Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Nationals At St. Louis, Part Two

It was 2:40 P.M. before the field could be cleared so as to admit of play, and at that hour the Nationals sent in Parker at the bat to the pitching and catching of Greenleaf and Freeman.  Parker opened with a poor hit, on which he was easily put out at first base by Cabanne and Prouty, and Williams was well disposed of on a foul fly by Freeman - two outs and no runs - amidst the applause of the crowd.  George Wright now came in to the rescue, and the Nationals fully expected to see the ball sent whizzing to the outer field; but this time they were disappointed, for George gave Freeman a chance for a foul bound, which was accepted, and the Nationals retired for a blank, a perfect yell of applause greeting the retirement of the strangers.  This was a rather novel commencement for the Nationals, and entirely a surprise to the Unions, who went in to the bat determined, if possible, to prevent the compliment being returned.  Meacham opened play with a safe one to the right field, and secured his base, and Freeman followed suit with a high one to centre field, and Cabanne with a similar ball, Parker not judging the first well, while the second he dropped; and as Williams assisted the base runners by inaccurate delivery, sending balls out of fair reach of the catcher, two runs were scored.  Berthrong, Wright and Studley disposed of the next three strikers by well-taken fly balls - the innings closing with a score of 2 to 0 in favor of the Unions.  It was amusing to hear the comments of many of the St. Louis assemblage on the result of the first innings' play.  "They ain't got the soft thing with us they thought they had," remarked one; "This is going to be a close game," said another; and a third inclined to the opinion that the Nationals would lose their first ball in St. Louis; while the general idea was that the contest would be the most closely played of any.

In the second innings, however, the Nationals woke up to their play, and went in at the bat urged to extra exertions by the position the play of the first innings had placed them in.  Before a man was put out they had scored 14 runs, three of which were clean home runs by Wright, Fox and Studley, one after the other; and before the side was put out 28 runs had been recorded, Freeman putting two out, and R. Duncan and Prouty one.  Smith was missed by Meacham, and Wright gave him a chance.  The uneven character of the ground enabled several of the Unions to secure their bases on hits in this innings, some wild throwing, too, helping them round, Meacham and Smith alone earning bases by their safe hits, although four runs were scored, the Unions hitting Williams without difficulty, all but Greenleaf having a crack at him in this innings.  The tally was 28 to 6 in favor of the Nationals, and with the lead had gone all confidence of the Unions in their ability to make a close fight of it, and the very quiet manner which the previously talkative parties assumed at the close of this innings was noteworthy, nothing more being said about a close game, &c.

In the third innings, the Unions made a change in their positions, Freeman going in to pitch, Greenleaf to second base, and Meacham behind.  Meacham began play with a good foul bound catch, after Cabanne had dropped a fly ball, and took the next striker on three strikes - two out again and no runs - amidst more yells from the sans culottes; and had Cabanne not missed another fly ball off Wright's bat, the Nationals would have again retired for a blank score, their batting being more than usually favorable for fly catches.  Before the third hand was put out, however, four runs were scored, Meacham putting the side out on well-taken bound balls.  Greenleaf was the first victim on the Union side in this innings, and he retired on the fly, a victim of Fox's.  Berthong has a chance offered him by McCorkell, but the tip bound was dropped, McCorkell afterwards securing his first by a good hit to right field, a poor throw and a wild pitch sending him to third; but there he was left, Williams and Smith assisting Fletcher to capture the next two at first - a blank score being the result, with the tally at 32 to 6 in favor of the Nationals, thus at once settling the question of the victory.

In the fourth innings another change was made in the positions of the Union nine - a very bad habit to get into...This time the Nationals again went into some tall batting, and before the side could be put out 25 more runs were added to the score, Freeman capturing two of the prisoners on well-taken foul balls, and Meacham one.  Some of the nine scored three runs each in this innings...But for a muff and wild throw of Fox's, and a muff by Smith and a dropped foul ball by Berthrong, the Unions would have retired for a single in this innings; but those errors, with some good hits by Prouty, Greenleaf, McCorkell, W. Duncan, Smith and Freeman, enabled the Unions to score no less than nine runs, it being the first time more than seven runs had been scored against the Nationals...This brought the Union score up to respectable figures, the tally at the close of the fourth innings standing at 57 to 15.

In the four following innings, however, the Unions scored but three additional runs...In the same four innings the Nationals ran their score up to 108, despite the excessive heat of the sun.  In this they were assisted by no less than 14 missed catches, they giving plenty of chances for outs, which were not accepted, only five catches being made by the Unions in the four innings, Greenleaf and the two Duncans taking fly balls well.  The close of the eighth innings saw the totals at 108 to 15, and when the Nationals entered upon their ninth innings it was getting towards dark, and they were pretty well played out.  They managed to add five runs to their score, however, leaving their tally at the high figure of 123.  The Unions got Williams in a tight place this innings, his pace being slower than before, and they punished him in lively style to the tune of no less than eight runs, Freeman hitting him for a clean home amidst loud applause, something no other player had done in the tour.  Berthrong, towards the close, in trying to catch a sharp fly tip, was severely hit in the eye and though he wanted continue play half blind, the colonel replaced him with McLean, who went to third base and Fox to second, George Wright going behind, two fine throws of George's to Fox putting the side out, thus closing the game with the totals at 123 to 26, the best score yet made against the Nationals.  Of the play on the occasion on the part of the Nationals, though they made such a large score, their batting was not up to the high mark of that at Indianapolis, and neither was their fielding as a whole.  On the Union side some good fielding was shown at all the positions in the in-field, except at second base, Greenleaf's and R. Duncan's play being the best.  The outer fielders seemed to be quite demoralized by the batting, for though they had chances for catches time and again, they failed to avail themselves of them at any extent, W. Duncan taking the only fly balls held in the outer field.

The behaviour of the crowd on the left of the home base was discreditable in the extreme.  Their language was of the lowest slang at times, while they crowded in upon the players both here and back of the catcher so much as to necessitate the game being stopped until the field was cleared.  The Union Club were powerless to improve matters, as the "roughs" are "down upon them" for being about the only club who do not play on Sunday, and also because they bear a reputable name as gentlemen.  The police present were as useless as so many sticks, the crowd doing just as they liked.  It was noticeable the fancy the roughs took to Fox, and, apparently, he felt quite proud of it.  Good humor and fun in a player we like to see but we cannot say that we respect the ambition which would court the favor of the portion of the crowd who came up to shake hands with him, as one drunken rowdy did.

The umpire succeeded in doing what no one else had done in St. Louis for some time past, according to all accounts, viz., in satisfying all the contestants, and likewise the club followers.  He certainly discharged his duties with sound judgement and thorough impartiality, and merited, as he received, the thanks of both clubs for the service rendered them.  The most good feeling prevailed throughout the match among all parties, and the game proved to be an enjoyable one, though a bad defeat for the Unions.
-The Ball Players Chronicle, August 1, 1867

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