Friday, April 30, 2010

The Elephant In The Room

I don't have much evidence for what I'm about to say but that won't stop me.

As I stated yesterday, an argument can be made that the Brown Stockings lost the championship in 1876 because of relatively poor play against losing clubs. Specifically, their opening road trip of the season, to Cincinnati and Louisville, resulted in three loses that they could never make up in the standings. Throw in their loss to New York in the McGeary Game in May and that's four. Chicago was able to withstand losing the season series to St. Louis because they only had four losses against losing clubs, compared to seven by St. Louis. The Brown Stockings lost the championship because they lost games that they should have won.

When the 1875-1877 Brown Stockings lost games that they should have won, a few things come to mind. Crookedness. Gambling. Laying down. Thrown games. Mike McGeary. Joe Blong. Joe Battin. Accusation after accusation after accusation.

Do I have any evidence that the games in Cincinnati and Louisville were fixed? No. But given the culture of corruption that surrounded the Browns, I believe that it's possible and likely that those games were fixed by members of the Brown Stockings, co-ordinating with gambling elements in St. Louis, Cincinnati and Louisville. We have a great deal of evidence that the New York game was fixed and there were accusations that the three losses in Hartford in June were fixed as well.

Just focusing on the McGeary Game, does anyone believe that that game was a isolated incident? Does anyone believe, given accusations in 1875 and 1877, that Mike McGeary, acting alone, fixed a game on just that one occasion? Does anyone believe that there were no other games fixed in 1876?

Why wouldn't the Brown Stockings have thrown games in Cincinnati and Louisville at the beginning of the season? They were on the road, so they weren't doing it in front of the home crowd and driving down ticket sales at the Grand Avenue Grounds. These were games they were supposed to win, so the potential for a nice payday was increased. And nobody knew that Chicago was going to have a season for the ages. Nobody realized how significant those early season games were going to be. I'm sure that the guys doing the fixing figured they could throw a few early season road games, make some money and still win the championship.

Who or what was to stop them from throwing these games? The League? Brown Stocking management? The disapprobation of their peers? Nothing had stopped them before and nothing would stop until the end of the 1877 season.

As I said at the beginning of this post, I don't have much evidence to support the accusation that the Brown Stockings were throwing games at the beginning of the season. However, it fits a pattern and there is almost nothing with this club that you can discuss without taking into account the culture of corruption that surrounded them. It's the elephant in the room.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Finally Getting Around To Making A Point

There's a point I've been wanting to make about the 1876 Brown Stockings for awhile and I figure now is as good a time as any.

The Browns finished 45-19, six games back of Chicago, and never really made a race of it. After getting swept by Hartford in early June, they found themselves six games back and the race for the championship was over. But I think it's interesting how they found themselves out of the race so early.

If you break down their record, the Browns were 18-12 against clubs with winning records and 27-7 against clubs under .500. Chicago was 19-11 against clubs with winning records but a fantastic 33-3 against losing clubs. Chicago won the championship by beating up on the League's weak sisters.

I don't mean to imply that Chicago's championship is illegitimate. Good teams take care of business against bad teams. That's the way it is. However, almost all of Chicago's margin of victory in the championship race comes from the difference between their and St. Louis' record against losing clubs.

If you look at the schedule and at the games on a day-by-day basis, you can point out exactly how the Browns lost the championship:

-April 25 @ Cincinnati: 2-1, L

-April 27 @ Cincinnati: 5-2, L

-May 3 @ Louisville: 11-0, L

The opening road trip of the season was a disaster for the Brown Stockings. They lost three of four and quickly found themselves three games out of first. I think you can make the argument that the Browns lost the championship in the first week of the season by getting off to a poor start.

-May 8 vs. Chicago: 3-2, L

-May 20 @ Chicago: 6-3, L

The Browns split their first home and home against Chicago and again found themselves three games out of first. They really needed a sweep of the four games to make up for their horrible start.

-May 27 @ New York: 6-2, L

The McGeary Game.

With each of those six loses, the Browns lost ground in the standings. If they had won those games, they would have finished tied for first and claimed the championship based on having a winning record against Chicago. Four of those games were against losing clubs and one could say that they should have won them (throwing out the whole glorious uncertainty of baseball thing).

My point that I wanted to make is that regardless of how well the Browns played after the sweep in Hartford (and they went 33-10 from that point on), they lost the championship in the first month of the season. The main reason they never challenged for the championship in 1876 is because of their poor play against the weak sisters of the League in the first month of the season.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Virutally Champions By Their Play

The sporting reporter of the Chicago Tribune though extremely zealous in the cause, has found it rather a difficult task to demonstrate the superiority of the Consolidated Chicago-Boston nine over the St. Louis Brown Stockings. One fact is conspicuous by its absence in that gentleman's summing up of the season's play. It is this: When the League Managers met before the season opened the question of the championship was thoroughly discussed. Mr. Hurlbut [sic], of Chicago, did all in his power to have the title awarded to the club which should win the greatest number of series from the various organization during the season. Though aided in this endeavor by Harry Wright, it was not deemed advisable to change the rules in relation to the championship. Had Mr. Hurlbut [sic] succeeded in carrying through his pet scheme, the St. Louis Browns would today be hailed as champions of the United States. The club has a magnificent record for the season which is virtually at an end. They have played 64 League games in all, winning 45 and losing 19. They tallied 388 runs to their opponents' 223, or an average of 6.4 to 3.31, the last being the smallest average of runs ever made against a club in a season. The Browns have won a series of games from every other club contesting for the championship, a feat accomplished only once before-namely, by the Bostons in 1875. The St. Louis men retired their opponents without allowing them a single tally seventeen times during the season, a feat unparalleled in base ball annals. They "whitewashed" the Hartfords in three consecutive contests, something never dreamed of or heard of in the history of the game. It might be remarked here that these three games were the only ones in which Hartford was calcimined during this year. The St. Louis Club was "Chicagoed" only twice, a less number of times than any other League organization-once by Hartford in a six inning game, interrupted by rain, and again by Louisville...

Taking the fact into consideration that the St. Louis Brown Stockings have won a majority of their games with every club in the arena, including the Chicagos, whom they also defeated in four out of five exhibition games, they are virtually champions by their play, although not so in name, owing to the foolish rules governing the title. This will be conceded by all fair-minded lovers of the game...
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 18, 1876

Putting aside the argument that the Brown Stockings were "virtually champions" and would have been actual champions if the rules had been different, this article, if the facts are correct, spells out a fine argument for regarding the 1876 Brown Stockings as a historically great baseball club.

-They had "the smallest average of runs ever made against a club in a season." I'm not sure if that's true and I don't feel like fact checking it but if it is accurate then it's a significant feather in their cap.

-They won every series against their League opponents, "a feat accomplished only once before..." Certainly other clubs during the pioneer era won all the series that they played during the season and the Globe may only be talking about the NA/NL era. It would be interesting to know how many other clubs accomplished this in the history of the League. Regardless, I think this is a significant accomplishment.

-Seventeen shutouts. Well, it's actually sixteen plus the forfeit on August 21 but who's counting. Also, they held their opponents to one run six times. So in 24 games, the Brown Stockings gave up one run or less. It should probably go without saying but the sixteen shutouts established a League record.

-The Brown Stockings were shutout only once in a game that went the full nine innings.

What the Globe doesn't talk about in this article is the hitting record of the Brown Stockings. The club scored 6.0 runs a game in a league that averaged 5.9 runs a game. They were basically a league average hitting club. Their 6 runs a game pale in comparison to Chicago's 9.5 runs a game. With Chicago giving up only 3.9 runs a game, there is no argument to be made, under any circumstances, that St. Louis was a better club than the Chicagos. If the 1876 National League decided their championship like modern college football and the champion was decided by a vote, I think Chicago would win handily but the Brown Stockings would finish second with a first place vote or two.

I know that there has been a lot of talk in certain circles about the quality of the play in the League in 1876 and whether or not it should really be considered a major league (whatever "major league" actually means) but I think that's ridiculous. The 1876 Chicagos and Brown Stockings were both great baseball clubs and were loaded with talent. The Hartfords were every bit as good. Boston and Louisville were both decent clubs. So you had an eight team league with five good teams, three weak sisters and the biggest stars in the game. The only league quality issue that I think is legitimate is the one that takes into account the evolutionary improvements in game play over time.

Taking all of this into account, I would argue that the 1876 Brown Stockings were an outstanding baseball club and a historically great defensive club.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bradley's Gratitude

The following communication from Mr. G.W. Bradley, pitcher of the St. Louis Brown Stockings, will be read with interest:

To the Editor of the Globe-Democrat:

St. Louis, October 17, 1876.-Dear Sir: In leaving St. Louis I think it due to myself to make a few remarks in explanation of contracting in Chicago. when I did so, I had a private misunderstanding with some of the officers of the St. Louis Club, this being the prime cause of my signing in Chicago.

I desire to say that my relations in St. Louis have been of the most pleasant character, and to the hosts of warm friends I have acquired I desire to leave the most sincere expression of gratitude for the kind appreciation of my poor services. I shall always remember St. Louis with the liveliest feelings of respect, and can never readily forget the generous treatment I have received in this city, where my professional reputation has to a great extent been made.

Yours, etc., G.W. Bradley.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 18, 1876

I'm not sure I'm buying Bradley's explanation about his signing with Chicago but it's a nice letter and says something about his character.

Monday, April 26, 2010

An Argument Among Losers

Every one who takes an interest in the national game will be pleased to learn that the little job put up by the Mutuals and Hartfords, to beat the St. Louis Brown Stockings out of their proper place in the race for the championship, is not likely to succeed. In an interview with Mr. Fowle, Secretary of the St. Louis club, last night, that gentlemen stated that the Browns intended to claim forfeit from the Athletics and Mutuals in each of the unplayed games of their series. It will be seen by the following extracts from the League's Constitution, that the claim is a perfectly valid one.

Art. 12, Sec. 2. Each club shall be entitled to have five of its games with every other club played on its own grounds; and when a club shall have first played one or more games, pursuant to agreement, upon its adversary's grounds it may require its adversary to play an equal number upon its own ground in return within a reasonable time (not to exceed two months), under penalty of forfeiture of the number of games due: Provided, however, That if any game arranged according to the requirements of this rule be prevented by rain, or if a tie or drawn game be played, the visiting club shall not be required to extend its stay, or to again visit such city for the sole purpose of playing off such tie or drawn game, or game prevented by rain.

Sec. 3. Clubs shall be entitled to forfeited games-to count in their series as games won by a score of nine runs to none-from other clubs, in the following instances, namely:

Any club which has agreed to play with another club upon a day certain, and fails to meet its engagement, shall forfeit the game to the latter club, unless the failure is caused by an unavoidable accident in traveling, or the game is prevented by rain; provided, however, that games shall be postponed upon the death of a player belonging to either of the contesting League clubs, as the request of either club.

It is true that section one of the same article states that each club entering the lists shall play ten games with every other club so entering; and if any club shall of its own fault fail to finish its series with every other club, its games shall not be counted at the close of the season, and such club shall not be eligible to enter the championship lists the ensuing season.

The words in italics, Mr. Fowle claims, crept into the constitution by mistake, but even then they have no bearing on the case in point, as the second section expressly stipulates that any club which fails to fulfill its engagements shall forfeit the number of games due.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 15, 1876

The situation is this: Hartford and St. Louis both finished six games back of Chicago. St. Louis had the better winning percentage but Hartford was awarded second place due to the fact that they had two more wins than the Brown Stockings. St. Louis was not pleased, especially considering that the Brown Stockings won the season series against Hartford and that if St. Louis had gotten to play a full schedule, they most likely would have finished with more wins than Hartford.

It's a bit of a mess but Brown Stockings' management believed that they had the League constitution on their side and that St. Louis had rightfully won second place. However, I can't claim that I can work up much enthusiasm regarding a fight over second place. Maybe if there was money at stake...

Anyway, I'm just noting that this was an issue and moving on with my life.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Glory Enough For One Season

Chicago made a desperate effort to win enough exhibition games to make a "stand-off" with St. Louis in the item of victories, but has failed ignominiously. The Browns won six out of ten championship contests and four out of five exhibition games from the Whites, which is glory enough for one season and an indication of the manner in which the Chicago team will be cleaned out in '77 by both St. Louis and Boston.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 15, 1876

I've posted box scores from two of the exhibition games but the others didn't show up in my search. I could run them down but I don't really see the need. It's enough to note that the Brown Stockings won the post-season exhibition series against Chicago, four games to one.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: Another Victory Over Chicago

The St. Louis Club tallied [a] victory over the Chicago boys to-day, by a score of 3 to 2. The batting, in the teeth of a fierce southwest wind, was necessarily weak. Most of the fielding work was done around the bases, and it was well done by both clubs. It was one of the shortest and sharpest fielding games ever seen in [Chicago.] St. Louis has won eight out of the thirteen games thus far played between these two clubs.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 10, 1876

Friday, April 23, 2010

Wanted: A Pitcher

The Brown Stocking Directors, though working like beavers to secure a team which will bring the championship here next season, are not inclined to be communicative on the subject. It is known that Clapp, Dehlman, McGeary, Battin and Blong will occupy their present positions next season; that Remsen will succeed Pike at center, and that Force will attend to short. The Chicago Times intimates that Cuthbert is wanted in that city. Admirers of the Browns would doubtless hate to see Cuthy go as an outfield composed of Cuthbert, Remsen and Blong could not possibly be improved on. The momentous question seems to be who will succeed Bradley, and the question is supplemented by the conundrum, can Nichols fill the bill? Should the New Haven man not come up to anticipations, would it not be well for the St. Louis Club to engage a home player who has puzzled the Browns themselves more than any man in the country, and practice him during the winter? This is merely a suggestion.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 7, 1876

I would imagine that the local pitcher in question was Pud Galvin.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: A Tradition Continues

The fact that the St. Louis and Chicago Base Ball Clubs were announced to meet each other in an exhibition game at Grand Avenue Park yesterday afternoon proved a sufficient attraction to draw 3,500 spectators from the city and the Fair Grounds. At 2:15 Barnes was sent to the bat, Chicago having lost the toss. He was beautifully thrown out at first by McGeary. Anson flew out to McGeary, and McVey fouled out. St. Louis was also goosed, Pike flying out to Hines, Peters making a beautiful catch of Clapp's fly, and also throwing McGeary out at first.

In The Second Inning,

after Peters had retired on a foul fly to Battin, White got in a beauty past short, but was left, Hines and Spalding furnishing Pike and Cuthbert with flies. The Browns fared no better, Battin flying out to Addy, Spalding throwing Cuthbert out at first and Blong retiring on a foul bound to Glenn.

The third inning commenced by Mack throwing Glenn out at first, but Addy got in a base hit, and was caught in a splendid attempt to steal second. Barnes was sent to first on called balls, and Anson sent him to third by a model hit to right. Anson stole second, but both were left, Mack making

A Magnificent Stop

of McVey's hot low liner. In the Browns' half Bradley sent a fly to center, and although Hines fell down, he picked himself up in time to make the catch. Anson's juggle gave Mack a life at first, and Dehlman sent him to second by a right field hit. Pike was disposed of by Barnes and McVey, Mack reaching third and Dehlman second, where they were both left, Hines making a good catch of Clapp's liner. Peters opened the fourth inning with a fair foul to left for two bases. White's foul fly was grabbed by Clapp. Hines hit safe to canter, and Peters tallied on

Pike's Wild Return,

a wild throw by Clapp to third also letting in Hines. Spalding was thrown out by Mack, and Glenn flew out to the same player. The Browns were retired in one, two, three order, McGeary and Battin being thrown out by Anson and Spalding, and Barnes making a grand backward running catch of Blong's apparently safe fly, Chicago was ahead by a score of 2 to 0. Addy commenced the fifth inning with a bounder to McGeary, and retired. Barnes furnished Pike with a fly. Anson followed with a

Long Hit For Two Bases,

and a wild pitch gave him third, where he was left, McVey furnishing Clapp with a foul fly. For the Browns, Blong made a bad beginning by striking out, and Bradley gave Peters an easy fly. Mack mended matters by a corker past short, and Dehlman sent him to third by a fine hit to right center, but both were again left, Pike sending up a sky-scraper, which White seized. In the sixth inning an error by Mack gave Peters first, but he was forced at second on White's hit to Bradley, Hines flew out to Pike, and McGeary and Dehlman disposed of Spalding.

Clapp Commenced

for the Browns with a fly to Hines, but McGeary hit safe, only to be caught in trying to steal second, and Battin was third out on a fly to Anson. Glenn, in the seventh inning, went out by Mack to Dehlman, Addy retired on a foul fly to Clapp, and Barnes on a fair one to Pike. The Browns did better, for after Spalding had thrown out Cuthbert, Blong earned two bags on a drive over Addy's head. Bradley's sharp foul tip was held by White, however, and as Peters and McVey disposed of Mack,

Blong Was Left.

Anson commenced the eighth inning by giving Pike a fly, but Mack's excusable error gave McVey first, and he reached second on Peter's fine hit to left. White drove a long one to left which Cuthbert held, and as Battin held Hines' foul fly, McVey and Peters were left. For the Browns Dehlman sent a hot one to Peters and was headed off at first. Pike hit direct to McVey and retired. Anson and McVey ended Clapp's career at first. The whites went in for their last inning with a

Lead Of Two Runs,

and Spalding was thrown out at first by Mack. Glenn flew out to Cuthbert who made a handsome running catch. McGeary muffed Addy's fly, which properly belonged to Blong, and the striker reached second only to be left as Barnes hit direct to Dehlman. The Browns started in for two runs to tie and three to win. McGeary commenced with a hot one to Barnes, and was headed off at first. Addy dropped Battin's fly and Joe reached first in safety only to be forced at second on Cuthbert's hit to Peters. Blong ended the game by furnishing White with a foul fly.

The Brilliant Fielding

of the Chicagos, which was marred only by Anson's juggle, and Addy's missed fly undoubtedly won them the game, as not a run was earned on either side. The wild throwing of Pike and Clapp in the fourth inning prevented the game from being a tie at nothing each. The game abounded in stops and throws of the most brilliant nature, the marked features of the fielding being Barnes' wonderful catch, another by Peters, and a splendid stop and throw by Spalding. The latter gentleman also

Pitched Very Effectively,

as but five base hits, of which Dehlman secured two, amply proves. Pike and Cuthbert had lots to do in the outfield, and did it well. Anson and Peters led at the bat for Chicago, with a double and a single each. The umpiring of Mr. Medart seemed to give satisfaction to both nines, except in two instances; once when McGeary was given out at second, and again when Addy knocked a chunk out of the foul line and lost a base hit, the ball being decided foul.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 6, 1876

It was a bit of a tradition during the 1870s for Chicago to come to St. Louis during the Fair and play baseball. I believe that they had been doing this for a couple of years before 1874 but when this tradition began and when it ended is unknown to me. I know that in 1881, a Chicago club came to St. Louis to play the interregnum Brown Stockings and it was reported that it was the first time a Chicago club had come to St. Louis in several years so the tradition most likely ended when the NL Brown Stockings ceased operations.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: The End Of The Road

I shall foot it
Down the roadway in the dusk,
Where shapes of hunger wander
And the fugitives of pain go by.
I shall foot it
In the silence of the morning,
See the night slur into dawn,
Hear the slow great winds arise
Where tall trees flank the way
And shoulder toward the sky.

The broken boulders by the road
Shall not commemorate my ruin.
Regret shall be the gravel under foot.
I shall watch for
Slim birds swift of wing
That go where wind and ranks of thunder
Drive the wild processionals of rain.

The dust of the traveled road
Shall touch my hands and face.
-Carl Sandburg

When the long day's tramp is over, when the journey's done,
I shall dip down from some hilltop at the going down o' the sun,
And turn in at the open door, and lay down staff and load,
And wash me clean of the heat o' day, and white dust o' road.

There shall I hear the restless wind go wandering to and fro
That sings the old wayfaring song-the tune that the stars know;
Soft shall I lie and well content, and I shall ask no more
Than just to drowse and watch the folks turn in at the open door.

To hail the folk I used to know, that trudged with me in the dust,
That warmed their hands at the same fire, and ate o' the same crust,
To know them safe from the cold wind and the drenching rain,
Turn a little, and wake a little, and so to sleep again.
-Cicely Fox Smith

The Boston and St. Louis Clubs finished their series of ball games for the season of '76 at Grand Avenue Park yesterday afternoon, about 1,000 spectators being in attendance in spite of the cold weather. The Browns were out in full force, each man being in his home position; but, owing to Morrill's poor play at second on the pay previous, there were several changes in the Boston team-Murnau going to left, Leonard to second and Morrill to first. McGeary was lucky enough to win the toss, and the Reds were sent to the bat, their first three strikers retiring in succession. The Browns were also blanked in their first inning, although

Clapp Earned First,

and was sent to second by McGeary's fine drive to left center. In the second inning Boston was again treated to a coat of lime, although Morrill earned first, and Brown was sent there on called balls. Clapp marked his fielding in this inning by capturing a hot foul tip from Schaefer's bat. The Browns were treated in a like manner, Wright making two pretty throws to first. In the third inning, after Clapp had retired Bradley on a foul bound, Wright earned two bags on a fierce drive to left center. Leonard then went out on a sharp foul tip, but O'Rourke got in a clean hit, sending Wright home. Jim was then thrown out in attempting to steal second. For the Browns, after Wright had thrown out Dehlman, and Morrill had

Muffed Wright's Beautiful Throw

of Pike's bounder. Clapp was thrown out at first by Leonard. McGeary then shot a fierce one towards left, giving Wright a chance to make a magnificent stop and Pike was caught between second and third. By fast running he saved himself, but over-ran third and Brown caught him between third and home. In the fourth inning for Boston, Murnan struck out and Battin made a splendid running catch of Morril's foul bound. Manning got in a safe one but was left, Brown striking out two being called. In the Brown's half Bradley made a beastly muff of Clapp's easy fly. McGeary then flew out to O'Rourke and Clapp was caught by Brown and Leonard in attempting to steal second. Battin was sent to first on called balls, but was left, Cuthbert flying out to Leonard.

No Runs For Boston

in the fifth inning, Bradley and Wright retiring on flies to Mack, Pike and Clapp. The Browns were also goosed, Blong furnishing Murnan with a fly, and Wright throwing out Bradley and Mack. In the sixth inning, after Leonard had flown out to Dehlman, O'Rourke earned first, but tried to reach second on the hit, and Pike threw him out. Murnan was sent to first on called balls, and reached third on a wild pitch only to be left, as Morrill furnished McGeary with a fly. For the Browns, Dehlman, Pike and Clapp were thrown out at first, the infielding of the Bostons being superb. In the seventh inning Manning led off with a base hit, but it availed nothing, Brown and Schaefer retiring on flies to Blong and Pike, and Bradley

Forcing Manning Out

at second by an easy bounder to Mack. In the St. Louis half McGeary was given life by Morrill, who muffed Wright's throw and he reached second as Leonard disposed of Battin at first. As Cuthbert flew out to Murnan, and Blong to Leonard, McGeary was left and the Browns were again Chicagoed. In the eighth inning Brown earned first by a fine hit and reached third on Dehlman's muff of Battin's throw to head Schaefer off, the striker going to second. Mack retired Bradley at first. Wright hit to Mack, who threw wild to Clapp, and Brown tallied, Schaeffer reaching third. Leonard then drove a high one to center, which Pike grabbed, and by an accurate throw to Clapp Schaefer was caught in attempting to cross the home-plate. The Browns

Wanted Two Runs To Tie,

and Bradley reached first on Leonard's juggle. He stole second in Safety. Mack's foul bound was squeezed by Brown, but Dehlman was sent to first on called balls. Pike then flew out to O'Rourke, but Clapp, by a corker to left, brought bradley across the home plate, and as McGeary followed with a liner just inside the left fould line, he brought home Dehlman and Clapp, the cheering being deafening as the home nine was at last ahead by a score of 3 to 2, and only one inning left for the Bostons to regain their lost lead. Bradley commenced by fouling out, and Mack and Dehlman cooked Wright's goose. Dehlman made a beautiful running catch of Leonard's difficult foul bound, and

Unfortunate Boston

retired again defeated, although the Red Legs had outbatted and outfielded the Browns. In the last half of the ninth inning Cuthbert was thrown out at first by Leonard, Blong by Wright, and Bradley popped up an easy fly for Schaefer's benefit, the final score being three to two in favor of the home nine.

The short fielding of George Wright was again the feature of the game, some of the player's stops being simply wonderful, and his throwing perfection. Leonard also did some pretty work, which was offset by one excusable error. Brown caught beautifully, and Bradley's pitching was very effective, Clapp and McGeary being the only ones who could do anything with it. For the Browns

Clapp Caught Magnificently,

and Pike played brilliantly in center. Mack and Battin are each charged with one error, but their fine playing throughout the game more than paid up for their trifling mistakes. The Browns, by winning the game yesterday, stand credited with winning the series of games from every club entered for the League championship, a record which they may well be proud of.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 5, 1876

And here we are at the end of the road.

The game against Boston on October 4th marked the end of the League schedule for the 1876 St. Louis Brown Stockings. They finished 45-19, six games back of Chicago and in either second or third place, depending on how you want to look at it. The rest is denouncement.

And a long denouncement it will be. We have exhibition games left to be played, an argument over who had the rightful claim to second place, some player movement, a look at the attendance data and I'll probably write up a long essay on the club in a futile attempt to tie everything together.

As to what's next, I can't say that I've made up my mind. The easy thing to do would be to slide right in to the 1877 season but I'm not sure I want to do that. We could look at some of the interregnum Brown Stocking clubs or one of Von der Ahe's teams. But I'm leaning to taking a long look at the pioneer Commercial Club. I'll let you know.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: The Worst Fielding Display Witnessed In St. Louis

Mr. John F. Morrill, second baseman of the Boston Base Ball Club, by the worst fielding display witnessed in St. Louis this season, yesterday afternoon presented the St. Louis Brown Stockings with a victory, for which they are duly thankful. The Boston players are great favorites wherever they go, and the cold weather did not cause about 800 of their friends to stay away from Grand Avenue Park. George Wright won the toss, and the home nine was sent to the bat, Mr. L.W. Burtis occupying the umpire's position and acquitting himself with credit. The first six innings were played superbly by both sides, Mack being the only one to cross the home plate. He reached first in the the fifth inning on Morrill's juggle, stole second, reached third on Dehlman's out, and home on Schaefer's muff of Murnan's throw. Boston secured a commanding lead in the seventh inning. wright was sent to first on called balls, and Leonard was spared at first by Dehlman's muff. O'Rourke filled the bases by a fine drive to right. Murnan then flew out to Pike, and Morrill to Blong. sharp playing by those fielders preventing any one from coming home. Manning was equal to the emergency, however, and by a fine drive to left center, he sent Wright and Leonard over the home plate, O'Rourke subsequently tallying by clever base running. In the eighth inning another error by Morrill gave Dehlman a run. With one to tie and two to win, the Browns went in for their half of the ninth inning. An execrable muff by Morrill spared the first striker, and he was ordered to left field, Andy Leonard relieving him at second. Two flies were then muffed by Morrill in left, which, coupled with errors by Murnan and Schaefer, and a fine hit by Blong, gave the Browns three unearned runs and the game, the Reds failing to tally in their half of the inning. The Browns were outbatted at the ratio of two to one, but outfielded their opponents, as they usually do. The feature of the game was George Wright's shortfielding, the veteran sustaining his well-earned reputation as the best in the business. Schaefer accomplished a splendid double play unaided. Clapp and Brown cuaght beautifully, and Battin, McGeary and Mack did some pretty infielding. Cuthbert and Leonard captured several difficult flies. Battin led at the bat for the Browns with a three-base hit and a single, and Manning for the Reds with a pair of doubles.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 4, 1876

Monday, April 19, 2010

Bradley Signs With Chicago

[From the Chicago Times of Yesterday.]

Though nearly all of the members of the present Chicago nine have been engaged for the season of 1877, the club, when it makes the field in the next championship race, will show several essential changes. The most important of these will be in the position of pitcher. Bradley, the famous pitcher of the St. Louis nine, has been engaged to do the work of that place for the White Stockings next year. A contract has already been signed by him with the management of the Chicago club. It is based upon a condition, to be sure, but one which can hardly effect his engagement. Bradley, it appears, in a moment of inconsiderate haste, signed with the Athletics early in the season to play with them in the years 1877 and 1878. He has since repented of that action, and desiring to connect himself with the best base ball club in the country, he has signed with the Chicagos, upon the condition of his not being compelled to carry out his contract with the Athletic management. There is but a very small probability that the Athletics can hold him to his agreement with them...

It seems that his attachment for St. Louis and the St. Louis Club is not a very powerful one, and that he sought an engagement here. The Chicagos are not less glad to get him, however, than he is to come. He is a very desirable acquisition to that nine...

Bradley's record throughout the season shows him to be, by all odds, the best pitcher in the country. He will greatly strengthen the White Stockings. Nothing is meant by this remark in the way of disparagement to Capt. Spalding. That admirable player and courteous gentleman has done most effective service, and held his own against every other pitcher. Were it not that he is to be employed in another capacity, he would, of course, be retained in his present position.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 1, 1876

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Checking The Standings With Two To Play

Owing to the withdrawal of the Mutuals and bankruptcy of the Athletics, there has been a new deal in the race for the League pennant, and one that has affected the St. Louis and Boston Clubs more than any of their rivals. Last week Chicago secured the championship by winning the last two games which she had to play, and St. Louis would have been pretty sure of second place had she won, instead of lost, the game with Hartford yesterday. As it is, the question of second and third places will remain in doubt for another week at least. St. Louis is now two games ahead of Hartford, and has two to play with Boston and one with Cincinnati, while Hartford has two each to play with Boston, Cincinnati and Louisville. Louisville and Boston are also fighting fiercely for fourth place, with the chances greatly in favor of the Red Legs.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 1, 1876

While the Globe mentions a game with Cincinnati, according to the records, that game was never played. I'll see if I can find a reason for that.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: Shivering Through Nine Innings

Although it was even colder yesterday afternoon than on the day previous, the tenth and last base ball game of the Hartford-St. Louis series was not only much better played, but also far more interesting than its predecessor. Five hundred spectators shivered through the nine innings, which were tolerably well played on both sides. Seven of the Hartford men played without an error, while Mills committed two and Allison three. St. Louis, also, committed but five errors, which were distributed between McGeary, Clapp, Bradley and Dehlman. Batting, however, gained the day for the Dark Blues, Ferguson and Allison doing yeoman service in that respect, each of them making a base hit every time he came to the bat, and one of Ferguson's being a double-bagger. Clapp, McGeary and Mack got in singles for St. Louis, while Cuthbert had four beauties placed to his credit, with a total of five. Not one of the five tallies made during the game was earned, McGeary getting his run on an overthrow by Allison to catch him at second, and, Remsen, Ferguson, Yorke and Allison getting theirs on bad errors by McGeary, Dehlman, Bradley and Clapp. The outfielding on both sides was superb, Yorke, Remsen, Cuthbert and Cassidy especially distinguishing themselves by brilliant running catches, the one from Burdock's bat secured by Cuthbert, after a long run and high jump, when two men were on bases, being cheered to the echo. Battin, Burdock and Mack distinguished themselves by some beautiful stops and throws. This defeat will be felt severely by the Browns, who have now a herculean task to perform to retain second place, as will be seen by studying the championship table.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 1, 1876

Friday, April 16, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: Cold Comfort

It was colder than charity at Grand Avenue Park yesterday afternoon, and the ninth base ball contest of the Hartford-St. Louis series was consequently poorly played. About 800 spectators were in attendance. Jack Chapman came up from Louisville to umpire the game, and acquitted himself very creditably. Hartford, losing the toss, was sent to the bat, and in the first inning, after Remsen and Burdock had retired, earned a run by the fine batting of Higham and Ferguson, each of whom got in a double bagger. Mills scored for Hartford in the second inning by earning first, Remsen's base hit and Blong's wild throw. The Blues failed to increase their score in the last seven innings, and were beaten by a score of 5 to 2-the Browns getting in two runs in the second, two in the fifth and one in the seventh inning, none of which were earned, although ten elegant base hits were knocked out of Cummings' curves, Bradley and Dehlman leading with two each. The fielding of the visitors was execrable, as the error column will show, the Browns also doing some miserable work in that respect. The features of the game were a fine double play by Burdock and Mills in the third inning, and a double play by Remsen, unaided, in the fourth, he capturing Mack's apparently safe fly by a magnificent effort and then stepping on second, which Blong had left for home. Mills and Yorke were also splendidly doubled up by Bradley, McGeary and Dehlman in the seventh inning. The short fielding of Mack, and third base play of Battin was also very fine...
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 30, 1876

According to the Globe, it was sixty degrees at game time.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Worthless, Ungrateful Whelp

Speaking of people who've been more than helpful, brilliant reader and friend of the blog David Ball sent along this note about Lip Pike, from a letter that William Hulbert wrote to Freeman Brown on September 9, 1881:

Lipman Pike has for many years been notorious as a shirk, fraud and beat. He has made trouble in every club that has hired him; he has made trouble between clubs. He is a conspicuous example of the worthless, ungrateful low lived whelp, that the League will do well publicly to throw overboard by means of a published black list.

A few months ago, I posted something about Lip Pike talking about the 1876 McGeary affair where he basically flat-out stated that Mike McGeary was a crooked ballplayer and had thrown a game. David, in the comments, noted that Pike had a reputation as a troublemaker and I think I told him that I had never come across anything like that. it is.

Much thanks to David and everybody who has helped out with the research. I have more stuff in the inbox but I think it's time to get back to the Brown Stockings and wrap up the 1876 season.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Photo Of Packy Dillon

Anybody who is a regular reader of this blog knows that I have a thing for Patrick Henry Dillon. He's absolutely one of my favorite players from the 19th century, on a list with Fred Dunlap, Asa Smith, Bad Dickey Pearce, Lave Cross, Jack Gleason and Dillon's Red Stockings teammate Joe Blong.

One of the reasons I started researching 19th century St. Louis baseball was to try and figure out who Packy Dillon was. That quest was greatly aided by the assistance of the Dillon family, specifically Lynn Dillon. Recently, Lynn sent me the above photo.

Lynn told me that the picture was labeled P.H. Dillon and found taped in a book belonging to Dillon's daughter, Mary (who was also known as Marie). This is not incontrovertible evidence that this is a photo of Packy Dillon but I can't think of too many P.H. Dillons whose photo would be saved by Packy Dillon's niece. Let's just say that the odds are pretty good that the P.H. Dillon in the above photo is our boy Packy.

I do have a few problems with the picture. First, look at the hands. One would think that a guy who caught without a glove and then was a farmer would have rougher, more mangled hands. However, it's possible that the picture was taken prior to Dillon's baseball career. I find it difficult to say how old Dillon is in this picture, so I don't know. It'd be nice to have a date for the picture. Also, something about the clothes worn in the picture bothers me. While I'm not an expert on the subject, the clothing (as well as the hair) doesn't seem right for the era. It seems more antebellum than postbellum. But like I said, I'm no expert.

Lynn believes that the evidence supports the idea that this is Packy Dillon and, even with the reservations I've expressed, I tend to agree.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Very Intriguing Picture

After Carolyn Willmore and I had finished exchanging information about Lafayette Park and Civil War-era baseball, she sent me the above picture.

What we see here is the lake at the center of Lafayette Park and, just north of that, the superintendent's cottage. To the right of the cottage are two tents. What makes this picture extraordinarily intriguing is the question of what purpose the tents serve. Why are those tents there? Who's using them?

The picture is labeled "'Lafayette Park' 1859 or 1860' and Carolyn, believing the picture to be mislabeled, thought that these were military tents being used by the troops who were encamped in the park. However, after I had sent her some information on antebellum baseball in the park, see sent me the picture and asked if the tents might have been used by baseball clubs playing in Lafayette Park. If this were true, and the date of the picture is correct, then what we're looking at is a picture of the first baseball grounds in St. Louis.

What evidence is there to support this possibility?

An article in the St. Louis Republican, published on April 21, 1895, gave a brief history of the Cyclone Club based on the recollections of Leonard Matthews, Ferdinand Garesche and Maurice Alexander. The article stated that the Cyclone grounds were located at the center of the park and that the grand stand was "a tent which sheltered those who were awaiting their turn at bat or some of the many visitors who came out to see the game." E.H. Tobias also mentioned the use of tents in this era, stating that they were used as a changing room for players and as a place to serve refreshments. So the Cyclone Club had at least one tent set up near the center of Lafayette Park and may have had two, one used as a grandstand and one used as a club house/changing room. The above picture shows two tents near the center of the park in 1859 or 1860 when the Cyclone Club had their grounds at Lafayette Park and there is no other known reason for why the tents would be there. So it is arguable that the tents shown in the picture where those used by the Cyclone Club and that the playing field lay just north of those tents.

I don't think there is any way to be certain that what we're looking at are tents on the Lafayette Park Grounds in the antebellum era but I believe that it is possible. If it is true than this is the earliest pictorial evidence of baseball in St. Louis and a significant find by Carolyn.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Gambles And Lafayette Park

More from the Bryan source that was sent to me by Carolyn Willmore:

As soon as the War was over, there was much activity in buying lots in the neighborhood of the Park. Archibald Gamble died in 1866, but his widow, Mrs. Louisa Easton Gamble, continued to lie in the large brick mansion facing what was then called "McNair Avenue" between Geyer and Lafayette (almost facing Geyer on the south).

This peaked my interest because I knew that Archibald Gamble was the father of Cyclone Club members Joseph and Rufus Gamble. The elder Gamble was also a business associate of Edward Bredell, Sr., the father of Cyclone co-founder Edward Bredell, Jr. The elder Bredell was a member of the board of improvements for Lafayette Park and the family lived in the neighborhood. It was this association between the Bredell's and Lafayette Park, I believed, that led the Cyclone Club to establish grounds in the park. But the Bryan source hinted at the idea that the Gambles also may have lived in the Lafayette Park neighborhood in the antebellum era, establishing a stronger link between the club, the neighborhood and the park.

I asked Carolyn about the possibility of the Gambles living in the neighborhood prior to the war and see sent me this information from Lafayette Square: An Urban Renaissance by Timothy G. Conley:

The first residence built on the Square's south side was the Italianate mansion of Archibald Gamble who had retired from his successful law practice in 1842. No construction records are available because the St. Louis city limits at this time extended only to Second Carondelet Avenue or the present Eighteenth Street. We do know that the house was built before 1851 since Virginia Gamble married Charles Gibson there in that year...

So the Gambles, like the Bredell's, were living in the Lafayette Park neighborhood prior to the Civil War, at the same time the Cyclone Club was playing games in the park. This strengthens the argument that the Cyclone Club established their grounds in Lafayette Park because some club members lived in the neighborhood and had an interest in the success of the new park.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Final Resting Place Of Edward Bredell, Jr.

Before we get to the end of the 1876 season, I need to clear some stuff out of my inbox.

One of the best things about running this site is that I get to meet all kinds of interesting folks who share with me a passion for the history of St. Louis and 19th century baseball. I'm blessed in that I get to have interesting conversations about subjects that I love with very knowledgeable people. I learn a great deal from these conversations and am thankful for the time and effort that these folks spend helping me. Plus, they always send me really neat stuff.

One of the people that I've gotten to talk to recently is Carolyn Willmore, who is an expert on the history of Lafayette Park and who is currently writing a book on the subject that I'm looking forward to reading. Carolyn was kind enough to pass along a great deal of information about the park as it relates to the history of antebellum baseball in St. Louis. I'm going to share some of that information with you over the next couple of days.

One of the things Carolyn passed along helped answer a question that I had been pondering for a couple of years. The following comes from a book called Lafayette Square, the Most Significant Old Neighborhood in St. Louis by John Albury Bryan (self-published, November 15, 1962):

One of the saddest events in the Lafayette Square neighborhood in connection with the War was the death of young Captain Edward Bredell, Jr. who was killed at the battle of Fredericksburg. He had enlisted in the Confederate Army at the beginning of the War, at the age of 22. Being an only son, his distraught parents had his body brought home and buried in the flower garden at the back of their home on Lafayette Avenue (where Simpson Place now opens off the Avenue.) Then in 1871, after neighbors began building closer to the Bredell homestand, his parents had the body removed to Bellfontaine Cemetary. In 1881, when the Lafayette Park Presbyterian Church was built at the southwest corner of Missouri Avenue and Albion Place, a large memorial window was placed in the north wall of the auditorium in honor of young Bredell, since his father was a Trustee and Ruling Elder of that Church. Fortunately the father was spared the agony of seeing his Church very badly damaged by the cyclone of May, 1896, for his death occurred in March of that Year. Mrs. Bredell died in 1887.

While the Bryan source gets some information wrong about Bredell's Civil War service, the information about his remains being removed to Bellfontaine Cemetery was new to me. I knew that Bredell's body was no longer in the Lafayette Square neighborhood but I didn't know where he was finally laid to rest. Now we know and the pictures at the top of the post are of Bredell's grave at Bellfontaine Cemetery and can be found at Find A Grave.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: The Question Of Second Place

The Hartford ball tossers play the ninth game of their series with the St. Louis Browns this afternoon. Owing to the disbanding of the Athletic, for want of cash, and the scurvy action of the Mutuals in refusing to come West, in order to rob St. Louis, if possible, of second place, it might be well to glance at the relative chances of the contestants in the championship race. Chicago, by winning her two games with Hartford this week, has earned the championship title beyond a doubt, having thirty-eight victories to her credit. St. Louis has won twenty-eight games, and has five yet to play-one with Cincinnati and two each with Hartford and Boston. Hartford is credited with twenty-six victories, and has eight games to play-two each with St. Louis, Boston, Louisville and Cincinnati. It will thus be seen that the question of second place hinges almost to a certainty on the games to be played to-day and to-morrow. The wish is expressed on all sides that the home team may prove victorious, more for the evident collusion between the Hartford and Mutual Clubs than anything else. A big crowd should be present to convince the Browns of the fact. In connection with the above, the following extract from the Clipper of this week will be read with interest, showing, as it does, that there will be no Hartford Club next season:

"We have good news for Brooklyn at last, and it is to the effect that the New York Mutuals are to be replaced by the Brooklyn Atlantics in 1877, and under a management that should insure it being a thoroughly reliable organization, and with a nine that will render it a formidable rival for championship honors for any competitor it may find in the League arena. Once more, then, the banner of the Atlantic Club will wave from the flag-staff of the professional ball grounds of Brooklyn, and that, too with a majority of the old team in their regular positions, including the names of Ferguson, Pearce, Start, Burdock and others whose playing strength and reliability are not to be questioned. More on this subject anon. The move to be made is timely, and will bring about a new era in professional playing in Brooklyn. The new Atlantics will inaugurate the return to the old-time charge of twenty-five cents admission."
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 29, 1876

Friday, April 9, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: A Little Bit Mixed

Things are getting a little bit mixed in base ball circles. The League was organized to keep the National game free from scrubs, beats and other objectionable features, but it begins to look as if it had failed in its object, and as if the championship would depend, not on the number of the victories won in the League, but on the number of clubs that would drop out before the close of the season and default in their engagements. Week before last it was the Athletics who stepped down and out, and last week it was the Mutuals. As we understand the fearful and beautiful rules of the League, the sculduggery of these impecunious aspirants entitles them to receive the grand bounce and to have their games erased from the record; and thereby hangs a tale. with the League intact, St. Louis would have 10 games to play to Hartford's 14, St. Louis having won 42 and lost 18, while Hartford has won only 38 and lost 18. But with the two defaulting clubs left out, St. Louis would have 5 games to play to Hartford's 11; and the record would stand St. Louis won 28, lost 17; Hartford won 26, lost 13, and St. Louis might win 4 games out of 5 and yet stand below Hartford if Hartford would win 7 games out of 11. We trust that there may be no colored citizen in this woodpile, but the pile has a very suspicious look, and can hardly be regarded with pleasure or satisfaction by our St. Louis club.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 26, 1876

This subject will come up again.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Browns! Reds! Part Two! Packy Dillon Hits A Triple Off Bradley! Reds Still Lose!

One of the most stubbornly contested ball games of the year was that played at Compton Avenue Park yesterday afternoon, between the rival home organizations-the Brown and Red Stockings. It was witnessed by about 800 spectators. The little Reds made the best batting display against Bradley that has been seen in St. Louis this year, every man making a base hit except Magner. Redmon and Dillon got in three-baggers, Croft a double, and Dolan two singles. The Reds maintained the lead until the eighth inning, when several costly errors offset their splendid batting, and enabled their older and more experienced opponents to score a victory. The professionals could do very little with Galvin's effective pitching, but their magnificent fielding more than made up for their weakness at the bat. Only two errors were charged to them-one each by Clapp and Battin. The game was marked by several splendid bits of fielding, notable among them being Billy Gleason's catch in the ninth inning; McGeary's double play when three men were on bases, and splendid stops by the in-fielders on both sides. The result would in all probability have been different had it not been for Dolan's numerous errors, that plucky and usually reliable catcher being completely used up by the hard work which he had to perform daily in facing Galvin's pitching during the recent extensive tour of the Reds.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 28, 1876

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Browns! Reds! Bradley Vs. Galvin! Sunday Baseball! Bad Weather!

The Red Stockings, who have just returned from a prolonged and successful Eastern tour, were defeated yesterday afternoon, at the Grand Avenue Grounds, by the Browns, who have also just returned from an Eastern trip. The game was witnessed by about 800 spectators, who found the cold, blustering wind, which swept over the ground from the west, very uncomfortable, and calculated to mar the enjoyment of the sport. The Reds have played a magnificent game during the season, and rank about the best club outside of the League; therefore it was no sure thing the Browns had of winning. This fact was appreciated by the Browns, and knowing that the full strength of the nine would be required to wrest a ball from the "ponies," they played their regular nine, with the exception of Cuthbert at right field. His place was filled by Pearce, but Dick had nothing at all to do. The Reds played their nine in regular position.

At 3:30 o'clock, McGeary having won the toss, the "ponies" were sent to the bat, and the game commenced. The nine were retired in one-two-three order, Morgan striking out, and Croft and Redmon sending foul tips back to Clapp. For the Browns, Pike got first base on called balls, and a base hit by McGeary and a couple of passed balls let him home.

In the second inning the Reds tied the score. After two men had been retired, Galvin let drive a beautiful two-baser to Pike's field. Dillon, who was on second, came in home, Pike trying to head him off by a pretty long throw to Clapp, who muffed the ball. The Browns were calcimined.

Both sides drew blanks in the third inning. In the fourth inning the Reds were treated to another whitewash, Dolan's safe hit to right field availing the side naught. A couple of errors by Magner and Dillon gave McGeary his home base, and added another run to the Brown's score.

The Reds were treated to more lime in the fifth inning. In this inning Galvin drove a hard fly to extreme left field, but the ball fell outside the foul line and could not be found. It was one of the hardest hits ever made on these grounds. Another ball was obtained, and the Brown's secured another run, Billy Gleason dropping Mack's high fly, which gave that player second base, and he came home on Pike's safe hit to right field. In the sixth inning Blong got in his run on errors by Jack Gleason, Croft and Dolan.

Each nine then held the other down until the ninth inning, when Mack added another run to his score.

The Reds showed the effect of their two months of travel, and did not play up to their usual standpoint, as the score will indicate. At the stick they did as well as the Browns, but in the field they played a loose game.

The Browns failed to hit Galvin with any effect, and their victory is entirely due to the poor fielding of their opponents. The game, while it lacked anything like brilliancy, was an interesting one, and served to show that with both clubs playing their usual game, how evenly pitted the two nines would be. The two clubs will play again this afternoon at the Red Stocking Park on Compton avenue...
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 27, 1876

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Baseball Treat

A decided base ball treat is in store for the lovers of the National game to-day. Those who are fortunate enough to witness the contest between the "Browns" and the "Reds" will undoubtedly see one of the finest expositions yet presented upon the green diamond.

The record of the "Browns" is too familiar to our readers to require any extended notice. They stand confessedly the actual champions in the race for the pennant, by having won the series of ten games from the Chicago club, who were expressly formed to humiliate St. Louis in the race for the Centennial championship.

The "Reds" in their career have shown a degree of skill and nerve that ranks them equal to most of the League clubs, and their admirers claim for them an ability to successfully cope with the strongest League organizations.

During the past two months they have defeated organizations that have beaten the three leading aspirants for the League championship, the "Browns" among the number.

The full nines of both clubs will appear, and, as both have been absent for an extended period, the adherents of each will undoubtedly be present in full force.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 26, 1876

Monday, April 5, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: Working My Way Back To You

The Browns defeated the Resolutes [in Elizabeth, N.J., on September 18] by [a score of] 4 to 3. Bradley pitched and McGinley caught. The weather was bad, and the attendance slim.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 19, 1876

The Brown Stockings met the Alleghenys at Pittsburg yesterday, and met with an unexpected defeat. The score at the end of the game stood: Alleghenys, 4; Browns, 3. Bradley pitched, and McGinley caught; Mack played first, and Blong umpired. The Browns arrived here two hours behind time, and had to play without dinner.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 20, 1876

The Brown Stockings played yesterday with the Indianapolis club, the score at the close standing-Browns, 11; Indianapolis, 3. The weather was unpropitious and the grounds were in bad condition. The attendance, however, was very fair. The Browns will arrive at home this morning.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 24, 1876

What? You thought I was going to post the Four Seasons version?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Can You Have Too Many Holidays On One Day?

It's Easter. It's Opening Day. Too much. And I still have the Cards opener tomorrow and the home opener next week. Too, too much. If the final round of the Masters was today, I think my head would explode. I need to eat more lamb and take a nap. So Happy Easter and Happy Opening Day.

The 1876 Brown Stockings: Slovenly

The St. Louis Club played the eighth game of their series with the Hartfords, and defeated them in rather a slovenly played game on both sides. There were some sharp plays, notably catches by Cuthbert and York. Both pitchers were wild and kept their catchers hard at work. About 1,000 witnessed the contest. The Hartfords were first at the bat, and scored in the second inning, Burdock getting a base hit and going to second and third on wild pitches, and was thrown out at home plate by Pike, who accomplished a double play by furiously catching Ferguson on the fly. Higham got first on called balls, and scored on Mack's error, which gave Carey a life. Higham again scored on a muff of Cuthbert's which gave him two bases in the fourth, being batted home from second. He scored again in the sixth, after Battin gave him a life, by missing a hot liner, coming home on a passed ball. In the seventh, a two baser by York and a single by Mills, gave an earned run-the only one of the game. St. Louis scored in the first inning on singles by Pike and McGeary, and a wild throw to second by Higham. In the fifth Mack got his base on Ferguson's error and a wild pitch, and Pike's three-baser sent him home, Pike scoring on Clapp's out to Remsen. In the seventh, errors by Furguson and Mills gave Bradley a chance to score, Pike getting his base on an error by Remsen. Hits by Clapp and McGeary, and a muff by Cassidy of Battin's hit, gave two more runs.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 17, 1876

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: Pulling The Brand From The Burning

The seventh game between the Hartford and St. Louis Clubs to-day resulted in a brilliant victory for the visitors, who, by a streak of heavy batting in the ninth inning, pulled the brand from the burning, and saved it. There were only about 600 people to witness the game, which was a hotly contested one throughout. The home nine scored only in two innings, earning both runs. In the first, Higham's two-baser and Ferguson's single baser earned the run, and in the fifth, singles by York, Cassidy and Remsen did the work. Harbridge was badly injured in the fourth by a foul from Cuthbert's bat, and Higham went behind the bat, and Cassidy (formerly of the New Havens) to the right field. The St. Louis first scored in the fifth inning on singles by Blong and Bradley, and an error by York on the former's hit. They added another in the eighth, when Pike took first on called balls, and, assisted by Clapp's base hit and superior base running, scored the tieing run. In the ninth, Blong, Bradley, Mack and Dehlman followed one another with safe hits, which, with Pike's two-baser and a muff by Remsen of McGeary's hit, gave four runs, three of which were earned. The St. Louis outplayed the Hartfords at every point, and fairly earned the victory. The only error they made was in the eighth inning, when Bradley gave Mills first by a low throw; but this error did not give a run.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 16, 1876

Friday, April 2, 2010

The 1876 Brown Stockings: Playing A Club From Jack Kerouac's Hometown

The St. Louis Browns played the Lowells [on September 14, in Boston,] and won the game by the close score of 7 to 6. Battin pitched and McGinley caught.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 15, 1876

Lowell certainly has a rich baseball history but I always associate the town with Kerouac. I always knew that Kerouac was a baseball fan but the extent of his love for the game has received more attention in the last year or so.

And just for those who are wondering, we've only got six League games left to cover as far as the 1876 Brown Stockings are concerned, four against Hartford and two against Boston. The 1876 season is quickly coming to a close and, theoretically, I could wrap it up in a week. Don't know if I will or not but this little project is just about finished. I'm not sure what I'm going to do next but I know that I'm going to keep covering the 1876 Browns into their off-season. I think I have notes on games into October and some information from November, so we have that to look forward to.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

More On Mase Graffen

I'm a little surprised that I've never written much about Mase Graffen before, especially given my focus on the 1876 Brown Stockings over the last six months or so. I guess I was saving it for when I got to his resignation. Regardless, I'm passing along some biographical information that I have.

Samuel Mason Graffen was born in 1845 in Philadelphia. It appears that he was an accountant by trade and was a member of the Olympic Base Ball Club of Philadelphia. Graffen was most likely hired by the Brown Stockings in 1875 upon the recommendation of Al Wright, who was originally reported to have been the Brown Stockings manager but backed out of the job.

In January of 1875, Graffen took the Brown Stockings into training at a gymnasium in St. Louis. It appears that Graffen was the first to introduce this kind of baseball training, which consisted of two hours of calisthenics and handball each day, in St. Louis.

I have a note that Graffen was the manager of the Brown Stockings in 1875 but it's unknown what his specific role was that season. Bad Dickey Pearce is listed as the manager of the club in 1875 and was likely running the club on the field. Graffen was most likely the business manager, arranging matches with other NA clubs and taking care of the travel arrangements, ticket sales, etc. Of course, Graffen was again the manager of the club in 1876 until his resignation in September.

Graffen was a sportsman in 19th century sense of the word. Besides baseball, he was a top-level cricket player, playing in both Philadelphia and St. Louis. After he left the Brown Stockings, he was involved in yachting in St. Louis and Keokuk, Iowa.

It appears that Graffen, after leaving St. Louis, was living in Sedalia, Missouri and was working as an accountant with a railroad company. He died on November 18, 1883 in Silver City, New Mexico.

As mention previously, Graffen was married to Sarah Matilda Barnes and had three sons, Charles, George and Paul.