Saturday, October 17, 2009

The 1876 Brown Stockings: A Preview Of The Game Of The Season

By all odds, the most important base ball game of the season takes place this afternoon at the Grand Avenue Park. The contestants are to be the representative nines of Chicago and St. Louis, each engaged with the avowed purpose of carrying off the Centennial whip-pennant. The result of this game will, in a great measure, determine the question whether St. Louis is capable of giving Chicago a close race for first place or not. Our reverses in Cincinnati, and the result of the game in Louisville yesterday, coupled with the White Stocking triumphs in those villages, would seem to indicate that Chicago has much the strongest team, but such, in reality, is not the case. Individually, the Browns are stronger in the field than the Whites; but at the bat, they have thus far fallen lamentable behind the. "Show me batters, and I can call winners," said a delighted sport, as he witnessed the little Red Stockings thumping McSorley's twisters all over the field the other day, and this remark is applicable to the game which takes place to-day. The Browns are noted for their fine fielding, and if they can only be induced to go in for line hits and hot bounders, instead of showy flies to the outfielders, their chances to win are exceedingly favorable. The fact that they have been defeated in Cincinnati and Louisville, has not caused their friends to lose confidence in them in the least. They deserve no censure. The games have probably been lost on their merits. Ill-luck, doubtless, contributed its share to the result. Fortune, ever fickle, may change, and should it do so to-day, great will be the rejoicing thereat. It should be borne in mind that all clubs have their streaks of luck, both good and bad, and that players who curse the latter the most are always the last to acknowledge kind treatment by the fickle goddess.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, May 4, 1876

I like the quote "Show me batters, and I can call winners." It's not any more true than "Ninety percent of the game is pitching" but after watching the Cardinals stop hitting during the last month of the season and then crashing and burning in the playoffs, it rings true with me and I think it deserves to enter the pantheon of great baseball quotes.

Of course, the truest baseball statement ever made is that good pitching always stops good hitting and vice versa. Casey Stengel was a wise man.

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