1883 May

1stOn 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.

2ndAt Boston, New York pitcher John Montgomery Ward clubs a 9thinning 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.

13thSt. 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.

30thIt’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 2ndgame, the Whites score 7 runs in the 1stand 9 runs in the 5thas Mike Kelly, Fred Pfeffer, and Tommy Burns make 3 hits apiece.