Saturday, October 10, 2009

The 1876 Brown Stockings: More On The Opening Day Loss

[From the Cincinnati Enquirer of yesterday]

The prettiest and best game of base ball played in Cincinnati since the disbanding of the old Red Stockings occurred on the new grounds of the new Cincinnati team yesterday. Our home club met the crack St. Louis Brown Stockings, and walked away with them to the tune of 2 to 1. There is not a bit of doubt in the minds of those who were present at the game yesterday that Cincinnati has a club this year that she may well be proud of. Its players are, with three exceptions, young and without a professional record. But they were picked out of semi-professional nines and brought together by the same unfailing judge who "discovered" the players of the famous Red Stockings of 1869, who went through the whole season that year without losing a game; and if the present club is not as strong as Harry Wright's old team, it is not far behind. As we said, the players are, most of them, young and without a professional record. For this reason the nine was looked upon as the weak one of the League, and the Clipper even took occasion to ignore it as much as possible. Other papers sucking the teat of the famous sporting paper did the same even in this city; and when the Red Stockings sent their first "man to the bat" yesterday they had every thing to gain and nothing to lose. To their credit and Cincinnati's pride they gained everything and lost nothing. The game they won will notify the other League Clubs that the Red Stockings are not the soft snap, and it will not do for even the great White Stockings of Chicago to "fool" with them much. But the greatest victory of the Reds was not over the Browns, but over themselves. We refer to the splendid discipline and true gentlemanly conduct of every member of the nine in the field. It is with the most exceeding sense of gratification that we record for them what they so well deserve-praise for manly conduct on the field. It is this that will win you friends, boys, both at home and when you go abroad. It will also please the management of the club more than your superb playing. Keep it up throughout the season and we promise you that warm personal friendship from Cincinnati's people which followed your predecessors, and which still goes out toward the memory of the gentlemen of the old Red Stockings. Your friends do not expect you to win all the games you play. And whenever you are fairly beaten you will have none the less friends if your conduct throughout is modeled by that of yesterday.

There were over two thousand people out to see the opening of the new grounds-grounds acknowledged to be the finest ball-field in the United States. The in-field is sodded for a distance of more than ten feet outside the bases, and altogether it is as level as a floor. The effect of the beautiful green plat in and around the diamond strikes the observer's eye with delight.

The Reds lost the toss and were sent to bat, which, to their friends, augured ill. But they started out with four first base hits on Bradley's pitching, after Kessler had struck out, and made one run. After that the playing was sharp on both sides. The Browns scored one run in the fourth inning, which tied the game. From that time until the eighth inning goose eggs filled up both nines' score. But in the eight (the Reds' favorite) inning they tallied another run and won the game amid the wildest shouts from the crowd...

The Brown Stockings acknowledged that the Reds outplayed them at every point, but claim that they lost the game by too much overconfidence at the beginning of the game. But four base-hits and one run should have been more than enough to warn them of the Red Stockings' strength. Of the Red Stockings, the out-fielders played their faultless game. Snyder caught seven flies and one fine one-hand foul bound.

Jones had four flies and took them all. One of them was a splendid low, running catch. Clack had only two flies sent to him, but did some sharp fielding. And Booth at third base did as fine and sharp fielding as was ever seen on a ball field. Mr. Booth is one of the Red's strong dependents. Gould played at first without an error, and brought back to the spectators remembrances of old-time games. Pearson, behind the bat, was errorless, and played in such a manner as to warrant the prediction that he will make the best catcher in the country. Fisher's pitching needs no praise. "The Cherokee" never weakens, and when Harry Wright says he is one of the best pitchers in the profession, we have nothing to say to the contrary. Sweasy and Kessler had very little to do, and, with one excusable error of the latter, held their own. The strength of the Cincinnatis is their new style of batting-nearly all batting from the shoulder. Of the Browns, the terrific three-base hit of Battin into the left field, and Bradley's effective pitching were the fine points. Without any discredit to the St. Louis men, we are bound to say that the Reds outplayed them yesterday at every point.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 27, 1876

No comments: