January 1900

10th The New York Giants purchase pitcher/outfielder Win Mercer from the disbanded Washington franchise. Mercer will go 13-17 in his one season in New York, hitting .294. Mercer hit .299 last season with 73 runs scored. He will jump back to Washington when the American League starts in 1901.

12th  John McGraw threatens that if the NL drops Baltimore, which is controlled by the owners of the Brooklyn Superbas, he will form an AL team. Two weeks later the NL Circuit Committee recommends buying out Baltimore, Washington, Cleveland, and Louisville and going to an 8-team league. McGraw then organizes a Baltimore club in the AL.

19th  Marty Bergen, Boston’s regular catcher, murders his wife and two children, then takes his own life. Bergen, 28, had suffered an apparently career-ending broken hip during a game last season.

24th  The NL Reduction Committee has a secret meeting in Cleveland, supposedly to discuss dropping Louisville, Baltimore, Washington, and Cleveland from the league roster.

The A.L. Reach company is granted a patent for protective headgear known as the “Reach Pneumatic Head Protector.” It won’t gain acceptance, though a few players, notably Roger Bresnahan, will occasionally wear it.

May 1884

1st On opening day in the AA and the NL no less than 4 games are decided in the bottom of the final inning. The best of these is in Cincinnati, where the defending AA champs score 2 in the bottom of the 11th to win, 6–5.

New York wins its first league game, defeating Philadelphia, 7–5, at the Polo Grounds located at 110th street between 5th and 6th Avenues. The 5 Phillie tallies against Mickey Welch are all unearned. The opener attracts a crowd of 15,000+, including former President U.S. Grant.

2nd At Boston, New York pitcher John Montgomery Ward clubs a 9th inning game ending homerun to give the New Yorkers a 3–2 win.

3rd  New York’s John Montgomery Ward becomes the first pitcher in history to hit 2 HRs in a game, giving him a 10–9 victory over Boston. Manager John Clapp drives home the game-winner with a single in the 9th.

Providence crushes Philadelphia, 24–6, with 26 hits, including 5 each by Paul Hines and Arthur Irwin. They are aided by Philadelphia’s catcher Bill Harbridge who commits 8 errors.

5th  In the first game in Chicago’s spectacular remodeled ballpark, featuring 41 uniformed attendants and private boxes built in front of the left field fence, Detroit scores with 2 out in the bottom of the 9th to win, 3–2. With a new rule considering balls hit over the fence to be homers, Chicago will increase their amperage from 13 homers in 1983 to 142 this year. Last year, a ball hit over the fence was a double.

12th  At newly built Washington Park, between Brooklyn’s Park Slope and Red Hook sections, opens for play. The home team is the Merritts (Interstate League), recently moved from Camden, NJ, who will play in the American Association after this one year of minor league ball. Despite seating for only 2,500 fans, 6,000 show up to cheer. After a warm-up by the 23rd Regiment Band, Brooklyn whips Trenton, 12–6.

13th St. Louis defeats the Eclipse in the 9th, 4–3. More significantly, neither team makes an error.

15th  In St. Louis a meeting is scheduled to plan the taking of “active steps looking towards the foundation of a Colored League.”

22nd  Future evangelist Billy Sunday, playing for the Chicago White Stockings has a miserable ML debut, going 0-for-4 with 4 strikeouts against Spider Jim Whitney. But Chicago wins 4–3 behind the pitching of Larry Corcoran, at Lakefront Park.

25th  Cleveland forges into a 3-way tie for first place in the NL with Detroit and Providence by defeating New York in 14 innings, 4–3.

28th  At New York’s old Polo Grounds, heavyweight boxing champion John L. Sullivan pitches his team to a 20–15 victory in an exhibition of semipro teams. More than 4,000 fans are on hand to watch Sullivan play. He collects 3 hits—although critics charge he is served “gopher balls”— and makes 4 of his team’s 10 errors. For his efforts Sullivan pockets half of the proceeds—$1,595. On November 4th Sullivan will pitch another game.

The first of 2 games between Fort Wayne and Indianapolis is played under electric lights.

30th It’s a busy and confusing Decoration Day of AA baseball. As part of a unique Memorial Day doubleheader, the Reds (AA) play in two different cities. The Reds start a 9:30 a.m. game at New York’s Polo Grounds, losing 1–0, then travel by train to Philadelphia where they fare better, scoring twice in the final frame and winning 10–8 in 11 innings. The Reds played the Athletics in Philley yesterday. The Metropolitans, after beating Cincinnati in the a.m. game, whip Columbus, 12-5 in the afternoon game. (This was on the western diamond of the original Polo Grounds on 110th Street, just north of the Polo Grounds. At the same time on the eastern diamond, the New York National League team was playing a doubleheader against Detroit, splitting 2–5 and 4–8. In between games of the New York-Detroit doubleheader, the first of which started at 10 a.m., was a game between Yale and Princeton to decide the college championship) Columbus is the loser on the day, dropping an a.m. game in Philadelphia 8–5. Meanwhile, Cleveland loses 3–1 in Boston in the morning, then travels to Providence to win, 5–2. Buffalo loses to Providence, 4–2 in the morning, then trains to Boston to lose, 2–1 in the afternoon. The Chicago (NL) White Stockings have the easiest of the day’s doubleheaders, feasting on the Phillies 15–8 and 22–4. In the 2nd game, the Whites score 7 runs in the 1st and 9 runs in the 5th as Mike Kelly, Fred Pfeffer, and Tommy Burns make 3 hits apiece.

April 1884

3rd  The Cleveland club visits the White House, where President Chester A. Arthur greets them by telling them that “Good ball-players make good citizens.”

7th According to the New York Clipper, “Manager Mutrie (of the Metropolitans) has made a new departure in base ball outfits in providing his players with shoes the uppers of which are made of sealskin which, besides being neat in appearance, promises to be very durable.”

15th  The first weekly issue of Sporting Life, edited by Francis Richter, is published in Philadelphia. This outstanding magazine will last, with a brief interruption, until July 1926. An article in the issue notes that the “gentlemanly and popular player Alonzo Knight will be the general manager of the [Athletic] club this year.” It also says in the article that Harry Stovey will be the field captain. This is the first mention of the term general manager (as noted by Skip McAfee).

23rd In a game against Dayton, Saginaw’s Yank Robinson tallies two doubles and a triple in the 6th inning (p. 257 of Balldom, as noted by Ernie Lanigan The Baseball Cyclopedia)) as Saginaw scores 20 runs.

24th  In a fit of depression, journeyman player Terry Larkin shoots his wife and a policeman and then attempts to commit suicide. Failing, he tries again the next day. Both his wife and the policeman survive. Larkin will play for several teams in 1884 before retiring.

29th  The new issue of The Sporting Life has a note about Hoss Radbourn: “Radbourne (sic), the Providence pitcher, now reverses his position while delivering the ball when a runner is at first base. This is to enable him to throw better to the base.” (as noted by Chuck McGill).

March 1884

14th  In a Northwestern League meeting, Peoria moves to ban blacks in order to prevent Toledo from playing star C Moses Fleetwood Walker. After an “exciting discussion” the motion is withdrawn and Walker is allowed to play.

30th Charles A Fowle, secretary of the St. Louis club from 1875-77 and one of the founders of the NL, dies in St. Louis.

31st  The Olympic Town-Ball Club of Philadelphia, the nation’s oldest ball club, celebrates its 50th anniversary.

February 1885

12th  The Western League is officially formed, with Indianapolis, Kansas City, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Toledo, and Omaha as the original clubs. It will last until June 23rd.
22nd  Boston P Charlie Buffinton invents a baseball “roller skate” that gives pitchers greater impetus and swing in their delivery while still allowing them to keep both feet on the ground.

April 1885

1st  The Philadelphia and New York clubs open with exhibition wins over college teams. Philley beats Brown University, 9–1, while New York takes on Manhattan College at the polo grounds for a 16–2 rout.
The Spalding Sporting Goods store opens in New York.
3rd  The Metropolitans release Tim Keefe and Dude Esterbrook; both players later sign with the New York Giants.
10th In an exhibition game between the two St. Louis teams, Browns P Dave Foutz throws a no-hitter as they defeat the Maroons, 7–0.
17th  The 4 NL players (including Hugh Daily, Orator Shaffer, and Fred Dunlap) who violated the reserve rule in 1884 by signing with the UA before the season started are reinstated with fines of $500 each.
18th  The AA season opens with all 8 teams playing.
At an NL meeting, the 5 men who jumped the NL to sign with the UA in 1884 (including John Day, Charlie Sweeney, Dupee Shaw, and Jim McCormick) are reinstated with fines of $1,000.
Pitcher Ted Firth is murdered. He pitched one game for Richmond (AA) in 1884.
21st  Fred Mann hits the longest HR ever seen at Eclipse Park, over the RF fence in the bottom of the 13th inning to help Alleghenies defeat Louisville 4–3. Since a runner scores ahead of him, he does not get credit for the HR, which would have been his first and only one of the season.
24th  Pittsburgh and Cincinnati play 16 innings with the Alleghenies winning 7–6. This is the longest ML game of the year.
29th  After the 2nd straight shutout by St. Louis over Cincinnati, Reds manager O. P. Caylor fines his players $25 each for failing to make a run. The Browns (AA) prevail, 6-0.

January 1885

3rd  The recently disbanded Cleveland team (NL) release their players. The Blues sell durable George Pinkney, Doc Bushong, John Harkins, Pete Hotaling, Bill Krieg, Bill Phillips and Germany Smith for at least $4000 to the Brooklyn Trolley Dodgers.
6th  Millionaire Henry V. Lucas purchases the Cleveland club and plans to fill the vacancy in the NL with his own St. Louis Maroons.
10th  At an NL meeting, St. Louis is admitted to the League, Cleveland’s registration is formally accepted, and Detroit has its request to remain in the NL granted, leaving only one opening for 1885.
The NL approves Harry Wright’s 5-year-old idea of a flattened bat. The idea will be greeted with little enthusiasm, and it will quickly fade.
As noted by Jerry Molloy, The “New York Clipper” reports that Paul Hines, an outfielder for the Providence club, and resident of Washington, D.C., had been challenged to catch a ball dropped from the top of the Washington Monument, a distance of “over 535 feet from the ground.” The “Clipper” calculated the “natural philosophy” involved, and warned Hines of the danger he would confront in attempting such a foolish stunt. “Hines would probably prefer to stop a pistol ball when it was coming down, hurtful as it would be to his hand, than to interfere with it when it left the barrel. It would be a good idea for Hines to first practice both ways with the pistol ball. If he likes it, he will certainly enjoy the baseball which, by the time he can see it, will be coming at a ‘stand-from-under’ gait of 140-ft. a second. It will not weigh much when it starts on its journey, but, great Scott, there is a rule of natural philosophy that will tell Hines before he begins just how many dozens of pounds it practically will weigh when it lands on his sconce, in case he fails to judge it correctly.” The “Clipper” thought that if Hines thought matters through, there was “a possibility that Paul is not going to fool much with a baseball around the base of the Washington Monument.”
15th  At a Union Association meeting held in Milwaukee, only 2 clubs show up, Milwaukee and Kansas City. It is decided to disband the league.
16th Brooklyn signs several players from the late Cleveland club, inking Hotaling, Phillips, Harkins, George Pinckney, Smith, and Krieg.
17th The New York Clipper reports that Paul Hines cancels his Washington Monument ball-drop exhibition. “The experiment of trying to catch a ball thrown from the top of the Washington Monument has proved to be a failure. The ball reaches the ground with such great speed that it indents the ground almost as much as a heavy cannon ball would dropped from a proportionate height. The fact is that, independently of the difficulty of judging the ball balling from such a height, the speed is too great to allow of any one holding it when it nears the ground.”
20th  The AA is reorganized, with clubs from St. Louis, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Brooklyn, Louisville, New York, and Baltimore.

October 1875

4thCandy is Dandy. Arthur Cummings allows 4 hits as Hartford costs to an 18–0 over New Haven.

10thAt a meeting of the White Stockings stockholders, William Hulbert uses a proxy from George Gage’s widow to declare himself president of the club and to name Al Spalding as secretary.

13thCap Anson is 5-for-5 in leading the Athletics to a 10-inning, 8–7 win over Hartford.

14thOnly 200 fans are on hand but $10,000 is bet on the White Stockings against the host Philadelphias. The bettors are not wrong as Chicago uses 1st inning errors by McGeary and 4 hits for 5 runs. Chicago wins, 10–7.

24th  The Chicago Tribunecalls for the formation of an organization of major professional teams: Chicago, Cincinnati, Louisville, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and Hartford. “Unless the present Professional Association leadership adopts rules to limit the number of teams allowed to participate in the Championship season, all clubs will go broke.”

30thThe Boston Reds beat the visiting Blue Stockings of Hartford, 7–4, to finish the season without a home defeat. Boston finishes the year at 48–7. Only 7 teams finish the season with a total of 185 games played between them. Eighteen teams a re signed on for next season.

December 1874

26th From Henry Chadwick’s column in the New York Clipper (as noted by Bob Schaeffer): “A vile habit which some catchers are prone to indulge in is that of growling at umpires and disputing their decisions or ill-naturedly questioning their judgment. . . . Aside from the fact that it is illegal and unfair, it is the worst policy a catcher can follow, for growling (complaining) only increases the prejudice of the umpire and confuses his judgment, and his errors are sure to tell against the grumbling catcher’s side.”

June 1864

27th The Atlantics play their first game of the season, beating the Mutuals, 26–16. These 2 teams are the favorites for the championship.

30th The Atlantics and the Empire Club meet for the first time since 1856. Frequent rain interrupts the game, which ends in a 5–5 tie after 5 innings.

July 1864

1st The Gothams and Eagles meet for the first time with the Gothams winning, 22–16, in a brisk 2 hours. The game marks the first appearance of George Wright, 17-year-old catcher for Gotham. His brother Harry plays 1B.

6th The Atlantics play their strongest game ever, both in batting and fielding, defeating a strong Nassau club, 42–7. Dickey Pearce is the catcher for the Atlantics, having slowed down too much to play SS. He’ll return to SS in the future and end his 22-year-long career in 1877.

21st At Newark, the Champion Eckfords play their first match of the year with 2 new players, Pinkham, a pitcher and Wes Fisler, an infielder from Philadelphia. The Eckfords win 37–22, their only win in 5 games this year. According to custom, if the Champion refuses to honor a challenge to a match, it is treated the same as a forfeit.

30th The Resolute Club of Brooklyn winds up a 3-day visit to Philadelphia by losing, 24–23, to the Olympic Club. The Resolutes lost on the 28th to the Athletics, 29–12 and beat Camden yesterday 14–13.

The Atlantic Club plays the Stars of Brooklyn at the Stars grounds in the first “fly-game” match the Atlantics have ever played. The Atlantics prevail 35–16 and will win the rematch on August 4 by a similar, 35–17.

September 1861

21st  A unique match is played on the St. George Cricket Club Grounds. One team is composed of 9 players, including Jim Creighton and Dickey Pearce. The other team is composed of 18 players, 9 cricketers from St. George and 9 all-stars from the different area clubs. The 18 players are all in the field at once. When they bat, they are allowed 6 outs per inning. Eight innings are played with Creighton’s team winning 45–16.

23rd In Hoboken, a team selected from teams occupying the North grounds (Mutual and Gotham) play a team from the South grounds (Eagle and Empire). The North wins the mini-Civil War, 19–9.

October 1861

3rd At Hoboken, in one of the few grand matches of the year, the Mutuals beat the Atlantics, 23–18.

16th At the Atlantic Grounds on Bedford, Long Island, a crowd of 8,000 see the Atlantics score a record 26 runs in the 2nd inning to whip the Mutuals, 52–27 in 6 innings. Because the 3rd game in the series will not be played, the Atlantics retain the whip-pennant for 1861.

21st  In Hoboken, the greatest event of the season, the Grand Match for the Silver Ball, takes place on the Mutuals’ Grounds at Hoboken between all-star teams from Brooklyn and New York. The Silver Ball Trophy is the same size as a regular baseball and will be kept by the club whose members score the most runs during the match. Fifteen thousand fans see the Brooklyn team, behind their star Jim Creighton, defeat New York 18–6.

May 1862

15th  The Union Baseball Grounds at Marcy Avenue and Rutledge Street in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn opens, the first enclosed ball field to charge an admission fee. The property has been used as a skating pond in winter months. No rent will be charged to the clubs playing there as the admission fee will pay for the upkeep. [This opening date is sometimes listed as May 16. See Seymour The Early Years].

September 1862

18th The grand match for championship of 1862 draws a record crowd of 10,000 to the Union Grounds. For an hour before game time of 2:45 p.m. all the avenues leading to the grounds are full of people. The Eckfords beat the Atlantics, 8–3 to win the series, 2–1.

22nd The 3rd game in the home and home series, started last year between the Mutuals of N.Y. and the Atlantics, takes place on the Mutuals Grounds, at 63rd Street and Third Avenue. The Atlantics, playing without Charley Smith and John Chapman, lose to the Mutes, 15–10.

October 1862

14th  The Excelsior’s defeat the Unions of Morrisania 13–9. Jim Creighton hits 4 doubles and scores 4 runs, but reportedly suffers “an internal injury occasioned by strain” hitting a HR. In fact, as historian Tom Shieber points out in 1995, Creighton suffers from a strangulated intestine, the result of a hernia incurred well before today’s game, and he did not hit a homer in this his final game. Considered the premier baseball player of the day, he dies four days later at the age of 21.

December 1862

25th At Hilton Head, SC, a baseball game is played between teams selected from the 165th New York Volunteer Infantry, Duryea Zouaves, and a team picked from soldiers of the 47th and 48th New York Infantry Regiments. According to Abraham Mills, former president of the National League, a] crowd of 40,000 spectators watched the game, certainly an inflated number. The historian Valerie Josephson found that 10 regiments, or about 10,000 soldiers, were stationed on Hilton Head Island at the time; even counting sailors from ships who docked at Hilton Head for rest and recreation, she concluded, “there is no way there could be 40,000 men on the island for the game.” The match is the talk of the military world for weeks after.

June 1863

17th The Athletics of Philadelphia make their first trip to New York and lose to the Eckford Club, 10–5. Eckford P John Sprague is now considered the finest pitcher in the country. The A’s will go 2–4 during their NY visit.

June 1861

5th The first grand match of the year takes place at Bedford, Long Island with the Eckford Club whipping Enterprise, 53–19. All clubs will cut back on their matches this year. With Captain Joe Leggett in the army, the Excelsiors play no games this year and Knickerbockers play no games in 1861 or 1862. The Atlantics and the Unions of Morrisania cut their schedules in half.

April 1860

7th The Athletic club of Philadelphia organizes under the “Town Ball” rules, the prevailing rules in Philadelphia. The local Olympic club, organized in 1833, plays those rules. But after seeing the New York style of ball, the Athletics will switch to those rules.

June 1862

5th In New York, an all-star team from the 4 top clubs of Philadelphia plays an all-star from the 4 top clubs of Brooklyn. Jim Creighton and Charley Smith divide the pitching to beat the Quakers, 27–10.

6th The new Union Grounds is the site of 2nd Philley-Brooklyn all-star match, with Brooklyn winning 23–16. Shortstop Al Reach scores 5 runs for the winners.

July 1860

19th A huge crowd of 10,000 gathers in South Brooklyn to watch the first game in the championship series with the Atlantics and Excelsiors. Jim Creighton holds the Atlantics to 4 runs as Excelsior wins, 23–4.

22nd  One of the first triple plays in baseball is triggered by Jim Creighton, playing LF for the Excelsior’s of New York. With Baltimore runners on 2B and 3B, Creighton makes a spectacular catch of a fly ball. The subsequent throws to 3B and then to 2B complete the triple play.

July 1862

1st A pair of all-star teams (A and B) from Brooklyn play their counterparts in Philadelphia. Brooklyn loses both, the A team losing to the Quaker A’s, 16–10 and the Philley B’s winning, 22–9.

3rdIn Philadelphia, the Brooklyn A team beats the Philley B team, 18–15. In the nightcap, the Philadelphia A’s beat the Brooklyn B’s, 41–5. In the 7th inning of game 2, the Brooks are retired on 3 pitched balls, believed to be the first time this has occurred.

10th The Excelsiors of Brooklyn, the first NY club to journey to Boston, play the Bowdoin club on the Common. Jim Creighton pitches as the visitors win 45–15 in a game that takes 4 hours to play.

21st A crowd of 8,000 witness the 2nd game in the series for the Silver Ball, with the proceeds to benefit the U.S. Sanitary Commission. The Atlantics decisively defeat the Eckfords, 39–5.

26th The Excelsior Club loses a rain-shortened game to the Union Club of Morrisania, 12–4. Jim Creighton is hit hard but also hits a home run.