Thirteen hits aren’t enough: New Haven falls to Saint Louis 9-7

Joe Battin, the Saint Louis second baseman who got three hits against New Haven on July 30, 1875

Joe Battin, the Saint Louis second baseman who got three hits against New Haven on July 30, 1875

Any sign of life in the New Haven ballclub was cause for celebration. A nice victory against Saint Louis, one of the better entries in the National Association, was certainly a reason to get supporters to come out to the ballpark. “Attendance was large both inside and out, and the interest was well kept up by the closeness of the score to the very end,” the Register said.

With both teams combining for a total of 27 base hits, Saint Louis defeated New Haven 9-7 on July 30, 1875. While New Haven’s bats were lively, the gloves were slipshod at best, a continued bugaboo for the team throughout the season. “The fielding of the New Havens was rather loose on one or two occasions where sharp play was required,” the Register opined.

The New Haven Palladium intimated that the Brown Stockings opted to use a livelier ball during the game but “didn’t make anything by it.” Whereas today the manufacture of baseballs is standardized, that was not the case in 1875. Clubs had the choice of a number of different types of balls, some with more bounce than others. The size of the ball was standardized in 1872 – weight was between 5 and 5.25 ounces, and the circumference was between 9 and 9.25 inches. However, the core of the baseball and the elasticity of the cover varied, according to Peter Morris’s book “A Game of Inches.”

The Brown Stockings jumped to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on a trio of base hits surrounding an error by New Haven second baseman Ed Somerville, one of two he’d make on the day.

New Haven, whose batting had been improving as the season went on, put up three in the top of the second. Somerville doubled to lead off the inning, and Jumbo Latham followed with a single. Sam Wright and Johnny Ryan reached on an error and a fielder’s choice, scoring Somerville. Rightfielder John McKelvey, who struggled at the plate the bulk of the season, hit a two-run double to right field.

Lip Pike, the first Jewish major leaguer

Lip Pike, the first Jewish major leaguer

Tricky Nichols, the New Haven pitcher, allowed the St. Louis club to tie the game in the bottom of the third on a double by Lip Pike, the center fielder, and an a triple by second baseman Joe Battin.

A word on Joe Battin, who would get three hits in the game. Battin had a brief stay in Philadelphia in 1874 after pulling a knife on a teammate who accused him of laying down. He would continue in the National League when it was formed in 1876. However, he and pitcher Joe Blong were identified by gamblers as throwing games in 1877, according to researcher Paul Batesel, and they were moved out of the league. Battin would resurface from time to time, amassing time in 10 major league seasons. “He came to be the subject of a running joke that he acquired his surname because he never did ‘any battin,’” wrote researcher David Nemec.

Back to the action. Nichols and St. Louis pitcher George Bradley settled down for a while at the midpoint of the game. At one point, Nichols allowed a single hit over three innings, striking out two. Bradley answered him in kind. New Haven threatened to blow things open in the third, the fifth, and the seventh innings. St. Louis played very tight defense and held them to two runs.

New Haven held the lead, 5-4, going into the bottom of the 7th inning. Lip Pike led off the inning with a single. Battin followed up with a single to center, and a dreadful overthrow by Ed Somerville allowed both runners to score. Saint Louis added a run in the bottom of the 8th to make the score 7-5.

New Haven had one final offensive burst in them. Bradley got two quick outs in the top of the 9th before allowing a single to Henry Luff. Tim McGinley, the catcher, doubled, scoring Luff. Somerville, seeking to atone for his defensive sins, hit a hot grounder back at Bradley, who threw widely to first. Amidst bedlam in New Haven, McGinley scored, tying the game at 7.

Battin singled off Nichols to start the bottom of the 9th. Hague hit a hot shot to rightfielder John McKelvey, who attempted to throw him out at first. The umpire called Hague safe, a decision that enraged the New Haven faithful. Pitcher George Bradley, a decent hitter, slammed a single to right. McKelvey made the first overthrow on the play, and Nichols, in turn, made a second throwing error to allow both runners to score, giving the Brown Stockings the victory.

“All together our boys have no need of bewailing their ill-luck, and they may be assured that in the last two games with the Browns they have far transcended the hopes and expectations of all that wish them well,” the Register said.

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Tommy Bond and the Hartfords defeat New Haven 4-3

Tommy Bond

Tommy Bond, one of the 19th century’s greatest pitchers

Tommy Bond, a 19-year-old Irish native in 1875, is virtually forgotten today, but he was for a time the highest paid player in professional baseball. Looking through the history of the early professional days of the sport, Bond’s name keep recurring as a pitching innovator, one of the men who changed the role as simply a feeder for the action to a influence on the game itself.

Bond, according to researcher Peter Morris, was the first person to learn the curveball from Hartford teammate Candy Cummings. He was also known for throwing a fast “raise ball,” a submarine style pitch delivered from about six inches off the ground and described by Morris as an inverted sinker, and a variation on a spitball in which a small amount of glycerin was deployed on his fingertips. These characteristics helped Bond be one of the 19th century’s most dominant pitchers.

New Haven, with its anemic bats, was no match for this vast pitching arsenal, losing 4-3 to Hartford on July 24, 1875. “The finest feature of the game was Bond’s wonderful pitching, after he had settled down to work. His work during the last three innings we have never seen excelled, the curve being remarkably effective. The ball when half the distance to the striker had been traversed would seem to threaten some part of his body, bit would take a sharp turn just in front of the plate and pass over it,” the Palladium said. Bond’s pitches either resulted in weak swings or called strikes.

“The game was anybody’s until it ended,” the Palladium said, ever the booster.

Hartford jumped out to a quick two run lead, scoring in the top of the first inning on a single by shortstop Tom Carey and a double by leftfielder Tom York. New Haven cut the lead in half in the bottom of the second inning on an Ed Somerville walk, a single by Juice Latham and a helpful error by Hartford catcher Doug Allison.

New Haven had a defensive breakdown in the top of the 5th inning, making four errors, allowing Hartford to take a 4-1 lead. “Had it now been for bad errors by the home nine … they would have won; but errors form a part of every game of ball, and are no excuse for defeat,” the Palladium said.

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In the bottom of the inning, New Haven rallied with three clean hits off Bond to score two runs. At this point in the game, both Bond and Nichols proved unhittable. Both men each threw four scoreless innings, Nichols striking out one batter and Bond two. New Haven managed to get two runners on in the bottom of the ninth inning, but Allison put down the uprising by throwing out both men stealing.

The gnarled hands of Hartford catcher Doug Allison

The gnarled hands of Hartford catcher Doug Allison

While the game might not have been a success on the field, Hartford proved to be an excellent natural rival for the New Haven club. The Elm Citys had been playing a bit better as of late. “The game … conclusively showed that the improvement in the nine is not temporary or the work of chance, but an improvement that will stay,” the Palladium reported.

The 1876 Hartford Dark Blues, featured above, made the transition to the modern National League with many of the 1875 players still on the roster

The 1876 Hartford Dark Blues, featured above, made the transition to the modern National League with many of the 1875 players still on the roster

That improvement and the presence of the Dark Blues, who were currently second in the National Association behind the dynastic Boston Red Stockings, made for an appealing ticket. “The game between these two clubs drew another large crowd … and if the home club continues to make money at the same rate we may expect to see them in appear upon the grounds ere long in dress suits,” the Register said.

A small side plot began to develop during this game. Charlie Pabor of the Brooklyn Atlantics made his first appearance in New Haven, umpiring the game impartially and well. It wouldn’t be long before Pabor took a greater role in the Elm Citys’ saga.

New Haven beats Chicago 6-1, silencing the critics

Was a kid like this trying to see New Haven play Chicago for free?

Was a kid like this trying to see New Haven play Chicago for free?

A crowd of intrepid, baseball-mad street urchins had figured out a way to taking in free baseball at the Howard Avenue Grounds. Just outside the park, which may have been the first to sell advertising on its walls, there was a huge tree which gave a nice vantage point on the outfield. The boys, “whose eyes were doubtlessly larger than their pocketbooks,” clamored up the tree and had taken to hanging there during games. The penny pinching New Haven management didn’t like the boys’ inventiveness and looked for a way to end the freebies.

“Now the manager had looked of late with an evil eye upon this non-paying crowd and accordingly myrmidons were sent to divest prolific tree of its living fruit. Soon, slowly and sorrowfully, these non-paying tenants left their roost and sought terra-firma with woebegone looks,” according to the Register.

For the record, myrmidons, in classical mythology, were skilled warriors trained and commanded Achilles. According to the Iliad, they were loyal and brave to a fault. I’m not quite sure the New Haven Register reporter is using the correct analogy for a group of adults chasing kids away from a ballgame.

 

The management scourge now eradicated, New Haven defeated Chicago 6-1 on July 21 at home in front of a large (paying) crowd buoyed by the club’s recent performance. “This victory was somewhat surprising to many, although all must have remarked that that the home nine is vastly better than it was a few weeks ago,” said the New Haven Palladium.

The 1876 White Stockings

The 1876 White Stockings

 

The White Stockings, or Giants as the papers referred to them, had made some injudicious comments to the local media. It seems that the club’s leadership had assumed that because of New Haven’s lack of success, that the club had folded. “The papers that have persistently published that statement can print it again tomorrow with appropriate comments,” the Palladium said.

The locker room chatter seems to have jelled the New Havens. They jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, with Captain Juice Latham driving in the run. Chicago answered with a run in the bottom of the first, which would be all they’d get on the day. New Haven pitcher Tricky Nichols fired zeroes the rest of the way, striking out five Giants.

New Haven scored in four consecutive innings, the fourth through the seventh, against George “The Charmer Zettlein, who gave up 13 hits on the day. In the fourth, New Haven scored twice, taking advantage of Ed Somerville’s double, two Chicago errors, and an RBI single by Tricky Nichols.

 

Chicago catcher Scott Hastings is bottom center in this team shot of the 1871 Rockford Forest Citys

Chicago catcher Scott Hastings is bottom center in this team shot of the 1871 Rockford Forest Citys

Even the defense, normally a bugaboo for New Haven, showed up against Chicago. In the bottom of the fourth inning with Giant runners on first and second, Scott Hastings singled over the head of centerfielder Billy Geer. Geer, normally an infielder, heaved a throw from deep center to Nichols, the cutoff man, who in turned fired to catcher Tim McGinley, putting out the runner coming from second. McGinley, one of the better players on New Haven, then threw to Henry Luff at third to complete the unusual double play. It squelched the White Stockings’ best rally of the afternoon. “Whereat the crowd of spectators began to clap their hands and rejoice for they began to think the home nine was greatly underrated,” said the Register.

Ed Somerville would lead the league in errors at second base in 1875

Ed Somerville would lead the league in errors at second base in 1875

 

Ed Somerville got three hits and both drove in and scored a run. Nichols drove in two runs of his own for New Haven. Chicago catcher Scott Hastings got three hits in a losing effort. “The wish of yesterday, i.e., that we might record a victory for New Haven, was fulfilled,” the Register wrote.

Yale defeats New Haven 6-4; the curve baffles Elm City

Charles Hammond Avery, star Yale pitcher, in an 1874 team photo on the wall at Mory's in New Haven

Charles Hammond Avery (standing center), star Yale pitcher, in an 1874 team photo on the wall at Mory’s in New Haven

The best pitcher in New Haven in 1875 wasn’t getting paid for his work. His name was C.H. Avery and he was a true phenom. Twenty-one year old Charles Hammond Avery, known colloquolly as Ham, was the senior captain of the Yale baseball team in 1875.

According to baseball historian Harold Seymour, Avery was one of the first pitchers to throw the curveball. The truth is very complicated. For his part, Candy Cummings, the Hartford pitcher the Baseball Hall of Fame recognizes as the first man to throw a curveball, parsed the distinction, saying Avery was one of only three other pitchers who mastered the pitch with an underhand delivery.

Fred Goldsmith, who claims to have taught Avery the curveball

Fred Goldsmith, who claims to have taught Avery the curveball

Fred Goldsmith, a future New Haven Elm City Club player, was another player who claimed primacy in the evolution of the pitch. Even he said initially that Avery was the inventor of the pitch, but later recanted his assertion claiming he was the first to curve the ball. Goldsmith claimed he was walking down the street in New Haven near the Green, tossing a ball around when a man in a Yale sweater, turning out to be Avery, asked to play catch. Goldsmith, a teenager, threw a curve befuddling Avery, who demanded to learn the pitch. Or so the story goes.

The provinance of the pitch is uncertain. Legendary baseball manager Connie Mack claimed that Avery was the first pitcher to throw a curve in a collegiate game, shutting out Harvard 4-0 in 1874. In the end, baseball historians enshrined Cummings as the inventor of the pitch (he learned curving seashells on the shore in his childhood home in Massachusetts), while Goldsmith and Avery were essentially relegated to footnotes in baseball history.

Avery had things well in hand when he face New Haven on June 21, 1875. It was common for National Association teams to schedule contests against local college or amateur teams as a way of lining their coffers and getting in a bit of practice. New Haven already played Yale twice times over the course of the season. Yale almost beat New Haven during their last exhibition before the game was washed away by rain. However, local pundits believed that with the acquisitions of first baseman Juice Latham, catcher Tim McGinley, and second baseman Ed Somerville, would tip the game in favor of the professionals.

The pundits were wrong. The Bulldogs defeated the professionals by the score of 6-4.

New Haven jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning when Ed Somerville singled. He then scored on three consecutive passed balls by Bigelow, a common 19th century malady when a curveball pitcher meets a barehanded catcher.

Yale scored twice in the bottom of the third inning to jump into the lead. New Haven took advantage of two Yale errors to score three runs in the top of the fourth inning, but Ham Avery took control of the game, striking out 7 in an era when it was extremely difficult to do so. “To make a long story short, Avery, the Yale pitcher, never did better, and the New Havens were utterly unable to hit him with any effect,” said the New Haven Register.

After surrendering a pair of hits in the 5th inning, Avery retired the final 15 New Haven players in a row, allowing Yale to chip away at unlucky Tricky Nichols for four runs. “Nichols pitched with greater skills than usual and he seems to have improved very much,” the Register said.

Billy Geer drove in two runs for New Haven, and the papers pointed to Latham as playing particularly good defense. Yale catcher Bigelow drove in three runs and George Knight scored two runs for the Bulldogs.

Avery had a chance to turn professional after his graduation in 1875. Hall of Famer Harry Wright offered him $3,400 per season to join the Boston Red Stockings. To place this offer in context, the average National Association ballplayer made between $100 and $150 per month. In fact, the offer to Avery was $400 more than Wright paid Al Spalding, the Red Stockings’ current superstar pitcher. The Yale graduate had other plans in mind. “Avery, a Skull & Bones Society blueblood, thought professional baseball beneath him and demurred,” according to baseball historian John Thorn.

Avery returned to his hometown of Cincinnati and became a successful lawyer, dying in 1927.

New Haven wins its second game of the season, beating rival Hartford 3-2

Johnny Ryan, ordinarily an outfielder, pitched well against Hartford, holding them to two hits

Johnny Ryan, ordinarily an outfielder, pitched well against Hartford, holding them to two hits

New Haven was able to rebound from a 12-0 drubbing at the hands of the Hartford Dark Blues, winning its second game of the season 3-2 on Saturday, June 12, 1875.

The clubs traveled to Providence, home of the successful minor league Grays, to play a lucrative road game, but it seems they expected a bigger turnout. “There were about 1,200 people present, the one sided game of 12 to 0 on Friday probably keeping many away,” said the Hartford Daily Courant.

With Hartford having an excellent season and New Haven limping along, the box office was suffering. No one seemed to expect New Haven to win a lot of games, but the lack of earnest competition was keeping people away. “The disappointment in the result may be imagined, for althought it was hardly to be expected that the New Haven club could outmatch the renowned Hartford club, still it was galling to see a whitewash,” according to the New Haven Journal.

Providence seemed to be different, with patrons actively rooting for New Haven to do well. “Such a surprise was a godsend,” said the New Haven Register.

Ed Somerville would lead the league in errors at second base in 1875

Ed Somerville

Hartford took an early one run lead in the game again substitute starting pitcher Johnny Ryan. New Haven responded with all of its runs in the top of the third inning. John McKelvey and Ed Somerville had a couple of hits each for New Haven, with McKelvey, Johnny Ryan, and Charlie Gould scoring runs for the club. It was pitching and defense that carried the day for New Haven, certainly an anomaly thus far this season. Hartford only managed two base hits in the game, by Tom Carey and Jack Remsen.

Jack Remsen got one of two hits for Hartford against New Haven

Jack Remsen got one of two hits for Hartford against New Haven

The combination of Somerville and catcher Tim McGinley foiled a double steal attempt in the eighth inning. With runners at first and third, the runner at first attempted to steal. He drew a throw from McGinley, but a quick return throw from Somerville, an excellent defender, cut down the tying run at the plate. In the bottom of the ninth, with two runners aboard, left fielder Jim Tipper, who has been credited with playing excellent defense all season long, made a running catch to save the game. “The two magnificent plays and Ryan’s pitching won the game for New Haven without a doubt,” said the New Haven Register.

New Haven centerfielder Jim Tipper led the team to its first win with three runs scored and two hits.

New Haven leftfielder Jim Tipper

New Haven will play Hartford another two times in the next week. Patrons are just too caught up in wins and losses, said the New Haven Register. In one of the more interesting arguments about sports made in a while, the Register felt that results didn’t much matter. It was only the fact that the players were making a strong effort that warranted public support. This could be read two ways. There is the obvious and first meaning, simple mindless boosterism, which the Register had certainly been guilty of thus far. Or, it could mean something more nefarious. The league had been plagued with players throwing ballgames. High profile players on the Chicago club had been suspected and publically accused of negatively influencing the outcome of games. Perhaps the Register was assuring potential patrons that despite the poor outcome, the New Haven club was putting forth its best efforts.

“The nine did well in their game on Saturday — they did nobly and we hope for a repetition of it today. But we are not too sanguine. We will not be discouraged by a defeat knowing that the boys will do their best to place another victory to their credit,” the New Haven Register said.

New Haven returns home from unsuccessful road trip, loses to Hartford 12-0

1875 Hartford Dark Blues

1875 Hartford Dark Blues

One might think that with the additions of three new players and a win under their belts, the New Havens would be ready to turn it around. It was not to be.

The club finished its road trip with four straight losses, losing a close game to Washington on June 1, 8-7 and subsequently being routed by Philadelphia Whites 18-2 on June 3, and by the Philadelphia Athletics 13-5 and 14-2 on June 4 and 5.

The team would return home by boat on June 11 to play the Hartford Dark Blues, a game whose stakes, both on and off the field, couldn’t be higher. The New Haven Evening Register argued that the odds were stacked against the club from the beginning. The team got started after most other teams had been comprised, and since it was made up of mostly amateurs, the city of New Haven should be giving it a pass for its poor play.

“It is no easy task to start a professional club. The management here have had every obstacle to encounter and as yet their efforts have not been met with the reception which they merit,” opined the New Haven Evening Register.

New first baseman Juice Latham in 1875

New first baseman Juice Latham in 1875

The Register believes that the recent signings of Juice Latham, Ed Somerville, and Tim McGinley shows “meritorious sagacity” on the part of the club’s directors.

Charlie Gould, the Elm Citys first captain

Charlie Gould, the Elm Citys first captain

More changes appear to be in the air. The Hartford Courant reported that the directors were planning to dismiss Charlie Gould from his position as captain (the 19th century equivalent of manager) and replace him with the newly acquired Latham. “We wish to deny this in toto,” said the Register. “Captain Gould’s services will not be dispensed with and the management of the club have never entertained such an idea.”

Regular pitcher Tricky Nichols was expected to be fully recovered from a finger injury that prevented him from making the road trip. “He has been practicing faithfully since his hand has allowed him, hence he is good playing condition. His services, of a very valuable nature, have been greatly missed by the boys during their late trip, and they can loay some their defeats to this and this alone,” the Register said.

Nichols would play an important continued role for the team in the future, but not against Hartford on June 11. Apparently not fully recovered from his injury, Nichols gave way to regular third baseman Henry Luff, pressed into service in the box during the road trip. Luff has been working on a curve ball, the Register said, with good results. “He has every indication of making a very successful pitcher, hard to hit,” the Register said.

Candy Cummings shut out New Haven

Candy Cummings shut out New Haven

Luff gave up 15 hits to Hartford and with Candy Cummings virtually unhittable for the Dark Blues, New Haven lost 12-0 in front of 1,500 people, their largest crowd of the season. “Many who came upon the grounds with faces indicative of pleasure left with looks of despondency,” the Register said.

“The residents of the Elm City (were) thinking that their reorganized nine were going to make a hot fight against the Hartfords,” the Hartford Courant said, their sneer coursing through the ink on the page.

New Haven mounted a single rally the second inning. They had the bases loaded in the second inning with no one out, only down 2-0 before Tim McGinley, Sam Wright and John McKelvey were quietly retired.

Hartford picked up two runs in the second inning, and single runs in the fourth and fifth before exploding in the seventh inning. They scored five times, with Henry Luff allowing five consecutive base hits. Hartford added another three runs in the bottom of the eighth. “The New Havens were out-hitted and out-fielded at every point,” said the Hartford Courant.

Candy Cummings' plaque at the Hall of Fame. Virtually none of the information on it is factual.

Candy Cummings’ plaque at the Hall of Fame. Virtually none of the information on it is factual.

Cummings, allegedly the inventor of the curve ball, finished the game only allowing New Haven five hits, with only a single runner reaching second base after the second inning. Hartford first baseman Everett Mills was the hitting star for the club with three runs scored and a pair of hits, including a double and a triple. Tom York added two hits and two runs scored, including a triple.

Both the Register and the Courant made special note of Hartford catcher Bill Harbidge. He replaced an injured Doug Allison and contributed fine defensive play and a base hit to the victory. A quick side note about Harbidge – he was a rarety, a lefthanded catcher,and would be the first in National League history when he played the position in 1876. He was known as “Roarin'” or “Yaller” Bill and he also had extensive knowledge of Shakespeare’s works, according to Baseball-reference.com.

 

Bill Harbidge, Hartford's backup catcher

Bill Harbidge, Hartford’s backup catcher

Ed Somerville, playing with a sprained ankle, provided New Haven’s only offense, managing two singles. Sam Wright, who played well in the field in the game, managed to pop out to the catcher all three times at bat.

New Haven finished the day with a record of 1 win and 20 losses. Hartford was 20-5, trailing the first place Boston Red Stockings by 5 and a half games. The two clubs would meet again the next day.

 

New faces in New Haven; injuries prompt several roster changes

Thirteen games into a winless season, the New Haven club was starting to struggle with injuries that forced players from the lineup. Pitcher Tricky Nichols was laid up with a broken finger. Sammy Wright, the shortstop, had a sprained ankle.

By and large, nineteenth-century baseball players played hurt. There were no pitch counts or rehab assignments to nurse a player back to health, and no disabled list as a mechanism to heal. With National Association teams tending to carry about 12 players on the roster, and New Haven generally carrying only enough to field a team, it meant new faces would put on a uniform.

Without a standardized scouting system, finding players was a difficult task. Willis Arnold, the club’s first general manager, went to find players in Brooklyn and Philadelphia, a sound idea at the time given both cities were hotbeds of the sport. With Arnold cashiered before the season even began, there doesn’t appear to have been a systematic effort by Captain Charles Gould in place to augment the roster in the event of injury. New Haven fell back on hiring players who were either recent Yale men, or members of the Bridgeport semi-pro team, including Sullivan, who performed well, Rit Harrison, who could hit but not field, and John Smith, who could do neither.

Tom Barlow, catcher for the Atlantics, Dark Blues, and Elm Citys

Tom Barlow, catcher for the Atlantics, Dark Blues, and Elm Citys

As the New Haven team planned its first road trip of the season, changes were necessary. Tom Barlow, the drug addicted catcher who gave two teams the runaround this offseason, returned to make the trip.

Jim Keenan, a future major leaguer who would serve as a backup for New Haven

Jim Keenan, a future major leaguer who would serve as a backup for New Haven

The New Haven Daily Palladium noted that a pitcher named Perroy was acquired to take Nichols’ place in the box, but it doesn’t appear from the records that he would ever play for the Elm Citys. Gould would choose to use outfielder Johnny Ryan and third baseman Henry Luff to handle the pitching. Seventeen year old Jim Keenan, a local amateur who would go on to a long major league career, would travel with the squad. Lester Dole, the son of the Yale professor responsible for the club’s conditioning in the preseason, would also serve as a substitute.

Lester Dole played in a single game for the Elm Citys. Became known as an educator and a championship walker

Lester Dole played in a single game for the Elm Citys. Became known as an educator and a championship walker

Aside from Keenan and Sullivan, who appeared in multiple games, none of the substitutes would have any impact on the team. Barlow, Smith, Harrison, and Dole would each appear in a single game with the team, with decidedly mixed results.

Ed Somerville would lead the league in errors at second base in 1875

Ed Somerville would lead the league in errors at second base in 1875

However, with clubs in the league folding and more players becoming available, help was on the way. The Washington Centennials went out of business on May 24 and New Haven quickly signed catcher Tim McGinley and second baseman Ed Somerville. Both players were rookies in 1875, but Somerville had already gained a reputation as a fine fielder and hitter, according to manager Jack Chapman’s scrapbooks, stored at the Baseball Hall of Fame library.  Somerville was hitting .228 when he signed with New Haven. McGinley hit .231 before arriving in New Haven.

Tim McGinley

Tim McGinley

With pressure mounting from the local press and stockholders concerned about their financial investment, Gould hoped that these players could help turn the team around. It turns out that in a small way they would.