Saturday, March 20, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: Regarded As Wonderful

The Whites struck a golden streak of luck to-day, and experienced whatever satisfaction there was in winning the last game with the Browns after losing the series. The Chicagos seemed perfectly oblivious of Bradley, and batted magnificently. The fielding did no great credit to either side, and the victory of the Whites was solely due to the extraordinary batting fever which had suddenly attacked them. Bradley has always been a stumbling block to the Whites, and, considering that they confronted this almost invincible pitcher, this batting display to-day is here regarded as wonderful.

They pounded to pieces the pitching of the man whom in half a dozen games they had not been able to hit for a single run. Out of thirty-one who reached first base but five were left on bases. The Browns were far behind their record in batting and the falling off from their brilliant display of the previous day was very marked. As a display of fielding, the game was not a success on either side. The Whites has an opportunity to return to the visitors one of the coats of whitewash to which the Browns have so liberally treated them this summer, but they failed to improve it.

The Chicago sporting fraternity is jubilant over the victory. It has gone a little ways toward healing the sores that made them groan so bitterly and curse with such vigor last evening.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 27, 1876

This was, any way you measure it, the Brown Stockings' worst defeat of the year. The twenty-three runs were the most they gave up in a game and the margin of defeat was the largest they suffered all season. But what the heck. They already had the Championship of the West in their pocket.

The worst thing about the defeat was that it meant that they lost two of three in Chicago when they really couldn't afford to do so. After their victory in the second game, the Brown Stockings had climbed within five games of the Chicagos and a victory in the third game would have got them within four with twelve to play. Instead, with the defeat, they found themselves six games out. And they would finish six games out. This game didn't cost them the pennant (and I'll post them thoughts on what did after we finish going through the season) but there is a big difference between being four out with twelve to play and being six out with twelve to play.

But in all reality, nobody was going to beat out Chicago in 1876 (and I'm pretty sure I've said this before). On June 17, the Browns were 14-10 and six games out. They then went on to win twenty-two of their next twenty-nine and still found themselves six games out. That's ridiculous.

No comments: