In a game between the Philadelphia Athletics and the Boston Red Stockings on September 14, 1872, the Athletics led 4-1 in the seventh inning with runners on first and second. Fergy Malone popped up to shortstop George Wright, who caught the ball in his hat and then proceeded to throw the ball to third base. The ball was then thrown to second base. Wright claimed a double play has been completed, as a batter cannot be retired with a “hat catch,” and thus runners Cap Anson and Bob Reach should have been forced out. This naturally caused some confusion, and ultimately , the umpire decided to give Malone another at bat, declaring nobody out on the play. The Athletics won this game, 6-4.
On May 9, 1871, Cuban infielder Esteban Bellán became the first Hispanic player to appear in a major league game. The twenty-one-year-old joined the Troy Haymakers of the National Association as they lost 9-5 to the Boston Red Stockings.
On May 18, 1875, writer Samuel Clemens (a.k.a. Mark Twain) attended a game between the Boston Red Stockings and the Hartford Dark Blues. A record crowd of 10,000 fans attended the match-up between the two teams, both undefeated up to this point in the season. The visiting Red Stockings defeated the Dark Blues, 10-5, led by captain and pitcher, Albert Goodwill “Al” Spalding.
During the game, a young boy snagged an umbrella belonging to Clemens when he stood up to root for the home team. A couple days later, Clemens published the following notice in the Hartford Courant newspaper:
To the Public
TWO HUNDRED & FIVE DOLLARS REWARD–At the great baseball match on Tuesday, while I was engaged in hurrahing, a small boy walked off with an English-made brown silk UMBRELLA belonging to me, & forgot to bring it back. I will pay $5 for the return of that umbrella in good condition to my house on Farmington avenue. I do not want the boy (in an active state) but will pay two hundred dollars for his remains.
Samuel L. Clemens.
The National Association of Professional Baseball Players was formed on March 17, 1871 at a convention held in New York City. The convention, called by Henry Chadwick, marked the formation of baseball’s first official professional league. Although the league only lasted until 1875, it outlined rules for championship series, player compensation, and paved the way for the formation of the National League. The new National Association included the following new professional teams: Boston Red Stockings, Chicago White Stockings, Troy Unions (New York), Cleveland Forest Cities, New York Mutuals, Philadelphia Athletics, Fort Wayne Kekiongas (Indiana), Rockford Forest Cities (Illinois), and Washington Olympics.