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.


David Ball said...

Has Denny Mack now lost the job at shortstop?

Jeffrey Kittel said...

Mack didn't lose the job completely but Pearce certainly got more playing time in the second half of the season. Mack played in 30 of the first 32 games but only 18 of the last 32. Pearce played in only 9 of the first 32 but in 16 of the last 32. Mack didn't hit at all in the first half of the season, having only 19 hits. He was the worst hitter on the club in the first half. Pearce had ten in his nine games; not exactly Ruthian but better than Mack. As Pearce played more in the second half, his hitting suffered (which is a nice way of saying he didn't hit worth a darn).

It's interesting because it adds to the instability and chaos that is surrounding the club in mid July. Without getting to much into it (because I'm saving it for a post over the weekend), it's amazing that a club that is playing so well has so many problems. They're the second best club in the League and, one would assume, the nation but there is serious dissention in the ranks, their best player just signed elsewhere, they have a problem at short, their captain was accused of throwing a game, etc. It's like the Bronx Zoo of the 1970s.