Sunday, December 6, 2009

The 1876 Brown Stockings: A Great Day For St. Louis

To-day was a great day for St. Louis. A long series of old grudges were wiped out in the worst defeat defeat the Athletics have ever received. When about to commence the game they kicked about Heubel, but rather than retaliate upon them for their ungracious conduct in St. Louis last summer, under similar circumstances, the St. Louis Club agreed to take Warren White, of Washington, who was on the ground, and the game proceeded.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 2, 1876

Rather than give you the batter by batter results, I'll just hit the highlights (as the writer of the game account should have):

-Battin's triple in the first was the big blow and scored two; Battin was driven home by Blong

-In the second, Cuthbert scored from first on a Clapp's double; Pike drove in McGeary and Clapp on a single and a throwing error

-The fourth was the big inning; "Dehlman out at first. Mack and Cuthbert got in base hits, and Mack went home on Clapp's hit, followed by Cuthy on the steal. McGeary got first on a muffed fly. Pike out at first. Clapp and McGeary home on Battin's two-baser, he scoring on Blong's two-baser, and latter coming in on Brad's three-base hit. Dehlman out at first."

-In the fifth, Pike again drove home two runs and then scored on Battin's triple

-In the sixth, Dehlman scored on Cuthbert's double

-And finally, in the seventh, McGeary scored on Battin's single

-Bradley recorded another shutout and gave up only three hits


David Ball said...

I take it we have no idea why McGeary still missed a game or two after the club directors had given him a clean bill of health.

Jeffrey Kittel said...

McGeary didn't miss any games after he got his clean bill of health. The confusion here is my fault. I thought it'd be best to present all the McGeary material together rather than do the NY games, the McGeary situation, Miller's death and then the Philadelphia games chronologically. There was just too much going on and I thought it'd be better to group it together by subject.

But here's the timeline:

-The NY game is on May 27.
-The news goes out on May 28.
-McGeary is suspended by the club directors on May 29 pending a "sifting of the evidence." This is the same day of Miller's death.
-The Browns play Phil on May 30 without McGeary and (obviously) Miller.
-On June 1, Orrick Bishop publishes a letter in the Phil press saying that there is no evidence of wrong-doing on McGeary's part. So most likely McGeary is cleared by the club on May 31.
-McGeary plays in the game against Phil on June 1, having only missed one League game. There was an exhibition scheduled for May 31 (I think) that was cancelled due to Miller's death and who knows if McGeary would have been allowed to play in that game.

So McGeary went right back to playing as soon as the club had their little investigation (whatever that may have amounted to). If the question is why was he suspended at all if he hadn't done anything or why couldn't they get the investigation done before he missed a game then I would say it was a matter of proprity as well as pressure from the League, Chadwick, etc.

David Ball said...

Ah, I see. Am I right in saying that, if the newspaper reports can be trusted, it was manager Graffen's decision to bench him in the first place? If that's really true, the inquiry may not have been a public relations exercise to clear McGeary from what the management as a whole regarded to begin with as unwarranted charges, but rather at repudiation of Graffen by his own directors.

It may not be related, but the fact is that Graffen was gone in 1877 and McGeary was back. And, as you know, there were more reports of wrongdoing on his part and other players'.

Jeffrey Kittel said...

According to the Globe of May 30, it was Graffen's decision to suspend McGeary. By noon of May 29, the club directors are involved, upholding the suspension. Here's the quote: "At noon yesterday the Directors of the St. Louis Club held a meeting and decided to sift the charges against McGeary thoroughly, and, if they are well founded, he will at one be expelled from the League. The action of Manager Graffen in suspending McGeary for the time being was also upheld, and that official was notified to that effect. It is very evident that the gentlemen connected with the club intend doing all in their power to suppress fraud of every description."

While I think that this sounds like the directors supporting Graffen to a certain extent, you might be on to something. Graffen leaves the club unexpectedly late in the season (with something like 10 games left) and I've never understood why. If he thought that McGeary was crooked and he wasn't being supported by the directors then that would be a reason for him to bolt the club.

This may have been a bigger deal than I imagined if you're right. Graffen, based on the immediate suspension, shows that he believes McGeary (the highest paid player on the club, the team captain) is crooked. The club directors get involved, Orrick Bishop heads out to Phil and McGeary gets a slap on the wrist, missing only the one game. Looking at it that way, you could say that the directors were undermining Graffin's authority at a very difficult moment (with Miller's death and the Eastern press howling). And this on top of bringing in McGeary and Blong to begin with.

The Browns 1876 season is certainly much more interesting than I thought it was going to be. I never expected this level of drama.