Saturday, October 15, 2011

The 1884 Maroons: Cheered To The Echo

The second game between the St. Louis and Altoona Unions, played yesterday afternoon at Union Base Ball Park, attracted about 1,000 spectators, and, like the previous contest, resulted in a victory for the local team.  With the exception of a strong wind, that rendered high hits difficult to judge, the day was very well adapted for fine playing and the enjoyment of it.  The visitors presented as battery Leary and Hoftsker, while Taylor occupied the points and Baker went behind the bat for the St. Louis organization.  Leary was hammered for eleven bases, and Noftsker was decidedly weak, showing no qualification whatever for the position he occupied.  On the other hand, Taylor was so effective that only six hits were scored off his delivery, and Baker's support was the feature of the game.  In the first two innings the Altoona nine played wretchedly, Murphy, Smith and Leary making muffs, while Noftsker allowed four balls to pass him, and as a result the St. Louis team, who were batting freely, earned two runs and scored five additional that were unearned.  Thereafter they exhibited more steadiness, and developed so much strength that the home side made only two more runs, scoring one in the fourth and another in the eighth.  The visitors scored singles in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings, one of which was earned. 
The Fielding. 
Harris, Doherty and Koons showed to advantage on the bases, covering their positions without an error.  Harris demonstrated that he can hold down first with almost any player in the profession, and both Doherty and Koons made some difficult stops and fine throws.  Murphy, at left, made two shocking muffs to start with, and then distinguished himself by three handsome catches and one of the best throws from left field to the home plate that was ever seen on any grounds.  In the eighth inning Shaffer undertook to run home after Murphy had captured a fly from Gleason's bat, but the ball came home so swift and true that he was easily put out.  The local nine fielded brilliantly, but, withal, rather loosely.  Baker had one passed ball and made a wild throw to second, but played strong on the whole and made a wonderful one-handed stop of a wild pitch, the feat being cheered to the echo.  In the fifth inning he and Dunlap executed another brilliant play, which was received with unbounded enthusiasm.  Doherty was on third and Leary on first.  Leary made a dash for second, and as Baker threw to Dunlap Doherty broke for home.  Dunlap quickly returned the ball to Baker, and Doherty died sliding in.  Dunlap scored one out on a terrific liner, six assists and an error on a bounding ball that shot between his legs.  Quinn's first base play was simply superb.  Jack Gleason made five great stops, but marred his record with a wild throw to first and by letting a bounder slip through his hands.  The throw was quite excusable, inasmuch as he had just made a wonderful stop and could not steady himself for an accurate effort.  Whitehead was nervous.  Some of his pick-ups were exceptionally neat, and his throwing was very remarkable.  He sent one ball to first a trifle too wide for Quinn to get it, but it was in a case where he had to fire in a hurry, the runner being close upon the bag.  Dickerson and Rowe attended to everything that came their way, but Shaffer muffed a fly and fumbled a grounder.  The muff was the result of hesitating to see whether Dunlap who was running back after the ball would get under it.  Shaffer, however led in the batting.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 27, 1884

You have to love a 19th century game account, with its emphasis on pitching, catching and defense.  Compare that to a modern game account which usually focuses on offense and how the runs were scored.  Now it's true that 19th century reporting also would give detailed accounts of how runs were scored but you will almost never see a player-by-player review of the game's defense in a modern newspaper.

But What Did Dunlap Do?

It was a bit of a quiet game for Teh Fred.  Just one for five with two runs scored.  In the field, he had the error but also the great play, on the attempted double steal, that got Doherty at home.  Also on the plus side, it doesn't look like he pissed off any of his teammates.    

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