1881 May

3rdA day after losing their home opener, Detroit scores its first victory by beating the Bisons, 4–2. Joe Gerhardt stars at 2B, scoring 2 runs and handling 14 chances. He also participates in 4 DPs.

4th  Boston new P Jim Whitney shuts out Providence 4–0. The hardworking righthander will wind up leading the NL in both wins and losses (with a 31-33 record), a feat not repeated in the ML until Phil Niekro does it in 1979.

5th  Charley Radbourn makes his NL pitching debut leading Providence to a 4–2 victory over Boston.

6thTwo errors by SS Dan Stearns, a local just picked up by the Wolverines, helps Buffalo to a 3–2 win. Winning pitcher Jim Galvin is of the opinion that the 5 feet added to the pitching distance is a great help to his curve ball.

7thDespite being outhit 2 to 7, Chicago beats Cleveland, 4-0.

10thCap Anson is 4-for-4 against Tim Keefe as Chicago beats Troy, 10–5. Unlike Galvin, Keefe says the new distance has hurt his out-curve, although his in-curve is still good.

14th  Having won a judgment for his back salary in an Ohio court, Charley Jones has the local sheriff attach Boston’s share of the gate receipts in Cleveland.

17thMike McGeary captains Cleveland for the last time, as internal dissension leads to his resignation and replacement by John Clapp.

18th  When Detroit base runner Sadie Houck collides with Bob Ferguson of Troy at 2B, Ferguson becomes indignant and slaps Houck in the face. The Detroit club prefers charges against Ferguson with the league office, but nothing will be done. Troy wins, 7-2. Houck was involved in an infield collision two years ago.

At Lakefront Park, Chicago breaks open a close game with visiting Worcester, with a little bit of help from the club owner’s dog (as noted by Ed Hartig & Jim McArdle). With a man on and leading 4-1 in the 7th, Chicago SS Tom Burns lines a Lee Richmond fast ball into left field, Outfielder Buttercup Dickerson chases after the ball as it rolls along the outfield wall stopping just a few feet from the dog, sleeping outside the clubhouse. A wary Buttercup shies away from picking up the ball and by the time he does, Burns has circled the bases. Worcester manager Mike Dorgan appeals for an interference call but umpire Foghorn Bradley retorts that the dog didn’t do anything and the home run stands. Chicago scores 6 in the inning to win, 10-3, over first-place Worcester.

19th  With the Troy franchise experiencing financial difficulties, various rumors have the club moving to New York, Cincinnati, or Pittsburgh.

20th  Chicago resorts to trickery to beat Boston 5–4. Mike Kelly scores the go-ahead run from 2B on a groundout by cutting 3B by some 30 feet. The Sox 3B later saves the game with a hidden ball trick in the 9th inning.

21stJohn Ward, apparently suffering from a sore arm, is pounded by the upstart Detroit Wolverines for 16 runs, while George Derby holds Providence to 3 hits for a one-sided victory.

25thWith Jim White going 5-for-5, Buffalo beats Worcester, 7–1.

28th  James S. Woodruff is apprehended on charges that he tried to bribe Cleveland’s John Clapp to throw a game earlier in the season. By going to the police after the incident, Clapp has earned the nickname “Honest John.”

Will Hutchison pitches his first game for Yale, beating Harvard, 8–5. After starring at SS for 3 and a half seasons, he will pitch Yale to the college championship in his final year.