Saturday, November 14, 2009

The 1876 Brown Stockings: Nervous In Contemplation Of Painful Ideas

The Brown is above the White to-night, much to the disgust of a small army of Chicago pool-buyers, who staked heavily on their favorites, and at odds of two to one. It was the old, old story-the Whites could not bat Bradley's pitching, and as one stalwart athlete after another deliberately retired on three strikes the hilarity and confidence of the audience underwent a painful subsidence. In short, the Whites accepted defeat on their own grounds to the tune of 4 to 1. It was one of the most exciting sporting events that has ever occurred in this city, and was witnessed by six thousand people.

The St. Louis team was fairly entitled to the victory for the general superiority of their playing. To be sure, their fielding errors exceeded in number those of thier opponents, but the errors of the Chicagos were fatal in their consequences. They were committed at the most critical points of the game, and, for the most part, by men from whom, in the light of their previous record, better things were to have been expected. The batting of the home nine was simply execrable. It is the general impression here that they failed at the willow, not so much because Bradley is an unhittable pitcher as because the Chicagos think that he is, and get so nervous in contemplation of this painful idea that they aimlessly paddle the wind with his bats whenever he confronts them. The Brown Stockings batted well, but they owed their victory still more to their fine fielding display.

Cuthbert was first to step across the plate. He opened with a short hit over short stop's head. Clapp followed with a hard hit to Spalding, who fielded it to Peters in time to cut off Cuthbert at second, and from Peters it traveled to first, in time to retire Clapp, making a fine double play. McGeary made a safe hit, and took second on a passed ball. Pike lifted a high foul fly to Addy, who got square under it, and then miserably muffed it. Pike then went out to Anson. Barnes then went to bat, and struck out. Anson fouled out to Clapp. McVey accidentally hit the leather, and sent it over the short-fielder's head. Hines batted a ball at his feet, but reached first on a low throw by Clapp, and then he and McVey moved along a base on a wild pitch. The prospects were good for a run, but Spalding spoiled them by tipping a little fly to Bradley.

In the second inning Anson made his first bad error this season, missing an easy fly from Battin's bat, but by another fine double play by Spalding and Barnes, Battin and Blong were both retired. Bradley then went out on a fly to Hines. Of the Whites, Addy, White and Peters vainly pawed the air, and the side retired in one, two, three order.

The interest in the third inning was enhanced by the first run of the game, and the only one for the Chicagos. Dehlman went out to Anson, White captured Mack on a foul fly, and Spalding disposed of Cuthbert at first. Barnes then took first base on a short fair-foul hit, and by monkeying over the base, induced Bradley to throw the ball in bad style, and Barnes took second. Anson, for a wonder, made a safe hit, and by fast, daring running Barnes tallied. The St. Louis boys now made a beautiful double play, Cuthbert catching a fly from McVey, and then cutting off Anson at second.

In the fourth inning Clapp made a fine hit to center for two bases and was carried to third by a safe hit from McGeary. A tally for St. Louis seemed inevitable, but the fates ordered otherwise. Pike hit to Peters, who helped to put McGeary out at second, and Blong retired on a hot foul tip to White. There was great rejoicing in the Grand Stand at this exhibition of sharp fielding. White left the men of the muff-colored hose still without a run. The Chicagos disgusted everybody by the weak handling of the willow for the remainder of the game. They invariably retired in lovely one, two, three order; in the fifth inning the game was tied through Glenn's bad fielding. Bradley went out from Spalding to first. Dehlman made a long hit for two bases, and then Mack struck a short safe ball to left field. On account of Glenn's slow handling of the ball Dehlman was enabled to tally.

The sixth inning was the crusher. The always reliable Glenn gave the game right away, allowing the visitors to score two unearned runs by dropping a fly, and then failing to field the ball home or anywhere else, he retired McGeary on a fly. Pike hit a long one for two bases, and Blong helped him along with a single baser. Bradley sent a fly to Glenn, which he permitted to go through him, and then held the ball while Pike and Blong ran home. Spalding was responsible in a measure for Glenn's muff, as he allowed Anson to run for it, too. Chicago was blanked again.

Both sides were white washed in the seventh inning, a clever display of muffing by Addy in right field being the most remarkable feature. Safe hits were made by Cuthbert and White.

In the eight inning Anson let a ball go between his legs and Battin got a base. Blong and Bradley brought him in by safe hits. Mack was then sent to first on called balls and the bases were full, but no more runs were made. Nothing of consequence was done during the rest of the game.

The audience was remarkably cheerful under the circumstances. The past experience of Chicago base ball audiences has taught them to hush, and a large amount of fortitude for use for reverses is constantly on hand. Joe Simmons umpired the game, and gave good satisfaction. A large amount of money changed hands on the result. Pools had sold at two to one on the Whites. Among the heavy losers is Joe Mackin, the Dearborn street saloon-keeper, who had a similar experience in St. Louis a few weeks ago. The fourth game between these two clubs will be played to-day, and the Chicagos feel quite sanguine that they will turn the tables on their opponents.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, May 20, 1876

-This was the first game of a fourteen game road trip that would take the Brown Stockings to Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Hartford and Boston.

-After this victory, the Brown Stockings were in third place, 2.5 games behind first place Hartford and two games behind Chicago.


David Ball said...

Did the Globe-Democrat man possibly have a grudge of some sort against Dehlman?

"Dehlman excited a storm of hisses by bunting a ball at his feet, after which exploit he ingloriously attempted to reach first base."

"...a fine base-hit to left by Dehlman, which filled him with such conceit that he tried to steal second, and came to grief."

"Dehlman made a horrible muff."

"The ball hit Dehlman on the bridge of his nose, turning his thoughts heavenward for a minute, while Glenn took second, and Peters third."

Jeffrey Kittel said...

Not really sure but I'll keep an eye out for anti-Dehlman bias. Can't imagine why anybody would have a problem with Dehlman, other than the fact that he couldn't hit.

I'm not certain who the G-D's man is either. The game reports from the road trip are different than the ones from home and it seems unlikely that William Spink was on the trip. The road trip guy has a rather odd style that I'm not really enjoying.

David Ball said...

Very unlikely the paper would have sent a reporter to travel with the team. That was extremely uncommon and never done on a regular basis. Papers with serious baseball coverage that weren't just running Associated Press wire service reports would have a correspondent in every city. But if there's an idiosyncratic style that's consistent from one city to another, then it's probably being written by a club employee traveling with the team, such as the manager, Mason Graffen.

Jeffrey Kittel said...

That makes sense.

I haven't finished going through the game reports of the entire road trip but the reports from Chicago and New York were written by the same guy. The stories are structured the same, punctuation is the same, certain phrases are reused, etc. Graffen would be as good a suspect as anyone.