Saturday, October 2, 2010

The 1886 World Series: Game Six, Part Two

The afternoon was dark and cloudy, and every moment it looked like rain. The threatening weather, however, did not keep the people away, and long before the time of calling the game every available seat was taken. The tops of the grand stand were utilized and a couple of thousand were content to stand back of the right foul line along the fence. By turn-stile count the attendance was 11,500. About 2:15 o'clock Mr. H. Clay Sexton and President Von Der Ahe appeared on the field. The Browns were stopped in their practice and called to the plate. Mr. Sexton, in a brief speech, presented Bushong with a handsome silver tea set, a gift from the members of the Merchants' Exchange. The set was manufactured by the E. Jaccard Jewelry Company. Mr. Sexton also assured the audience that the game was to be for blood, and that it was not a hippodrome. Grace Pierce was chosen umpire. He favored the Chicagos every time it was possible for him to do so. It was precisely 2:18 o'clock when time was called. The Chicagos were first at bat. Caruthers' work in the opening innings was anything but encouraging. He was batted much harder than the score shows. The outfielders were kept busy, and they did their work well. It was just the opposite with Clarkson.

He appeared to be in his best form and the Browns could not touch his deceptive balls. The side was retired on flies. Gore's went to O'Neil. Kelly's to Caruthers and Anson's to Foutz. For the Browns, Latham went out from pitcher to first. Caruthers struck and Bushong got his base on balls, but Gleason left him by striking out. In the second inning the Chicagos scored their first run. Pfeffer brought it in. He also scored the Chicagos' other two runs-a remarkable feature of the game. He made a safe hit to right and stole down to second, while Bushong's only passed ball let him go to third. Caruthers successfully struck out the next two men-Williamson and Burns-but Ryan made a single to left and Pfeffer came in. Dalrymple's liner to Welch retired the side. Comiskey, for the home club, went out at first on his grounder to Williamson, Welch struck out and Foutz knocked a fly to right. It looked to be safe, but Ryan made a run after it and caught it in fine style.

In the third, Gore went all the way to third base on Latham's wild throw of his grounder to first, after Caruthers had made a remarkable catch of a foul fly from Clarkson's bat. Kelly knocked a grounder to third, and Gore started to come in, but Latham's good throw to Bushong cut him off by several feet. The Browns were again retired in order. Pfeffer scored his second run in the fourth. He was the first batter, and almost the very first ball that Caruthers pitched to him he knocked into the right-field seats, and made the circuit of the bases before Foutz could recover the ball. In this same inning the Chicagos had two men left on bases, and only unfortunate batting prevented them from scoring runs. Williamson went out on a fly to Foutz and Burns made a drive to left for a single. Ryan knocked a liner to O'Neil, and Dalrymple batted the ball so slowly in the direction of second that he got his base before the ball could be handled quick enough to throw him out. A wild pitch advanced him to second and sent Burns to third. Clarkson's fly to Welch, however, left them both. Once more the Browns went out in order, Caruthers, O'Neil and Gleason coming to the bat.

The Chicagos were put out quickly, and on easy plays in the fifth. Gore and Anson went out from second to first, and Kelly from third to first. For the Browns, Welch went out from short to first, Welch struck out and Foutz's fly to right was captured by Ryan. The Chicagos' last run was made in the sixth. Pfeffer again scoring it. He knocked an easy grounder to second, which Robinson should have stopped without any trouble but he let it roll through him. Foutz backed up Robinson, and when the ball came to him he let it get by him. These two bad errors enabled Pfeffer to go all the way around to third and Williamson's fly to Foutz brought him in. Burns and Ryan, the next two men, were retired on easy flies. Robinson and Latham both struck out for the Browns and Bushong knocked the ball to Pfeffer, who easily threw him out. The Chicagos were retired in order in the seventh. Caruthers, the first batsman for the Browns, struck out. O'Neil then came to the bat and made the first hit, and was retired at third in the manner mentioned above. Gleason was thrown out at first on a bunt to Clarkson, although he came very near making his base. The Chicagos could now do nothing with Caruthers' pitching and went quickly. It was here, though, that the Browns made their three runs and tied the score. Comiskey made a good beginning by knocking the leather safely to right for a single. Welch made a safe hit to third, sending Comiskey made a good beginning by knocking the leather safely to right for a single. Welch made a safe hit to third, sending Comiskey to second. The latter went to third on a passed ball and scored on Foutz's sacrifice fly to center. Robinson went out on a fly to Anson, and Bushong got his base on balls. Latham now came to bat. Two strikes had been called on him when he lifted the ball to extreme left for three bases, sending Welch and Bushong home. Caruthers out from Burns to first left Latham on third.

Williamson opened the ninth for the Chicagos by striking out, but Burns followed with a two-bagger. The latter went to third on a sacrifice by Ryan, but Dalrymple left him by striking out. O'Neil was the first batter for the Browns and he sent the ball sailing to the right. It looked to be good for two bases, but Ryan jumped for it and made one of the most remarkable catches ever seen on the grounds. Gleason went out on a foul to Kelly and Comiskey from third to first. The tenth inning was commenced. Clarkson struck out and both Gore and Kelly knocked flies to left field. Welch was the first batsman for the Browns. He took a position pretty close to the plate and Clarkson hit him with the ball. Welch took first, Anson protested and a wrangle ensued. The umpire finally called Welch back, claiming that he tried to get hit with the ball. To the great delight of the audience, however, Welch knocked the first ball that was pitched to him for a single to center field. Foutz was the next man to handle the stick. He batted a grounder back of the pitcher, between short and first. Williamson made a run for it and fumbled it. Foutz, of course, got safe on the error, and Welch went to second. Robinson advanced both men on his sacrifice from short to first. With a man on second and another on third and only one out, the chances were good for a run. Bushong came to the bat, but he did not get an opportunity to hit the ball. Clarkson, who is usually so cool, was visibly nervous. He rolled and twisted the ball around in his hands several times before he got in position to pitch it. He finally delivered it, but it was far over Kelly's head. The latter made no effort to get it, and like the other member of the team, stood in a half dazed manner and watched Welch come in with the deciding run. The Chicagos packed up their bats and got off the grounds as quickly as possible.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 24, 1886

I going to discuss the "$15,000 Slide" in a separate post in a few days, after I finish covering the series itself. It's rather interesting that what has been described as the most famous play in the history of 19th century baseball was neither a slide nor worth $15,000. But I'll get into that latter. For now, the Browns are the 1886 world's champions and the rooster makes another appearance at TGOG. The series, itself, may not have been a great display of baseball but game six was certainly a humdinger. It's absolutely on the list of 19th century baseball games I'd like to have attended.

One thing that should be noted, in light of the discussions we've had about the attendance figures for the series, the Globe states that the attendance figure for game six was taken from the turnstile count.


David Ball said...

"He appeared to be in his best form and the Browns could not touch his deceptive balls."

I find the 19th century sports writing usage of "balls" where we would say "pitches" or "delivery" can be disconcerting. In fact, it kind of brings out the twelve-year-old in me.

"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."

To the Globe-Democrat's reporter, this play just appears to have been a triple over the left fielder's head at a crucial moment. Other observers, especially those based in Chicago or connected with the Chicago club, blamed Dalrymple for misplaying this -- well, I won't say "this ball," but for misplaying this drive. Dalrymple thus became the first World Series goat.

Jeffrey Kittel said...

I'm not going to lie. When I typed "the Browns could not touch his deceptive balls," I laughed out loud and a little too long. One day, I'm sure I'll be too old for that kind of humor. But that day isn't here yet.

As to Latham's hit, Jon David Cash wrote that the "ball left the bat on a rising trajectory that fooled" Dalrymple, who "miscalculated the apex of the hit and dashed forward for what he mistook to be a sinking line drive." Latham had a strange series. He didn't play very well and managed, at the same time, to antagonize the Chicagos, their fans and some in the press. But he also had a couple of timely hits. If you based your opinion of Latham just on this series, you wouldn't think he was much of a player.

Richard Hershberger said...

Then there is the early use of "strike" where we would say "hit". I have seen people who should know better get confused by the Knickerbocker rules' use of "foul strike".