Sunday, February 14, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: The Thirteenth Shutout

The downy flutter of St. Louis' festive goose was heard in Cincinnati this afternoon. It is the first time a professional Cincinnati club has ever been Chicagoed at home, and Mr. Bradley can stick another feather in his cap from the tail of his goose. Not more than 200 people were present. This falling off from Tuesday's game promises now, on account of bad management, to become greater yet. The home club only made two safe hits, one by Clack in the third inning, and one by Dean in the ninth, Sweasy and Booth got bases on called balls, and Clack, Snyder and Booth on errors of Battin, Pearce and Blong. Neither, however, got further than third base.

Dean commenced pitching by turning his back to the home plate, and facing right about to deliver the ball, as in Chicago. The Browns rather liked it. Pike led off for a base to center. Clapp, McGeary and Battin followed with scientific hits to right, on which Pike came in-an earned run-and left the bases full. Then Cuthbert's hard hit was beautifully stopped by Foley, who stepped on his base, threw home, and forced out Clapp and McGeary in a double play. Blong's base hit to center brought Battin home on the second earned run. Pearce out on a fine catch of a low fly by Pearson.

In the second inning the Browns made three more runs on base hits by Bradley, Pike, Battin and Cuthbert, assisted by errors of Booth, Dean and Kessler, and Battin was caught at home trying to run in from second on Cuthbert's safe hit. They scored one in the sixth by base hits of Pearce, Clapp and Pike, and errors of Foley and Snyder. In the next inning they made six more by base hits of Battin, Pearce and Bradley, and two errors by Snyder and one by Sweasy.

After the visitors had knocked nine safe hits out of Dean's back-sided delivery, he faced about, and through the rest of the game threw square from the shoulder. The Browns said they only tolerated it because they have such a soft thing. Unless the Reds get a pitcher they will go to pieces. The crowd to-day hooted Dean and filled the air with quacking in the ninth inning. The features of the Browns' playing were Bradley's pitching and Clapp's catching, McGeary's second base play and Dehlman at first. Bradley and Clapp never worked harder and better together. Of the Reds, Foley and Sweasy carried off the honors. In spite of his two errors, which were excusable, Foley played magnificently.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 4, 1876

This was Bradley's thirteenth shutout of the year. Only four pitchers in the history of baseball have thrown 13 or more shutouts in a season: George Bradley, Pete Alexander, Jack Coombs and Bob Gibson.

I was intrigued by the description of Dory Dean's delivery for some reason. It immediately made me think of Luis Tiant. Interestingly, the first two pitchers Peter Morris mentioned when talking about deceptive pitching deliveries in A Game of Inches were El Tiante and Dean:

Speaking of Luis Tiant, by the late 1870s, a few pitchers were experimenting with deliveries in which they turned their backs to the batter. In an 1876 game, Cincinnati pitcher Dory Dean "brought out a new delivery, which consisted in facing second base with the ball in hand, and then turning quickly, letting it come in the general direction of the stand, without any idea where it really was going to land" (Chicago Tribune, July 28, 1876). The Chicago Tribune characterized this as a "foolish boy's trick," and the White Stockings might have questioned its legality if they hadn't been too busy running around the bases in a 17-3 win.

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