Notwithstanding the intensely warm weather there was a fair attendance at the Grand Avenue Park yesterday afternoon, on the occasion of the second contest between the Boston and Indianapolis Base Ball Clubs. McCormick replaced Nolan in the latter team, and his pitching was eagerly watched by the crowd, very few of whom had ever seen him play. The game was one of the best ever witnessed in this city, and was only won by a combination of good luck, dashing base running and nervy work on the part of the champions...There should be a rousing attendance at the Grand Avenue Park Saturday afternoon, when the Reds and Blues again meet. Such a contest as that of yesterday, though only seen once in a lifetime, may be duplicated to-morrow.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 12, 1878
So the once in a lifetime game will be duplicated tomorrow? Really? Wouldn't that then not make this game a once in a lifetime experience? I'm just asking.
This once in a lifetime experience was nothing more than Boston coming back to win the game after they were down 4-1 going into the eighth inning and anybody who's a fan of a team with a bad bullpen sees something like that a dozen times a year. Boston scored four in the eighth and three in the ninth after Nolan replaced McCormick, who broke "one of the small bones in his fore arm," and won 8-4. The Only Nolan really had a poor series and was lit up rather good by Boston in this series.
I just took a look at Nolan's stats over at B-Ref and I guess I never looked at them before because I never realized that The Only Nolan wasn't all that good. I know that B-Ref doesn't have his full record, missing seasons when he wasn't pitching in the major leagues, but still...I assumed that he was a great pitcher. The guy was a star; he was The Only Nolan. But Ed Nolan was a bit of a bum and a headcase. It's as if my entire world has changed; black is white, day is night, The Only Nolan was not a good pitcher. So I guess that the only reason we remember Nolan is the nickname and a couple of non-League seasons he had as a teenager with Indianapolis.