Friday, October 2, 2009

The 1876 Brown Stockings: The Season Formally Opens

Now that I'm done writing about the weather and arpents, we can get back to the Brown Stockings:

The beautiful weather yesterday afternoon should have attracted a much larger crowd to the Grand Avenue Base Ball Park, to witness the season formally opened by a match between the Brown Stockings and a picked nine. As it was, about 500 spectators were in attendance and apparently enjoyed themselves thoroughly. The picked nine were aided by Blong, Miller and Pearce, of the St. Louis Club, and each of this trio did their work well. The others were not quite up to the mark. The Browns played a tip top game, batting freely and making very few errors in the field. McGeary and Dehlman did most of the work, the former making some surprisingly fine stops and retiring twelve players, with but one excusable error chared to him. Battin was slightly off at third, and Clapp made one very wild throw in attempting to catch a man napping at first. Nine base hists were scored off Blong, of which Mack is credited with three, and Dehlman and Cuthbert with two each. Battin earned a clean home run by a drive to left center; Mack got in his work for a three baser, and Pike for a double. But two singles could be coaxed out of Bradley, one each by Miller and Sullivan, and the latter furnished the "picks" with their only tally. Pearce played short in his old form, assisting no less than eight times and putting out three men direct. Sullivan and Wolff caught a number of pretty flies in the out field, and, taken as a whole, the game was a creditable one for this early in the season. The universally expressed opinion was that the Brown's nine as now placed will work together like a charm.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 9, 1876


Richard Hershberger said...

I had not thought about this before, but it is interesting that the season was considered "formally opened" with an exhibition game, which would be considered pre-season today.

Note also the catcher for the picked nine is Reddy Miller. He was actually on the Browns roster as a backup, but never got into a championship game that year before his death. This game has something of the character of an intramural warmup, but with outsiders brought in to make up the numbers.

Jeffrey Kittel said...

What was interesting to me, looking at Oct 1875-March 1876, was that the season never really seemed to end. The Brown Stockings, in one form or another, were constantly playing games. Picked nines, the Empires, the Stocks, the Grand Avenues or whoever-there was always several games a month. It reminds me of high-level soccer where there isn't much of an offseason and there are different competitions of various importance going on at the same time (league, cups, Euro championship, national team, etc).