This day in baseball: Charles Ebbets becomes president of the Dodgers

In the wake of the death of Charles H. Byrne, team secretary Charles Ebbets became president of the Bridegrooms (Dodgers) on January 4, 1898. The team’s future owner also managed the Brooklyn team for the last 110 games of the season, finishing tenth among the twelve teams of the National League.

Charles Ebbets, c. 1915 - Wikipedia

Charles Ebbets, c. 1915 (Wikipedia)


This day in baseball: The Alleghenys jump to the National League

The Pittsburgh Alleghenys left the American Association on November 18, 1886 to join the National League as an expansion team. In 1891, the Pittsburgh team would become known as the Pirates, a name derived from an incident involving the franchise accused of being “piratical” for taking players from rival teams in other leagues.

mlb.com

This day in baseball: Bumpus Jones throws a no-hitter

Charles “Bumpus” Jones of the Cincinnati Reds threw a no-hitter in his first major league appearance on October 15, 1892, which also happened to be the last day of the season. Jones’s performance came against the Pittsburgh Pirates, as the Reds were victorious, 7–1. Jones gave up four walks in the outing, and an error led to an unearned run to prevent a shutout. Nevertheless, Jones became the first major league rookie to throw a no-hitter.

Bumpus Jones circa 1897-1898 with the Columbus Senators - SABR

Bumpus Jones, c.1897-1898 with the Columbus Senators (SABR)


Baseball 101: Road grays

Major League Baseball fans watching a ballgame today can usually differentiate between the away team and the home team due to the color of the teams’ uniforms. Most teams will wear white uniforms (or team-colored jerseys with white pants) when playing at home, whereas when a team is playing on the road, uniforms are typically gray.

Much of this has to do with history. Looking back in baseball history, traveling teams did not have time or access to laundry service to wash their clothes in the late 1800s. As a means to hide the dirt and the mud that would accumulate on the road, teams opted to wear gray uniforms. Over time, with the expansion of the laundromat industry and the ability of teams to bring along multiple uniforms, hiding dirt became less of an issue. It became simply a matter of tradition for teams to wear gray for away games.

dodgers home-road uniform


This day in baseball: Reilly hits for the cycle

At the Bank Street Grounds on September 12, 1883, John Reilly of the Red Stockings hit for the cycle, collecting three singles, a double, a triple, and a home run in Cincinnati’s 27-5 victory over the visiting Pittsburgh Alleghenys.  The following week, the 24 year-old first baseman accomplished the feat once again at the same ballpark when the Red Stockings defeated the first-place Philadelphia Athletics, 12-3.

Long_John_Reilly_baseball_card - LoC

John Reilly (Library of Congress)


This day in baseball: Welch’s consecutive strikeouts record

On August 28, 1884, New York Gothams pitcher Mickey Welch struck out the first nine Cleveland Blues hitters to come to the plate, establishing a major league record for consecutive strikeouts. Welch’s mark lasted until 1970, when New York Mets right-hander Tom Seaver would strike out the last ten San Diego batters he faced in a game at Shea Stadium.

800px-Mickey_Welch_plaque_HOF

National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum


This day in baseball: First bases loaded intentional walk

On August 2, 1881, Abner Dalrymple became the first known player to be intentionally walked with the bases loaded. The Chicago White Stockings were leading 5-0 in the eighth inning when Buffalo Bisons pitcher Jack Lynch gave up the free pass and the free run. Chicago went on to win the game, 11-2.

Abner_Dalrymple - Library of Congress

Library of Congress


This day in baseball: Birth of the Northwestern League

Considered the first minor league circuit in baseball history, the Northwestern League was organized in Rockford, Illinois on January 2, 1879. The organization included the Davenport Brown Stockings, Omaha Green Stockings, Dubuque Red Stockings, and Rockford White Stockings. Unfortunately, the stocking league became defunct before the season even came to an end as a result of lacking a fixed schedule and financial mismanagement.

Team standings and league leaders are listed in the charts below, courtesy of Baseball Reference:

Northwestern League 1879

baseball-reference.com


“Sure Catch” sticky fly paper

Here is an interesting advertisement I came across in the online photo archives for the Library of Congress. The advertisement is for “Sure Catch” sticky fly paper, and it is estimated that this advertisement came out between 1853 and 1898, which would have been during that era when baseball was really beginning to develop and grow in popularity in America.

Sure Catch Fly paper baseball advertisement - LoC

The advertisement features flies playing baseball surrounded by a number of insets depicting a variety of scenarios. The caption along the border reads: “‘Sure Catch’ sticky fly paper, 25 double sheets, Sealed with flexible adhesive border. Prepared by J. Hungerford Smith Co., Manufacturing Chemists, Rochester, N.Y., U.S.A.”

It’s a clever little advertisement, for sure, and I find some of the inset illustrations rather amusing. It makes me wonder if this sticky paper was as good as the fly paper my dad used to hang in the garage while I was growing up.


“Sure Catch” sticky fly paper. [Between 1853 and 1898] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2008678726/>.


Henry Chadwick and the box score

In 2009, NPR’s Morning Edition did this short report on Henry Chadwick and the creation of what many consider to be the first box score:

The box score, as well as the various statistics that exist in the game, have evolved tremendously over the years. But it’s pretty commonly accepted that Chadwick is the man we have to thank for getting the ball rolling on the mathematical record-keeping side of the game.

You can find the full NPR story, including the text portion, here.