Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The 1876 Brown Stockings: The Worst Professional Game On Record

First Meeting This Season Of The Boston And St. Louis Clubs-A Score In Which The Errors Are The Principal Feature.

Charity must be broad indeed to cover the sins of the first game of the season between the Boston and St. Louis clubs. Never was there a professional game played which was so full of disgusting muffs, disgraceful fumbles and loose and slovenly playing. The Bostons played the first three innings without an error, but in the very opening of the fourth Leonard muffed a ball thrown him by Merrill, and from that point onward it was a race to see who could make the most mistakes. Leonard, having the more opportunities, easily led the score in spite of frantic efforts on the part of Schafer and George Wright. Leonard had no less than nine errors in six innings, and the rest succeeding in running the total up to 25. Most of this was while the St. Louis nine were posting McBride out to right field-on the fourth inning for six first bases and four runs; on the fifth, four bases and five runs; and in the sixth for eight bases and seven runs. Although there was a two-base hit in each inning, only four of these runs were earned. The Bostons made very little headway against Bradley, getting one run in the fourth inning on errors of Blong and Clapp, and in the fifth on passed balls, two in the seventh and two in the ninth on errors of Clapp, Mack and McGeary.

This sad exhibition was witnessed by about 800 people, only half of whom waited to see the whole of it.
-Boston Daily Advertiser, June 15, 1876

I couldn't find the box score or account of this game in the Globe so we have to go with the Boston Daily Advertiser. It all works out because we get great phrases like "disgusting muffs, disgraceful fumbles and loose and slovenly playing." Good stuff.

And if you're keeping track at home, there were forty total errors in this game.

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