April 2014 Issue

Newspaper Clippings

Each month we scour the newspaper archives to find an interesting article or two. If you run across an interesting old newsclip, let us know!

From 1876

One of the Ugliest Games Ever

"The game between the Chicago and Louisville clubs to-day is not worthy of description...you have a game better forgotten than remembered."

The Louisville Courier-Journal, 23 July 1876

One of the Ugliest Games Ever

One of the ugliest played games in professional baseball history. The Louisville Grays played the eventual league champion Chicago White Stockings. Here are some of the notable highlights:
  • Chicago scores 30 runs, 20 of which are unearned.
  • Louisville's star Jim Devlin gives up 10 runs (just one earned) in the first and removes himself as the pitcher.
  • Devlin's replacement, John Ryan, tosses 10 wild pitches, gives up 31 hits, and 20 runs in the subsequent eight innings .
  • Louisville battery of Ryan and catcher Hasting make "twenty errors between them" (includes passed balls and wild pitches).
  • The two teams combine for 108 plate appearnaces. The only time in history the total has exceeded 100 (Chicago with 64 and Louisville with 42).

Other articles from the newspaper the following day "...both nines seemed bent on doing various things which no ball-player ever did before or ever could do again" (Chicago Daily Tribune).

And here's a classic excpert from the Cincinnati Enquirer: "We have a club...of which a good deal of abuses has been written on acount of its bad playing. But if the Cincinnati club ever plays a game during the season in which they make thirty seven errors and allow the opposite club to make thirty-six total bases and thirty runs off them, we will advise Mr. Keck to trade off the bases and bats for a yeller dog, shoot the dog and hire the boys out for the rest of the season as wet nurses."

Fun Finds

"The game was an experimental one, to determine the relative merits of putting out men when fair struck balls were caught on the fly."

New York Times - July 1, 1859

The New York Knickerbockers Base Ball Club was founded by Alexander Joy Cartwright in in 1843 and was the first team to play under the rules of what would become the modern game. The team had formalized the original 20 baseball rules in 1845. One of the formal rules for a "hands out" (or simply and "out") was this 12th rules: "If a ball be struck, or tipped, and caught, either flying or on the first bound, it is a hand out". A ball caught on first bounce was an out.

By the 1850's the Knickerbocker's had become more and more uncomfortable with the "bound" out rule and attempted to eliminate it during a convention held on Feb 27, 1857 attended by the New York and Brooklyn clubs. There was stern disagreement so a compromise was agreed. The "first bound" out remained, but a team was rewarded with a "fly out" by disallowing running on base to advance.

Although their resolution had failed, the Knickerbockers eliminated the "bound" out during their intra-squad games. In 1859 the ball club finally convinced another club, the Excelsior of South Brooklyn, to play an "experimental game" that excluded the bound out. This is the news story account and box score of that game.

In subsequent years, other clubs began testing and playing this "fly" game. It wasn't until the ranks of the conservative old-timers had thinned that the players finally agreed to abandon it in December, 1864.

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