Sunday, February 17, 2008

Mike McGeary

Mike McGeary, a Philadelphia boy, was the captain and second basemen of St. Louis' first team in the National League.

This was away back in 1876 and in 1879 McGeary was playing this same position for the Providence Club, that year the Champions.

On this Providence team with McGeary were such great players as John Ward, Robert Matthews, Em. Gross, George Wright, Tom York, Paul Hines and Jim O'Rourke. And among these great players McGeary held his own.
-From The National Game

Mike McGeary, of course, was involved in the scandal that rocked the Brown Stockings in 1877. According to Jon David Cash, in Before They Were Cardinals, McGeary "had been a target of gambling rumors since 1875." The Chicago Tribune certainly considered him to be guilty, along with Joe Blong, Joe Battin, and Davey Force, of laying down against the White Stockings in the August 24, 1877 game that was at the center of the scandal. Henry Chadwick, Cash wrote, "joined the Tribune in insisting that the Brown Stockings discipline Blong, Battin, Force, and McGeary."

The Brown Stockings' board of directors emphaticly defended Battin against the charges. When the board became aware of the possibility that ceretain players were colluding with gamblers, they took this information to McGeary. On August 25, "McGeary 'made a judicious change' when it appeared that one of the players 'attempted to duplicate his errors (of the previous day).'" McGeary transferred the suspected player "to a position where, as luck happened, he had little to do..." The player in question was Joe Blong. The fact that McGeary took actions in the face of a possible gambling scandal is what led to both the board and Al Spink defending McGeary against charges of corruption.

While the National League took no official action against the four Browns' players, none played in the League in 1878. McGeary played with the Interregnum Browns before joining the Providence NL club in 1879.

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