Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Clipper Weighs In On The Shutout Streak

The New York Clipper says: What the St. Louis nine can do when they one and all put their shoulders to the wheel and go in to win, was shown in St. Louis during the past week, in the contests between the Brown and the Dark Blues, Pearce's Brown Stocking team doing things up brown to the tune of putting out the strong Hartford nine in twenty-seven successive innings, without their being able to score a solitary run. The fact is unprecedented in the annals of ball playing...What [the Brown Stockings] can do when they go in to win is one thing; what they have done and will do again is quite another...
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 21, 1876

Translation: Those Brown Stockings would be pretty good if they weren't all crooked and throwing games left and right.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: The Globe Uses The Word "Execrable" In A Sentence

Not more than 200 spectators were present at Grand Avenue Park yesterday afternoon, to witness the Cincinnati and St. Louis Clubs play the sixth game of their series, which was umpired by Dan Collins, of the St. Louis Red Stockings, and commenced promptly at 4 o'clock, each club presenting its full nine. In the first inning for St. Louis Cuthbert tallied on errors by Kessler, Booth and Pearson, and Clapp an earned run on base hits by himself, Pike and Battin, Pike's being a two-baser. McGeary flew out to Pearson, and Jones caught Blong's difficult fly, and nipped Pike at the home plate by a splendid throw. A juggle by Pearce and a wild pitch allowed Gould to reach second, which was the best Cincinnati could do. The second inning was productive of an earned run for St. Louis on Battin's single and Blong's three-baser, Pearson and Jones distinguishing themselves by fine catches. The Cincinnatis could do nothing, Pearson being the only one to get a base hit. The third inning was marked by Foley's magnificent stop and throw, which disposed of Cuthbert. A base hit by McGeary, Dean's wild pitch which gave his his run, and Pike's three-base hit over Pearson's head that made the run earned. The Cincinnatis were retired in one, two, three order, Blong making a fine catch of Jones' hard hit. The fourth inning saw the Browns disposed of in one, two, three order, while Booth for Cincinnati got a base hit and as far as third, and Dean to second, on errors by Pike and McGeary, but both were left. In the fifth inning Foley went behind the bat and Booth to third, and Cuthbert got in an unearned run on errors by Booth and Foley. For Cincinnati, after two men were out, Pearson, Bean and Sweasy came to the rescue with safe hits, and the former tallied an unearned run on Cuthbert's error. Blong tallied for St. Louis in the sixth inning on a safe hit and bad errors by Gould and Kessler, while the Cincinnatis were retired without scoring, Pearce and Dehlman doubling up Jones and Booth, the former having reached first on Pike's excusable error. In the Seventh inning the Browns should have been whitewashed, but costly errors by Kessler and Sweasy gave St. Louis three runs, McGeary and Pike helping matters along by fine base hits. The Reds retired in one, two, three order. The Browns failed to increase their score in the eighth inning, and their opponents were also treated to lime, Pearson, Dean and Sweasy going out in step-stair order. One, two, three was the order of the Browns' retirement in the ninth inning, and of the Cincinnatis' also, Cuthbert ending the game by a brilliant catch of a long hit by Jones. The umpiring was execrable.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 21, 1876

Did they just say that the umpiring was execrable? I'll just direct you to a Latin dictionary, suggest you look up the word excrementum and leave it at that. Wow. That's pretty strong stuff for a newspaper in 1876.

I should point out the lousy crowds the Brown Stockings were getting for the Cincinnati series. Sure, the Reds were bad and the games were played on weekdays but these are terrible crowds. The conventional wisdom is that the Brown Stockings had poor attendance in 1876 or that, at the very least, attendance was down from 1875. While I haven't added all the numbers up, the 1876 attendance didn't seem that bad to me in the first half of the season and this is the first series were poor attendance numbers really stand out.

I've been wondering for awhile if the turmoil surrounding the club had an effect on attendance. At some point, I'll put the numbers together and we'll have some empirical evidence but I find it difficult thinking that all the rumors, infighting, etc. wouldn't drive down attendance. The 1877 team didn't draw well and while that probably has a lot to do with the fact that the team didn't win, it's possible that the attendance decline from 1875 to 1877 has something to do with St. Louis baseball fans rejecting a corrupt ball club and this rejection process may have begun in 1876. I don't have the answers to this right now but when I put the numbers together, we'll be able to take a closer look at this.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: Bradley's Streak Comes To An End

Only about 200 spectators witnessed the game between the Cincinnati and St. Louis clubs at the Brown Stocking Park yesterday afternoon. The poor attendance is probably due in a great measure to the poor record of the Cincinnati club, who have won only six games during the season. The game was not a very brilliant one, it being an entirely too one-sided affair. The Browns did well in the field, but experienced considerable difficulty in hitting the delivery of Dean, the new pitcher of the Cincinnati club. Fisher was not present, nor did he come to town with the club. Dean, who occupied the pitcher's square, worried the Browns considerably, as they had never faced him before. His delivery is very swift, and the ball, after leaving his hands, has a downward tendency, which rather got the best of the home club, as the score will show. The Cincinnatis found more trouble in batting Bradley, and only pasted him for two bases, one of them being a double by Jones, in the ninth inning; Booth also made his base in the last inning.

The lads from abroad played a miserable fielding game, with the exception of Kessler, who assisted five times and played his position without an error. The veteran Sweazy also did good service at second, but had a couple of costly errors charged to his account. Dean, the pitcher, proved a strong card in the game for his own club, and made but one error-a wild throw. Neither side scored a run until the fifth inning, when Pearce came home on a very wild throw by Foley to first base, when he had no chance of putting his man out. The Cincinnatis were blanked in one, two, order until the eighth inning, when Battin gave a base runner a life, but the player was left on base. In the ninth inning "baby" Jones pasted Bradley for two bases, and went to third on a passed ball. Booth, the next man at the bat, brought him home on a fine drive to left field, and thus saved the club from a nest of goose eggs.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 19, 1876

George Washington Bradley threw thirty-seven consecutive shutout innings over five starts, from July 8 to July 18. Included in the streak was the first no-hitter in NL history. Baseball Almanac only lists pitchers with more than 40 consecutive shutout innings and I can't find anything better than that so it's difficult to say what kind of record Bradley set. I'll go out on a limb and say that Bradley set the NL record for most consecutive shutout innings in 1876. He probably held the major league record until Jack Chesboro threw 41 consecutive shutout innings in 1902. If anybody has any better information on the record, I'd like to hear about it.

As to this game, Bradley was perfect through seven and took a no-hitter into the ninth. What can you say? The guy was on a roll. In fact, he would give up only one run in each of the three Cincinnati games, meaning he only gave up three runs in six games between July 11 and July 22.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Few Lines Of Explanation From Manager Jewett

Sir-As there are several false rumors afloat regarding the non-appearance of Mr. Nichols in his position as pitcher yesterday, allow me a few lines in explanation.

Mr. Nichols has been suffering for some little time with a lame side and shoulder, and, as I was anxious that he should make as favorable an impression as possible, I decided to let him rest one day. He was not reserved for the game with the "Reds," as your paper...states, but did not pitch for the very reason that he was not in condition. Very truly, etc.,

T.B. Jewett,
Manager N.H.B.B.C.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 19, 1876

Nichols did pitch against the Reds, although not well. The Reds scored nine runs in winning the game handily 9-3, aided by fourteen errors by the New Haven fielders.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: Giving The Field A Presentable Appearance

Two or three hundred people assembled at Grand Avenue Park yesterday afternoon to witness the contest between the New Havens and Browns, most of the interest, of course, centering in Nichols, the New Haven pitcher, who is to supplant Bradley in the Brown stocking team next year. George Seward, who was always, and justly so, a great favorite in St. Louis, as well as Waitt and Fleet, who played with the Browns last season, were recognized and warmly welcomed by those in attendance. Shortly before 4 o'clock a thunder-storm came up, and the rain fell in torrents just long enough to make the grounds unfit for playing purposes. Mr. Solari and his assistants, aided by the irrepressible Battin, Dicky Pearce and one or two other industrious experts, went to work with a will, and, by means of sawdust and brooms, gave the field a presentable appearance, although the diamond looked more like a circus ring than anything else. Play was not called until 5 o'clock, and a conclusion was not reached until nearly dark. Mr. Burtis having returned from Chicago, where he gave great satisfaction to the Bostons and Whites, occupied the umpire's position, and acquitted himself with is usual accuracy. Nichols did not pitch, his place being supplied by Cassidy, the center fielder, Manager Jewett holding the former in reserve for the game with the St. Louis Red Stockings this afternoon. Loud cries were heard for "Nick," but he was really not in a condition to occupy the "six by six," and the disappointment could not well be avoided. For the Browns Blong pitched seven innings and Bradley two-the seventh and eighth. The in-fielding on both sides was very fine, especially the work of Pearce and young Sam. Wright at short.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 18, 1876

It appears that Bradley gave up a run in the seventh but since this was a non-League game, it doesn't count against his consecutive shutout innings streak. Also, this gives us a nice account of Solari getting the grounds ready after a rain delay. Don't think I've ever come across anything like that before. Peter Morris sees Solari as one of the pioneers of grounds keeping and this gives us a rare look at the kind of work he was doing.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: Hell Freezes Over

The Tribune of a week or so ago contained a telegram from St. Louis, which predicted as the view of the writer that the St. Louis Club would not very strongly attempt to win the games with the Hartfords. It was not asserted that there was any intent in the management to bring about such a result, and the developments of the week have made it proper to say that the dispatch was unquestionably based on an error. The splendid record of the Brown Stockings during the week last passed have not only made them clear of the assumption, but have put them in a very enviable position as concerns their games with the Hartfords. They have now won as many games from that club as have the Chicagos, and the games between the two leading Western organizations will take an added interest from the fact.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 18, 1876 (from the Chicago Tribune)

I think this is the first time that a Chicago paper had anything nice to say about a St. Louis baseball club. And it only took three straight shutouts of Hartford for it to happen.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Blue Stockings Visit Kansas

Kansas City, July 11.-The colored ball players had a battle on the green diamond this afternoon, the Blue Stockings, of St. Louis, defeating the Brown Stockings, of Kansas City, by a score of 30 to 2. The Browns were whitewashed eight times.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 12, 1876

Lawrence, Kas., July 12.-A beautiful game was played here, to-day, between the Eagles, colored champions of Kansas, and the Blue Stockings, of St. Louis, which resulted in favore of the Blues, after a hard fight, by a score of 13 to 11.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 13, 1876

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: Pike Speaks His Mind

A Globe-Democrat reporter ran across Pike, the popular center-fielder of the Brown Stockings, yesterday afternoon, and while engaged in a brief conversation with him, asked his reasons for signing with the Cincinnati nine next year. "When I was away in New York, this spring," replied he, "I was asked my opinion of the Mutual game, alleged to have been thrown by McGeary, and I openly informed my questioner that I had no doubt that McGeary had sold the game; that he was a crooked player. I also expressed the same opinion here in St. Louis. For these honest expressions of my opinion, to which I still adhere, Remson was engaged in my place for next year. Seeing that I had no chance here, I have signed to play in Cincinnati next year, although I have become fond of St. Louis, and would have preferred to stay here."
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 24, 1876

Mr. Lipman Pike, center-fielder of the St. Louis ball club, in a card published in the morning papers yesterday, sees fit to disown certain statements which he made to a Globe-Democrat reporter on Sunday, and which were published the following day. Why he should disown them is well known to the Directors and friends of the St. Louis club. Not only were the statements published made to the reporter, but many others, which were of no interest to the community at large. No third person being present at the interview, the question of fact can not be proven. Mr. Pike, however, informed another attache of this journal, on Sunday afternoon, that he had made the statements accredited to him in regard to McGeary but that he had not made them to a reporter. In his card he states that he had no conversation whatever with a Globe-Democrat reporter on Sunday, although on Sunday night, in the presence of half a dozen witnesses, he referred to the reported interview, and asked why his remarks had been printed, even going so far as to use threatening language. To those who are acquainted with Pike's relations to the St. Louis Club, nothing more on this subject need be said. He may regret his foolish remarks, but will fail to make this paper shoulder the responsibility of them.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 26, 1876

Let's get this out of the way first: Pike disowned his remarks a day after they appeared in the Globe. I don't find that to be significant because I don't believe the Globe was making it up. I believe what Pike said in the Globe on July 24, I believe the Globe's defense that was published on July 26 and I think it's reasonable to believe that Brown Stockings management had Pike disavow his statement or Pike did it one his own due to the inflammatory nature of his remarks. This appears to be nothing more than a 19th century attempt at damage control. But, bottom line, I believe what Pike said on July 24.

And now on to the good stuff.

Are you kidding me? I honestly couldn't believe this when I first read it. You never find anything this good. Lip Pike flat out said that he thought McGeary sold the game and flat out said that McGeary was crooked. This is direct evidence that members of the Brown Stockings believed that McGeary was a dirty ballplayer, were unhappy about it and voiced their unhappiness.

Pike also states that, because he voiced his opinion about McGeary, he was being replaced by Remsen and that he was not wanted on the club in 1877. I believe that this is evidence of a pro-McGeary group within Brown Stockings management that either failed to recognize the growing culture of corruption that was enveloping the club or was willing to ignore it. When confronted with the evidence of McGeary's actions in New York, their reaction, according to Pike, was to replace the men who brought that evidence.

There is no actual evidence that Remsen was signed to replace Pike but Pike believed that it was so and believed he was being replaced because he had accused McGeary of crookedness. And so he signed with Cincinnati. Pike signed with Cincinnati in 1877 specifically because of how the Brown Stockings handled the McGeary situation.

Pike was not the only member of the Brown Stockings who believed that McGeary was crooked. Cuthbert basically walked off the field in disgust during the McGeary game in New York. Bradley was swept up in the accusations against McGeary and signed a contract to play elsewhere in 1877 at the first opportunity. While we don't know how every member of the team felt about McGeary, we've seen enough evidence to say that their were divisions in the clubhouse.

So we have divisions among the players and we have divisions among management and nobody is dealing with the situation. Either nobody has the authority to solve the problem or the people with the real power in the organization don't want to solve the problem. I find it unbelievable that with all the talk that had been going around baseball during the period that the directors of the Brown Stockings didn't realize that the corrupting influences of gambling and game-fixing weren't a real problem. They had to know that this was a serious situation and either were unable to stop it or, what may be worse, they chose to ignore it and sweep it under the rug. As a result, they lost some of their best players. As a result, the corrupting influences spread. As a result, the Brown Stockings died in 1877.

I think that the true story of the 1875-1877 Brown Stockings is that of a club that allowed corrupting influences to envelope the team, did nothing to arrest that spread and collapsed as a result. The 1877 gambling scandal was not an isolated incident. It was part of a larger pattern of corruption that stretched back into 1876 and, most likely, 1875. The club directors were aware of the problem. They knew that players were fixing games. They did nothing to stop it and, in fact, emboldened the fixers by allowing them to win a power struggle withing the club. J.B.C. Lucas and Orrick Bishop are as responsible for the Brown Stockings' breakup as Joe Blong and Mike McGeary.

Lip Pike told them that they had crooked ballplayers on their club and they got rid of Lip Pike. Mase Graffin suspends McGeary and Orrick Bishop comes out to Philadelphia to sweep everything under the rug and undercuts his manager at the same time. Chadwick and Spink were telling them not to sign these guys and they did anyway. They have a crooked umpire on the payroll. They sign more crooked ballplayers from Louisville. Etc. Etc. Etc. It was a mess run by some of the most prominent citizens of St. Louis. These upstanding gentlemen almost destroyed professional baseball in the city, motivated (one assumes) by greed and a desire to win at all costs.

And here we are, only half way through the season.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: Dame Rumor

All quotes from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, except where noted.

Clapp, Dehlman and Nichols are the only players who have thus far signed with the Brown Stockings for '77.
-July 11, 1876

The annual report about Harry Wright's departure has started again. This time it is St. Louis that he is to give a boost to, and he is to take three of the Bostons with him. Don't they wish they may get them?
-July 12, 1876 (from the Boston Advertiser)

A Startling Rumor from St. Louis

St. Louis, July 3-The Boston club arrived here today, and will play the Browns tomorrow. Negotiations are in progress looking to the transfer of Harry Wright, with three of the best players in the Boston nine, to St. Louis, at the close of the present season. This, it is believed, will more than make up for the loss of Bradley, the present St. Louis pitcher, who has signed to go with the Athletics next year.
-Boston Globe, July 7, 1876

The Boston Globe thus discourses concerning St. Louis: "The St. Louis Club has engaged Nichols for next season. Efforts were made to get Peters, of the Chicagos, who is a St. Louis boy, and Ross Barnes; but the result is that both remain in Chicago and have their salaries raised...Three or four men of the Boston team have been approached on this trip in relation to next year, but the engagements of all extend over two or three years, and any chances which are made will probably tend to strengthen the team rather than otherwise."
-July 14, 1876

The Brown Stockings pay Nichols $2,500 to pitch next year.
-July 15, 1875

Yesterday President Bulkeley of the League received official notification that the St. Louis Browns had engaged Nichols, of the New Haven nine, to play with them next season. Dehlman has been re-engaged as first baseman...We are very sorry to learn that Nichols is going West, and believe that only a very large salary has induced him to go. He has been the mainstay of the New Haven nine for two years. He is not only one of the most skillful pitchers in the field, but also a good-natured, jolly, companionable fellow at all times. The home nine will find it hard to fill his place.
-July 15, 1875 (from the New Haven Palladium)

At the beginning of the present week one of the directors of the St. Louis Club came to Chicago with the laudable intent of getting two or three players to strengthen his next year's nine, even at the expense of weakening Chicago. This director, being a gentleman, did not sneak about, but walked boldly forward to conquer the men he wanted by mere force of money. To one of the strongest players in the Chicago nine-and, perhaps, the best man living in one branch of the game-the St. Louisan offered, as a starter, $3,000 a year and the captaincy of the Brown Stockings. This did not move the player at all, and the bidder went up to $4,000, which is, the writer thinks, the largest sum ever offered to a ballplayer. But even this did not produce a favorable answer, and the interview ended for the time. Yesterday the director massed his forces for another attack, and announced that he would go as high as $6,000 sooner than fail to get the man he wanted.

The Tribune hasn't heard the result of the last offer.

To another member of the Chicagos who fills his position as well as anybody does the same one, this gentleman from St. Louis announced that he was prepared to offer $2,500 for the next season.
-July 16, 1876 (from the Chicago Tribune)

A Brown Stocking director was heard to remark yesterday that Remsen would play in St. Louis next season...Do the Browns intend losing Pike? A finer outfielder it is impossible to get. He is a power at the bat, and, what is still better, faithful. He and Remsen would make a strong team.
-July 16, 1876

In these columns last week it was noted that Mr. Hazard, of the St. Louis Club, had been in Chicago, making extravagant offers to a couple of Chicago players. It is satisfactory to record that he returned home without effecting any engagements...The St. Louis announce that they have made a contract with Joseph V. Battin, John Clapp, Harmon J. Dehlman and F.C. Nichols. The latter is at present pitching for the New Havens, and has one of the best curve deliveries in the business.
-July 18, 1876 (from the Chicago Tribune)

President Appolonio, of the Boston club, was in town yesterday, and Dame Rumor had it that his visit to St. Louis was for the purpose of engaging Joe Blong to pitch for the Bostons next season.
-July 19, 1876

Lot of interesting stuff going on here. First, the Boston Globe had Bradley and Battin signing with the Athletics by July 3, which is a little earlier than I had it, based on the Globe-Democrat's reporting. This adds some weight to the idea that Bradley and Battin were talking with the Athletics in late June, when Philadelphia visited St. Louis to play the Brown Stockings.

I think we can probably dismiss the Harry Wright rumors. Would the Browns be interested in bringing Wright and a few player from Boston to St. Louis? Probably. But as the Boston Advertiser noted, this was an annual thing with Wright and, if there were discussions with the Browns, it most likely wasn't that serious on Wright's part.

Is it even remotely possible that the Browns' would have offered Ross Barnes $6000? Again, I don't think so. That's so far out of line with what anybody else was making to seem far fetched. But did the Browns want Barnes and Peters? Of course they did. Did they make overtures to them? Probably.

Jack Remsen was a pretty good ballplayer and would have been an upgrade over Joe Blong and, maybe, Ned Cuthbert but there was no way that he could replace Lip Pike. But, as we'll see tomorrow, Pike wasn't pleased with the signing and believed that Remsen was signed to replace him.

The Tribune has Battin signing with the Browns by July 18. If Battin signed with the Athletics at the same time as Bradley, sometime in early July, how does he sign with the Browns a couple of weeks later? Battin did play for the Browns in 1877, of course, so he did sign with them at some point. Was this a result of the Athletics dissolving their stock club? Lots of questions but we do know that Battin did sign with the Browns and the Tribune implies that it was in the middle of July, after Battin had agreed to join the Athletics.

That's a lot of information for one post. What does it mean?

I think we can make some general conclusions based on what we know. Brown Stocking management was looking to make changes. Even if we dismiss the possibility of Harry Wright joining the club, there are some indications based on the McGeary affair that the club was unhappy with Mase Graffin. Bringing in Wright would have solved that problem.

Bringing in Ross Barnes would solve the McGeary problem. McGeary was accused of throwing a game in New York and a few of his teammates believed that their captain was crooked. It's likely that the Brown Stockings were an organization divided between pro-McGeary and anti-McGeary camps. I'll show evidence tomorrow that puts an exclamation point on this.

If you look at the case of Bradley, who appears to have signed with the Athletics before the club signed Nichols, it appears that it's the case of someone in the anti-McGeary camp bolting the club. Bradley, if you'll remember, got thrown under the bus by Chadwick in the aftermath of the McGeary affair. Chadwick subtlety accused Bradley of being involved in fixing the game. If he was not, and there's no other evidence that he was, then he was most likely very unhappy about the matter.

Neither management nor the League take any action against McGeary and this could not have gone over well with the honest ballplayers on the club. We know that there were crooked ballplayers on the club. Joe Blong. Joe Battin. Mike McGeary. There were even accusations in 1875 against Bad Dickey Pearce. The club swept everything under the rug and what kind of message was that to the guys who were playing on the level? If McGeary fixed the New York game and Blong and Battin were fixing games in 1877 and Bad Dickey was fixing games in 1875 (which I'm not completely certain he did), how many other games were being fixed in 1876? The guys on the club knew what was going on and it appears that many of them did not like it. Those guys, specifically Bradley, Pike and Cuthbert, wanted out.

It appears that somebody in Brown Stockings' management realized the extent of the problem and was looking to solve it. Bring in Harry Wright to right the ship. Bring in Barnes and get rid of McGeary. Bring in some new players and get rid of the bad wood. But the attempt to solve the problem failed. McGeary was back in 1877 and was again the captain. Blong and Battin were still on the club in 1877. And they lost Bradley, Pike and Cuthbert in the process.

If there was an attempt by an anti-McGeary faction to solve the problem of crooked players and a divided club, they either simply failed in their attempt to solve the problem or they were over-ruled or outmaneuvered by the pro-McGeary faction. It's possible that there was a group inside management that didn't believe that they had a problem or were unable to recognize the problem. They were the same group that whitewashed the McGeary investigation and undermined Graffen after he suspended McGeary.

I believe that the evidence points to a divided club and a divided management. The wedge was McGeary and the culture of corruption that was swallowing the Brown Stockings in 1876 and that would help destroy the club in 1877. There were many people who recognized what was happening-Graffen, Bradley, Cuthbert, Pike, etc. But there had to be a faction in management that supported McGeary over the anti-corruption forces. This faction is directly responsible for the failure of the Brown Stockings in St. Louis and are responsible for almost killing professional, major league baseball in the city. It would take several years and the leadership of Chris Von der Ahe to overcome the bad decisions that were made in the summer of 1876.

Tomorrow, we will hear direct testimony from a member of the anti-McGeary, anti-corruption group as Lip Pike speaks about Mike McGeary and Brown Stocking management.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: The Greatest Feat In The Annals Of The Game (Inning By Inning)

The Globe-Democrat yesterday morning announced the fact that the St. Louis Base Ball Club intended accomplishing the greatest feat in the annals of the game, if sharp play could bring about the result prayed for, which was nothing less than the whitewashing of the famous Hartford nine for the third consecutive time. They did it, and thereby covered themselves with glory and sent their admirers into ecstasies. A large crowd was present to witness the discomfiture of the Dark Blues. In the matter of the toss, luck for the first time in a long while deserted McGeary, which was considered a favorable omen for Hartford, but, as the sequel showed, failed to prove such. St. Louis won the game in the first two innings by the fine batting of Clapp and Blong, and four unfortunate errors by their opponents. In the last seven innings Bond was so

Well Supported

that the Browns could not possibly increase their score. Bradley's pitching, and the magnificent backing given it by the fielders, won the day for St. Louis. For the first time in the annals of the League, nine innings were played without a single base hit being placed to the credit of one of the teams. The Hartford's utterly failed to do anything whatever with Bradley's twisters. Weak infield hits and easy flies were the order of the afternoon on their side, and a chance for an out was rarely missed. Bradley has good reason to be proud of his record. His associates, especially Clapp, whose beautiful batting was a marked feature of the game, did fairly off Bond's curves, and thereby won the game. Three such games as have been played during the past week by the St. Louis and Hartford Clubs

Have Never Been Witnessed,

the scores being 2 to 0, 3 to 0, and 2 to 0, all in favor of St. Louis. They will be placed on record as the most wonderful struggles in the history of the national pastime. When it is stated that until last Tuesday Hartford had not been whitewashed this season, and that for twenty-seven consecutive innings they were retired by the Browns without scoring, and almost in one-two-three order, some idea of the magnificent manner in which they must have fielded the stinging hits of such men as Burdock, Higham, Ferguson, and the other Blue Legs can be formed.

The Record Of The Week

leads a good many to suppose that the Browns may yet crowd up to the top round of the championship ladder. This is among the possibilities, but not very probable. That the St. Louis Club will beat Hartford for second place is much more likely, but Chicago now has a commanding lead which it will be almost impossible for either club to overcome. The details of the game yesterday will be found in the appended account by innings.

First Inning.

St. Louis-Cuthbert, after being missed on three strikes, was thrown out at first by Harbidge. Clapp earned first on a magnificent drive to left center, and a wild throw by Bond to catch him at first gave him third. McGeary's foul fly to right was splendidly held by Higham, but the hit gave Clapp his run. Pike sent up a high one, which Remsen gobbled. One unearned run.
Hartford-Remson again opened for the Dark Blues by striking out. Burdock was given a life by Pearce, who muffed his hot liner and then made an overthrow. A passed ball gave him second. Higham's out by McGeary to Dehlman gave Burdock third, where he was left, as Ferguson flew out to Cuthbert. Nineteenth goose egg.

Second Inning.

St. Louis-Mills made a fine catch of Battin's foul fly. Blong earned first on a fine drive to left, and as York tried to make the catch Joe reached second. Mills allowed Bradley's bounder to go through him, and Blong tallied. Bradley was thrown out in trying to steal second. Dehlman earned first on a model hit to left, and stole second by a close shave, but was left, as Pearce popped a fly up for Mills' benefit.
Hartford-Carey was finely thrown out at first by Bradley. Bond furnished McGeary with an easy fly, and Yorke sent up a sky scraper for Battin to capture. Twentieth goose egg.

Third Inning.

St. Louis-Cuthbert was splendidly disposed of by Ferguson and Mills. Clapp sent the ball spinning over Yorke's head for two bases, and McGeary flew out to Burdock. Pike hit a hard one to left, which Yorke froze to. No runs.
Hartford-Mills sent a hot one direct to Dehlman, and sat down. Harbidge popped up an easy fly, which McGeary captured, and Remsen was thrown out at first by Bradley. Twenty-first goose egg. Score, 2 to 0. St. Louis ahead.

Fourth Inning.

St. Louis-Mills pinched Battin's easy fly, and Blong was thrown out at first by Carey. Bradley couldn't gauge Bond, and struck out. No runs.
Hartford-Burdock struck at the first ball pitched, and retired on a foul bound. Another easy fly was furnished McGeary by Higham. Clapp missed Ferguson's fould bound, and Fergy then went out by hitting direct to Dehlman. Twenty-second goose egg.

Fifth Inning.

St. Louis-Ferguson bagged Dehlman's foul fly and Harbidge treated Pearce's foul bound in the same way. Cuthbert attempted a right field hit, and furnished Ferguson with an easy fly instead.
Hartford-Carey attempted a fair foul, and Battin threw him out. Bond was magnificently disposed of by McGeary and Dehlman. Yorke hit hard, but Bradley partially stopped the ball, and Battin finished the business by throwing him out. Twenty-third goose egg.

Sixth Inning.

St. Louis-Clapp almost got in his third base hit, but Remsen, by fast running, made a splendid catch. McGeary flew out to Burdock. Pike hit to second, and, by the fastest kind of running, secured his base. He stole second in safety, but remained there, as Battin struck out.
Hartford-Mills kept up the weak batting by hitting to Bradley and being thrown out. Clapp captured Harbidge's high foul fly. Dehlman dropped McGeary's throw, and Remsen stepped safely on first. Burdock sent a bounder to Pearce, who headed him off at first. Twenty-fourth goose egg.

Seventh Inning.

St. Louis-Carey and Mills furnished Blong with an out. Bond again outwitted Bradley, who gave Mills an easy fly, and Dehlman also retired by hitting direct to the first baseman. No runs.
Hartford-Higham was easily thrown out at first by Battin. Ferguson was given a life by Clapp, who missed his foul bound, but the striker a moment afterwards flew out to Pike, and Carey followed suit to Cuthbert. Twenty-fifth goose-egg.

Eighth Inning.

St. Louis-Pearce reached first on a hot one to right short, that luckily bounded out of Burdock's reach. Yorke made a magnificent catch of Cuthbert's short fly to left. Clapp by a model hit to right earned first, and sent Pearce to second. McGeary's sharp foul tip was well held by Harbidge. Pike flew out to Remsen, and two men were left.
Hartford-Bond sent a bounder to McGeary, and was disposed of at first. Yorke was sent to first on three balls. Mills hit a hot one to short, and by miserable running allowed Pearce to throw him out. Yorke reached second on the hit, and third on a wild pitch, where he was left, as McGeary and Dehlman furnished Harbidge with an out. Twenty-sixth goose-egg.

Ninth Inning.

St. Louis-Battin sent a swift fly to Yorke, which was accepted and Blong was thrown out at first by Carey. Mills made a splendid catch of Dehlman's fly, and the side was out.
Hartford-Remsen went in to escape the third nest of goose eggs, if possible. He hit at the first ball pitched, and Pearce headed him off at first. Battin made a bad error in failing to stop Burdock's bounder, but atoned for it a moment afterwards by making a splendid stop of Higham's corker, and doubling up the striker and Burdock.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 16, 1876

So George Washington Bradley, after signing with the Athletics for 1877, throws three straight shut-outs, including the first no-hitter in National League history and, after this game, was riding a twenty-nine consecutive inning shut-out streak. That's a nice week of work by Bradley.

It's interesting that the Brown Stockings' defenders get so much credit for this game. Certainly, given the nature of the game, they deserve a great deal of credit and played very well over the course of the Hartford series. But they committed eight errors in this game. It was easily their worst defensive performance of the series. I'm not saying they don't deserve credit but I'm just pointing out the fact that it wasn't that great of a defensive performance.

Because I'm going to spend the next couple of days spreading 134 year old rumors and speculating about which Brown Stocking players hate each other and which players can't wait for the season to get over and head out of town, I'm going to mention that Bradley throws eight more shutout innings against the Reds on July 18, running his consecutive shut-out inning streak to 37. He ended up giving up a run in the ninth or he would have had his fourth straight shut-out. I'll look it up but 37 consecutive shut-out innings was probably a record that lasted awhile.

A quick check has Jack Chesbro throwing 41 consecutive shut-out innings in 1902. Also, and I didn't know this, Bradley's 16 shutouts in 1876 is tied for the all-time record. But I'll talk a bit more about this when I get to the Cincinnati game.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: The Crowd Almost Went Wild (And My Top 5 Baseball Memories)

The Hartfords were presented with another nest of goose eggs by the St. Louis Brown Stockings at Grand Avenue Park yesterday afternoon, the crowd of Tuesday being slightly increased by the fine fielding display in the previous game. McGeary, for the fifth time in succession, won the toss, and the Dark Blues were sent to the field promptly at 4 o'clock. The play during the first six innings was almost absolutely perfect, neither side being able to secure a tally, although the batting was fierce. The Browns, however, secured singles in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, the first two on bad errors by Burdock and Harbidge, and the last on a terrific drive to right by Pike, which earned that fleet-footed gentleman a home run. The outfielding of both nines was magnificent, Blong making an extraordinary one-handed catch, that robbed Ferguson of a home run, and Remsen securing three beauties by the swiftest kind of running. The infield work of all except Burdock and Harbidge was very fine, the errors made by these players proving very costly. Each nine made five base hits, Pike securing two for St. Louis, and the reliable Higham two for Hartford. The game was far more interesting than that of Tuesday, for the reason that the hard batting gave numerous chances for brilliant plays, all of which were accepted, the errors being made on very simple balls. Harbidge's wild throwing and passed balls proved especially disastrous. The crowd almost went wild with enthusiasm, and cheered lustily as each consecutive whitewash was chalked against Hartford.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 14, 1876

The second consecutive shutout for Bradley, a 0-0 game going into the seventh and another bad game for Harbidge. For those counting at home, Bradley had a twenty inning shutout streak going.

This has nothing to do with nothing but one time, when I was in high school, I ditched school and went over to Busch Stadium for a day game between the Cards and Mets. Joaquin Andujar against Doc Gooden. The final score was 5-1 but it was 0-0 going into the seventh. You see how I just tied all of that together? Anyway, it was the best pitching duel I ever saw live and easily in my top five of all-time baseball memories.

Okay, just for fun, here's my top five all-time favorite baseball memories (witnessed live):

1. Opening Day 1998. McGwire's grand slam off of El Presidente. Regardless of anything we want to say about McGwire and the 1998 home run chase, it was an amazing moment. Busch Stadium was literally rocking.

2. Andujar/Gooden 1985. I was sitting in the bleachers with a friend, had skipped school and there was this old guy sitting right behind us with a little transistor radio, listening to KMOX and telling us stories about the old days. Beautiful spring day without a cloud in the sky and a great pitchers duel. And I wasn't at school.

3. Cards 7-Pirates 6; September 5, 1983. Cards were up 3-0 and 4-1 after six. Pirates score two in the top of the ninth to go ahead 6-5. Andy Van Slyke hit a pinch hit home run to lead off the ninth to tie it and the Cards win in the tenth when Ozzie leads off with a double, moves to third on a sac and was driven in by a Dane Iorg sac fly. I don't think I have ever been so hot at Old Busch (or Busch II if you want) than that night. I was sitting in the back bleachers underneath the overhang and it was something like 100 degrees outside with 90% humidity. Miserable, but a fantastic game.

4. Cards 2-Reds 0; May 31, 1985. There's a reason I love the 1985 Cards above all other teams and 1985 was my favorite season. Danny Cox threw a no-hitter for 7 2/3 and shutout the Reds on two hits. The closest I ever came to seeing a no-hitter live.

5. Cards 7-Atlanta 0; October 7, 1982. The first game of the 1982 NLCS and Bob Forsch throws a shutout. The real game one was rained out the day before with the Cards getting shut down by Phil Niekro, who the Cards never hit. Dodged a bullet there. This game was my first taste of October baseball and, while it never gets old, the first time is always the sweetest.

My father always told me the story that he took me (as a six month old infant) to Game One of the 1968 World Series. Cards/Tigers and Gibson strikes out 17. But, while I have ticket stubs and a program, I don't have any memories of the game and can't count it. My dad always had great baseball stories and, while I'm not certain how true they all were, as I get older it's more fun to believe them than it is to question them. So I always say I was at Game One of the 1968 Series.

And one day I'll tell you the story of how my dad played baseball with Willie Mays.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: The Clubs Might Have Played Until The Resurrection

The game at Grand Avenue Park, yesterday afternoon, which drew together 1,000 spectators, was interesting only from the fact that the Hartfords were Chicagoed for the first time this season, while St. Louis secured two tallies by the biggest kind of luck. Owing to a heavy shower of rain, the game was delayed for half an hour, and after the first inning the ball became so soaked with water that the contestants might as well have been playing with a wet rag. The two tallies were made by St. Louis in the first inning. After two hands had been disposed of, Pike struck out, but reached first on a fatal error by Harbidge, and Battin getting in a lucky hit, brought Pike, as well as Clapp, who had been given first on called balls, home. Whitewashes were then in order until the close of the game, it being impossible to drive the wet and unshapely ball out of the infield, and the clubs might have played until the resurrection came without changing the result.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 12, 1875

The Brown Stockings get two unearned runs, George Washington Bradley throws a four-hitter with the aid of a "wet and unshapely ball" and the he gets the first of his three consecutive shut-outs against Hartford, one of which was the first no-hitter in National League history. Not to give away the story or anything.

And just to keep the timeline straight, Bradley had signed with the Athletics for the 1877 season two days earlier.

On the same page as the game account, the Globe published this little nugget:

Will the Chicago Tribune be kind enough to retract the assertion that St. Louis had arranged to lose three games to the Hartfords this week?

Heh. But it does say a little something that the accusation that the Brown Stockings were going to throw a three game series didn't really make any news.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: The Mystery Deepens

Formal notices have been received of the engagement of Devlin and Snyder by the Louisville Club for 1877, and of Battin and Bradley by the Athletic Club for the same period.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 11, 1876

We have reports in the Globe on July 7 that the Brown Stockings signed Tricky Nichols for the 1877 season and here we have reports of George Washington Bradley and Joe Battin signing elsewhere for 1877. Leaving out the Battin signing for the moment, one would have to assume that the signings of Nichols and Bradley are related. Obviously, Bradley did not pitch for Philadelphia in 1877 (and Battin didn't play with them either, for that matter) but he did leave the Brown Stockings to pitch for Chicago. So it looks like Bradley was looking to leave St. Louis.

The timing of all of this is interesting. I don't think it's likely that Bradley's signing was a reaction to the Brown Stocking's signing of Nichols. There simply wasn't enough time between July 6 and July 10 for Bradley to get angry or upset over the Nichols signing, evaluate his situation and then engage in negotiations with the Athletics. Both the Nichols signing and the Bradley signing must have been in the works for a couple of weeks. It may be that Bradley was aware of the Brown Stockings interest in Nichols and reacted accordingly but I think it's more likely that the Brown Stockings were reacting to a desire by Bradley to leave the Brown Stockings.

Now, as I mentioned, neither Bradley nor Battin played with the Athletics in 1877 so it's possible that this was all rumor. I have a bit more work to do to run this down and the research is not complete. However, even if it is rumor (or something happened between the parties to nullify the agreement they made), it still is significant when looking at the 1876 season and the events that transpired to breakup the 1875/1876 Brown Stockings. It's also relevant to the events surrounding the 1877 Brown Stockings (and I think that's a nice euphemism).

But what this is telling me is that Bradley wanted out. And the question is why?

While I think I have enough evidence to answer the question, that is going to have to wait a few days. First, we have a great series between the Brown Stockings and Hartford to take a look at. Then I'll return to the question and talk about some rumors that were swirling around, show other players that were looking to leave St. Louis and present a rather shocking statement by Lip Pike that, I believe, ties everything together.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Empire Club Defeated

The Atlantics, State Champions.

The veteran Empires were taken into camp for the second time this season by the Atlantics, at the Stocks' Park on Sunday. The Atlantics outfielded and outbatted their opponents. After a long delay on the part of the Empires, who were short one man, they substituted Gleason, formerly of the professional Stocks. A. Blong umpired the game to the satisfaction of all. With the stick, Gleason, of the Empires, made three of the seven base hits, and Levis, Jones and Rippey, of the Atlantics, also did excellent work. The former made a trio of two-base hits and two singles. The fielding of the Atlantics was excellent throughout. The pitching of Levis was effective, while Rippey supported him in his old style, and Duke at short distinguished himself by his many fine stops and excellent throws to first. On the whole, the fielding of the Atlantics was as good as has been seen on any field this season, while the Empires did poorly, and still worse at the bat.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 11, 1876

My assumption is that this victory over the Empires gave the Atlantics the championship (hence the headline). If this is true than the amateurs had changed their championship series from a best of five back to a best of three, as it had been in the 1860s.

A couple of more thoughts:

-The Atlantics were the first club other than the Empires and Unions to win the Missouri state amateur baseball championship. They were also the first club to wrest the championship from the Empires since the Unions in 1868. The Empires had held the championship for seven years and nine of the previous eleven years.

-Adam Wirth was the last of the old guard. Wirth had been a mainstay of the Empires' first nine for their entire championship run and it's a bit sad to see him playing on losing club. I've written elsewhere that I believe Wirth was the best St. Louis baseball player of his generation.

-It's impossible to say which Gleason we have here, Bill or Jack, because I have no record of either of them playing for the Stocks or the Empires. I'm inclined to say Bill because he worked (at some unknown point) for the St. Louis Fire Department and the Empires had deep ties to the StLFD. But I'd really like it to be Jack. Jack Gleason, in the course of his career, played for NL Brown Stockings, the AA Browns, the UA Maroons, the post-NA Reds, the NL Maroons, and Ted Sullivan's Dubuque club. It would be nice to add the Empire Club to that list.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Half-Way Point Of The Season

The Boston game on July 8, 1876 was the half-way point of the season for the Brown Stockings. I figure this is a good point to stop and take a look at the standings and some stats. So here you go:

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: Short And Sweet

The Brown Stockings beat the Bostons at Grand Avenue Park yesterday afternoon, by a score of 9 to 5. Not more than 500 spectators were present, and the game was by no means interesting.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 9, 1876

The Brown Stockings jumped out to a 6-0 lead and were up 9-4 after five. It looks like Pearce, Cuthbert and McGeary did most of the damage.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Brown Stockings Sign Tricky Nichols

Nichols, the New Haven pitcher, has signed a contract to play with the Browns next season.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 7, 1876

You have George Washington Bradley on your team and he's having a fantastic season. You know it's not a fluke because he had a nice year for you in 1875. He's twenty-three years old and you figure he has a nice future in front of him. So what are you doing signing Tricky Nichols? There are a few different possible answers to this question but I think I'm just going to leave it for now and revisit the question in a few days. Let's just note that the Brown Stockings signed Tricky Nichols early in July of 1876.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: An Unusually Exciting Contest

The St. Louis Brown Stockings were again defeated by the Bostons, at Grand Avenue Park, yesterday afternoon, the Red Legs, as on Tuesday, outplaying their adversaries at every point, both at the bat and in the field. Morrill played second for the champions, in place of Leonard, Andy having been suddenly called home by the illness of his child. For the Browns Pearce was substituted for Mack at short, and Pike played second in the early part of the game, but was subsequently relieved by McGeary. The attendance was slim, and Mr. Burtis acted as umpire. He had a number of very close points to decide, and acquitted himself to the satisfaction of all. The Bostons again lost the toss, but the lead which they assumed in the third inning they maintained to the end. Brown's batting, and the magnificent way in which he attended to everything at the home plate, and Murnan's first base play were the features of the game...It was an unusually exciting contest throughout.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 7, 1876

It was indeed a rather exciting game. Down 5-3 going into the eighth, the Brown Stockings got within one on Lip Pike's two out triple which drove in Cuthbert. Pike was stranded when Battin grounded out. In the ninth, Bradley singled with one out and then stole second. Dehlman reached on an error, putting the go-ahead run on. Pearce "drove a bounder to right short, which was well fielded by Morrill to Murnan, and, as Bradley endeavored to tie the game on the hit, he was splendidly doubled up by Murnan's throw to Brown, and the home nine was again defeated by one run." That's a 4-3-2 double play to end the game. Can't say that you see that too often.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: The Centennial

The most exciting game of ball ever played in this city was that between the Bostons and Brown Stocks at Grand Avenue Park yesterday afternoon, which was witnessed by at least 6,000 spectators, who shouted themselves hoarse. All the seats were densely packed, and the limits of the field were encircled by a live cordon of sweltering humanity. The red-legged champions were unlucky enough to lose the toss, and Mr. Wm. Medart, of St. Louis, was chosen to act as umpire. The champions presented Geo. Wright, Leonard, Manning, Shaefer and O'Rourkke, of their old team, Tim Murnan, formerly of the Philadelphias, and Brown, Whitney and Morrill, three promising young players who had never before been seen on a St. Louis ball ground. All three created a favorable impression, Brown especially, who is without doubt one of the most effective catchers in the country. The Bostons took the lead in the third inning and maintained it until the ninth, when the Browns were allowed tp get even with them, principally by a bad muff of O'Rourke's. The tenth and eleventh innings did not add to the score, but in the twelfth, Morrill, by the errors of Clapp and Pike, and O'Rourke's timely hit, tallied, and this proved to be the winning run. The home team was outbatted and outfielded at all points...George Wright was the bright particular star.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 5, 1876

That's an odd reference to the "Brown Stocks" and I'm not certain if it's intentional or just a misprint.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident

In June it is too hot to work, but almost any honest, earnest, devout American will sit a whole afternoon in the sun to see a base ball match.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 2, 1876

God bless America.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: Saved By The Rain

The Brown Stockings have good cause to thank Providence and the weather clerk for saving them from a disastrous defeat at the hands of the Mutuals yesterday afternoon. The game opened with the visitors at the bat, and by Holdsworth's single, Start's double, and a series of errors, they secured three runs before the third hand was out. In the third inning, by the fine batting of Star and Treacy, and bad errors by Clapp and Mack, they added two additional tallies to their side of the ledger. For the Browns, Dehlman got in an unearned run in the third inning, and the score remained 5 to 1 when the first half of the fifth inning had been played. Another half inning would doubtless have settled the Browns, as far as the game was concerned, but the rain came to their aid, and rendered further play impossible. The Mutes batted Bradley very freely, and fielded with an earnestness which they had not hitherto shown in this city. The veteran Start secured three safe hits and four totals off Bradley, and went to the bat but three times. It was an off day for the home team, both at the bat and in the field.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 2, 1876

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: Bad Dickey Covers Himself With Glory

The second game here between the Brown Stockings and Mutuals, yesterday afternoon, at the Grand Avenue Park, was witnessed by a small crowd, not over 800 persons being present. The slim attendance was no doubt due in a great degree to the weather, the sky being filled with dark, ominous-looking clouds, which threatened rain at every moment. McGeary was not able to play, not having recovered from the recent injury received to his hand, and Mack played second base, the veteran Pearce assuming his old position at short field, where, during the progress of the game, he covered himself with glory, and demonstrated his ability to still cover the post with honor, as he did in his palmiest days, years ago. The game was at first uninteresting, but the Browns got down to work and did some heavy batting before the close. They knocked poor Matthews' balls all over the field without difficulty, and aided by the miserable fielding of the Mutuals, scored eight runs and blanked the visiting club in the whole nine innings. Pearce and Battin did well at the stick, each securing three safe hits. Pearce batted free and hard, not attempting his fair fouls. The fielding of the Browns was very fair, the greatest feature, and one for which Pearce was enthusiastically cheered, was an exciting triple play, which was made in the sixth inning. Nichols was on third base, and Holdsworth on first. Start stepped up to bat, and drove a red hot liner to Pearce, who caught it, and quickly threw to first to head Holdsworth off, who had started for second. Dehlman caught the ball before Holdsworth could return to his base and then threw to Battin at third, thus cutting off Nichols, who had run in on the fly. The batting on the part of the Mutuals was very poor, Nichols and Hicks being the only men who batted safe, the former securing two and the latter one hit. In the field a number of glaring errors were committed, but Hallinan, with the exception of one ludicrous muff, Start, Nichols, Hicks and Booth did some fine playing.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 30, 1876

If you're scoring at home, the triple play went 6-3-5. Also, this was George Washington Bradley's eighth shutout of the year.

After getting swept by the Hartfords, the Brown Stockings rattled off seven wins in their next eight games, the only blemish being the 10-5 loss in Boston on June 15. And they picked up only one game in the standings. After going 7-1 in their last eight games (including six wins in a row), the Brown Stockings still found themselves five games back of Chicago. Between June 17 and July 24, the club would lose twice...and only pick up a half game on the White Stockings.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: A Very Tame Affair

About 1,500 people witnessed the game yesterday between the Mutuals and the Browns, at the Grand Avenue Park. About an hour before the game, the Howe Sewing-machine Band, of Peru, Indiana, which accompanies the delegation from that State, put in an appearance, they having volunteered their services for the occasion, and discoursed several popular and pleasing compositions. Music was had throughout the game, between every two innings, and this novel feature proved a source of delight to the patrons of the game. The day was a beautiful one for ball tossing, with a clear, cloudless sky overhead, and the grounds free from dust, and a gentle breeze sweeping over the field. Owing to the poor play of the visitors, the exhibition was a very tame affair. The New Yorkers were in sad trim, having arrived from Chicago behind time, and put up with crowded accommodations at their hotel. They were sadly in need of rest, and on the field had the appearance of worn-out, dejected men rather than hard, earnest workers for Centennial ball honors. The game was called at 4 o'clock, Mr. L.W. Burtis being chosen as umpire. His decisions were well rendered, and no discriminations were at any time shown. He gave general satisfaction to both clubs. The Browns won the toss, and sent the Mutuals to bat, and blanked them. The home nine scored one run this inning. In the second inning the Mutuals gained a tally and succeeded in blanking their opponents, but after that failed to secure a single run. By a streak of good batting the Browns scored three runs on the third inning, and then took zeros until the seventh inning, when they again scored. They made two more runs during the eighth inning, and went out with a whitewash in the ninth. The Browns played a fine fielding game and batted well, the only errors being charged to Clapp, Mack and "the old man."
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 28, 1876

As I've always said, you should never miss a chance to see the Howe Sewing-machine Band. They always put on a good show.

This appearance of the Howe Sewing-machine Band (of Peru, Indiana) got me thinking about the differences between the ballpark experience of 19th century fans and modern fans. We're all big St. Louis Blues fans in my family and, over the holidays, we were talking about our recent experiences at the arena, watching our hockey club. It's become this constant bombardment of audio and visual stimulation, to the point that it distracts from the game on the ice. I've grown to hate it with a passion. I love going to the hockey game but can't stand the music and the videos and the little contests and the stupid mascot and the non-stop instructions telling me to clap and cheer and yell. Just drop the puck and play hockey. The baseball experience in St. Louis is not quite as bad but it's getting there. Give me a little "When the Saints go marching in" and a "Let's go Blues" chant or a Budweiser jingle and "Let's go Cardinals" and I'm good. I don't need the fluff and filler. Just give me the Howe Sewing-machine Band between innings and that will do fine. I'm there to watch the game. I think I'm getting old.

And speaking of old, that's a nice reference to Bad Dickey Pearce as "the old man."

Friday, January 8, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: The Charmer's Chagrin

Greater attractions at Forest Park and elsewhere caused the crowd at Grand Avenue Park, to witness the third game of the week between the Athletic and St. Louis clubs, to dwindle down to about 1,500 spectators. The Browns won the toss, and Mr. Burtis again occupied the umpire's position, where he gave universal satisfaction. The Athletics led off in splendid style, securing two earned runs on four elegant base hits, and, although McGeary was disabled and had to retire from the game in the second inning, they failed to maintain their advantage, losing the lead in the seventh inning, when Blong and Bradley led off with three-bag hits, much to "the charmer's" chagrin. The catchers of both nines were badly crippled, and, had it not been for the pretty display of batting, the game would have been a very tedious one.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 25, 1876

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thomas McNeary, The Brown Stockings, Eastern Trips And Bad Dickey

It is expected that the new grounds, negotiations for which are proceeding, will be inaugurated with a game with the Chicago Club, after which the St. Louis Club will set out on its first Eastern tour. The new grounds will, it is said, be very near the city (a desideratum the present grounds lack), and very ample both for the players and spectators.
-Chicago Tribune, November 22, 1874

I've been looking at the organization of the Brown Stockings in 1874 and thought this note from the Trib was particularly relevant.

Thomas McNeary was involved in the original meetings organizing the club and had gone so far as to purchase some of the club's stock. However, by the beginning of 1875, he was making plans to place the Red Stockings in the National Association in competition with the Brown Stockings. I had speculated that his plans changed once the Brown Stockings decided to play their home games at the Grand Avenue Grounds rather than McNeary's Compton Avenue Grounds.

The above article shows that the Brown Stockings did not originally intend to play their home games at the Grand Avenue Grounds and were looking for grounds closer to the population center of the city. While I can't say for certain that they were looking at playing at the Compton Avenue Grounds (even though I think it was a bit closer to the center of the city), I do think this lends a bit of evidence to the idea that McNeary got involved with the club in the hope of getting them to play at his baseball grounds.

Also of interest is the notion that the Brown Stockings had originally planned on making an early trip East in 1875. If I'm remembering correctly (and not confusing 1875 with 1876), the Globe was disappointed that the club did not play the Eastern clubs early on and instead opened the season against the weaker Western clubs. These original plans to go East in May helps explain the Globe's sense of disappointment.

Apropos of nothing, about eight times today I came across Dickey Pearce being referred to in 1874 as "Bad Dickey." I know there's been some discussion here and elsewhere about 19th century nicknames and how much they were used at the time and I thought I'd just pass it along. Even Harry Wright referred to Pearce as Bad Dickey in a letter. It is, by the way, a great nickname and reminiscent of Bad Henry Aaron. Oddly enough, B-Ref doesn't have it listed as Pearce's nickname.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: The New Catcher

This afternoon the Brown Stockings play the St. Louis University Nine, and the friends of the professionals will have a chance to see their new catcher, McGinley, at work as he is to play behind the bat. To-morrow the third game with the Athletics takes place.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 23, 1876

Changes in the Boston Nine.

...McGinley has been released, and has been engaged as change catcher for St. Louis.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 26, 1876

This is the first mention I've found of a new catcher to replace Tom Miller. Although there is no record of him playing in a League game for the Brown Stockings, McGinley is obviously Ted McGinley, who played in nine games for Boston in 1876. Doing a quick search, it appears that McGinley did play in several exhibition games for the Brown Stockings, giving John Clapp and his sore hands a needed rest.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: That St. Louis Goose

Twelve hundred spectators witnessed the reappearance of that St. Louis goose at Grand Avenue Park yesterday afternoon. The Athletics were made painfully aware of the presence of the bird of ill-omen at the termination of the fifth game of their series with the St. Louis club. The Athletics again won the toss, Fergy Malone taking Ritterson's place behind the bat, when the Browns went to the field. For the home nine Pike played second, Mack short, Blong right, Clapp center, and McGeary caught. The brilliant playing was all done by the home team, the visitors not coming up to the expectations either at the bat or in the field. The features of the contest were the short fielding of Mack, Battin's third base play, Pike's display at second and Bradley's pitching. Mack captured a hard-hit liner with one hand, for which he was applauded. Mack, Pike and McGeary accomplished a magnificent double play, which was eclipsed by Battin, Pike and Dehlman later in the game. Sutton and Meyerle played without an error. Fisler, Hall and Malone were the only Blue legs who could do anything with the stick, while all of the Browns, except Blong, got in a safe hit. The visitors were outplayed at every point, but want of space prevents further comment.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 23, 1876

Please note the appearance of Mr. L.W. Burtis as umpire. This is, I believe, the first Brown Stockings' game that Burtis ever umpired.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Comiskey The Manager

I was cleaning out my bookmarks the other day and found a link to The Hardball Times. It's an excerpt from Chris Jaffe's book Evaluating Baseball's Managers about Charles Comiskey. There's some interesting stuff about how Comiskey used his pitchers and the importance he placed on defense. However, I would disagree that the pitching/defense strategy of run prevention developed in St. Louis in the 1880s. As we've seen, the Brown Stockings were using the strategy in 1876 and the idea probably goes back to Jim Creighton. Although the role of the pitcher was still developing in the 1880s, I don't see Comiskey's use of a pitching/defense strategy as anything new but Jaffe does provide a unique perspective that's worth reading.

Jaffe also did a presentation on Comiskey the manager and I'm passing along the audio. It's good stuff. And while I'm passing along links, Ed Achorn has a new website. Lots of stuff about Hoss Radbourn and Ed's new book, Fifty-nine in '84.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: Home Sweet Home

The Eastern clubs put in an appearance on Western fields yesterday. At Grand Avenue Park 3,000 spectators assembled to witness the contest between the Athletics, of Philadelphia, and the St. Louis Brown Stockings. Mr. William Medart was chosen Umpire, and his errors in judgment were numerous. The Browns, who lost the toss, played Pearce at short, Mack at second, and McGeary behind the bat, Clapp's hands being still very sore. Rittenhouse caught for the Athletics, Malone also being used up. Glaring errors in the first inning gave the home team two runs and the visitors two. One of the three runs scored by the Browns was earned. An almost faultless game was then played by both sides until its close. The best fielding was done by Zettlein, Dehlman, Force, Pearce, Mack and Meyerle. The batting was weak, Hall, the noted hard hitter, getting in one of his long drives in the ninth inning. All the other safe hits were singles.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 21, 1876

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: The Third Boston Game

The third game between the Boston and St. Louis clubs drew together a larger crowd than has yet greeted the visitors on their trip. The changes in the different nines can be noted [in the box score], a detailed description being impossible on account of our early departure home. It is sufficient to say that the playing on both sides was wretched...
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 18, 1876

It's tough to call this a successful road trip for the Brown Stockings. Yes, they went 8-4 over the trip but they also lost three games in the standings. Their pennant chances essentially died on the trip. Plus, you had the McGeary drama and the death of Miller. One has to assume they were all glad to get back home.

Friday, January 1, 2010