New Haven downs Saint Louis, 7-3

A game from the 1850s in Flushing, New York that shows women in attendance. I'd like to think New Haven wasn't different in 1875.

A game from the 1850s in Flushing, New York that shows women in attendance. I’d like to think New Haven wasn’t different in 1875. (from the New York Clipper and ourgame.mlblogs.com)

One of the early concerns of 19th century base ball executives is that the game was too rough and tumble to attract female spectators. It’s true that the stands in a National Association game could be filled with drunken hooligans, brazenly betting on the game, but that doesn’t seem to be keeping women away in New Haven. Or, conversely, perhaps this is an indicator that the “cranks,” the 19th century term for a fan, were a little better behaved in New Haven.

“Notwithstanding the heat a very fair crowd assembled, fairer than usual if such a pun be permissible, for many representatives of the gentler sex were witnesses of the game,” said the Register, also noting that some male members of the crowd weren’t too happy with their presence.

No matter. Perhaps the New Havens were inspired by them, downing the Saint Louis club by a score of 7-3 on July 28, 1875 in front of another large crowd.

George Bradley, the losing Saint Louis pitcher

George Bradley, the losing Saint Louis pitcher

The game initially looked as if it was shaping up to be a pitcher’s duel. Both Saint Louis’ George Bradley and New Haven’s Tricky Nichols fired four scoreless innings apiece to start the game.

St. Louis jumped on the board first in the top of the 5th inning, scoring one run on a pair of New Haven errors and a questionable call by umpire Bill Boyd of the Atlantics, his first of a few on the day.

Bill Boyd, the Atlantics outfielder whose umpiring caused trouble for New Haven

Bill Boyd, the Atlantics outfielder whose umpiring caused trouble for New Haven

New Haven matched them with a run in the bottom of the 5th on singles by Sam Wright and Johnny Ryan. Saint Louis added runs in the sixth and eighth innings. The run in the eighth wasn’t without controversy. Ned Cuthbert walked to lead off the inning, an inordinately rare occurrence in 1875, coming around to score. “Boyd, the umpire, gave Cuthbert his base on three balls, two balls being called where it should have been two strikes,” the Register reported. “His unfairness was chiefly confined to the calling of balls and strikes, but it was quite manifest to that respect after the seventh inning,” the Palladium said.

The run ultimately wouldn’t matter in the face of one of New Haven’s bigger offensive explosions of the season. As 19th century games so often do, victory often turns on defensive breakdown and the ability of the offense of capitalize.

New Haven scored two runs in the sixth inning on a pair of Saint Louis errors and a single by Henry Luff, the hitting star of the day. In the bottom of the eighth inning, New Haven batted around, scoring four times to cinch the win. Nichols led off the inning with a single. John McKelvey hit a hot flyball to centerfielder Jack Chapman (who flirted with being New Haven’s first captain in the offseason), who dropped the ball and then made an overthrow on the play, allowing both men to score. A pair of errors by second baseman Battin and third baseman Hague split up a triple by Henry Luff and an RBI single by Tim McGinley. “The New Havens fairly outdid themselves, and their batting in the eighth inning called forth loud applause,” the Register said.

Since upsetting Boston on July 2, New Haven was playing credible ball, amassing a record of three wins and four losses, after beginning the month with a 2-24 season record. The addition of players from defunct franchises around the league and the change to a new captain seems to have done a world of good. “People in this city are beginning to believe we have a base ball nine,” the Palladium said.

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 drops first three games of road trip, including one by forfeit

One would think that the change of scenery afforded by a southern road trip, in tandem with the addition of new players signed to key positions would change the New Havens’ luck. Not so. New Haven dropped two quick games shortly after leaving by boat to travel to New York. They first lost to the Brooklyn Atlantics, a team that would only win a pair of games in 1875, 14-4 on May 26, at an exceedingly hot and underattended game, according to the New York Sun. A day later, the Elm Citys played the New York Mutuals, and lost 8-5.

The modern day New York Mutuals, showing off the vintage uniform.

The modern day New York Mutuals, showing off the vintage uniform.

There were also the first rumblings of internal strife on the team. Pitcher Tricky Nichols, recuperating from a broken finger, was rumored to have expressed some dissatisfaction with the way the season was going thus far, complaints that had to be put to rest in the press. “Nichols is not going to leave the New Haven nine, so Ryan sends word. They will get a good team together, he says, if it takes all summer,” according to the Brooklyn Eagle on May 26, 1875.

The New Havens arrived in Washington D.C. to play the Nationals on May 30. The Washington National Republican, one of the few publications that directly covered the game, offered one of the few precise descriptions found in print of the New Haven uniform. “The visitors being attired in white flannels, trimmed in dark blue, blue and white plaid stockings, and the name of their organization on the breasts of their shirts,” the paper said.

With the additions of Ed Somerville and Tim McGinley, New Haven believed that they had a good chance to break its winless streak. “With these additions they have indulged the assurance that they are able to get away with our boys, and are evidently a little chagrined by the fact that they alone should be victimized by the representatives of the National Metropolis,” said the Washington National Republican. “This is a very credible feeling but it should not be indulged at the expense of friendly demeanor and courteous rivalry,” the paper said.

Umpires were local baseball men who needed to be approved by each team in order to work a game.

Umpires were local baseball men who needed to be approved by each team in order to work a game. The man in the suit near home plate is handling the job.

New Haven’s behavior during the game was anything but courteous. Early in the game, the umpire failed to award Johnny Ryan first base on a base on balls. It appeared the umpire was unaware of the rule. New Haven Captain Charlie Gould, quite properly, took the umpire to task over his error. The umpire reversed his decision, but his error began and deluge of argument from both teams throughout the game.

The ump is wearing a top hat in this 1872 woodcut.

The ump is wearing a top hat in this 1872 woodcut.

“Just here, let all gentlemen having any regards for the feelings and opinions of the patrons of the national game, and at the same time who are not posted in the latest edition of the baseball regulations, and had some experience in the art of umpiring, take a fool’s advice and take a fool’s advice and not put themselves up to be figureheads, to be insulted and mocked by the representatives of the common herd who always congregate at a ball game,” fussed the National Republican.

Getting into the spirit of the thing, the Olympics then began questioning the legality of New Haven pitcher Henry Luff’s delivery. Nineteenth century pitchers were obliged to keep their release point below the waist, something they claimed Luff was not doing. “It is extremely annoying to a crowd assembled for amusement to listen to quarrels of this description, and there is no surer method of bringing the game into dispute and disgusting the public,” the National Republican said.

Steve Brady tripled against the New Havens

Steve Brady tripled against the New Havens

In between the screaming and the shouting, a ball game took place. Washington jumped out to a three run lead in the top of the first inning, a rally assembled out of two errors, a single and a triple by second baseman Steve Brady, one of the better players on the club.

New Haven quickly answered with two in the bottom of the first, both scoring on a double by Luff, and four in the bottom of the second inning, with doubles by Gould, Ryan, and Luff leading the way.

New Haven held a 9-5 lead until the top of the seventh inning, when they remembered who they were and had a utter break down. Errors by Billy Geer, Henry Luff and John Bancker led to a four run inning for Washington.

Washington's winning pitcher in the second game

Bill Parks was Washington’s change pitcher

Washington then made a strategic pitching change, a extraordinarily infrequent occurence in the National Association, switching starting pitcher Bill Stearns to the outfield and bringing Bill Parks to the box. Parks threw two hitless innings, giving up a single unearned run.

In the top of the ninth Washington scored two more runs on clean hits by the shortstop Bill Daily and by Stearns, now playing center. It was 11-10 Washington going into the bottom of the inning.

Gould must have been apoplectic. His club had fumbled away a substantial lead, and now was dealing with a fresh pitcher on the mound who had already beaten them earlier this year. After just a few pitches to Jim Tipper, apparently inspired by the Olympics’ antics, Gould began to complain about Parks’ delivery, something he didn’t do the first time the clubs faced each other. The umpire dismissed Gould’s complaint, and in a moment of pique, he pulled his club off the field.

In the ensuing row, the fans rushed the field, making it impossible for the beleaguered umpire to restore order. “Chin music prevailed,” said the Republican. “And the umpire declared the game forfeit by the visitors.”

“The actions of Gould cannot be justified under any circumstances,” the paper said. Actually, in a sense, they can be. Gould was a prideful man who had competed on some of the most powerful baseball teams of the decade. Facing a 15 game losing streak, it is possible that this successful man’s calm demeanor snapped, and rather than face the loss on the field, he fled on technicality. It’s a very human response to the pressures he’d been facing in the press, and certainly from the stockholders.

Gould would have a chance to revenge himself on the Olympics the next day.

New Haven drops two more to Athletics; losing streak at 13

There are occasions where New Haven, mired in an 11-game losing streak, will play better than the score. May 19, 1875, against the Philadelphia Athletics, a solid ball club, was one of those occasions.

New Haven battered Philadelphia pitcher Dick McBride for 16 hits, their highest total this season, but couldn’t push the runners home. New Haven lost to Philadelphia 12-5. “It is with pleasure that we note the marked improvement in batting exhibited by our boys,” the Register said. “They found little trouble in hitting McBride.”

John Clapp

John Clapp

Catcher John Clapp drove in four runs for Philadelphia, and third baseman Ezra Sutton scored three times and had three hits. For New Haven, Henry Luff, Jim Tipper, and Sam Wright each had three hits.

Ezra Sutton

Ezra Sutton

Tricky Nichols employed his typical bend not break manner of pitching for the first four innings, allowing only a single clean hit and stranding the White Stockings who reached on errors. “They could not get the hang of Nichols’ pitching,” the Register said.

New Haven scored first in the bottom of the first inning. Billy Geer led off the game with a single and Henry Luff drove him in with another base hit. Philadelphia came back with two runs in the top of the fifth to take the lead.

The clubs traded runs, with Philadelphia leading 7-5 going into the ninth inning, giving New Haven a plausible chance at coming back. In the top of the ninth, Ezra Sutton got his third hit of the day. Nichols then forced two quick outs. Hits by Rocap and Richmond, an error by Rit Harrison, playing out of position at shortstop due to an injury, and two more hits by Davy Force and Clapp, led to five runs. The New Havens’ spirits were crushed, going quietly in the bottom of the ninth. “Again was New Haven defeated, by this time by a first class club, and the score for the first eight innings would have done credit to any organization,” the Register said, always looking for the silver cloud.

John Smith, the new shortstop, played in a single game for New Haven, going hitless and making three errors

John Smith, the new shortstop, played in a single game for New Haven, going hitless and making three errors

In the second game of the short series with Philadelphia, played Saturday, May 21, 1875, a series of injuries showed just how thin the New Haven roster actually was. Sam Wright, the regular shortstop, had gotten hurt several days earlier and was unable to play. John Smith, a shortstop who’d been playing with the amateur club in Bridgeport, was signed to replace him. He’d actually had National Association service, getting 6 hits in 40 at-bats for Maryland and Baltimore over two seasons.

New Haven lost a listless 15-2 laugher. “The number of spectators at the ball game yesterday was exceedingly small, when the reputation of the Philadelphia club s considered. A one-sided and uninteresting game was feared, and the result justified the expectations,” the Register said.

Nichols, who’d thrown every inning of every game thus far, broke his finger in the top of the first inning. He finished the inning but was unable to proceed. “Under these circumstances, it was evident that the Athletics would pile up the tallies,” the Register said presciently.

Indeed they did. Without an adequate replacement – most teams only had one regular pitcher – the rout was on. Third baseman Henry Luff took the box in his place, going six innings and giving up 12 hits and 11 runs. They also tried left fielder Johnny Ryan for the final two innings, in which he gave up a run on three hits and two walks, an accomplishment in and of itself when nine balls constituted a walk.

Dick McBride

Dick McBride

In the meantime, Dick McBride (who would later get fired as captain in the middle of a game late in the season) showed his good stuff for Philly, scattering seven hits and allowing two meaningless runs in the eighth inning. John Clapp had another good game, scoring four times and getting two hits. Ezra Sutton, Davy Force, and Al Reach (who would become a sporting goods magnate like his contemporary Al Spalding), each had three hits. Cap Anson, a Hall of Famer perhaps more infamously known as the man who would create baseball’s long time color barrier, scored three times and got a couple of hits.

Cap Anson

Cap Anson

Jim Tipper managed a pair of hits for New Haven, as well as making several good plays in the field, prompting profuse praise from the New Haven Register. Billy Geer also added a pair of hits, including a double, and drove in both runs.

New Haven takes on the Brooklyn Atlantics and the New York Mutuals next.

Brooklyn tips New Haven 3-2; bad umpiring partially to blame?

 

Charlie Pabor drove in the winning run against New Haven

Charlie Pabor, nicknamed The Old Woman in the Red Cap, drove in the winning run against New Haven

In the early years of baseball, the period before the sports’ early organization into professional leagues, the Brooklyn Atlantics were a truly fine team, one of the founding clubs of the National Association of Base Ball Players, an amateur group.

The club had fallen on hard times recently but the patina was still there. Brooklyn finished 22-33 in 1874, and turned over 7 of its 9 regulars coming into this season. Bill Boyd, a portly outfielder who was a fireman in the offseason, and club manager Charlie Pabor were the only players on the roster with any history of success in the National Association.

In short, they were perfect opponents for the new New Haven baseball club to test its mettle against. The New Haven Evening Register, in the lead up to the game, liked the Elm Citys’ chances. “It is expected that the two clubs are quite evenly matched that an interesting time may be expected. Let New Haven go in and win their first game now. The present is the time to do it,” the paper wrote.

New Haven would have to wait a bit longer, losing a close one to Brooklyn 3-2 on April 26, 1875, at least partially due to some questionable umpiring. “The spectators were not so numerous as they were last Saturday [against Yale in the first game at the Howard Avenue Grounds], but what they lacked in numbers they made up for in appreciative enthusiasm,” said the New Haven Daily Palladium.

John_Cassidy

John Cassidy

A rarity developed for the first five innings – a well played, well-fielded pitcher’s duel. Tricky Nichols (0 wins, 3 losses) limited Brooklyn to four hits over the first five innings. John Cassidy was even better, holding New Haven hitless through five. “The excitement of the crowd was at fever pitch and all expected a very close game,” the Daily Palladium noted after the fifth inning. “An entire ‘Chicago’ was expected,” the Register said, using the 19th century term for a shutout.

Nineteen century baseball games turn on physical mistakes and the opposition’s ability to capitalize on them. The sixth inning was mistake central for both teams.

The Atlantics led off the 6th inning with a single by Henry Kessler. Al Nichols doubled over right fielder Henry Luff’s head. Second baseman Billy Geer took Luff’s relay throw and chucked the ball over catcher Stud Bancker, allowing both runners to score.

New Haven, having difficulty scoring runs in the early part of the season, was faced with a do or die situation in the bottom of the 6th. The inning started off with a single by Johnny Ryan, who stole second and advanced to third on a single by Tricky Nichols. Cassidy, who struggled with wildness early in the game, got two quick strikes on Geer before the next pitch eluded catcher Jake Knowdell, with both runners scoring on the play.

Jake_Knowdell

Jake Knowdell 

Leading off the ninth, Cassidy singled. A single by Bobby Clack advanced the runner to third. Both hits were clouded in controversy. The New Haven Register, critical of the umpiring of Hartford resident Charlie Daniels, claimed that both fair-foul hits – a 19th century rule that allowed a ball that struck in fair territory and then rolled foul before reaching first base to be in play – were actually simply foul balls. Charlie Pabor, known as The Old Woman in the Red Cap, a truly fine nickname, drove in the winning run on a grounder back to pitcher Nichols.

The Register continued to boost the club’s efforts, despite the results. “New Haven has every reason to be proud of her nine. The work they did yesterday, against the odds opposed to them, makes them rank well in the professional arena,” the paper wrote.

The papers differed on how Daniels performed in the game against Brooklyn. “Several times the spectators manifested their disapprobation of his rulings in a very marked way,” according to the New Haven Evening Register, noting the problems with the fair-foul hits and a strikeout. The Palladium didn’t agree. “The umpire’s position is always a thankless one, and we were unable to perceive any glaring manifestations of of partiality yesterday,” the Palladium said.

It would turn out that Brooklyn and New Haven would have similar trajectories in 1875, and John Cassidy and Charlie Pabor would end up playing important role in the baseball lives of both cities.

TEAM NOTES

** The Elm Citys were slightly banged up heading into the game with Brooklyn. Catcher Stud Bancker was playing with a sprained ankle, prompting the need for a courtesy runner in the game. Outfielder Johnny Ryan got hit in the face with a foul ball while catching in a scrimmage against Yale. In the early going, because the Elm Citys started to sign players late, the club only fielded nine men. Lester Dole, the son of a Yale University professor and the team’s preseason gym instructor, played in a couple of scrimmages as an outfielder to provide the squad a bit of depth.

** After the Register baited the Hartford Dark Blues in print early in the week, the nascent Hartford/New Haven rally took on a new twist. Brooklyn, who had recently played Hartford, had insisted that Charlie Daniels, an amateur ballplayer from the Connecticut capital, call the game. Naturally, Captain Charlie Gould not only balked at Daniels’ presence, but early in the game had to actually pull out the rule book to educate the ump. I mean literally show the guy a rule book.

SCORE BY INNINGS

Brooklyn – 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 – 3

New Haven – 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 – 2

W – John Cassidy L – Tricky Nichols (0-3)

Brooklyn lineup – Bill Boyd, rf (2-5); Henry Kessler, ss (2-5, 1 run); Al Nichols, 3b (2-4, 1 run); Fred Crane, 1b (1-4); Tom Patterson, 2b (0-4); John Cassidy, p (1-4, 1 run); Jake Knowdell, c (0-4); Bobby Clack, cf (2-4); Charlie Pabor, lf (0-4, 1 rbi)

New Haven lineup – Billy Geer, 2b (0-4); Sam Wright, ss (0-4); Henry Luff, rf (0-4); Stud Bancker, c (0-4); John McKelvey, 3b (1-3); Charlie Gould, 1b (0-3); Johnny Ryan, lf (1-3, 1 run); Jim Tipper, cf (0-3); Tricky Nichols, p (1-3, 1 run)

 

Meet the players … for now

After a brief dalliance with Jack Chapman for the job, the New Haven Elm Citys found their first captain. Billy Arnold announced at a meeting of the club’s board of directors that Charles Gould of Cincinnati had agreed to play first base and lead the new franchise.

The role of captain was a significant one in the 1870s. Being captain wasn’t an honorary title, or a recognition of stature (think of Derek Jeter) with no formal responsibilities. The captain of the Elm Citys was the manager as we understand the role today – he set the lineups and ran in game strategy. He was also expected to be a prominent contributor on the field.

Charlie Gould, the Elm Citys first captain

Charlie Gould, the Elm Citys first captain

Gould, 27, was considered an excellent choice. Popular and good-natured, he appears to have been something of a phemonenon in Cincinnati during the early years of the sport’s popularity after the Civil War. In 1867, he won a local baseball contest for farthest throw with a toss of 302 ft. He played with dominant amateur teams and the nation’s the first professional baseball team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings, going undefeated nationally in 1869.

When Harry Wright, the godfather of the sport and manager of the Cincinnati nine, decided to start a franchise in Boston, Gould was one of the men he brought along.

It was a team that had tremendous success, amassing a 59-18 record in 1871 and 1872, winning the National Association the second year. He hit .267 over that time period, leading the league in triples in 1872. He took a year off in 1873 to go into business – in the offseasons he worked as a bookkeeper for his father’s company – but the lure of the diamond appears to have been too great. He returned to the National Association in 1874 with the Baltimore Canaries, a team that had nine wins and 38 losses. Gould did not perform well, hitting only .224.

He was tall for the time period, 6 ft. tall and 172 pounds, and had long arms and legs, something his contemporaries felt made him a particularly good fielder.

Despite numbers that would appear his career was on the downswing, his signing was met with excitement by the local press. “He is keen and energetic and free from dissipation, an excellent player at his base and at the bat,” the New Haven Daily Palladium wrote on March 5, 1875.

Arnold reported that he had signed eight other players, the vast bulk of the team when rosters tended to be about 12 players or so.

Tricky Nichols, a Bridgeport pitcher and the guy with the best nickname on the team

Tricky Nichols, a Bridgeport pitcher and the guy with the best nickname on the team

Two rookies, Stud Bancker, a 22-year-old catcher out of Pennsylvania, and Tricky Nichols, a 24-year-old pitcher, made up the team’s battery. “Nichols has never played before on a professional nine, but earned a good record last year with the T.B.’s of Bridgeport. His delivery is prompt and effective and at the bat he will do his share,” the Palladium said.

Billy, at one point the youngest player in the NA

Billy Geer, at one point the youngest player in the NA

Billy Geer, the second baseman, had the record of being the youngest man to ever play in the majors. At the age of 15, he played in two games with the New York Mutuals in 1874, going 2 for 8 (.250). His immature behavior figures prominently in the upcoming season.

Johnny Ryan, the left fielder, was also a retread from the disastrous 1874 Baltimore Canaries, hitting .193. He was 21 years old.

Jim Tipper, the center fielder and a 26-year-old Middletown native, appears on paper to have been a good signing. He was one of the only bright spots on the 1874 Hartford Dark Blues (16 wins and 37 losses), hitting .305. He also played with his hometown Middletown Mansfields in 1872, hitting .264.

Jim Britt led the league in losses two years running

Jim Britt led the league in losses two years running

Jim Britt, 19, had been out of professional baseball in 1874. He took a brutal beating as the main starting pitcher for the hapless Brooklyn Atlantics in 187273. Britt had a record of 26 wins and 64 losses with an earned run average of 4.26 in an era when pitchers gave up about three earned runs per game. He led the league in losses both seasons, and batted .223. He was intended to be the team’s “change pitcher.” There were no relief pitchers as we understand them, so Britt would be kept around to pitch on occasion if Nichols was injured.

Herm Doscher wasn't much of a player, but he discovered Wee Willie Keeler

Herm Doscher wasn’t much of a player, but he discovered Wee Willie Keeler

Herm Doscher, an outfielder with seven games of part-time service over two seasons with the Brooklyn Atlantics (10-30, .333), was also expected to contribute. (And, contribute he would, just not to the Elm Citys. He was the first big leaguer to father another big leaguer, Jack Doscher, and he was the scout responsible for finding Hall of Famer Wee Willie Keeler).

Another man, a right fielder named Hamilton was signed, but I couldn’t find any additional information on him, including his first name. He, along with Doscher, Geer and Britt, were signed to what was deemed a conditional contract. “They are engaged for the term of two months, and if their duties are perfectly satisfactory they will be retained upon the nine,” the Palladium reported.

With four of the players around on a temporary basis, Arnold had to explore more options in the days and weeks ahead.

There is wisdom in retrospect, but there is no way Arnold, nor Gould, for that matter, could have thought this team of fringe players and rookies would compete successfully in the National Association against great teams like Boston Red Stockings or the New York Mutuals. Perhaps Arnold sold a bill of good to the board of directors, a tactic that would be his undoing.