6th Sacramento (California League) beats visiting Stockton, 36–1, in just 7 innings, taking 2:10 to do it. Sacramento CF Goodenough is 5-for-8 and scores 6 runs. Stockton commits 16 errors.
10th In a California League game at San Francisco, Oakland defeats Stockton, 23-21, as Oakland SS Stickney is 5-for-6 with 5 runs scored (as noted by Ted Turocy).
11th At Galveston, Texas League Galveston beats Fort Worth, 26-7. Sand Crabs 2B Ward is 5-for-6 and scores 5 runs. Sand Crab baserunners steal 16 bases.
15th A Philadelphia judge refuses to grant an injunction against former NL player William Hallman.
17th A Players League is launched, with each club run by an 8-man board of 4 players and 4 backers. Gate receipts will be divided evenly between the home and visiting teams. The first $10,000 profit will go to the backers, the next $10,000 will be shared by all the players, and anything over that will be divided between clubs and players. It all becomes academic; nobody will make anything and many players will end the season with unpaid salaries owed to them. Criticized by Henry Chadwick, editor of the Spalding Guide, the PL is supported by The Sporting News and Sporting Life.
The AA, crippled by the loss of Cincinnati and Kansas City, requiring the addition of minor league cities Syracuse, Rochester, and Toledo, and the jumping of many players to the NL and PL, opens what will become a disastrous season financially for all clubs.
A new rule allows two subs to be put into the game at any time. The Players League moves the pitcher’s box back two feet, but uses a livelier more tightly wound ball in the early part of the season.
John “Sadie” McMahon, 22, pitches the Phils (AA) to an 11–8 win over Rochester for the first of his league-leading 36 wins and 55 CG in 57 starts, 509 IP and 291 strikeouts. The 5’9” RHP will win 70 games in two AA years before becoming a mainstay of the Orioles NL champions.
Spud Johnson opens the season for Columbus (American Association) with a 5-for-5 hit spree against Toledo. In last year’s Opening Day game against Baltimore, Spud fried the ball with a 4-for-4 effort. In 1891, playing for Cleveland (NL) in the opener, Johnson will cool down to 2-for-4.
19th The NL’s biggest Opening Day crowd, 6,311 at Cincinnati, watches 30-year-old righthander Wild Bill Hutchison (aka Hutchinson) beat Cincinnati 5–4, in bitterly cold weather. Bug Holliday homers for the home team. This is the first of Hutchinson’s 41 wins and 65 complete games out of 66 starts. He’ll work 603 innings and relieve 5 times while sporting a 2.70 ERA. Bill will be even more wild when a win on the 23rd of May is tossed out because the umpire wouldn’t let Philadelphia make a legal substitution in the middle of the game. He’s later given credit for the win.
Boston backs John Clarkson with 15 runs to beat Brooklyn, 15–9. The offense is needed as Clarkson commits 9 errors. Herman Long makes his NL debut with a HR in the 3rd and 8th innings, off Bobby Caruthers and Bill Terry. Putting his name in the record books is Pop Smith who is the first player to reach base six times (5 BB, 1 HBP) with no at bats. Walt Wilmot will do it next year with six walks.
Cupid Childs of Syracuse (AA) has 4 hits, including a 5th inning grand slam to pace the Stars to an 18-12 win over Brooklyn. Rasty Wright also has 4 safeties for the Stars, including 2 doubles and a triple.
The newly formed Players League opens the season with Buffalo rolling over Cleveland 23–2, then follows with a 15-8, 19-7 and 18-15 victories. In the opener Cleveland’s LHP Henry Gruber goes the route, giving up 17 hits and a ML-record tying 16 walks. Not discouraged, he will finish the season 21-23 for the 7th placers. Despite the auspicious start, Buffalo will finish in the cellar, 20 games in back of Cleveland.
The Players League opens in Boston at the same time (3:30 p.m.) as the Nationals game and draws 10,000 (according to historian Dixie Tourangeau). Boston wins, 3–2, on Harry Stovey’s homer. The Players league outdraws the NL by two to one and reportedly 10 to 1 in Pittsburgh. In New York, the Giants pull in 4,644 at the Polo Grounds, while 12,013 show up at the Brotherhood Park. Both New York teams lose to Philadelphia.
On Opening Day in Pittsburgh, there are two street parades, one each for the Pittsburgh NL team and the PL team. The PL parade features two brass bands and a group of local club bicyclists, while the NL has just one band. The PL parade includes a wagon for the Musical Mutual Protective Union, which has a streamer stating “Patronize the Brotherhood Ball Club, the only employers of union labor and union musicians.” The NL team beats Cleveland, 3-2, while the PL Chicago team wins, 10-2.
21st Louisville RHP Scott Stratton beats St. Louis (AA), 17–4, to start a 34-14 season in which he will lead the AA with a 2.36 ERA.
22nd Philadelphia and Syracuse (AA) combine for a ML record 21 stolen bases in a single game. Rookie C Grant Briggs allows a record 19 Athletic stolen bases as Syracuse loses, 17-6.
24th With the score tied 2-2 in the 7th between Boston and New York, pitcher Mickey Welch gets into such an argument with umpire McDermott that the ump forfeits the game to host Boston. 2300 cranks go home early. Mike Tiernan, who will lead the league in homers with 13, hits one for New York.
25th Buffalo (PL) C Connie Mack throws out 3 would be base stealers in a 10-8 loss to Chicago. He also gets an umpire to change a decision. With 2 outs Buffalo P George Keefe is hit by a pitched ball, and then tries to steal 2B before the ball is returned to the pitcher. When he is thrown out, the Chicagoes leave the field but Mack persuades the ump that the ball was not yet back in play, so the runner could not be called out.
26th Boston catcher Charlie Ganzel tags out two runners at home to complete a triple play in a 3–1 loss to the NL New Yorkers.
27th St. Louis (AA) P Jack Stivetts strikes out the first 7 Columbus batters he faces. He ﬁnishes the game with 12 K’s. Tom Gettinger backs Stivetts with a 2nd inning grand slam, off Hank Gastright, as St. Louis wins, 14-1.
29th On the island of Malta, baseball teams from Atlanta and Boston treat British military officers and their families to an exciting and hotly contested game on the polo grounds. Atlanta wins, 20–15.
In a Players League slugfest between New York and Boston, Jim O’Rourke hits a 6th-inning grand slam, off Boston’s Bill Daley, but Boston prevails, 15-13.