Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The 1884 Maroons: The Crowd Testified Its Appreciation

One of the most enjoyable games of base ball ever witnessed in St. Louis was played yesterday at the Union grounds between the Altoona and St. Louis Union Clubs.  It was a free-hitting game, abounding in brilliant catches, stops and throws, that delighted and excited the 9,000 or more spectators who were present.  the home team won by a score of 7 to 1, but the disparity in figures does not represent a disparity in skill.  The visitors played a great game, but were unlucky.  Up to the eighth inning they outfielded and outbatted the local organization, the hits being 6 to 5 in their favor, while they had made the fewest errors, and yet at that point the score was 3 to 1 against them.  Their fielding errors consisted of a misjudged fly by Koons, at third, and a muff and fumble by Noftsker, at right field.  The infield work of Harris at first, Dougherty at second and Smith at short field has never been surpassed on any diamond.  Smith and Dougherty each made four assists, all the result of sharp fielding.  One by Smith, in the second inning, was exceptionally brilliant.  Rowe drove a hard grounder close to second, the hit appearing safe beyond doubt, but Smith, who was playing deep and midway between second and third, dashed across and intercepted it.  Steadying himself the best he could, he threw to the left of Harris, but the latter jumped off his base, got the ball and touched Rowe as he came along.  The stop electrified the crowd, and when it was supplemented by Harris' fine performance, enthusiasm knew no bounds.  That there is good material in the Altoona club can no longer be doubted, for their work yesterday would have done credit to any nine in the country.  They presented Murphy as pitcher and Moore behind the bat.  The former proved to be a twirler of unusual skill, capable of deceiving the best batsmen in the home nine.  In the eighth inning he was 
Punished Severely, 
but that fact does not detract from his ability, since the men who hit him are likely to knock out any pitcher.  Moore's support was a great improvement on his work on Thursday last, and he must be credited with having done very well.  Of the seven hits made by the visitors Smith scored three. 
The St. Louis battery were Hodnett and Brennan.  Hodnett pitched in fine form, but marred his record with one wild ball, a wild throw to first and a muff of a high fly.  Brennan had one passed ball, which was totally eclipsed by his otherwise remarkable work.  His throwing to second was beautiful and resulted in outs for four venturesome base runners.  The manner in which Dunlap handled the catcher's throws was delightful to behold.  Taylor played first in great style and executed a catch, running with the ball, that elicited a perfect storm of applause.  Jack Gleason continued his rare work at third.  Baker fielded well, at short, but made a low throw to first.  In the outfield Dickerson made three admirable catches and threw one man out at the plate; Rowe made one muff and accepted two opportunities, in one instance taking a high ball on a side run, and Shaffer captured the only fly that he had any chance for, by making a great run from extreme right field to right center.  In the batting Gleason carried off the honors with a home run on a long hit over the left fence and a two-bagger on a grounder in the same direction.  The small boys called for a hit over the fence, and when their request was complied with, round after round of applause was given.  Shaffer, Taylor, Rowe and Dickerson also made two-base hits.  Dunlap did not get a hit, and struck out once.  In the seventh inning, trying to run to second on a muff by Koons, he got hemmed in between first and second.  While trying to make second, he was hit by the ball thrown by Harris to Dougherty, and was decided out for obstructing a fielder.  The ball was very lively, and when in the eighth inning Shaffer started with a hit for a single and Dickerson, Gleason, Rowe and Taylor followed with two-baggers, earning five runs, the crowd testified its appreciation of the lively work in a most emphatic manner.  Mapledoram umpired the game very impartially. His judging since his arrival has been equal to any ever seen here.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 28, 1884

This was actually the second game of a double-header at the Union Grounds.  In the first game, the Lucas Amateurs defeated the Willows by a score of 15 to 6.

Before we get to Dunlap, I want to point out that the Globe used a lot of ink praising an Altoona club that got beat by six runs.  I understand that it was close into the eighth but the Maroons jumped out to a three run lead and only gave up one run the entire game.  My thinking, as I read the article, was that the Globe was praising Altoona in an attempt to build up the club and, by extent, the Union Association.  Altoona was not a good baseball club and, while I understand sports journalism in the 19th century could lean towards the overly positive, the idea that there was not a disparity of skill between St. Louis and Altoona was absurd.


What Did Dunlap Do?  Not much of anything really.  No hits in four at-bats and reached base once, where he was promptly put out on interference.  The Globe praised his defence but it seems the Globe was in the mood to hand out praise, so take it for what it's worth.  He was off to a bit of a slow start, going five for eighteen in the first four games.  He was also one for his last nine.  I'm not worried, though.  I'm expecting him to get hot any time now.        

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