Friday, November 26, 2010

The 1887 World Series: Game One

After months of wordy arguments as to the relative strength of the Detroits and Browns, champions of the League and American Association respectively, the two teams at last came together on the ball field yesterday at Sportsman's Park to settle the much mooted question in actual battle. From yesterday's game it would seem that the local team is safe in its title of champions of the world. Still base-ball is a most treacherous game, and ere the sun has set to-night victory may have perched on the Wolverines' banner by even a more decisive score than yesterday's. A more unfavorable day for an athletic contest could not have been made to order than that which dawned upon St. Louis yesterday and which froze up the enthusiasm of the thousands of admirers of the national game. A drizzling rain fell all the forenoon and right up to the time the game was called, while a cold, piercing wind out of the north placed overcoats at a premium. But there was no open date to which the game might be postponed, and Manager Watkins and President Von der Ahe decided to play despite the elements. As soon as this determination was reached, the players were gathered and the parade took place as announced. The Browns wore their uniforms, while the Detroits rode around in their citizens' clothes. Players and managers alike were chilled to the marrow before the line of march had been covered. Notwithstanding the rain the crowd commenced to gather early at the park, and by 3 o'clock a large number had congregated to witness the sport. The stand was crowded, all the open seats to the north and west were jammed, and the fringe of seats around the fence of the park was also well filled. If the weather had been fine it is doubtful if the accommodations would have been sufficient for the multitude that would have gathered. It was an enthusiastic crowd, too, and most thoroughly impartial. When the Detroits came upon the field they were greeted with cheer after cheer, which did not subside until the visitors had dofted their caps. All through the game every good play they made was applauded, and they were forced to admit after the game that they had never met a more impartial crowd than the St. Louis audience. The visitors brought with them their pennant which flaunted triumphantly from the flagstaff in center field. The appearance of the Browns was the signal for a burst of applause which amounted almost to an ovation. The home boys looked very giddy in suits of bright blue, forming, with the brown hose, a very showy combination.

After considerable discussion as to the best method of choosing umpires, it was finally decided to use both Gaffney and Kelly, letting one man take care of the balls and strikes and the other the base decisions. This worked like a charm. Both men are rare judges of the fine points of the game, and but little kicking was indulged in, being a marked contrast to the Chicago games last fall, which were one continual wrangle from start to finish. Kelly and Gaffney alternated in their different positions, Kelly calling balls and strikes while the Leaguers were at the bat and Gaffney performing a similar service for the Browns.

Just where the honor of victory and the blame of defeat is to be laid it is hard to say. It is true that Richardson and Getzein made costly errors, but that did not affect the result, as the Browns earned 5 runs, thus fairly winning the victory. The play of the home team was simply magnificent, not being charged with an error of any kind, not even a wild pitch or a passed ball, and the game they put up would have beaten any ball team on earth. They batted Getzein, too, without effort, and succeeded in stealing a number of bases on Bennett, the "Nonpareil." But the credit of the victory probably belongs to Bob Caruthers, who gave as fine an exhibition of pitching as has ever been seen on the home grounds. The Wolverines were completely at his mercy and made but four safe hits off him, two of these being of the scratch order. Such was his effectiveness that but five of the visitors saw first base, and but one of them reached second, that one being Getzein, who made the visitors' solitary run. Bushong supported Caruthers in rare style. The fielding honors were taken by Bill Gleason, who accepted seven difficult chances in perfect style, assisting in two double plays. Bill is certainly playing the game of his life just now. Robinson, too did magnificent work, and the pair gave the greatest exhibition of infield work ever seen on the home grounds. The Browns' diamond was indeed a stone wall, as Comiskey and Latham played perfect games. The outfield had but little to do. Foutz made a brilliant capture from Dunlap's bat, and O'Neill and Welch played perfect games.

For the Detroits Getzein, the "Pretzel" pitcher, was in the box, and was hit hard. He was also very wild, sending four men to bases on balls, and keeping Bennett very busy behind the bat. Bennet caught in fine style and threw beautifully to bases. Rowe did some nice work at short, but marred his record with a bad fumble. Owing to Brouthers' injury, White played first base and Richardson went to third. The former did very well, but the latter was evidently not at home, as he made several costly errors. Dunlap, the ex-St. Louis Leaguer, played his old-time brilliant game. The others had but little to do. The sluggers' attempts to hit the ball were infantile in the extreme, Getzein appearing to be the only man who could do anything at all at the bat.

First inning-After Latham had made three strikes he drove a line ball to right for a base. On the second ball pitched he made a break for second, and as he landed safe on the bag the crowd cheered long and loud. This seemed to rattle Getzein, who sent Gleason to base on balls. All eyes were turned on Jim O'Neill, the champion batter, as he walked up to the plate. Getzein made a wild pitch, advancing each runner a base. "One strike," "two strikes," shouted Gaffney. "Three strikes," and the crowd groaned. The groan was changed to a cheer a moment latter as the great hitter drove a ball to center on which Latham crossed the plate. Comiskey flew out to White. Caruthers had four balls called on him before a strike. Then Getzein put two good balls over the plate. On the third the little pitcher lit on to the ball, and as it rolled into right Gleason crossed the plate and O'Neill went to second. Foutz hit in front of the plate, and died at first on Getzein's fine throw, O'Neill going to third and Caruthers to second. Both were left, however, as Welch hit to Getzein, and died at first. Kelly now went behind the bat to call balls and strikes, while Gaffney went back to second. Richardson, after three strikes, hit a high foul fly, which Bushong captured in great style right off the south side of the grand stand. Twitchell hit a grounder to Robinson, and died at first. Rowe hit past Caruthers, and Robinson, after a hard chase, captured the ball, fielding to first and ending the inning.

Second inning-Robinson demonstrated his well-known ability to wait, and went to first on balls. Bushong hit a foul fly to Bennett, and as Robinson had started for second he was doubled at first on Bennett's assist. Latham hit safe to left. Gleason was hit by a pitched ball. It was now the great slugger's turn to again distinguish himself, but he was unequal to the task, flying out to Dunlap and leaving Latham and Gleason. It was now Thompson the champion hitter's turn at the bat. He fully demonstrated League slugging ability by striking out. Deacon White hit a high fly which O'Neill captured. Dunlap, the old Maroon player, now stepped to the plate, and was greeted with cheers. He furnished Robinson with a grounder and died at first.

Third inning-Comiskey hit to Rowe, who fumbled, and the Browns' Captain landed safe at first. Caruthers flew out to Rowe. Comiskey made a great steal to second, making a long head slide. Foutz struck out. Welch ended the inning by hitting frantically at the air four times. Bennett hit the first ball pitched him to Gleason and was retired at first. Hanlon hit a difficult grounder to the Browns' short-stop and never reached first. Getzein went to first on balls, but Richardson flew out to Welch, ending the inning.

Fourth inning-Robinson started out by striking out, making the third successive man Getzein had retired in this manner. Bushong drove a beauty to center, Latham foul-tipped out, Gleason hit to Richardson, who threw wild to first and Gleason reached first, Bushong going to third. Once more did O'Neill have a chance to drive in runs, and again did he furnish Dunlap with an easy fly, ending the inning. Twitchell hit to Latham and never reached the initial bag. Rowe put a hot grounder to Robinson, and was thrown out at first. Thompson hit direct at Caruthers too hot to handle, and the tall fielder landed safe. He got no furthur, however, as White hit a line ball to left, which O'Neill gathered in.

Fifth inning-Comiskey bunted the ball and reached second on Getzein's throw over White's head. Caruthers bunted the ball to Richardson and beat it to first, Comiskey going to third. Caruthers stole second. There were now two men on bases and no one out and the chances for runs were very bright. Foutz drove a high fly to Thompson on which Comiskey scored and Caruthers went to third. Welch hit to Rowe, who fielded to Bennett and Caruthers was caught between the base lines, and after a lively chase run down, Welch going to third. Robinson then drove the ball into the left field seats for three bases and Welch scored. Bushong set the crowd wild with a drive to right, on which Robinson scored. Latham hit to Richardson, who threw the ball over White's head, and Bushong scored, Latham going to third. Gleason hit to Richardson, who really succeeded in throwing the ball accurately and retiring the side. Dunlap hit to Caruthers and died at first. Bennett hit to Gleason, who made a great one-hand stop and threw the runner out at first. Hanlon drove a difficult grounder to Gleason, who made another beautiful stop and throw, receiving rounds of applause for his clever work.

Sixth inning-O'Neill opened with a terrific drive to center for two bases. Comiskey reached first on balls, worrying the pretzel pitcher by several attempts to bunt the ball. Caruthers hit a fly ball between Rowe and Getzein and the bases were full. Foutz hit a hot grounder to Rowe, who forced O'Neill at the plate. Welch foul-tipped out. Robinson hit to Dunlap and died at first, and what had promised big results ended in blank. Getzein hit a beauty to left, making the third man that had reached first base for the Wolverines; Richardson flew out to Welch, Twitchell hit to Gleason, and Brother Bill was all there again, making a clean stop; the ball flew to Robinson, and thence to Comiskey, and a double play was the result, the crowd cheering loudly.

Seventh inning-Bushong went to first on balls. Latham hit to Rowe. The ball took an unlucky bound and the runner reached first in safety, Bushong going to second. Gleason hit a line ball to Dunlap, who fielded to second, completing a double play. O'Neill furnished Dunlap with his third fly ball. Rowe flew out to Latham, Thompson hit down to Robinson and was retired at first. White fouled out to Bushong.

Eighth inning-Comiskey flew out to Thompson, Caruthers hit to Getzein and was thrown out at first. Foutz hit a hot grounder to White, who fielded to Getzein who had covered to first. The latter muffed the ball, and the tall pitcher landed first. Welch hit to Getzein, who fielded him out at first, White making a splendid capture of the ball. Dunlap hit to the right-field, but Foutz went out and pulled down the sphere just as it was sailing into the seats. Bennett flew out to Gleason, and Hanlon followed suit to Latham.

Ninth inning-Robinson hit a high foul fly, which Twitchell captured. Bushong hit to Rowe and died at first. Latham hit a high fly, which fell into Twitchell's hands. It was now Detroit's last opportunity to save a shut-out, and they started out as though they were determined to score. Getzein drove a line ball to left for two bases. Richardson flew out to Foutz, Getzein reaching third on the play. Twitchell hit safe to right and Getzein crossed the plate. Row hit to Gleason, who then fielded to Comiskey, and a double was the result.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 11, 1887

This was the first of fifteen games St. Louis and Detroit would play in the 1887 series. At the moment, I'm unable to post the boxscore, due to some weird problems with Microsoft Word. Hopefully, I'll solve the problem and get the boxscores posted.

No comments: