Friday, March 5, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: Capturing The Chicago Giants

Four thousand delighted spectators shouted themselves hoarse at Grand Avenue Park yesterday afternoon, over the splendid display made by the Brown Stockings in the fifth game of their series with the big team from the Garden City. The Chicagos were out in full force, and their looks denoted that they were perfectly confident of winning. The game started promptly at 4 o'clock, with the Whites at the bat, and a young gentleman named Walker, from Cincinnati, in the umpire's position. He was not a success, giving great dissatisfaction in the third inning by deciding Glenn not out at second, where he had been touched by McGeary in attempting to steal. He also erred in the previous inning in giving Bielaskie out at first, and his calling of balls and strikes was erroneous in the extreme. The crowd was very indignant at the decision in Glenn's case, but as the home team more than got even in the same inning, it put the spectators in a good humor again.

Six of the nine runs scored during the game were made in the third inning, Chicago getting her two on errors by Bradley and Clapp and base hits by Peters and McVey. In this inning, after Bradley had earned first, a dropped ball by McVey, a juggle by Spalding, a square muff of Clapp's fly by Rielaskie, and a wild throw by the same player, led to the St. Louisans getting in the four runs which gave them a commanding lead, and their magnificent play in the field thereafter showed that they meant to keep it. A safe hit by Spalding and a three-bagger by Barnes, in the ninth inning, gave Chicago her third and last run. In the fourth inning a two-base hit by Bradley and another muff and wild throw by Bielaskie gave Brad. his second run; and in the sixth inning the Browns earned a run on a safe hit by Pearce and Bradley's terrific drive to extreme left field for three bags. This ended the run getting.

Spalding proved more effective than Bradley, and the Chicagos outbatted their opponents at the ratio of almost tow to one, but were in turn out-fielded, and fine fielding won the game for St. Louis, as it has on innumerable occasions. A man was unjustly sent to first on three balls, which gave Bradley an error and Clapp is charged with four-two passed balls, a wild throw, and a missed foul bound. Every other man on the nine fielded to perfection. The work done by Dehlman, Battin, McGeary and Pearce was superb, the former especially making some wonderful stops. Every ball sent to the Brown Stocking outfield was captured, neither Cuthbert, Pike nor Blong committing an error. Bielaskie, Spalding and McVey played wretchedly, on the part of the White Legs, the former doing most of the bad work.

McVey dropped two beautifully thrown balls, and Spalding made a very costly error at a critical stage of the game, when the bases were full. Peters made a bad overthrow, which, however, cost nothing, and that player subsequently redeemed himself by several bits of brilliant play. Barnes, White, Hines and Glenn acquitted themselves splendidly in the field, Jim catching throughout without an error. One-handed catches by Barnes, White and Pearce elicited great applause. The batting was fair on both sides, Bradley and Barnes especially doing great work with the stick, the former, however leading with three singles and six totals, to three and five totals by his famous rival. McVey and Hines also got two hits each. The game was without the shadow of a doubt won on its merits, the home nine after getting the lead, doing the most effective work seen here this season, and never giving their opponents a chance to make good their lost ground. The Browns have demonstrated that they can play a much stronger game at home than abroad, and it would not be at all surprising to see them again capture the Chicago giants in the sixth game of the series, which will be played to-morrow.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 16, 1876

Between August 15 and August 26, St. Louis and Chicago played six games against each other, three in St. Louis and three in Chicago. Going into the series, St. Louis was eight games behind Chicago and this was their last chance to make a race of it. Besides the first National League championship, the season series was also at stake, the two clubs having split their previous four games.

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