Monday, December 1, 2008

Joe Blong's Last Game With The Reds

A magnificent fielding game was that played at the Compton Avenue Park yesterday afternoon, between the Red Stocking and Washington base ball clubs, the score at the end of the ninth inning standing three to nothing in favor of the former. It was the first game of the championship series between these organizations, and, as a close contest was anticipated, nearly two thousand spectators were in attendance at the grounds when play was called by Mr. Edward Cuthbert, the mutual choice for umpire. This game was looked forward to with a great deal of interest by the friends of the pony team. Because they had no game their credit since the disbandment of the Westerns, opponents of the organization decried it and ridiculed the idea of the scarlet-hosed team being entered for the championship. They, of course, were willing to overlook the fact that the Reds had not yet met the Washingtons, New Havens and Atlantics, the only nines in the arena that they hoped to win. So far this season the Reds have met the strongest clubs in the country, and defeat at their hands was not to be wondered at. Foemen of their own calibre were yesterday compelled to surrender unconditionally, and the result of the game shows that the Reds will, bar accident, lead the Washingtons, Atlantics and New Havens, at the close of the season, the former having led this trio thus far. Sweazy, for the Reds, lost the toss, which, with his club, is an omen of success. The batting throughout was of the weakest description, Brady, Laurie, Fields, Croft and Houtz being credited with the only five base hits of the game. It will, therefore, be seen that Blong and Parks were very effective. The Reds maintained their nerve throughout, and thus Chicagoed their antagonists. The infield had all the work to do, and Redmon, as usual, played brilliantly, always retiring the third player in time to cause a whitewash. He disposed of nine players and committed but one error. Houtz, Sweazy and McSorley manned the bases splendidly, the latter being the only one charged with an error. Flint also supported Blong in style.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 28, 1875

The Reds' June 27th game against the Nationals, which they won 3-0, was Joe Blong's last game with the team. The next day, Monday, June 28th, Blong would leave for Covington, Kentucky to join the Stars.

On a completely unrelated note, I like the Globe's defense of the Reds' season. Sure, they're in over their heads and got crushed by all the good teams but at least they're not as bad as Keokuk, Washington, New Haven, and the Atlantics. They probably should have mentioned the Centennials too.


David Ball said...

I have worked some on the Centennials and also done a study of how the NA's strong and weak teams scheduled each other (not the nominal schedules, but the games they actually played).

Prior to the 1875 season the Centennials were expected to be a step above the other young co-op teams; you'll notice they had a core of veteran players -- Radcliff, Bechtel, Craver (it's probably no coincidence, though, that all three of them were drinkers, behavioral problems and/or suspected of game throwing). As it turned out, they ran up a very bad record, but that was because they played the strong teams nearly exclusively,. The one game they played against New Haven they won handily.

And generally, I found that the weak co-op teams in the NA primarily played the strong teams, rather than each other. I had expected they would prefer to pick on somebody their own size, but apparently for one reason or another that was not the case. So the experience of the St. Louis Reds was actually pretty typical of NA clubs of this class.

It also means, by the way, that while the weak teams were undoubtedly far inferior to the strong ones, the league standings and individual statistics probably exaggerate that inferiority, because those teams rarely got a breather in the schedule.

Jeff Kittel said...

Thanks for the information.

It makes some sense that the weaker clubs would want to bring in only the strongest clubs for home games in the expectation of getting a good crowd for a game against a good team.