Thursday, March 18, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: The Champions Of The West

The Browns to-day fully retrieved their defeat of last Tuesday. The game resulted in favor of St. Louis, and by giving them six games out of nine games played with the White Stockings, made them the winners of the series. The Browns have won the championship of the West, and even if the Whites take the national championship, the glory of the achievement will be woefully dimmed by the fact that they lost the series with the rivals whom they most keenly ached to whip. The grounds were in good condition and the audience was large.

The numerous fine plays made by the visitors were loudly applauded, and if the audience was chagrined when the Browns took the lead and plainly held victory in their hands, it swallowed its disappointment in silence. The game was interesting, because the result was very uncertain until revealed by the last inning. The Whites took a strong lead in the first inning, but were overtaken in the fourth, and from that point victory trembled in the balance. The closeness of the contest, and the fact that the game was likely to be the decisive game of the series, made the excitement intense.

The score will show that it was not a brilliant fielding game, but no game this season has shown more brilliant plays than occasionally occurred in this. Mack played short for the Browns instead of Dick Pearce, and filled the position admirably. There was a good deal of sharp and perfect in-fielding on both sides. Clapp played with much greater vim and nerve than in the preceding game. He beautifully nipped several of the Whites in their attempt to steal second. Every member of the nine showed that the nervousness of last Tuesday, induced by the shameful treatment of the crowd, had wholly disappeared, and all played with great zest and spirit.

The batting display was fine, particularly on the part of the St. Louis nine. When Pike opened the game with a splendid three-base hit to left field, the crowd had a premonition that the Browns had made up their minds to give Spalding a drubbing, and subsequent events proved the correctness of the surmise. The truth is, he was pounded all over the field in a beautiful and thorough manner. Long hits were the rule, and two and three bases were frequent.

The Chicago outfielders made numerous excursions to the fence for the swift flying spheroid which had shot over their heads high in air. Pike hit for a total of six bases, Clapp for four, and Mack surprised himself and his admirers by hitting for four bases. The ball was lively, such a one as the Whites always furnish. The batting of the Whites was good, but they were fairly outbatted by their opponents. Barnes and Andrus contributed handsomely in the eighth inning to the defeat of their nine. Barnes' muff of Pike's grounder, which allowed Mack to travel from first to third base, and a serious muff of Clapp's fly, were fatal errors.

A brilliant double play was made in the sixth inning by Barnes, Peters and McVey. A marked feature of the game was a magnificent stop by Mack, in the eighth. Anson sent a hard bounder between short and second base. The ball seemed destined for the outfield but Mack, quick as lightning, turned, ran with the ball, and caught it as it was bounding past him. He gathered himself quickly and threw it to first in time to bring Anson to grief. It was a critical point of the game, when neither side could afford to lose a chance.

Joe Blong distinguished himself by a very brilliant catch of a foul fly from Andrus, in the ninth inning. The ball was reached after a long run into the west side seats. Right after he caught a fine fly from Barnes, and threw so magnificently to first that he nabbed Glenn, who was trying to get back to first, thus ending the inning and the game with a neat double play.

The Browns had covered themselves with honor, and the Whites retired to their dressing-room a badly whipped crowd, who were more deeply stung by the reflection that they had lost a prestige they couldn't win back this season, than by the defeat they had suffered. A lot of poor fools who were willing to stake their last nickle on the Whites were badly sold. The odds offered on the Whites in some of the pool rooms were as high as 5 to 1.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 26, 1875

And out comes the roster to celebrate the mythical Championship of the West.

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