the other fellow was too.

I never in all my experience saw a crowd in which the various passions were better depicted than at last Sunday's game.

In one corner there was an old Irishman, a Maroon crank like myself. The shouting of Latham made him red in the face with rage and when Arlie called: "Go down now, Robbie. Hit her out Bush," the old fellow would try to drown his voice by shouting: "Yow, yow, yow, now, now, now," to the intense delight of every Maroon crank within hearing.

Once a Brown crank got so excited over this fusillade that he called on Latham to put the old fellow out, a proceeding that Arlie very wisely refrained from indulging in.

In another corner was a lot of youngsters from Frenchtown every one of whom was a rampant sympathizer of the Browns...The gang...howled, stamped and pounded their hands until they were tired.

In another corner around first base there was a gang of Maroon sympathizers: "Patsy, ye divil," said one of them after Cahill had reached first on a pretty hit, "stale second and I'll give ye my hat."

"He doesn't want yer hat, ye monkey," shouted a comrade.

"Thin I'll give him me coat," responded the first speaker.

...(At) that moment Patsy tried to steal second and was caught in the act. As he came back shaking his head at the umpire his Irish friend shouted "Give him the divil, Patsy" and Patsy in response "gave him the divil."

In another corner was a party of dudes. They were awfully excited. One of them bit his finger nails with suppressed excitement. Another smoked a cigarette a minute. Another covered his vinaigrette with his handkerchief and took great whiffs from it to keep from fainting. They were all Maroon cranks.

"Aw," said one, "it's true the Browns are winning but they cannot be classed with the Maroons. The League, you know, is much stronger than the Association. Haven't you heard that yet? Why, I thought everyone knew it. Will the Chicagos beat the Browns? Oh dear, what a silly question. Why I don't imagine that they will allow the Browns to make a single run. Do you? How foolish of you to think so. Why don't I bet then? Why, I never bet. I really cawn't afford it."

...The Browns and Maroons were as excited as the rest of the ten thousand persons in the enclosure.

...The Browns play like a company of military. There is a system to their every movement. Their leaders have learned the tricks that made the Chicago White Stockings invincible and famous. They know how to pour a broadside into the enemy and rattle the life out of him. The Maroons are lacking these elements.

The Browns have three great coachers in Latham, Comiskey, and Gleason. The Maroons have none.

But in the ranks of the latter there are some grand individual players and under equal conditions they will always make the pace warm for the Browns.
On October 24, the Browns won a 6-5 come from behind victory over the Maroons at Sportsman's Park. It was the Browns fifth straight victory over the Maroons and clinched the best of nine city series. The win gave the Browns their second series win over a League team in as many days.

The 1886 baseball season came to a close on October 31 with the final game in the city series being played at Union Park. With the series already long decided and the Browns basking in their world's championship, the Maroons won the final game 2-1 on a "warm and pleasant" Halloween Sunday before a crowd of "several thousand." Not surprisingly, "(errors) were a little more frequent than usual..." and the Browns had Nat Hudson, their third pitcher, on the mound.

The most interesting thing about this game is that it marks the last time that the Black Diamonds took the field in St. Louis. By February of 1887, the Maroons would be no more and their players would be scattered across the League, with most joining Indianapolis.

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