New Haven makes 21 errors, loses to Hartford 10-0

Hartford pitcher Candy Cummings shut out New Haven for the second time in a week

Hartford pitcher Candy Cummings shut out New Haven for the second time in a week

There was some sense in New Haven baseball circles that the recent 3-2 win over the Hartford Dark Blues would be the beginning of something good for the club, which was currently mired with a record of two wins and 20 losses.

“We may well believe that this reverse was also a surprise to Hartford and their backers. The New Havens received many well-earned congratulations yesterday and will now take up the bat with renewed courage,” boasted the New Haven Palladium.

But it was not to be. New Haven continued its consistently losing ways, dropping their June 14 game 10-0 in Hartford in front of approximately 500 people. New Haven managed only five hits against Candy Cummings. Hartford, on the other hand, had their way with starter Johnny Ryan and substitute pitcher Henry Luff, carving out 11 hits, including three by catcher Doug Allison and two by third baseman/captain Bob Ferguson.

Bob Ferguson, captain of the Hartford club and the first switch hitter in baseball history

Bob Ferguson, captain of the Hartford club and the first switch hitter in baseball history

“The bulletin board was studied as the game progressed, and as inning by inning the New Havens scored ciphers, and the Hartfords rolled up tangible figures faces grew elongated, and when the score of 10 to 0 in favor of the Hartfords was recorded, such as had hazarded a bagatelle or so in the exuberance of their souls on the New Havens retired from the busy throngs far from the maddening crowd,” wrote the New Haven Journal.

Tim McGinley was injured against Hartford but was forced to stay in the game

Tim McGinley 

Again, a lack of depth hurt New Haven. Catcher Tim McGinley injured his hand during the game, but with no reserves at all (unlike New Haven, most National Association team had about 12 men on the roster), captain Charlie Gould was forced to improvise. Johnny Ryan, who had previously been pitching, moved behind the plate where he had gained some experience in exhibition games. Henry Luff, normally a third baseman, moved to the box. He had pitched quite a bit – with little success – during the recent road trip. McGinley couldn’t come out of the game or New Haven would have to forfeit, so he went to third base. It was a ramshackle arrangement.

Consequently, New Haven made 21 errors in the game, according to the box score, with Ryan and McGinley accounting for 13 of them. Hartford played errorless ball.

Captain Charlie Gould had a decision to make. Without starting pitcher Tricky Nichols, who was recovering from a hand injury, it seemed that the club had no chance against the professional Hartford hitters. With the team scheduled to play Hartford again the next day, Gould simply decided to not show up. After the 10-0 loss on June 14, the club packed up and took the late train to New Haven, a fairly desperate move on every level. According to the New Haven Union, the club decided it was better policy to forfeit the game rather than “suffer a disasterous defeat for want of a good pitcher.”

Friends of the New Haven club were crushed by the turn of events. While attendance at home games was relatively low, people were paying attention to the club’s fortunes and looking for answers. “One impression was that the club had got demoralized over its success in Rhode Island, while the Hartforders had stuck solely to business. Other had another theory, and the uncertaintt of all things were here below was propounded as a good rule to apply to the case, Nobody had settled the question at a late hour,” the Journal said.

New Haven would play the Philadelphia Athletics later that week.

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