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.

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