Friday, October 1, 2010

The 1886 World Series: Game Six, Part One

The St. Louis Browns are champions of the world at the national game of base ball for another year at least. That was decided at Sportsman's Park yesterday afternoon by their great victory over the Chicagos in the sixth game of the world's championship series. No one-not even the most devoted friends and admirers of the Chicagos-can dispute their right to the title, or can say that it was won in anything but a fair, square and honest manner. The struggle was not such a hard one for the Browns, after all. Taking everything into consideration, they won the battle with comparative ease. Their victory, however, was not due to any luck, but was only secured by playing a superior game of ball. Their hard, steady and all-pull-together style of playing landed them on top on more than one occasion when defeat seemed inevitable. The Chicagos are an excellent team of ball players, but, as has already been mentioned, they are out of their class when they face the Browns in a contest, as has been plainly shown in the six games played between them. The Browns have made more runs, more hits, more total bases, less errors, have presented stronger batteries, and outplayed the Chicagos all around. It does not require any more facts to convince people which is the better club. Since the initial game was played in Chicago last Monday, there have been a number of people shouting hippodrome and claiming that the Chicagos would win the series without any trouble; that they were merely toying with the Browns; that they were merely working things to increase the gate receipts, but yesterday's play dispelled all suspicion.

The contest between the two clubs yesterday afternoon was the most exciting and most brilliantly played game ever seen in St. Louis, or any other city, in the history of the national sport. It was the hardest battle of all the six games, and it was not decided until a wild pitch allowed Welch to cross the plate with the winning run in the tenth inning. The Chicagos started out to play in a manner that meant business and it looked like defeat for the Browns. The home club never once gave up, though, and with the score standing 3 to 0 against them at the end of the seventh inning they played just as hard and steady as they did at the opening of the game. For six straight innings they went to the bat and six straight times they were retired without a hit, much less a run, or anything that looked like one. Bushong got his base in the first inning, but never advanced from the bag. In the seventh inning O'Neil made the first hit of the game for the Browns. He drove the ball far up in the air and out in the field beyond all reach of the fielders for three bases. But Jim in his effort to make third in safety, ran over the bag. The ball was fielded quickly and returned to Burns and as O'Neil went over the base, he was touched by the ball and put out. This terrible luck did not dishearten the Browns but they kept striving to get a run. In the seventh they tied the score and Latham assisted no little in doing it. With one run in, two men on the bases, two men out and two strikes and three balls called on Latham, the latter lifted the sphere to the left field over Dalrymple's head for three bases, sending in the two men.

The demonstrations on the part of the spectators when the score was tied was such that has never been equaled at any game of base ball before. The immense crowd seemed to go crazy. They yelled and cheered until they grew hoarse. Men and boys shook hands and embraced each other, turned summersaults on the grand-stand and in the field, and many actually wept tears of joy. The air was full of hats, handkerchiefs and umbrellas, and it was nearly five minutes before the crowd could be quieted sufficiently to go on with the game. It was a sight that will never be forgotten by those who were present. But the scene in the tenth inning when the winning run was scored and the Browns had secured the championship is almost beyond description. As soon as Welch had crossed the plate and the 10,000 people who filled the grand-stands and stood in rows ten or twelve deep in a circle around the field, more than half of them made a grand rush for the players, yelling and making all manner of noises and demonstrations. As soon as they would run up against a man in the Browns' uniform they would throw him upon their backs and carry him off the field. The entire nine were taken to the dressing-room in this manner. At various places in and around the park a crowd would congregate, and when some one would propose three cheers for the championship, they would be given with a will. Everybody was happy and everybody wanted to shake hands with everybody else. A crowd numbering perhaps 3,000 lingered around the park until after the members of the club had dressed. Wherever one of them was seen, a big crowd immediately circled around and cheer him heartily. It was long after dark before Sportsman's Park and vicinity had settled down to its usually quiet state. It is not likely that such scenes of enthusiasm will be seen again at St. Louis base ball parks for a long time to come.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 24, 1886

I thought it would be a good idea to divide this rather long article into two parts and I'll have the second half, which is the inning by inning account of game six, tomorrow. There will be much more on game six and the aftermath of the 1886 series in the days to come.

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