Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The 1876 Brown Stockings: Ross Barnes Was A Heck Of A Player

Grand Avenue Park was yesterday afternoon the scene of a very exciting game of ball in which the representative nines of Chicago and St. Louis were again the main actors. That these clubs are very evenly matched was demonstrated by the score, which at the close of the ninth inning was three to two in favor of Chicago. St. Louis having won the first game of the series by the figures of one to nothing, the result of both games places three runs to the credit of each. St. Louis has a total of fourteen base hits for both games, to thirteen for Chicago. In the two contests St. Louis committed twelve fielding errors, and Chicago ten.

Although the weather was so cold that overcoats and shawls were a decided luxury, fully 4,000 ladies and gentlemen were in attendance, and were well repaid for coming out by the brilliant playing that proved to be in store for them. Mr. Michael Walsh-one of the best men in the country for the position-had been mutually agreed upon to act as umpire, and Spalding having lost the toss, "play" was called at 3:45 o'clock, with Barnes at the bat. Although he and Hines batted safely, and Anson reached first on called balls, sharp fielding prevented the visitors from scoring. The Browns were disposed of in one, two, three order. In the second inning White and Peters secured runs for Chicago, the former having been given his base on called balls. Base hits by Peters, Glenn and Barnes brought in one earned run. In this inning three men were on bases, with nobody out, and it looked as though Chicago was to gain an easy victory, but two runs were all the Whites could secure.

Whitewashes were then in order until the last half of the seventh inning, when the Browns led the score, the cheering being deafening. It occurred in this way: Base hits by Blong and Bradley and an error by White filled the bases. No one was out when Mack stepped up to retire on a foul fly. Cuthbert coolly waltzed up to the plate and sent the first ball pitched whizzing to extreme left field, thereby bring home two earned runs. Dehlman took chances and also endeavored to tally, but a pretty piece of fielding by Addy, Anson and White disposed of Dehl at the home plate, and as Clapp was immediately afterwards caught out by Barnes the score remained a tie at two each. In the eighth inning neither nine could score, although White and Battin each got in a safe hit. The ninth inning told the tale, as simple an error as the one made by Spalding on Friday giving away the game, but this time to the other side.

After Glenn and Bielaskie had been easily put out, Barnes sent a bounder to Battin, and by fast running, a rather low throw by Battin, which Dehlman should, however have held, and a clean muff by the latter, the champion base stealer of the country, reached first. He was at second in an instant afterward on a dropped ball by Clapp, and rushed home like a race horse on Anson's short fly to left field. Scarcely any other man in the fraternity could have engineered the run as neatly as Barnes did it, and it proved to be the winning tally, as the Browns were easily whitewashed in their final inning. On Cuthbert's throw to catch Barnes at the home plate, Anson reached third, and while Hines was at the bat McGeary demanded a new ball, the one in play being ripped. The umpire refused to accede to the request, being guided by rule 1, sec. 4, which says:

"When the ball becomes out of shape or cut or ripped so as to expose the yarn, or in any way so injured as to be unfit for fair use, a new ball shall be called for by the umpire, at the end of an even inning, at the request of either Captain."

Mr. Walsh very properly maintained that he was powerless in the premises, and had to comply with the rule. McGeary and the Browns declined to resume play for about ten minutes, but when warned by the umpire that he would declare the game forfeited they resumed their positions in the field and the contest was played to the end.

The finest feature of the game was the magnificent display of outfielding to which Hines treated the spectators. He secured five flies, two or three of which were extremely difficult. The infielding of Anson and Peters was also very fine, and White's catching up to his usual high mark. Glenn also played a fine game in the field but was weak at the bat. For the Browns McGeary, Pike, Battin, Blong and Mack played without an error and Cuthbert did yeoman service with the stick, securing no less than three safe hits off Spalding's teasers. Barnes was also credited with three safe hits and White and Spalding with two each.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, May 9, 1876

So after all the hubbub and rain, the Brown Stockings and White Stockings managed to get their two games in, although it took five days. The two games were split and nothing much was decided between the two clubs. Finding themselves three games out of first after six games, the Brown Stockings still considered themselves championship contenders and the equal of the Chicagos.

This was a nice little series with a lot on the line for both clubs.

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