For a couple of innings on April 21, 1875, it was almost as if the New Haven Elm Citys and the Boston Red Stockings switched roles.
In the first inning, New Haven jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead, taking advantage of a couple of hits by Billy Geer and Sam Wright and a Boston error “amidst great applause,” the Register said. Boston went very quietly in the bottom of the inning.
Baseball order was restored beginning in the third inning when Boston turned aggressive baserunning, a pair of New Haven errors, and some timely hits into three runs, starting a 14-3 rout, featuring 10 errors by the Elm Citys. “Notwithstanding the rawness of the weather — reminding one of November, rather than April — a large crowd gathered yesterday afternoon, on the old grounds at Hamilton Park … everyone shivered and shook, but all stayed until the game was over,” said the New Haven Daily Palladium.
The Elm Citys were playing at Hamilton Park, the home of Yale’s baseball team off Whalley Avenue near Hubinger Street and West Rock, because their home field at Howard Avenue wasn’t complete.
The Boston half of the third inning, deemed “disasterous” by the Register, began with a triple by Deacon White over centerfielder Jim Tipper’s head. Jack Manning and Juice Latham reached on consecutive errors, scoring White. George Wright then hit a two-run single. Boston followed it up with a run in the fourth, three more in the fifth inning, and single runs in the seventh and eighth.
This game allows us to point out another quirks in the 19th century game. The team batting first was agreed upon by coin toss or some other means, not by being the visiting team. In addition, all nine innings were played regardless of the score — Boston led 9-3 going into the bottom of the ninth, where they scored five more, all with two outs in the inning.
Ross Barnes led the Bostons with three runs and three hits. George Wright drove in four runs. “For the Bostons, all did well, and it would be invidious to particularize,” the Register said.
New Haven scratched out a additional run in the seventh on a single by Captain Charlie Gould – who surely regrets scheduling Boston by now – driving in Henry Luff.
The New Haven Register, ever the booster, praised the New Haven team for its efforts against such a good squad. “Taken as a whole the game was a creditable one but the last innings could have been bettered very easily,” reported the Register.
The Register cited Billy Geer and Sammy Wright as all around standouts, with third baseman John McKelvey and Luff hitting well. Luff made several baserunning blunders, killing a pair of New Haven rallies. Pitcher Tricky Nichols and McKelvey each made three errors in the game.
In an echo of the argument between former general manager Willis Arnold and the Board of Directors, the New Haven Register astutely argued that Boston might not have been the best choice of opponent to start the season. “Let the boys brace up and when they encounter clubs of more recent organization then the Bostons, we are confident that they will not be behindhand,” the Register said.
New Haven drops to no wins and two losses. Their next National Association opponent is the Brooklyn Atlantics on April 26, 1875.
NEW HAVEN – 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 – 3
BOSTON – 0 0 3 1 3 0 1 1 5 – 14
Earned runs – Boston 1, New Haven 1; Errors – New Haven 10, Boston 3 Time of game: 1 hr, 50 minutes
New Haven lineup – Billy Geer, 2b (1 run, 1 hit); Sam Wright, ss (1 run, 1 hit); Henry Luff, rf (1 run, 2 hits); Stud Bancker, c; John McKelvey, 3b (3 hits); Charlie Gould, 1b (1 hit); Johnny Ryan, lf; Jim Tipper, cf; Tricky Nichols (losing pitcher, 0-2)
Boston lineup – George Wright, ss (1 runs, 2 hits); Cal McVey, cf (2 runs, 1 hit); Ross Barnes, 2b (3 runs, 3 hits); Al Spalding p (1 run, 2 hits – winning pitcher); Andy Leonard, lf (2 hits); Deacon White, c (1 runs, 2 hits); Jack Manning, rf (2 runs, 0 hits); Juice Latham (1 run, 0 hits); Harry Schafer, 3b (3 runs, 0 hits).