Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hisses Of Disappointment And Indignation

In the game between the Red Stockings, of St. Louis, and the Westerns, of this city, this afternoon, the former went off in a tangent, and brought the game unceremoniously to a close before it had fairly begun. In the last half of the second inning the Captain of the Reds excepted to a decision of the umpire that put one of their men out on third, and, without entering a formal protest or waiting for any offers of compromise, commenced to gather up the bats preparatory to leaving. A large crowd had assembled to witness the game, and, rather than have it stop, the Westerns proposed to have another umpire chosen, notwithstanding the game stood 4 to 2 in favor of the Reds, but the latter declined to accede to any terms of compromise, and took a hasty departure. The crowd of spectators unanimously sustained the action of the Westerns, and the Reds were followed off the grounds with hisses of disappointment and indignation. At least half of the Reds disapproved of the action of their captain, and it is stated that two of them threaten to withdraw from the nine. The umpire gave the game to the Westerns by a score of 9 to 0.
-Chicago Daily, August 21, 1874

It was always something with that Reds club. Less than a month previous to this game, Packy Dillon threw a fit and refused to catch anymore after Billy Redmon made a throwing error. On this particular road trip, Redmon was ill with "cholera morbus" and wasn't playing. After returning from the trip, Andy Blong (who was, I believe, the captain of the club), Joe Blong, and Dillon missed several games for unknown reasons.

This was a club that was supposed to win the Missouri championship and probably would have if they hadn't used an illegal player in a game against the Empires and eventually forced to forfeit the game. They were a divided club, full of cliques and prima donnas. The addition of Charlie Sweasy, an outsider, as field captain in 1875 could not have helped the situation. In light of all of this, the implosion of the club in late June/early July of 1875 is really not all that surprising.

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