The Chicago White Stockings sold National League batting champion and future Hall of Famer Mike Kelly to the Boston Beaneaters on February 14, 1887 for what was at that time a record $10,000. Kelly would earn the nickname “King” while in Boston, where he would hit .311 during this three-year span with the team.
On September 30, 1893, Browns’ second baseman Joe Quinn was honored by The Sporting News as the most popular baseball player in America. That same day, in a doubleheader against the Beaneaters, Quinn collected eight hits, becoming the first player in history to accomplish the feat. The Browns won both games of the doubleheader, 17-6 and 16-4. Quinn, who worked as a mortician during the off season, was inducted into the Australian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2013.
Jack Taylor of the Chicago Orphans (Cubs) began an extraordinary streak of 187 consecutive complete game starts on June 20, 1901, when he took the loss against the Boston Beaneaters. The streak did experience a brief interruption after the first 39 games, when Taylor appeared as a relief pitcher for 15 games, before resuming his role as a starter. If one factors in his relief appearances, Taylor thus had 202 consecutive appearances in which he was not relieved by another pitcher. The total streak ran from June 1901 to August 1906, during which Taylor accrued 1,727 innings of work.
On Opening Day in 1900, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Boston Beaneaters (also known as the Braves) decided to play out their first game of the new century with a bang. The teams set a record for most runs scored in an Opening Day game as they went ten innings in the match-up. The Beaneaters scored a whopping nine runs in the ninth inning to send the game into the tenth, only to lose to Philadelphia 19-17.
In a game against St. Louis on 11 September 1902, Boston Beaneaters pitcher John Malarkey hit a home run in the bottom of the eleventh off right-hander Mike O’Neill. As a result of the dinger, Boston won the game 4-3, making Malarkey the first pitcher in Major League history to earn a ‘W’ by hitting his own walk-off homer.
Boston Beaneaters’ second baseman Bob Lowe became the first Major League ballplayer to hit four home runs in one game. On 30 May 1894, Lowe went 0-for-6 in the first game of a doubleheader against Cincinnati, only to follow it up with his four round-trippers in the second game, two of which were hit in the third inning. Boston defeated the Reds 20-11 in that game.
Even early baseball history had its chuckle-worthy moments.
At South End Grounds in Boston, on 12 May 1884, Umpire Van Court calls a Detroit Wolverines batter out on a foul tip. The Wolverines are enraged by the call, however, arguing that the ball clearly had not been caught by the Beaneaters’ catcher, Mike Hines. Rather, the contested strike three ball was lodged in the Boston catcher’s mask.
I have to confess, part of my motivation for posting this story has to do with the team names. You don’t see names as creative as the “Beaneaters” in Major League Baseball these days.