Thursday, May 1, 2008

Flint Playing With The Elephants In May 1875

It's difficult for me to look at Dillon's games with the Reds, as I did yesterday, without considering Silver Flint, who replaced Dillon in the lineup. When specifically Flint joined the Reds is a question that's still up in the air but based on information provided by E.H. Tobias, it's clear that Flint was still playing with the Elephants as late as May 9, 1875. Tobias, in the February 8, 1896 issue of The Sporting News, provides the box scores of two games that Flint played in for the Elephants. The first was a game against the Reds on May 2 and the second was against the Empires on May 9.

However, while it's obvious that Flint was still playing with the Elephants in early May, he certainly already had established a relationship with the Reds. In the May 4, 1875 game against the Brown Stockings, Flint was playing for the Reds. Tobias wrote that the Reds were shorthanded, missing Trick McSorley, and used Flint, "late of the Elephants," at third base.

Flint replaced Dillon as the Reds' starting catcher after the May 8 game in Keokuk. Dillon had suffered a hand injury in the spring and it was reported in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat at the time that Dillon was still injured as the season began. It appears that Dillon tried to play through the injury, was unsuccessful, and Flint replaced him in the lineup. What is unclear is when specifically Flint joined the club. It's possible that he had already joined the club after the game on May 2 and played in the May 9 game with the Elephants because the Reds didn't take him on the road trip. On the other hand, after the trip to Keokuk Charlie Sweasy may have come to the conclusion that Dillon was physically unable to get the job done behind the plate and at that point brought Flint into the fold. But regardless of how it went down, after the Reds returned from Keokuk, Flint was the starting catcher and played in the remainder of the Reds' championship games.

1 comment:

Richard Hershberger said...

This sort of fuzziness about club membership around the edges occurred a lot in the early days, even in the NL. The key is that no one actually cared, so long as it didn't affect the pennant race. Had the Reds stayed in the race, this is the sort of thing that would end up before the judiciary committee. As it was, the issue was moot.