Saturday, February 11, 2012

The 1884 Maroons: Billy Taylor Pulls A Bit Of Skulduggery

The Keystone Unions lost a game to the St. Louis nine to-day by a score of 6 to 4.  The visitors outplayed the home nine at all points, and were much superior in running the bases.  But with all this the Keystones would have won, had it not been for bad umpiring.  Taylor, of the St. Louis Club, scored a run in the fourth inning by cutting across the diamond from second base, not coming within forty feet of third, and when Umpire Sullivan allowed the run to score there was a perfect howl from the crowd of 1,200.  There were several close decisions and they were all given in favor of the visitors.  The Keystones surprised "Billee Taylor" by pounding him hard.  The features of the game were the throwing to bases by Baker and Clements, and a long-running catch by Dickerson.  The Keystones scored two runs each in the first and fifth innings by good batting, while poor base running lost them at least three more runs during the game.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 28, 1884

That particular piece of skulduggery, the skip play, was an old play that was actually rather popular in the 1880s, thanks to guys like Arlie Latham and King Kelly.  It was tough for one umpire to see everything that was happening on the field and smart, heady players took advantage of that.

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