Sunday, June 29, 2008

Saving The Best For Last

The second game of the championship series between the Empire and Union Clubs came off on Aug. 8 and proved to be the most brilliant and exciting ever played in St. Louis prior to that time. Though the weather was threatening rain, there was an immense crowd present. The sun was obscured by clouds and the air kept cool by small showers at intervals not prolonged enough to materially interfere with the game except in the early part of the game when a suspension of eight minutes became necessary. The entire game was characterized by superb fielding on both sides and in that respect was never excelled upon the grounds. The Union Club desired to play with a “dead ball” but this did not meet with the approval of the Empire Club presumably for the reason that they had not, like the Union Club, had experience with it and they thought that the middle of a stream is certainly not the place to swap horses.

Things looked gloomy for the Unions, the score standing 12 to 8 against them at the close of the seventh inning. The Empires were allowed but one run in the eighth inning. The Unions started out with such hard ball punching that Stansbury, Turner and Gorman quickly found themselves each holding a base when Strong made a long, swift hit over Fitsgibbons’ head that cleared the bases and gave himself third, he finally reaching home before O’Brien and Greenleaf went out at first. This made the score 13 to 12 in favor of the Empires.

The superb fielding of the Union in the ninth inning prevented the Empire’s score being enlarged and with one run to tie and two to win, the Union went to the bat. Wolff died at first by Spaulding’s throw. Oran muffed Maxwell’s first bound and then Maxwell sent a hot one over Murray’s head that gave him second base. Stansbury followed by a long hit over Barron, bringing Maxwell home and tieing the score at 13. Another muff by Shockey gave Stansbury, the winning run amidst deafening shouts of the Union contingent. By safe batting three more runs made the Union victorious by 17 to 13 in the most remarkable game played during the twelve years of rivalry that existed between these two crack local clubs and not the least remarkable of the many remarkable incidents connected with this game is the one fact that makes the game historical, the Union and Empire Clubs never again crossed bats on the diamond.

-E.H. Tobias, writing in The Sporting News, December 21, 1895

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