Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: The Twelfth Shutout

The Brown Stockings turned the tables on their base ball rivals from Louisville at Grand Avenue Park yesterday afternoon in a very decided manner, beating them by the one-sided score of seven to nothing. Snyder's hand gave out in the second inning, and as this magnificent catcher was forced to exchange places with Hastings, it seemed to take all the vim out of his comrades, who not only played a very loose game in the field, but could do nothing with the stick, Fulmer being the only man credited with a base hit, and that a very lucky and questionable one. The Browns, on the other hand, each batted freely, Clapp and Mack each leading with two beauties. Especially did they wield the willow with effect in the eighth inning, when after three chances for outs had been declared by their opponents, Clapp, McGeary, Battin and Mack followed each other in rapid succession with stinging and safe hits. Not a single run was earned during the game, however. The Browns' play in the field was also very fine, the only errors charged being a dropped foul fly by Mack, a dropped foul bound by Clapp, a muffed throw by Dehlman and a base given on called balls by Bradley. For Louisville, Gerhardt, Hague and Chapman did some beautiful work in the field, the former especially distinguishing himself in the first inning by catching Pike and Clapp at third on the right field bounders sent him by the latter and McGeary-a play never before attempted on a St. Louis ball field. Cuthbert being ill, and Allison, who was lame, did not participate in the game...
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 30, 1876

Only six pitchers in the history of baseball have thrown twelve or more shutouts in a season: George Washington Bradley, Pete Alexander (twice in back-to-back years), Jack Coombs, Bob Gibson, Pud Galvin and Ed Morris. Gibson, in 1968, is the only pitcher to do it since 1916. I'm not sure how to properly rate Bradley's 1876 season but I'm giving it some thought and I'll probably write something up when we get to the 16th shutout. I do know one thing: it was a heck of a good year.

Interesting thing about Gerhardt throwing out two runners at third. I'm not certain what they mean. Was a first baseman throwing out runners at third unique? It's a tough play and you don't see it all that often but it's not that big of a deal. Maybe it was the fact that he did it twice in an inning. Also, was Gerhardt playing way off the base in shallow right field? First, why? And second, that would make for a long throw to third. I'm really not sure what to make of all this. Maybe they meant that Chapman threw out two guys trying to go to third.

Also note that the umpire was "Eddie Haley, the song and dance artist." Sadly, this is not the Ed Haley who wrote "While Strolling Through The Park One Day."


Anonymous said...
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Cliff Blau said...

No, by right field they just mean the right side of second base. I do believe that we should take it literally that a first or second baseman had never thrown out a runner at third before. It was rare 30 years later to see a first baseman get a force out at second.