Monday, September 26, 2011

The 1884 Maroons: A Good, Honest Fight

Until after 1 o'clock yesterday it was a matter of uncertainty whether the game announced to take place at the St. Louis Athletic Grounds between the Union and Prickly Ash nine would be played or not.  There were puddles on the ground, but a wet spot behind second base was planked and carpeted and the gates were thrown open a little before 2 o'clock.  Before they were opened fully 500 persons went away, thinking there would be no game.  Nevertheless, when play was called a gathering of nearly, if not quite, 5,000 occupied seats in the stands and positions around the field.  The pitchers had difficult work from the start, and it was impossible for them to do themselves justice, owing to the moisture and mud that gathered on the ball whenever it struck the ground.  Three balls were used in the game.  One went over the fence on a foul hit and was carried off by a young hoodlum.  Some time afterward another ball was hit over the fence and a chap about 26 years old undertook to run off with it.  Delegate Sullivan, who happened to be near by, gave chase to the young thief and fired a couple of blank cartridges after him.  The boy ran into the brickyard north of the grounds and then dropped on his knees, held him his hands, and trembling with fear, cried out:  "Oh!  don't shoot, mister!  Here's the ball.  Oh!  don't shoot; please don't!"
The Game. 
The Prickly Ash team proved themselves worthy the name of local champions, and it was only after a good, honest fight that the professionals won the ball.  In the P.A. B. ranks there are several old-time local players who occasionally play ball in a manner that would honor distinguished professionals.  That they have some reputation was proved by the crowd that assembled to witness their contest, and that they have many friends was also established by the shouts that went up when, in the final inning, their chances for victory were steadily increasing.  For the first six innings the fight was a pretty one, each side scoring a single.  In the first half of the seventh the professionals commenced to drive the ball about and five runs crossed the plate before the local cracks had recovered themselves.  In the Unions half of the ninth inning Dickerson drove the ball too far right and Carey went out and made a grand catch, and then made a beautiful throw to first, cutting off Dunlap, who had started for second when the hit appeared a safe one.  The double play was the feature of the game, and created great enthusiasm.  The city champions went to the bat in their last half feeling very happy indeed.  Werden, who had been sending the sphere very fast, now slackened his pace, for the ball was heavy and hard to handle.  As a result, he pitched wild, and one man walked to first, while another struck at three wild pitches, the last ball getting away from Brennan.  After these two had reached first there came a hit or two and aided by errors on the part of the infield the local champions got in six runs. At this juncture the excitement was something wonderful, the friends of the nine at the bat fairly screaming with delight as the last runs were tallied.  It wanted but a single run to tie and there was a man on second and two out.  Decker who was at the bat drove the ball hard toward third base, and another shout went up.  Jack Gleason, however, dove after the ball, gathered it cleanly, ending the struggle by cutting Decker off at first.  The play on both sides from first to last was spirited and interesting  The lion of the day was young Brennan who faced Werden's terrific pitching, he catching in great style, although all through the ball was wet and heavy and very difficult to handle.  Besides that he batted splendidly.  Dickerson and Shaeffer also did good work with the stick.  For the P.A.'s Peterson's work at third, Walsh's play at short, Decker's catching and the outfielding of Cunningham, Rodemacher and Carey were the best features.  
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 14, 1884

I'm going to guess and say that, after this game, the Maroons didn't have any more problems with people trying to run off with foul balls.

But the more important thing here is What Did Dunlap Do?

Well, he didn't do much.  Hitless in four at-bats, he did reach base twice (probably on a walk and an error).  He also got doubled up at second and it looks like he had three errors.  Not a great day for teh Fred.  And, yes, I think I will be referring to Dunlap from now on as teh Fred or, even better, Teh Fred (with an exclamation point).  

Teh Fred!

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