Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Top Twenty Games In 19th Century St. Louis Baseball History: # 18

18. April 25, 1876: St. Louis Brown Stockings vs. Cincinnati Reds

Were it not for the "glorious uncertainty" of base ball, that pastime would never have been chosen as the National game of America. There was not an enthusiast in this city yesterday who would not have bet dollars to cents that the Brown Stockings would win the first game of their championship series with the Cincinnati Reds. That game was played yesterday, and the result was: Cincinnati, 2; St. Louis, 1-a result which reflects almost as much credit on the losers as on the winners. That it was a brilliant struggle there can be no doubt, and Cincinnati is to be congratulated on the possession of a nine, hitherto looked upon as the weakest in the field, capable of lowering the standard of one of the two clubs which is conceded to be the strongest.

Great excitement prevailed in the vicinity of this office throughout the afternoon, the result of each inning being bulletined pro bono publico. The opening inning was announced-a tie at one each-Brown Stocking admirers breathed freer. In the next three innings, no runs being added on either side, ominous looks were exchanged, and such remarks as "Those Cincinnatis are holding them down nicely," and "What's got into the boys?" might have been heard muttered. With the result of the eighth inning-Cincinnati 1, St. Louis 0-fears were, for the first time expressed that the St. Louis favorites might possibly lose, and the probability became a certainty when it was announced that both sides had been presented with goose eggs in the ninth inning. Though disappointed at the result, the friends of the home club took the defeat of their favorites with a good grace, attributing it to the fickleness of fortune. As stated before, to lose finely contested a game reflects as much credit on the vanquished as on the victors...

The special correspondent of the Globe-Democrat at Cincinnati sends the following particular of the struggle by telegraph:

About two thousand spectators, many of whom were ladies, witnessed the game between the Cincinnati and St. Louis Clubs to-day. It was by all odds the best game ever played in this city. The batting on both sides was heavy, but the Reds got in the safest licks, being credited with eight base hits to the Browns four. Battin secured two of the four, and Pike and Clapp one each. Battin's three-bag hit in the fourth inning brought home Pike, who was the only Brown Stocking to cross the home plate. Bradley and Dehlman went out on flies, leaving Battin on third twice. On two occasions the Reds had three men on bases, but could not succeed in getting in a run. The last time was in the ninth inning, when Blong captured Pearson's fly to right field, and, by an excellent throw, headed Jones off at the home plate, thereby accomplishing a magnificent double play...

The Browns erred as follows: Clapp, 2; Batten, 1; Bradley, 2; Dehlman, 1. The Reds made but three errors, Fisher being charged with two and Kessler with one. For the Cincinnatis Jones secured two safe hits, and Kessler, Booth, Gould, Clack, Snyder and Sweazy one each. The Reds got four base hits off Bradley in the first inning, scoring in that and the eighth. Fourteen of the Browns were disposed of on flies to the outfield, Snyder at left gathering eight of them. Mack and McGeary did the most effective work in the field for St. Louis, while Booth, the new third baseman, and Pearson, the youthful catcher, did the lion's share of the work for Cincinnati. The best of good feeling prevailed throughout. The Browns are in tip-top condition, and say they will get even on Thursday. They claim that the game was won by a scratch. Houtz, formerly of the St. Louis Reds, umpired...
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 26, 1876

This list is off to a pretty good start I think.  Three games, three different clubs, three different decades.  We've had a win, a forfeit and now we have a loss.  Also, this is the first road game to appear on the list.

What we have here is opening day 1876, when the Brown Stockings lost to the Reds, 2-1, in Cincinnati.  It is the first National League game in St. Louis baseball history.  We have a proud tradition of NL baseball in St. Louis and no city has more NL championship than we do.  St. Louis is a National League city and we support National League baseball.  That all began in April of 1876.

The game is also significant because it kicked off the Brown Stockings' 1876 campaign, which was the first season that a St. Louis club seriously challenged for the national championship.  They would fall short but I don't think that there is any doubt that the 1876 Brown Stockings were the best baseball team to represent St. Louis up to that point.  They were a damn good baseball team.  And it's possible that they could have won the pennant if they hadn't been throwing games.  But we'll get to that soon enough.   

No comments: