The Red Stockings Defeated


By Henry Chadwick

Outing, an Illustrated Monthly Magazine of Recreation, May 1888

During the period from October, 1868, to June, 1870, the Red Stockings of Cincinnati did not meet with a single defeat. But it was not within the possibilities of so uncertain a game as baseball that victory could perch upon their banners for two successive seasons and, consequently, in 1870 they met with their first reverse, and the event proved to be one of the most noteworthy in the annals of baseball.

The Cincinnati team, in June, 1870, visited Brooklyn, and after taking the Mutuals into camp on the Union Grounds, they visited the Capitoline Grounds the next day, and began their eventful contest with the Atlantics. Everything was propitous for an attractive game. The weather was favorable, the field in good condition, and the home team stronger than they were the previous season. The home battery comprised of Zettlin and Ferguson; with Start, Pike, and Charley Smith on the bases; Dick Pearce at short-field, and Chapman, George Hall and McDonald in the outfield. Charley Mills acted as umpire, and the crowd which passed through the gates exceeded nineteen thousand people. Ferguson won the toss, sent the Cincinnatis to the bat, and at three P.M., the field having been cleared, the contest began. George Wright, Allison and Harry Wright led off with base hits, and, aided by a wild throw in, two runs were scored, the Atlantics being finely fielded out for a blank. In the second innings sharp field support of the pitching prevented run-getting on either side, but in the third a telling hit by George Wright, assisted by an error of Ferguson's, enabled the visitors to add a single to their score, and, as the Atlantics were again retired for a blank, one-third of the game ended with the score at 3 to 0 in favor of the visitors.

In the fourth inning the home team, after retiring the visitors for a blank, got in their first run, through safe hits by Start and Ferguson, and aided by errors by Gould and Waterman another run was added, and the contest now began to get exciting. When the fifth innings ended, the score stood at 3 to 2 only, and now every movement of the players began to be watched with eager interest. Quite a breeze of excitement was created in the fifth innings, owing to a dispute on a decision of the umpire's. Mills called a ball before it had passed home-plate, and on this called ball being hit a base was run. Mills held to his decision on the called ball being dead as to the batsman being not out, but allowed the base-runner, who had run on the hit, to take the base he had made. This decision Harry disputed, and both the captains finally left the point to me to decide, and I sent the base-runner back to his base on the dead ball, and the dispute ended.

In the sixth innings the Atlantics made an old time rally at the bat, after blanking their adversaries, and, getting in two runs, took the lead in the game by 4 to 3. The shouts from the now excited crowd, which followed Joe Start's scoring of the second run, might have been heard blocks off. It was now time for the Redstockings to rally, and they did it handsomely, they getting in two runs from safe hits by Brainard, Sweasy and George Wright, and taking the lead by 5 to 4, the Atlantics failing to score in their seventh innings. In the eighth, owing to a wild throw home by McVey, Smith, who had earned third base, ran home, making the tie run amidst another storm of applause.

Now came the ninth innings, and never before had there been so excited a crowd of spectators on the Capitoline Grounds as there were at this time. The score stood at 5 to 5, and it was anybody's game. The Cincinnatis went into their ninth innings feeling rather doubtful as to the final result, but when Sweasy opened with a base hit things looked more promising. But through fine fielding by Pike the side retired without a run, and now the Atlantics went in to win. A single run was all they wanted, but it was hard to get. Ferguson, Zettlin and Hall went to the bat, and all three were disposed of without either reaching first base, and the ninth innings ended in a drawn game- 5 to 5.

Now it was that the Atlantics wanted to end the game then and there, one of the club directors requesting Ferguson to get Harry Wright to consent to a draw. But Harry declined. The rules of the time admitted to a draw under such circumstances, if the two captains consented to it, but not otherwise. During the discussion most of the Atlantic players had gone to the room and taken off their uniform, fully content with their success in making the game a draw; but as Harry Wright demanded the continuation of the game or a victory by default, they had to come out on the field again, and after a while play was resumed and the tenth innings was begun.

At this time the impression among the majority of spectators was that the Reds would ultimately win, but after play had been continued and the tenth innings had seen both sides retire for blanks, a hopeful feeling prevailed favorable to the final success of the Atlantics. It was in this tenth innings that the Cincinnatis escaped defeat by a splendid piece of strategic play by George Wright. The Cincinnatis had drawn a blank in their innings, and two of the Atlantics had reached first and second bases after one man was out, when Smith popped up an easy fly-ball, which George Wright put up his hands to catch, both the base-runners- Pearce and McDonald- remaining on their bases, feeling sure that the catch would be made. George, seeing this, promptly bent down as the ball fell and let it touch the ground, when he picked it up, threw it sharply to Waterman, at third-base, and the latter, touching the base, promptly threw the ball to Sweasy, and the result was that Pearce and McDonald were both forced out on a double-play. Though it was against the home team the crowd could not help applauding the pretty play which had ended a promising innings for the Atlantics.

Now came the eleventh innings, and it was in this that the Atlantics finally triumphed. The Reds went to the bat, got in two runs, and took the lead by 7 to 5, and then came the culminating point of the contest. It was the Atlantics' time to rally, and they did it handsomely. Smith led off with a safe hit, and, on a wild pitch, reached third base. Then Start hit a safe ball to the out-field, which sent Smith home and gave Joe his first easily, but McVey was hindered from fielding the ball in by one of the club people, and on this Start reached third, and in Ferguson's hit to Sweasy, which he muffed, Start scored the tie run, and up went hats and caps, and the cheers and applause were greater than ever. Zettlin now came to the bat, and he got his base by Gould's error, Ferguson- who ran for Zettlin- reaching second on the hit, through Sweasy's muff of the ball Gould threw to him, and seeing the ball was not in hand, Ferguson took the chances and ran for home, and, by another error, the winning run was made, the Atlantics securing the victory by 8 to 7, after an eleven innings contest, amidst a degree of excitement never before equaled at a ball-match in Brooklyn. The full score is as follows:

 CINCINNATI.    T  R  B  O  A  E      ATLANTIC.      T  R  B  O  A  E
G.Wright, ss....6  2  2  2  4  1     Pearce, ss......5  2  3  1  2  0
Gould, 1b.......6  0  0  9  0  2     Smith, 3b.......6  2  2  2  0  1
Waterman, 3b....5  0  2  3  4  3     Start, 1b.......6  3  3 14  0  0
Allison, c......5  1  2  5  0  1     Chapman, lf.....6  0  0  2  0  0
H.Wright, cf....5  0  1  3  0  0     Ferguson, c.....5  1  2  4  0  4
Leonard, lf.....5  0  0  2  0  0     Zettlin, p......5  0  0  2  1  0
Brainard, p.....5  2  1  0  1  3     G.Hall, cf......5  0  0  3  0  1
Sweasy, 2b......5  2  3  7  5  2     L.Pike, 2b......5  0  1  3  6  1
McVey, rf.......5  0  0  2  0  0     McDonald, rf....4  0  1  2  0  2
               -----------------                    -----------------
               47  7 11 33 14 12                    47  8 12 33  9  9
Cincinnati  .  .  .  .  .  .  2  0  1  0  0  0  2  0  0  0  2--7
Atlantic .  .  .  .  .  .  .  0  0  0  2  0  2  0  1  0  0  3--8

Earned runs: Cincinnati, 2; Atlantic, 3.
First base by errors: Cincinnati, 4; Atlantic, 5.
Umpire: Charles Mills.
Time: 2h. 50m.

Click here to see Henry Chadwick's own scorecard of this game, from the A.G. Spalding Collection at the New York Public Library. is brought to you by
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