Friday, December 31, 2010

The 1887 World Series: Winners Make Their Own Luck

President Von der Ahe, of the St. Louis Browns, was in a happy frame of mind this evening just prior to his departure for Boston with his champions. The genial Chris did not seem disheartened by the defeat of his pets at the hands of the Michigan sluggers, and he smiled good naturedly enough when Arlie Latham chipped: "Hard luck, boss, that's what done it this trip."
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 18, 1887

I think this is probably evidence enough that the clubs made decent money on the series. If Von der Ahe was in a good mood after his club just lost and was now down five games to two in the series, he had to be making money.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The 1887 World Series: An Unpleasant Pill

The Browns' friends in this city, particularly those who have manifested their confidence in the "World Beaters" by backing them with great regularity in all games of the series, up to date, and the countless ones who have some sort of a bet depending on the final result of the contest, gave up all hope of seeing the Association club win the world's championship, this year at least, after the result of yesterday's game. The cry of hippodrome has already been heard among the disappointed ones, who can not believe that the Browns have been beaten fairly, but the more sensible ones, and in most cases those who have lost big amounts on the home club's defeats, freely acknowledge that in the Detroits the Browns have met a superior club. It is rather an unpleasant pill for the St. Louis ball enthusiasts to swallow, but there can be no getting around the fact that the Detroits as a team of ball players are about as near perfection as can be. They have shown that their pitchers are better than the Browns', that they are harder hitters, and that they can run bases just as well. Their fielding has been more than twice as good as the Browns', and the superb catching of Bennett has never been equaled by Bushong, in this series at least. There are no good excuses for the Browns' defeats. They are in no way crippled by the loss of men, and all of the players are in about the same condition as they were weeks before the regular season closed. There are many who believe that they will yet pull up before the championship has been captured by the Detroits, but there is but little possibility of that. The lead is too great to be overcome now. Eight more games are yet to be played, and the Browns, to come out victorious, must win six of them.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 18, 1887

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The 1887 World Series: Game Seven

The Detroits and Browns arrived [in Philadelphia] this morning at 1:30 from New York. The train was sidetracked and all remained on the sleeping cars. The morning opened clear and warm, and a more perfect day for ball playing could not have been made to order. There was no wind, and for the first time during the trip people were able to enjoy the game without being wrapped up in heavy overcoats. The customary parade was done away with. Bill Gleason at his own request was laid off, and young Harry Lyons put at short. Bill has lost his nerve and asked for a few days' rest until he could recover his confidence. Dan Brouthers once more appeared upon the field in uniform and practiced for some time at first base, but was afraid to try his ankle in a game, and Ganzel was put on first. The game was scheduled to-day at the Philadelphia League grounds. The magnificent grand stand was crowded, while the open seats were comfortably filled, and it is estimated that there were fully 7000 people present. Gaffney called the balls and strikes while Kelly attended to the field decisions. The game was a repetition of most of the other games of the series. The Detroits outlucked the Browns and won by this means.

Horrible Bad Luck.

The Browns outplayed them at every point, both in the field and at the bat, and with but an ordinary share of luck would have easily won. As a spectator remarked after the game, "Well, the only luck the Browns had was in the last inning; when a bird did not obstruct O'Neill's home-run drive, forcing it to fall in Hanlon's hands." Every time the Browns hit the ball it was right at somebody, and even then it would bound just right, not even giving the fielder a chance to make an error on it. Lyons, who played in Gleason's place, played a magnificent game, and evidently has the making of a great ball player. He was not nervous a bit, and handled himself like a veteran. Caruthers pitched again, and did magnificently. In the four games he has pitched the Detroits have made just twenty-six hits off his delivery. Bushong caught well, except his fatal error of judgment in the Detroits' big inning. It is not often that Bushong makes an error of judgment, but he was off this time. Comiskey did good work at first, and drove a corker to right in the ninth inning. He could have scored on Caruthers' hit, leaving the score 3 to 2, but waited on third to give Caruthers a chance to run to second. Robinson also played great ball, although weak at the bat. Latham had but little to do and was unfortunate in baiting. O'Neill saved the Browns from a shut-out, knocking the ball over the center field fence for a home-run. It was one of the longest hits ever seen on the grounds. Welch did some good work in center, as did Foutz in right. The latter also batted well. Baldwin pitched for the Detroits, and, although hit very hard, was so lucky that, had he caught O'Neill's foul fly in the ninth, he would have shut the Browns out again. Bennett once more caught a great game, and cut the Browns off every time they attempted to steal on him. Ganzel played a good game at first, but was weak at the bat. Dunlap, of course, played well. He was loudly cheered throughout the game, he being a great favorite in Philadelphia. White kept up his grand work at third, and did some very opportune batting. Rowe also did good work. Richardson had but little to do in left, but attended to whatever came to him. Hanlon made a great catch from Bushong's bat in center, and he doubled Robinson at second. Thompson, besides playing well in the field, batted very hard, and in this contributed not a little to the victory. The crowd was thoroughly impartial and the umpiring good.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 18, 1887

I'm sorry guys but luck had nothing to do with this. Detroit beat the Browns for the fifth time in seven games and had completely shut down St. Louis' offense. That wasn't luck. That's just the best team winning. I guess bad luck is going to be the excuse for the Browns losing the series because I have something going up in a couple of days where Latham is quoted saying something along the same lines. But that's just weak sauce.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Theatre Comique

Manager Noxon [of the Theatre Comique] last evening gave a benefit to the Red Stocking Base Ball Club. An entire new programme was arranged and extra attractions provided. The celebrated Henri Family made their reappearance; also the famous song and dance men, Griffin and Rice...The friends of the scarlet-hosed young men mustered in good force.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, July 2, 1875

Monday, December 27, 2010

The 1887 World Series: The Eagle Comments On The Attendance

The first week's play of the world's championship series between the American champion team of St. Louis and the league champions of Detroit ended yesterday, the sixth contest being that then played at the Polo Grounds before about 6,000 people. The weather was far more favorable for a large attendance than it was the day before. Brooklyn has turned out the largest and the best crowd the rival teams have played before during the week except at St. Louis. There were not over 6,000 at Detroit, and not half that number at Pittsburg.
-Brooklyn Daily Eagle, October 16, 1887

The Eagle's attendance numbers are the lowest that I've seen for the series. Most of the reporting placed the attendance for the games at around 8000 but the Eagle has all of the games, except the ones in St. Louis, at 6000 or less. The usual caveats about 19th century attendance figures apply but these numbers more or less reflect the vibe that I've been getting while going through the newspapers. There just wasn't as much excitement about the 1887 series as there was the year before. And I think that's reflected in both the newspaper coverage and the attendance. Of course, they would have gotten better attendance, I would imagine, if they had just split the games between St. Louis and Detroit rather than taking the show on the road. The Arlie Latham Rolling Thunder Revue Tour was not, in retrospect, a great idea.

And with the mention of the Rolling Thunder Revue, cue Bob:

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The 1887 World Series: More On Game Six

The score in the series for the world's championship now stands: Detroit, 4; St. Louis, 2. In the record the two shut-outs of the association champions should add to the prestige of the league champions.

The game at the Polo grounds to-day was played under circumstances to impel the players to do their best work. The spectators who came only to see a good game of base ball, without friend or favor, numbered 10,000. They were not disappointed. They expected to see the St. Louis men make a closer fight than they did, but as they witnessed the splendid fielding exhibition of the Straits City club and the wonderful pitching of their Getzein, they could only admit that the victors were invincible, this day, and St. Louis must wait till some other day.

To Getzein belongs the principal record of the victory. His delivery was too much for the ordinarily clever batters in the opposing team. When it is considered that of the whole nine from St. Louis only two men made clean hits, and those in the last inning, it will be seen that Getzein was out as a pitcher, and got there.

On the other hand, Foutz was hit frequently and hard, and, while the Detroits earned six of their nine runs, the support Dave received at certain periods was discouraging. Even Bushong, the reliable, was away off in his throwing to bases, and Gleason and Robinson, though the latter did generally good work, made mistakes that saddened the crowd, as well as Foutz. Funny Latham was funnier than usual. He made several remarks that caused the crowd to laugh, and once when he urged Bushong to "throw the ball to second, with smoke on it," even Foutz had to smile.
-The Daily Inter Ocean, October 16, 1887

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and gets to spend time with their family, friends and loved ones. Merry Christmas to all.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The 1887 World Series: Gunplay In The Grand Stands

During the progress of the Detroit-St. Louis base ball game at the Polo grounds this afternoon, a commotion was created by the discharge of a revolver in the grand stand. Mr. Fred Davis, brother-in-law of Mr. John B. Day, President of the New York Club, recently purchased a revolver of Messrs. A.G. Spalding & Brother. He was rather proud of the weapon and has a permit to carry it. Mr. Curtis, the business manager of Spalding Brothers' New York house, was examining the dangerous plaything in the rear of the grand stand, and not knowing it was loaded, pulled the trigger, the bullet so injuring the first finger of his left hand that it had to be amputated to-night.
-The Daily Inter Ocean, October 16, 1887

There's a joke to be made here about New York baseball fans and guns but, in honor of the Christmas spirit, I will pass.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The 1887 World Series: Not Discouraged As Yet

The sixth game of the championship series has been played, and Detroit has won four to the Browns two. The chief weakness of the Browns, so far, has been at the bat. O'Neill has an average of less than .300, and Caruthers leads with .347. In fielding, too, the team average is only .906. Then, too, they have but one pitcher who can fool Detroit, that one being Caruthers. Caruthers is certainly playing a great game, batting and pitching as he never has before. Gleason has been playing a very poor game, and it is probable that he will be laid off Monday, Lyons being put at third and Latham at short. The dude is playing great ball and is the favorite of the audiences in whatever city he visits. His chatter keeps every one in a good humor. The Browns are not discouraged as yet, and trust to pull out ahead. Caruthers will pitch again Monday, and may go in Tuesday if his arm is all right. The Browns occupied a box at the Academy of Music to-night. They play in Brooklyn to-morrow, and leave to-morrow night for Philadelphia.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 16, 1887

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The 1887 World Series: Game Six

To-day opened cool but clear, and was much better for ball-playing than yesterday, the strong wind having died away, making it much more comfortable. The players awoke much refreshed after their first night's rest in a hotel since leaving St. Louis. The game to-day was scheduled for the Polo grounds up in Harlem. When time for the game there were probably 8000 people on the grounds. The audience was thoroughly impartial, in fact, if anything, were in favor of the Browns. The reason of this was probably that the crowd wished the Browns would defeat a team which had wiped up the diamond with their favorite Giants. The story of defeat is told in a few words. The Detroits killed Foutz, and the Browns were at the mercy of Getzein. The "Pretzel" pitched the game of his life. Up to the ninth inning the Browns had not made a safe hit off him. In the ninth they made three clean hits, but they availed nothing and the St. Louis champions were forced to yield by the ignominious score of 9 to 0. Bennett caught his sixth game and again did perfect work. He was injured early in the game, but p luckily played right through to the close. Ganzel did some clever fielding and some hard batting. The Detroits have not lost much by Brouthers' injury. Dunlap again played a perfect game, making some great stops and throws. White played his same steady, reliable game, as did Rowe. Richardson did some fine work in left field and was a perfect terror at the bat, his three-base hit being a line drive over O'Neill's head. Thompson and Hanlon also played perfect games.

Play Of The Home Team.

For the Browns Foutz pitched, and was hit very hard, especially in the first two innings, when the Detroits seemed to hit him without trouble. Bushong caught well but could not throw, the Detroits stealing bases on him at will. The long start Foutz allowed them, however, may have accounted for that. Comiskey played good ball at first, and made one of the hits credited to his side. Robinson, although charged with an error, did some great work, some of his stops being marvelous. Latham, as usual, played perfectly and batted splendidly. The Dude is playing the game of his life just now, hitting, fielding and running bases in a style that captures the audience at once. To-day he was the favorite of the crowd, and kept everybody in a good humor. Bill Gleason continues very weak, making three errors to-day. He is not hitting a bit, either. O'Neill did some grand work in left field and is playing the greatest games of his career, although he is not hitting in his best form, however. Welch had but little to do. Caruthers played a perfect game, taking several difficult flies. Kelley called the balls and strikes to-day and Gaffney attended to the field.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 16, 1887

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The 1887 World Series: The Scene In St. Louis

Probably no sporting event in the history of St. Louis ever created so much interest as the present series of games for the world's championship between the Browns and Detroits, and it is extremely doubtful if any event outside of the sporting world that has occurred in this city for a long time past has aroused such a display of enthusiasm and caused so many heated discussions and arguments. For the past week, and even longer, the games have been the leading topic of two-thirds of the male population of the city. The relative merits of the two teams, the result of each contest and the probable outcome of the series have been discussed on the street, and almost everywhere else. The atmosphere in restaurants and hotels during meal hours has been thick enough with base-ball talk to cut and to walk a whole bloc any time during the day or evening in the central part of the city without hearing some mention made of either the Browns or their opponents is an experience which but few have had during the past seven days. The interest taken in the series played between the St. Louis and Chicago clubs last year was thought to be great but it was not a marker compared to the games of the present. All the afternoon, from long before the game commenced until the result of the last inning was made wherever bulletins giving information about the contests were posted.

Watching The Score.

At large establishments where many persons are employed contributions were made to defray the expenses of messenger boys to watch the bulletin board and report to them the progress of the game and office boys of business men were utilized for the same purpose. The principal queries for that went over the telephone wires in the afternoon were "What's the score?" and "How did the game end?" and "Who pitched?" and others of similar nature. The places where this information could be obtained made the persons who were compelled to listen to the almost constant ringing of the telephone, and answer questions of which the above are fair samples, feel like throwing the instrument into the street. Differences of opinion as to the merits of the two teams also have been the cause of any number of quarrels, and in some of them the dispute has been settled by the aid of fists. The best idea, though, of the interest taken in the games, is obtained from the enormous amount of money bet on the results. The amount that has already changed hands on the games played to date is placed at $150,000, and the sum wagered on the result of the series will reach $200,000. These figures are not at all exaggerated, but, if anything, they are not large enough. The business of the pool-rooms for the week just past has never been equaled. Nine-tenths of the betting, too has been done by persons who seldom speculate in this way, and who rarely frequent pool-rooms. The alleys where the rooms are located have seen many new faces, faces that will probably not be seen there again for a long time to come. The crowd that congregated in these places gave them a tone of respectability that is not found in the people who usually haunt them, and the roughs, toughs and broken-down sports were noticeably scarce. Bankers and bankers' clerks, prominent men in business of all kinds, members of 'Change and members of the School Board, lawyers, politicians, doctors and well-known and respectable men engaged in all professions might be enumerated in the list of speculators.

A Youthful Gambler.

An incident which illustrates the range of the betting occurred in one of the base-ball exchanges Friday afternoon. Just before the game commenced, a bright-looking, well-dressed boy, about 9 years old, elbowed his way through the crowd to where the auctioneer was busily engaged selling pools, and, drawing from his pocket a new, crisp $100 bill, held it up to the pool-seller and announced that he wanted to put it on the Browns. He was handed a card with $100 to $80 written on it, and as the little fellow made his way out of the room the Browns enthusiasts gave him three rousing cheers, and some of them put him on their shoulders and carried him safely to the sidewalk. He explained that he had been "saving up" for a long time for the purpose of betting on this series, and that the amount of his "bank" had been increased to $100 by liberal contributions from his father and mother.

Very few bets of less than $8 or $10 have been made at any of the pool-rooms during the week, and from that they run up as high as $1500 and $3000. The betting, though, has by no means been confined to the pool-rooms. In fact, many are inclined to believe that more wagers were made outside than those effected with the assistance of a pool-seller, and that they would amount to more. But few of the big bets are heard of outside of the persons making the compact and their immediate friends, but some of the more peculiar ones are bound to leak out. The story is told, on very good authority, that a certain base-ball "crank" living in the western suburbs, who swears by the Browns, having no ready cash to back them with, wagered his house and lot against $1500, the latter furnished by a sporting man, who too the Detroit end of the bet. A horse and buggy, the value of which is placed at $500, owned by a clerk in a large wholesale establishment on Washington avenue, are known to have been wagered against real estate amounting to $700 that the series would be won by the Association champions. The real estate was bet by a prominent agent on Chestnut street. Pianos, furniture and almost everything else has been wagered, and the number of hats and cigars depending on the result of the contest are countless. In fact, it is doubtful if there is a person in the city who knows anything about the national sport at all who has not made a bet of some kind on the outcome of the struggle. Neither has the betting been confined to the results of games or the series, and any number of wagers as to which team would make the most hits, what player would score the greatest number of runs, and any amount of similar bets, have been recorded.

Individual Players.

The following odds are offered by a local base-ball exchange as to which player places the most runs to his credit during the series: 5 to 2 Richardson, 5 to 2 Dunlap, 10 to 2 Twitchell, 12 to 2 Ganzel, 12 to 2 Getzein, 6 to 2 Bennett, 7 to 5 Thompson, 6 to 2 Rowe, 10 to 2 White, 10 to 2 Brouthers, 14 to 2 Conway, 25 to 2 Baldwin, 8 to 2 Hanlon, 100 to 2 Beatin, 100 to 2 Gruber, 10 to 2 Gleason, 8 to 2 Robinson, 6 to 2 Comiskey, 15 to 2 Welch, 7 to 5 O'Neill, 4 to 2 Latham, 20 to 2 Boyle, 15 to 1 Bushong, 10 to 2 Foutz, 5 to 2 Caruthers, 40 to 2 Hudson, 100 to 2 Knouff, 100 to 2 King, 200 to 2 Lyons. Richardson, Dunlap, Ganzel, Bennett and Rowe have been backed the heaviest on the Detroit side, and Comiskey, O'Neill, Latham and Caruthers have been favored with the Largest amount on the Browns side.

The betting on the result of the games thus far played has, on the average, been about even. On Monday's game the odds were $10 to $8 on the Browns; on Tuesday, $10 to $9 on the Browns; on Wednesday, $10 to $8 on the Detorits; on Thursday, $10 to 9 on the Detroits; on Friday, $10 to 8 on the Browns, and yesterday, $10 to $9 on the Browns.

Local Disappointment.

The Browns enthusiasts have been not a little disappointed at the performances of the champions thus far in their contests with the League giants. There were any number of people in the city who really believed that the Association cracks were simply invincible. Their comparatively easy defeat of the Chicagos last fall, and their walk-over for the Association pennant this season led many to believe that they would have no difficulty in again capturing the world's championship. They put up their money firmly convinced that it could not be lost, but the result of the series up to the present time has made them feel rather uncertain as to its safety. The most devoted admirers of the Browns are bound to acknowledge that they have met their match in the Detroits, and if they win the present series they will have played their very best to do so. Any one who believes that the Detroits are not a good team of ballplayers is very sadly mistaken. They have up to the present time demonstrated the fact that they can hit harder than the Browns, that their pitchers are just as strong and that their general team playing is just as good.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 16, 1887

Again, I just love the stuff about the goings-on in the pool-rooms. After doing a little looking around, I found that there were pool-rooms in St. Louis in the 1840s and there were some still open in the early 1900s. So the pool-rooms predated baseball in St. Louis and they're very much a part of the story of 19th century St. Louis baseball. There's a really nice tale to be told about gambling, baseball and pool-rooms in St. Louis if I ever found the time to write it up.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The 1887 World Series: The Scene In Brooklyn

The Brooklyn base ball grounds this afternoon were crowded with hucksters and enculars of all kinds, and the scene was not unlike that around a large country circus. When the champion ball clubs drove up in their carriages they were looked upon as patriarchs of the country. Returning veterans from a successful war never met with a more enthusiastic ovation. By 11 o'clock today all the seats on the grand stand were sold, and still applications came in. At 1 o'clock a long line extended up and down fifth avenue and much shoving and pushing was indulged in...

A line of carriages fringed the back of the grounds and off in the distance trees and electric light poles bore a freightage of men and boys. Mayor Whitney, Police Commissioner Carroll and all the city officials of Brooklyn were on hand. Many a ball lover from the Polo grounds was also there and made comparisons...
-Boston Daily Globe, October 15, 1887

It was an overcoat day at Washington Park yesterday when the St. Louis Association champions met the Detroits, the boss team of the league...A shivering crowd of between 8,000 and 9,000 men sat on the grand and free stands and warmed themselves ever and anon by trampling their feet all together in a way that sounded like 100 mills at work. There were a score of St. Louis men along and about the same number of Detroiters, including newspaper men who are watching every play made by their home teams, ready to prove jealously on the faintest indication that any of the boys are not trying to win. Very few ladies looked on and the bar patronage did not amount to so much as was expected. People were too cold to drink beer. A wind came over Red Hook that made the stoutest pair of whiskers in the field shiver like prairie grass...

The boys in the trees outside the ground had the hardest time of any spectators. Some of them got into the branches at 1 o'clock and waited there till the last ball was pitched...The trees ought to be cut down before some of the boys break their necks. They crowded the branches in a very foolhardy manner yesterday. Many swarmed up the telegraph poles and sat on cross pieces...

The players wore heavy flannels and needed them...
-Brooklyn Daily Eagle, October 15, 1887

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The 1887 World Series: A Hustler From Way Back

George Munson, secretary of the St. Louis ball club, made a flying visit to Boston yesterday to look after some of the details of the great game on the Union grounds next Tuesday in the world's championship series. Mr. Munson, who is acting as advance agent for the club, is known the country over as Von der Ahe's right bower. George is a hustler from way back and is noted for the great amount of work he can accomplish in a short space of time.

Secretary Munson went over to the Union grounds with Superintendent Murnan and inspected the arrangements in progress for the game. The grounds have been greatly improved. All the bad places have been filled up and rolled. The catcher's territory has been evened up by filling in the bicycle track with loam and is in excellent condition. The approaches to each base have been covered with loam and clay and well rolled to permit of all the sliding that either the Browns or Detroits may want to attempt. The seats and grand stand have been repaired and strengthened. Mr. Munson was very much pleased with the condition of the grounds. He said he anticipated an enormous crowd if the advance sale of tickets indicated anything. "Whether there are 10 men or 10,000," said Mr. Munson, "they will see some wonderful ball playing. Your cranks here talk about Johnson being the greatest centre fielder. I'll admit he's a good one, but your Johnson shouters have never seen Curt Welch. Out in St. Louis they thing the equal of Welch doesn't exist and they are pretty near right. Welch covers the whole diamond. As an actual fact he has been known to put a man out at third base. The Browns play altogether different ball from the league clubs you have had in Boston, and whether they win or lose, their style will be a revelation to Boston cranks."

Mr. Munson returned to New York last night and will go to Philadelphia tomorrow to arrange the details of Monday's game in that city.
-Boston Daily Globe, October 15, 1887

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The 1887 World Series: More On Game Five

The first game in the east for the world's championship between the Detroit and St. Louis clubs was played at Washington park, Brooklyn, to-day. There were 10,100 spectators. The weather was very chilly. When the teams appeared on the field they received the welcome and enthusiastic plaudits in turn, although it looked as though the people rather favored the league team. As the Brooklyn is an association club this sign could not be accounted for, except in explanation that perhaps the townsmen were not altogether pleased that the St. Louis men should have attained such a pronounced lead in the race with their fellows. The spectators were not altogether satisfied, for the game in a large majority of innings was of the mechanical order. If ever the term "it was a pitcher's battle" could be appropriately used it was in regard to to-day's game. The fielding errors are so unimportant that of the seven runs made six were earned. The one error that counted was made by Deacon white in the seventh inning.
-Galveston Daily News, October 15, 1887

Friday, December 17, 2010

The 1887 World Series: Audacity And Pure Cheek

"Whoap! Get up, Bill!-That's the way, Bob, let loose on them!-Whoa!-All pull together now, boys!-Now, Robbie, keep your eyes open!-Make 'em dance-that's it, whoa!-Look out for Mr. White, boys!-Whoap!-Doctor, line it out!-That's right, Bush, I'll bring you around, old man!-Take your time, Charley, only tire yourself out!-Whoa!" Thus chattered the exuberant third baseman of the Browns during the whole of yesterday's memorable contest. There is a blending of audacity and pure cheek in Latham's performance that amuses the crowd for a few innings and then makes it weary.-[Detroit Free Press.]
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 15, 1887

I think that Latham's act has now been mentioned in the coverage of all the world series that the Browns were involved in. We'll see about 1888. I also think that the coverage in all of the series was pretty much the same: the act is amusing for a short period but gets old quick. If this is an accurate portrayal of Latham's act, I think that's a fair point.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The 1887 World Series: Game Five

The Browns and Detroits arrived at Jersey Cit at 9 o'clock this morning. After breakfast on the train they proceeded to New York and the Browns registered at the Grand Central Hotel. This is the first time the teams have vacated the train since leaving St. Louis, and the change was welcomed by all. The Detroits registered at the Victoria. After dinner the teams were driven in hacks over the Brooklyn bridge to Washington Park, Brooklyn, where to-day's game was scheduled to be played. At the grounds an animated scene presented itself. The Brooklyn grounds are built in a hollow, the banks on the sides running up 25 feet. The grand stand was packed and jammed, while many had taken a position on the hills, and from back of the plate a perfect sea of human faces presented itself. There were fully 8,000 people on the grounds. Many notables, too, were present, including Mayor Daniel G. Whitney, of Brooklyn, with his Secretary. A pleasing feature too was the large number of ladies who attended, it being estimated that there were fully 2,000 of the fair sex on the grounds. When the two teams were driven into the park they were received with cheers. During the progress of the game it was hard to tell which team was the favorite of the crowd, each having a number of friends on the grounds. Toward the close the Browns' pretty work caught the crowd, and as they drove away from the grounds they were vociferously cheered. The umpires were changed again, Gaffney going behind the bat and Kelly calling the field decisions. Both were thoroughly impartial. The Browns' played ball in their old style and put up the game which has given them the title of world's champions.

Regaining Confidence.

Notwithstanding their recent defeats, they were not discouraged, but played seemingly with more vim and dash than ever, seeming determined to even matters up if possible. Hitherto they have been afraid to attempt to steal bases on Bennett. Before the game Latham said: "Well, we will show him that he can't throw me out." He was true to his promise. In the first inning he made a break on the first ball pitched and landed safe on second. When he stole third the spell was broken and Bennett was a terror no longer. Whenever the Browns reached first they broke for second, and not a man was put out. It is true that a strong wind interfered with throwing but the Browns have regained their confidence and will keep the Detroits' backstop busy in the future. They could not hit Conway, and won simply on their base-running. Bob Caruthers went into the box again, and once more proved what a terror he is to the Detroit sluggers. They hit him freely, but not safely, to-day, and their base-hit column looks rather deserted. In the three games Caruthers has pitched the Detroits have made just nineteen hits, and one of the games has thirteen innings, too. Boyle caught a splendid game, and threw decidedly better than Bennett. Once he caught Hanlon, Detroit's fast runner, 10 feet off second, on an attempt to steal on him. It was a great test for a young player, but Jack stood it bravely. Latham, as usual, kept the crowd in a roar by his antics, but he played ball as though his life depended on winning, and a large share of the credit of the victory belongs to him. He stole three bases on Bennett-twice to second and once to third. O'Neill played a great game in left, and did some very opportune batting, driving in 3 of the 5 runs made. Welch, in center, did some clever work in the field, too, and his two-base hit to left, on which Caruthers and Foutz scored, virtually decided the contest. Foutz had but little to do in the field and batted well. Gleason was again weak in the field, but made several neat plays. Bill is not playing his best ball just now. Robinson handled everything that came his way, without an error of any kind, and his double plays elicited great applause. While Comisky did nothing of particular brilliancy in the field or at the bat, he handled his men in perfect style, and they did not make a mistake of any kind.

The Detroits' Play.

For Detroit, Conway was very effective, but marred his work by his fatal wildness; thus, in the first inning he hit Gleason and sent Latham to base on balls, and both men scored. After that he was almost invulnerable. Bennett caught his same reliable game, and while his throwing was bad he had the wind to contend against. Ganzel played well at first, but marred his record by a bad muff. The error, however, cost nothing. Dunlap carried off the honors, both at the bat and in the field, for the Wolverines. His fielding was clever, sharp and accurate, and his batting was first-class. Rowe played a perfect game at short, although most of his plays were easy balls to handle. White, who has been playing the game of his life this series, made a couple of blunders, but put up a good game for all that. The outfield had but little to do, but did that well.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 15, 1887

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The 1887 World Series: More On Game Four

Detroit won the fourth game of the world's championship series, played [in Pittsburgh] to-day. Three thousand people were present. The victory was an easy one for the League champions, who nevertheless played a wonderful game, shutting St. Louis out. King pitched for the Browns and was batted very freely from the start, Detroit scoring four runs in the first inning. St. Louis made only two hits off Baldwin. Magnificent fielding cut off many hits of the Browns. In the first inning, Richardson's liner to left passed O'Neil and he made second. Gansell and Rowe went out, but Thompson hit past Robinson for a double and Richardson scored. Dunlap made a one bagger and stole second, and on Bennet's single to left White and Dunlap scored. Hanlon's out retired the side.

For the Browns Foutz struck out and Gleason died on first, and O'Neil hit safe past Dunlap. Comisky struck out.

Detroit scored again in the second on an out, a passed ball and a wild throw of Gleason; in the fifth on Dunlap's three bagger and an out, and twice in the sixth on an error of Gleason, a steal, a three bagger by Rowe, a passed ball and Thompson's single.

The Browns got only one man as far as third, Bushong in the fifth inning. The fielding of White, Dunlap and Rowe and Thompson's batting were the features of the game.
-Atchison Daily Champion, October 14, 1887

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The 1887 World Series: Game Four

The Browns and Detroits arrived [in Pittsburgh] this morning at 9 o'clock on their special train. A more perfect day for ball playing could not have been made to order, and it was really the first day the two teams have had for their great contest on which it was fit to play ball. The cold, cloudy weather experienced at Detroit was succeeded by a clear, bright day, and it was just warm enough to make it pleasant alike for players and spectators. After breakfast on the dining-car, the two teams were driven around town in hacks, and were warmly received. The great game of the day before at Detroit had served to awaken the greatest enthusiasm, and nothing was talked of in sporting circles except the ball game. There was but little betting, however, and that at odds of 10 to 8 on Detroit. The game was advertised to be called at 3:15, and before 2 o'clock the crowd commenced to come into the grounds, and from that time on a steady stream of men, women and children filed into the gates until there were fully 6,000 on the grounds when the game was called. The Pittsburg grounds are by no means pretty or smooth. The diamond is skimmed; that is, made of packed clay rolled very hard without a blade of grass on it. A ball comes off the ground like a cannon shot. The outfield is also very rough. A number of Detroit people attended to-day's game, several of the Directors of the Detroit club, with their wives, having come over on the special train. It was intended to play Brouthers on first, and he was on the field in uniform, but his ankle was still so sore that Ganzel was substituted. Kelly called the strikes and balls, while Gaffney took care of the field decisions. The game was devoid of interest after the first inning, when the Detroits took a commanding lead. They started on King in a vicious manner and kept the Browns' players busy chasing leather throughout the game. Bushong was very unsteady throughout the game and seemed bothered considerably in handling King's speedy delivery. Comiskey played perfectly at first, taking some wild balls without an error of any kind. Robinson carried off the fielding honors, his error being of a very difficult ball back of second. Latham, who is a great favorite in Pittsburg, kept the crowd in a roar by his antics. He did some very clever work in the field also. O'Neill, Welch and Foutz also played well. Gleason was very weak at short, making several inexcusable errors. The Detroits played a marvelous game in the field and batted hard and opportunely. Baldwin was the hero of the day. He held the Browns down to two clean hits, giving three of them bases on balls. The world's champions were completely at his mercy. Bennett accorded him perfect support. Rowe, at short, played great ball, as did White at third. The Deacon is evidently good for a number of years yet. Dunlap batted well and fielded his part in fine style. Thompson carried off the honors at the bat, seeming to hit King without trouble. The game was too one-sided to be interesting. Unless the Browns brace up at the bat they can not hope to cope with the Leaguers, as the Wolverines' work thus far has been marvelous, and unless they let down it will be hard work winning games from them.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 14, 1887

Detroit scored four two-out runs in the first, with Thompson and Bennett getting the big hits, and the game was basically over. The Globe already saw the writing on the wall. After splitting in St. Louis and winning their home game, Detroit would win five of the first six touring games. The whole series was almost as uncompetitive as this game.

This brings up an interesting question: How good was this Detroit team? The Browns were a very good club and had proven that they could handle the League's best. Detroit crushed them in a fifteen game series without Dan Brouthers. The 1886-1887 Detroit Wolverines had Brouthers, Thompson, Richardson, White, Hanlon, Dunlop, Bennett and Rowe. Brouthers, Thompson and Hanlon are Hall of Famers and you could make the argument that Dunlop, Richardson, Rowe and White also belong in the Hall of Fame. That club was loaded. But it seems to me that they've been forgotten.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The 1887 World Series: Arguing Over A Fallacy

The situation summed up is this: The Browns have beaten Chicago, Chicago has beaten Detroit, hence the Browns should beat the Detroits.-[St. Louis Globe-Democrat.] You are away off. Clarkson beat Detroit. Have you a Clarkson?-[Detroit Free Press.] No, but St. Louis has a Foutz and a Caruthers and a Hudson.-[Philadelphia Press.]
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 13, 1887

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The 1887 World Series: Game Three Betting

The betting in this city on the result of the game was about the heaviest thus far of the week, and the amount transferred on the result is placed at $10,000, a very low estimate. All the afternoon the pool rooms were crowded with speculators, and bets were registered about as fast as the clerks could pencil them down. There was an abundance of both Brown and Detroit money, the backers of both teams being unusually confident. The wagers in most cases, too, were large ones. Neither side felt justified in giving any odds, and neither club was made very much of a favorite at any time during the day. The fact that the Leaguers were playing on their own grounds advanced their stock slightly but scarcely any bets other than at evens were recorded. The betting on the result of the series yesterday was also quite brisk, and in these wagers the Detroits were favored, their backers being willing to give odds of $10 to $7. Among the big bets on the series yesterday were $1000 to $800, $500 to $400, $250 to $200, all in favor of the Detroits. The betting on the result of the innings was also heavy, the odds being $5 to $4 and $5 to $3 that they wouldn't score.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 13, 1887

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The 1887 World Series: The Chump Variety

It took thirteen innings to decide the third game between the Detroits and St. Louis for the world's championship, and Detroit won it through wretched fielding on the part of the visitors. The Browns secured sixteen hits off Getzein, but for the most part they were badly scattered, the only run being scored on a play of the chump variety. Caruthers was remarkably effective, holding the Wolverines down to six actual hits and a base on balls. For the visitors, in the second, Comiskey and Caruthers hit safely, Foutz and Welch flew out, Comiskey scoring on Robinson's high fly back of second, which could have been caught by Dunlap or Rowe, but neither made the attempt. The Detroits tied the game in the eighth. After two men had been put out Ganzel reached first on Caruthers' wild throw. Rowe hit half way to Caruthers and beat the ball to first. Ganzel kept on toward third and scored on Comiskey's low throw to Latham. In the thirteenth Getzein hit for a single and went to second and third on two outs. Rowe hit to Robinson, but Comiskey muffed the throw and Getzein scored the winning run. Attendance between 7,000 and 8,000.
-Atchison Daily Champion, October 13, 1887

Friday, December 10, 2010

The 1887 World Series: Game Three

The Detroits and Browns arrived over the Vandalia this morning from St. Louis on a special train, having made the run from St. Louis in fifteen hours. The day opened cold but clear, and with a brisk wind out of the north that made overcoats rather a welcome article of apparel. There were but few people to welcome the champions at the train, the crowd being confined principally to urchins and depot loungers. The morning was spent by the Browns in wandering about the city, taking in the sights. Towards afternoon the weather clouded considerably, which made it all the colder. After dinner on the dining-car the two teams dressed on the train and were driven to the grounds in hacks, preceded by a brass band. The crowd commenced to gather early, and when the two teams reached the grounds they were welcomed by 7000 people. It was the Browns' first appearance in Detroit, and they were enthusiastically received as they stepped on the field. The audience was thoroughly impartial throughout, and those present will long have cause to remember the struggle as one of the grandest ever fought on a ball field. It was, indeed, a meeting of champion club and they played almost perfect base ball. The final score should have been 1 to 0 in favor of St. Louis but for Kelly's questionable decision in deciding Ganzel safe, he finally making the winning runs. It was unfortunate that both the Detroits' runs were given them on Comiskey's errors-first his wild throw and then his muff. The Browns' captain feels very sore to-night over his errors. Latham set the crowd wild with his coaching, and he was the favorite of the day. He played a magnificent game, too, both at the bat and in the field. Caruthers' work in the box was the feature of the game, the Wolverines being able to get but seven hits off him in thirteen innings. Bushong caught him in perfect style. Getzein was hit freely, but was effective at critical points. Bennett supported him in magnificent style. Deacon White took the honors for the Detroits, doing some wonderful work at third. He also batted well. The work on both sides was so near perfect that individual praise is hardly merited. The Browns could have won a dozen times by one safe hit, but it was not forthcoming. An urchin came very near explaining the cause of defeat. As the Browns drove out of the gate he yelled: "Seventeen hits and one run. Where are your base runners!" Gaffney called the ball and strikes to-day and Kelly the field decisions.

The Game.

First inning-Detroit took the field. As Latham walked up to the plate, cries of "hit it, Arlie," showed that the Browns' third-baseman's fame had traveled even to the far North. The dude waited patiently, and as a reward, was presented with a base on balls. Gleason hit to Dunlap and was thrown out at first. Latham attempted to reach third on the play, but Ganzel's quick throw caught him, and the crowd cheered loudly. O'Neill ended the inning by flying out to Hanlon. Richardson hit to Latham, who threw very wild to Comiskey, but the Browns' captain reached the ball after an effort, receiving some slight applause. Ganzel hit to Comiskey and was retired at first. Rowe hit a sharp one to Richardson and died at first.

Second inning-Comiskey hit the first ball pitched him past Getzein, and as the sphere rolled into center, the Browns' captain trotted to first. Caruthers hit safe to right, and Comiskey went to second. Foutz flew out to Richardson. Welch flew out to Hanlon. Robinson now stepped to the front and hit a high fly which dropped between Hanlon and Dunlup, and Comiskey scored, Caruthers going to second. Robinson stole second. Bushong hit to White, who touched Robinson, making the third man out. Thompson was loudly cheered as he stepped up to the plate. Caruthers pitched three bad balls and then shot two good ones over the plate. On the third Thompson drove a hard ball to left, which O'Neill captured in fine style. White knocked a pop fly which Robinson gathered in. Dunlap hit to Robinson, and retired the side on the latter's assist.

Latham's Amusing Antics.

Third inning-Latham kept the crowd in a roar by his antics at the bat. Finally he changed the laugh to a cheer by driving a line ball to left for a base. Gleason hit to White, who doubled Latham at second, the batter reaching first on the play. O'Neill flew out to Dunlap. Comiskey flew out to White, leaving Gleason on first. Bennett hit a high fly which Welch gathered in his usual easy style. Hanlon hit a high fly which Latham captured. Getzein set the crowd wild by making the first hit scored by the Wolverines. Getzein stole second. Richardson hit a hot one at Caruthers, who fielded the batter out at first, leaving Getzein on second.

Fourth inning-Caruthers hit a hot one at Getzein, who made a clever one-hand stop and threw the batter out at first. Foutz flew out to Dunlap. Welch hit to Deacon White and retired the side on the latter's assist. Ganzel hit a corker to right and the ball got away from Foutz. Before the lean pitcher had recovered the sphere Ganzel had reached third. Rowe flew out to O'Neill, and the crowd groaned. Thompson hit a foul fly which Latham took after a hard run and the Detroits stock fell like lead. "Bring in Jim," shouted Hanlon from the coacher's box, as Deacon White stalked up to the plate, but Jim was unable to save his side, hitting to Latham and going out at first.

Robinson Gets His Base.

Fifth inning-Robinson once more demonstrated that he is a waiter and went to first on five balls. He was thrown out trying to steal second. Getzein continued very wild and Bushong went to first on Balls. Latham hit to White and Bushong was doubled at second. Latham made a great steal of second. Gleason hit an easy bounder to Rowe and died at first, leaving Latham on second. Dunlap hit to Comiskey and died at first. Bennett went to first on balls, Caruthers being unsteady for the first time during the game. Hanlon hit the first ball pitched to right for a base, Bennett going to second. Getzein, who had been hitting Caruthers very hard, struck out, and the Browns' stock went up. Richardson hit to Caruthers, who made a great one-hand stop and threw the batter out at first.

Sixth inning-O'Neill again hit the ball into the air, this time to Hanlon, and sat down. Comiskey hit to center for a base and reached second on Hanlon's wild return to Dunlap. Caruthers foul tipped out. Foutz hit a hard line ball to Thompson, leaving Comiskey on second. The excitement now became intense, and every play was watched with the most intense interest. Ganzel hit to Robinson and was retired at first. Rowe hit an easy ball between Caruthers and Gleason, and reached first amidst the greatest enthusiasm. Thompson drove a terrific ball to Foutz, and Dave this time gathered it in. Rowe stole second. White again had a chance to tie the score, and for the second time retired his side on an easy hit to Caruthers.

Welch Left On Second.

Seventh inning-Welch hit a hard ball along the left foul-line for a couple of bases. Robinson flew out to Dunlap, and Bushong followed suit to Rowe, and everything now depended on Latham. The dude bunted the ball and was thrown out on a very close play, the ball just beating him to first, White making the assist. Dunlap hit a hot one to Gleason, and was thrown out at first. Bennett hit a hard ball at Latham, and was unable to reach the initial bag. Hanlon attempted to bunt the ball, but was thrown out by Caruthers.

Eighth inning-Brother Bill led off with a corker to center for a base. O'Neill advanced him to second on an easy hit to White, on which the batter was thrown out. Comiskey hit to Getzein and was thrown out at first, but Gleason reached third on the play. Caruthers hit a hot one to Gunzel and was retired at first. "Kill it, Getz," shouted the crowd to Detroit's pitcher, as he stepped up to the plate, but Getz, after four frantic attempts to hit the ball, sat down. Richardson was unable to do any better, and although Bushong muffed the fourth strike, he threw the latter out at first. Ganzel hit to Caruthers, who threw wild to first and the batter was safe, the decision being very questionable. This was a chance and the crowd yelled. Rowe bunted the ball and beat it to first. Ganzel started for third, and as Comiskey threw wild the runner crossed the plate with the coveted run. The scene at this point beggers description. Hats, umbrellas and canes were thrown in the air, the owners seeming to care little what became of them. When the enthusiasm had subsided Thompson flew out to Latham, ending the trouble.

White's Wonderful Work.

Ninth inning-Foutz hit to Rowe and died at first. Brown Stocking enthusiasm burst forth when Welch drove a safe hit to center. Robinson hit hot toward third and White made a wonderful stop, forcing Welch at second. Bushong hit to right, and although Dunlap made a great one-hand stop he could not recover in time to catch the Doctor. Latham hit to White and was retired at first, leaving Robinson and Bushong. White hit at Gleason and the ball passed through his legs. Dunlap hit a terrific liner to Foutz, who gathered the ball in and doubled White up, the crowd groaning at first, but breaking out in a cheer at the conclusion of the play. Bennett hit to Latham and was thrown out at first.

Tenth inning-The excitement was now at fever heat. Gleason hit a short fly, which Ganzel gathered in. O'Neill lifted a high fly, which Hanlon, who was playing a very deep field, took in. Hanlon hit to Comiskey and the Browns' Captain was waiting on the bag when the batter arrived. Getzein hit a high fly to short right and Robinson took care of it. Richardson hit to Caruthers, who again threw wild, the ball rolling into the seats. Richardson, owing to ground rules, was only allowed second on the play. Ganzel ended the agony by hitting to Comiskey and dying at first.

The Browns Have Two Men Left.

Eleventh inning-Caruthers bunted the ball to White and beat it out. Foutz hit a terrific liner, which hit Getzein on the right leg and bounded off to Rowe. The runner reached first in safety and Caruthers went to second. Welch flew out to Thompson, without advancing either runner. Robinson could do nothing better than hit the air four times. Bushong flew out to Hanlon and what had promised big results ended in a blank. Rowe hit a high fly, which Welch gathered in. Thompson hit a terrific grounder to Latham, and the dude retired the big right-fielder on a perfect throw to Comiskey. White hit a line ball to O'Neill, and the eleventh inning was at a close with the score still a tie.

Twelfth inning-Latham hit past White for a base. Gleason hit to Dunlap and was thrown out at first, but Latham reached second on the play. It was once more the giant batter's turn at the bat. O'Neill hit a high fly which Dunlap captured, but Latham made a daring break for third and as he landed safe the crowd cheered. He was left, however, as Comiskey hit to Rowe and died at first. Dunlap hit a high fly to right when Robinson captured after a hard run. Bennett hit a high foul fly which Latham caught almost off the open seats. Hanlon hit to Robinson and was thrown out at first, and once more the teams were on even terms.

The Winning Run.

Thirteenth inning-Caruthers hit hard to right but the ball rose too high, and when it landed it was between Thompson's hands. Foutz hit a high fly, which Hanlon took on a hard run. Welch hit a corker to center. Robinson again had a chance to distinguish himself, and again failed ignominiously, striking out. Getzein hit a high fly, which dropped between Comiskey and Foutz, either of whom could have taken it. Richardson hit to Robinson and was thrown out at first, Getzein going to second. Ganzel hit to Robinson, who made a beautiful stop and throw, retiring the batter, Getzein going to third. It was now Rowe's chance to even the game. He hit a hot one to Robinson, and as Comiskey muffed the throw, Getzein shot across the plate with the winning run. With one yell the crowd sprang into the field, and cheer after cheer rent the air. The Detroit players were given an ovation, while the Browns, too, came in for their share of the applause, and thus ended one of the greatest ball games ever played in the United States.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 13, 1887

Kind of a shocking end to a good game. It's odd seeing Comiskey as the goat but these things happen.

The most interesting thing in the article, I thought, was the reference to Yank Robinson, who they called a "waiter." I assume that there was a bit of a negative connotation to that but it's true, as I've mentioned before, that Robinson was good at taking a walk. He led the AA in walks twice and also led the UA in walks in 1884. Three times in his career, Robinson had over one hundred walks and once he had over ninety. In 1889, he hit .208 with a slugging percentage of .292 but had an on-base percentage of .378. That's kind of a weird line. He basically hit like 2010 Brendan Ryan but walked 118 times.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Parking At The Grand Avenue Grounds

A number of rascals at the Grand Avenue Park stop all gentlemen who drive out and inform them that Mr. Solari, the proprietor, charges one dollar for carriage room, while they will take charge of the team for twenty-five cents. The reverse of this is the case-Mr. Solari looking after all teams for a quarter, while outsiders charge from fifty cents to a dollar. As Mr. Solari purchased the addition to the park expressly to accommodate Brown Stocking patrons, he deserves, and no doubt will get, their custom.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 10, 1875

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Two Splendid Enclosed Parks

During the past year or two a great deal of interest has been manifested in athletic exercises of every description in this section of the country, and as a result the coming season promises to be the most active in the annals of field sports. From present indications there will be two splendid enclosed parks within the limits of the city at the disposal of the fraternity. The enterprise with which Mr. Christ Von der Ahe has connected himself, having been duly incorporated, is already at work enlarging and improving the old Base Ball Grounds on Grand avenue, and every convenience for sportsmen and spectators will be provided. The St. Louis Sportsmen's club will, as in the past, make this park their headquarters; the cricketing organizations and the Brown Stocking ball tossers will also play there, and many foot races will doubtless be run to a conclusion on these grounds. Then there will be a hand ball court, bowling alleys, etc. Mr. Thomas McNeary, proprietor of the Compton Avenue Park, has sold his entire interest to his younger brother, Frank. All the difficulties that existed with the lessees having been removed, Frank has already commenced fitting up the ground for the coming campaign...Mr. McNeary contemplates improvements that will make his park as attractive and well adapted to the purposes for which it is intended as any in the country. In view of the fact that the famous Brown Stockings are already arranging for an aggressive campaign on the ball field, Mr. McNeary contemplates the reorganization of the old Red Stockings, and will equipt and place them in the field if he meets with sufficient cooperation from the former members to warrant him in doing so.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, March 27, 1881

Interesting article. It gives us a glance at the beginning of Von der Ahe's baseball career and, at the same time, the end of McNeary's.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The 1887 World Series: On To Detroit

The Browns and the Detroits and the invited guests left for Detroit on a special train, consisting of three sleepers, a dining-car and a baggage-car, at 7:30 o'clock last night. Each of the teams has a Pullman sleeper, and the other is for the use of the guests and Directors. The run to Detroit will be a fast one, the train being scheduled to arrive there at 10 o'clock this morning. The teams play in the City of the Straits this afternoon, and then go to Pittsburg, where the fourth game of the series will be played to-morrow.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 12, 1887

Although this doesn't have anything to do with the world's championship series, it should be noted that one other piece of baseball news was making all the papers on October 12, 1887. The announcement that John M. Ward and Helen Dauvrey were to be married that day was all over the press and I think that it actually got more publicity than game two did.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The 1887 World Series: Almost Lifeless

Although it was a cold, disagreeable day, from 12,000 to 15,000 people saw the Detroits play a very good game and the Browns a very bad one in the world's championship series. The home team's rank errors, particularly those of Latham and Boyle, gave the Detroits their first four runs. The work of the Browns was almost lifeless as compared with that of yesterday, their fielding, except that of O'Neill and Carruthers, being wretched, and their base running very sleepy. both pitchers were hit freely, but had Foutz received proper support the hits against him would not only have been fewer but the Detroits would not have made more than one run. Hanlon, for the visitors, earned a run on splendid base running, stealing second and third.
-Boston Globe, October 12, 1887

I'm not going to get into the fact that we have sources estimating the attendance of game two at somewhere between 7,000 and 15,000. However, given the ticket prices and the weather, I'm inclined to think that the Globe-Democrat, with 7,000, was closer to the truth than were the others.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The 1887 World Series: Anything But Pleasant

The wind-up in St. Louis was anything but pleasant for the majority of the crowd that braved the whistling zephyrs at Sportsman's Park on Tuesday. Fully 10,000 people were in the inclosure, and nearly all of them went away in a far different humor from that in which they left the grounds the day before. Conway was put in to pitch for the Leaguers, and to this fact may be attributed in a large degree the Browns defeat. They could not bat him when they wanted to, and when they had men on the bases. Foutz was in the points for the Browns, and although he was not hit hard, the visitors' hits were made just at times when they counted. Foutz's support was miserable-Latham having three, Boyle two, and Welch and Gleason one error each. Welch's error was excusable, as he was on a dead run when he dropped the ball. The two clubs left Tuesday night in a special train.
-Sporting Life, October 19, 1887

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The 1887 World Series: The Game Two Betting News

There was a slight falling off in the betting on the result of yesterday's game, which is accounted for by the absence of Detroit money, not many caring to back them after their poor showing against the Browns on Monday. There were not a few, though, whose confidence in the League champion's ability remained unshaken, and these accepted all the liberal offers that their pocket-books would permit them. There were many bets registered at various pool-rooms in the morning. The Browns' backers gave odds of $12 to $10, and some were even bold enough to bet $10 to $6 on the home club. In the afternoon the betting grew more spirited, and when the ticker announced that the Wolverines had made 2 runs in the second inning, the Detroit backers grew confident and bet accordingly. These 2 runs, though, did not drive all the Brown money out of sight and the friends of the home team accepted all the bets they could get. When in the next inning, however, the Detroits made 2 more runs and the Browns' score was still blank, the backers of the Association team did not feel quite so confident, and many of them who had a considerable amount up commenced to hedge out as much as possible. At this stage of the game the odds changed around in favor of the Detroits, the latter's backers offering $10 to $7 and $10 to $6 that the Leaguers would win. As the game progressed and nothing but ciphers loomed up in the Browns' score, the Detroit people grew more liberal in their propositions, and their offers of 2 to 1 were in most cases rejected. The Browns' stock went up somewhat when they scored in the seventh and eighth, and many then backed them for a considerable amount. It is estimated that $15,000 changed hands on the result. The betting on the result of the series last night was slightly in favor of the Detroits, odds of $10 to $9 being offered on them.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 12, 1887

Friday, December 3, 2010

The 1887 World Series: Game Two

A cold, raw wind from the northwest, that went right to the bone, blew across Sportsman's Park yesterday afternoon, and made it rather unpleasant for the crowd that had congregated to witness the second game of the world's championship series between the St. Louis Browns and Detroits. This disagreeable feature, though, did not have a tendency to keep down the attendance, and long before the hour set for the game to commence the seats in the grand stand and in other portions of the park were comfortably well filled. As 3 o'clock approached, the time for the contest to be called, the crowd increased with much rapidity, and when the first bomb was fired, the seats at the extreme western part of the grounds were the only ones in the park that were not adorned with a shivering mass of base-ball enthusiasts. The fact that the mercury was only 8 [degrees] above freezing point did not dampen the enthusiasm, and every good play was loudly cheered and applauded by the 7000 people present. If the Brown cranks did not yell as hard as they did on Monday, they had good reasons for not doing so, and if the many brilliant plays did not receive proper recognition in the way of applause it was because the Detroits made more than the Browns. Under the circumstances, though, the crowd was very charitable, and no good work by the League visitors went unnoticed.

When the Detroits made their appearance on the field for preliminary practice they were greeted with only a slight ripple of applause, but when the Browns appeared from the door of their dressing-room, to the right of the grand stand, the cheering was loud and prolonged. In fact, it did not die away until after the members of the team had stationed themselves at their respective places on the diamond.

The contest, while it didn't result in a manner at all satisfactory to the admirers and backers of the Association champions, and while it could by no means be called a brilliant exhibition, it was nevertheless a good game of ball, was interesting from the outset, and at times exciting. The Browns were defeated by a combination of mishaps at most critical moments, and a painful inability to bat at the proper time. On numerous occasions did they distribute men on the bases, and it would have required but a hit of almost any kind to bring some of them in, but at such junctures as these no hits were forthcoming. For instance, some one would line out the ball for a single or a double before any were out, and although the base-runner would work his way around to third, the retirement of the side would usually leave him there. This was repeated time and time again. The Browns, though, hit harder than the visitors, and but for costly errors and hard luck would certainly have come out victorious. Their base-running, while probably not up to its usual excellent standard, was good. The pitching of Foutz was only fair, and his curves in the opening innings did not puzzle the Wolverines to the extent desired. His support in Boyle behind the bat was perfect. The base play of the Detroits was excellent, almost brilliant at times, and their judgment in most manners at all stages was vastly superior to that used by the Browns. The battery work of Conway and Bennett was good. The brilliant features of the game numbered few, and there was a great scarcity of grandstand plays of any kind. The hitting of O'Neill, Foutz and Welch, the former making doubles and the latter a triple, a double play by Foutz and Comiskey, which cut a Detroiter off at the plate, another double play by Gleason and Robinson and the wretched, almost miserable, work of Latham at third constituted the features on the Browns side. The first-base play of Ganzel, Rowe's work at short, Hanlon's base running and the good, all-round playing by the whole team might be included in the list of things done well by the Detroits. The visitors were again somewhat crippled by the absence of big Brouthers, but his place was filled in a most acceptable manner by Ganzel. The Browns never lost hope and worked hard in the closing innings to increase their score. Kelly and Gaffney again did the umpiring, and their decisions were so satisfactory that there was not a single protest from either side. Just after the close of the eighth inning, Joe Carr, in a neat and appropriate speech, presented catcher Boyle with an elegant gold watch and chain, a gift from some of his friends and admirers.

First inning-Detroit took first turn at the bat. Richardson, after making three strikes, hit a high fly, which O'Neill took care of. Ganzel hit a high fly into right and it landed between Caruthers' hands. Rowe also hit a high fly and once more Bob Caruthers took care of the sphere. Latham hit a hot grounder to Rowe and never reached first. Gleason hit hot to White, who fumbled, and Brother Bill landed safe at first. O'Neill hit an easy bounder to Conway, and died at first, Gleason going to second. He was left, however, as Comiskey hit a high foul fly back of third, of which White made a good capture.

Second inning-Thompson drove a hard liner to center, which Welch, after a hard run, reached but could not hold, and the champion batter was given a life. Foutz was a little wild, and sent White to first on balls. Dunlap hit to Comiskey and died at first, but each runner advanced a base. Bennett here cleared the bases with a drive to left field, which passed through O'Neill's legs, the batter going to second. Hanlon hit a grounder which Comiskey stopped and then fielded to Foutz, who had covered the bag, retiring the batter. Bennett went to third on the play, but was left, as Conway struck out. Caruthers waited quietly at the plate until Conway had pitched five wild balls, when he trotted to first. Foutz hit to Dunlap, who fielded the batter out at first, Caruthers going to second. Welch hit a high foul fly, which Bennett caught. Robinson went to first on balls but both he and Caruthers were left, as Boyle hit to Rowe and was thrown out at first.

Third inning-Richardson started the inning by hitting the air four times. Ganzel hit a high foul fly, which Comiskey captured after a lively chase. Rowe hit to Latham, who threw wild, giving the batter a life. Big Sam Thompson now stepped up to the plate and drove a hard ball to left. O'Neill fielded the ball to Latham. Thompson started for second and Latham fielded the ball to Robinson. The latter muffed and Rowe scored. White hit to center for a base, and Thompson scored. White stole second, and Dunlap ended the sport by striking out. Latham hit a high fly, which Dunlap captured. Gleason popped up a baby fly to Rowe. O'Neill drove a hard ball past first for two bases. "Now, Cap," shouted Latham as Comiskey stepped up to the plate. "Cap," however, was unable to do anything more than furnish Hanlon with a high fly.

Fourth inning-Bennett hit too hot for Gleason to handle. Latham recovered the ball and threw wild to first, Bennett going to second. Hanlon went to first on balls. Conway hit a short fly to Gleason, who doubled Bennett at second. Hanlon stole second, and went to third on a wild pitch. Richardson for the second time fanned the air, retiring the side. Caruthers opened with a line drive to right for a base. Foutz hit a hot one, which White stopped and forced Caruthers at second, the batter reaching first in safety. Welch hit to Rowe, who with Dunlap and Ganzel, completed a double play.

Fifth inning-Ganzel hit a high fly to right, which Caruthers caught off the fence, receiving a round of applause for his pluck. Rowe flew out to Latham. Thompson again hit past Gleason for a base, and stole second, but was left, as White hit to Latham and was thrown out at first. Robinson was unable to make connection with the ball after four attempts, and sat down. Boyle hit a high foul fly which fell into Richardson's hands. Latham hit to Rowe and was thrown out at first.

Sixth inning-Dunlap hit a high fly in front of the plate, which Foutz caught. Bennett flew out to O'Neill. Hanlon drove a hard ball past second and stole second. He was left, however, as Conway flew out to Welch. Gleason opened with a hot grounder to center for a base. O'Neill stepped up to the plate and the crowd cheered. But such is the uncertainty of base-ball, the king hitter fanned the air four times and sat down. Comiskey flew out to Ganzel. Caruthers ended the inning by hitting to Rowe and dying at first.

Seventh inning-Richardson hit to Gleason, who fumbled, and the batter reached first. He stole second. Ganzel hit to right and Richardson scored. Rowe hit to right for a base. Thompson hit to Robinson and died at first, but each base runner advanced. White hit in front of the plate. Foutz touched Ganzel, who was attempting to score, and then threw the Deacon out at first, completing a neat double play. Foutz hit to Dunlap and was thrown out at first. Welch set the crowd wild by driving the ball into the right field seats, the hit netting him three bases. Robinson then drove the ball to center for a base and Welch scored. Robinson was caught napping a moment later by Conway. Boyle flew out to Rowe.

Eighth inning-Dunlap hit to Robinson and was thrown out at first. Bennett hit a corker to center for a base and went to second on a passed ball. Hanlon hit to Gleason and died at first, Bennett going to third. He was left, however, as Conway flew out to Welch. Latham went to first on balls. Gleason flew out to Ganzel. Latham stole second. O'Neill flew out to Thompson, Latham going to third on the play. Comiskey hit to center and Latham scored. Comiskey stole second and came all the way home on Bennett's wild throw, which got by Hanlon.

Ninth inning-Richardson hit to Gleason and was retired at first. Ganzel hit to Robinson and sat down. Rowe hit to Gleason and died at first. It was now the Browns' last opportunity to win and Dave Foutz opened the sport with a drive into the right-field seats for two bases. Welch fouled out to Bennett and the crowd commenced to leave. Robinson flew out to Rowe, and as Boyle flew out to Rowe the game was lost.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 12, 1887

I would suggest reading the first sentence of the Globe's article in the voice of John Facenda. Try it now: "A cold, raw wind from the northwest, that went right to the bone, blew across Sportsman's Park..." Not exactly "The autumn wind is a pirate" but it's still fun.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The 1887 World Series: The Home Club Had Matters All Its Own Way

The first game for the championship of the world was played here today by St. Louis, the champion club of the American Association, and Detroit, the champion of the League. It rained almost to the time of calling play, but a crowd of 12,000 or 13,000 was present. The excitement was intense and as the home club had matters all its own way from the start there was unbounded enthusiasm. Caruthers pitched a great game, four hits and one base on balls being all that were received off of him. Two umpires officiated, Gaffney calling strikes and Kelly base decisions on the Browns, and then changing positions when Detroit was at the bat.

In the first inning Latham opened for St. Louis with a hit, and made a beautiful steal to second; Gleason got a base on balls and a wild pitch put the runners on second and third. O'Neill's hit sent Latham home; Comiskey gave White a fly and Caruthers' hit brought Gleason in; Foutz and Welch were out from pitcher to first.

For the Detroits Richardson after three strikes fouled out, and Twitchell and Rowe went out from second to first.

No more runs were made until the fifth inning, when Comiskey made a hit, and Getzein's wild throw sent him to second. Caruthers bunted the ball and beat it to first, and stole second. Foutz' fly scored Comiskey and sent Caruthers to third. Robinson made a three-bagger to left, the finest hit of the game, Welch scoring. Bushong's hit sent Robinson in and Latham batted to Richardson, who overthrew first , and Bushong scored. Gleason was thrown out.

The Detroits made their only run in the ninth, when Getzein opened with a two-bagger. Richardson sent him to third with a fly to right, and Twitchell brought him home. Rowe hit to Gleason and a double play brought the game to a close. The Browns did not make a misplay of any descriptions. Robinson and Gleason did brilliant field work, as did White for the visitors.
-Boston Globe, October 11, 1887

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The 1887 World Series: Considerable Merriment

An amusing incident occurred after the sixth inning yesterday. A representative of a Detroit paper had been sending the game by inning from the press stand at the grounds. At the end of the sixth, after the Browns had made 4 runs, the correspondent was instructed by wire that his paper had enough, to stop his messages. The announcement of the message caused considerable merriment. Some one remarked that it was evident the score did not suit the Detroiters, and suggested that a score be fixed up to satisfy them.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 11, 1887

I have never given any thought to how the scores of games were being transmitted to various cities, newspapers, pool rooms, etc. Of course, I knew a telegraph was being used (and, actually, by 1887, some folks were using telephones) but I never thought about how it was physically being done. But here we have an interesting reference that lays it out for us. The reporters had a telegraph in the press stands to use to send out scores to their papers. It would be interesting to know how the entire system worked, how many telegraphs were set up at Sportsman's Park, if this set up was unique for the series, who was sending the information to the pool rooms and that kind of stuff but this reference at least gives us a general idea of how things worked.