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.
In a game against the Cincinnati Red Stockings on June 14, 1870 in Brooklyn, the Atlantics’ infielder Bob Ferguson led his team to an 8-7 victory that ended the Red Stockings’ 81-game winning streak. In an effort to avoid hitting the ball to the Red Stockings’ star shortstop, George Wright, Ferguson opted to bat from the left side of the plate, making him the first known switch-hitter in professional baseball.