City without a team, Part 5

Fifth and last in a series of posts about baseball in Chicago in 1872 and 1873, after the White Stockings (today's Cubs) had halted operations following the Great Fire of 1871.


4 National Association teams had engaged in 6 regular-season games in Chicago in 1872, all between May 29 and July 4.

So it had been 408 day since 2 professional teams had squared off in the city when the first-place Philadelphia White Stockings (27-7) and fourth-place Boston Red Stockings (18-11) met at the Twenty-third Street Grounds, fronting State Street, on Saturday, Aug. 16, 1873.

Here is the beginning of the Chicago Tribune's extensive coverage of the event in its Sunday edition (section breaks added for easier reading):


Exciting Game Between the

Philadelphias and Bos-

tons Yesterday.


The Latter Club Victorious

by a Score of 11 to 8.


Intense Interest Manifested by a

Large Audience.




At an early hour of that memorable October morning, now nearly two years ago, Chicago could boast a base-ball ground in a most convenient locality, which held the same position among ball-parks that her famous White-Stocking Club held among base-ball organizations.

In other words, she had the best that could be obtained.

So completely had the national game taken the fancy of the city, that the ladies turned out in large numbers to witness a good match, and a quantity of dry goods was always to be found there.

On this occasion, however, the dry goods formed by far the greater attraction, while the audience gathered at a respectful distance from it [i.e., it burned as part of the Great Chicago Fire].

An hour or two later, the city had no base-ball ground, and still less of a club. Both were so thoroughly demoralized that they gave up in disgust.

The White Stockings went East and were beaten, and base ball in the West received a terrible blow.


Since that time, every now and then, a sporadic attempt has been made to renew the interest of the public in the sport. A handsome park was laid out for our amateur nine, but the public had enjoyed such excellence in their own nine that an amateur club found no support, and since then we have heard and done nothing upon the subject.

Now, however, there is a revival. The mere mention of a championship game was sufficient to stir up the enthusiasm of the public. Had it been any two of the great professional nines of the country, the public would have felt impelled to rush to the grounds; but when one of them consisted almost entirely of the old White Stockings of this city, who could remain indifferent?

The very name recalled one scenes and recollections, and that name has been faithfully preserved.


The Philadelphia Club, now rejoicing in the name of the White Stockings, contains the following named Chicago favorites: Jimmy Wood, [Ned] Cuthbert, Fred Treacey, George Zettlein, Levi Meyerle. All of them were favorably remembered, for each of them had his peculiar characteristic, and each his admirers.

To see a match game between these White Stockings and the famous Red Stockings of days gone by; to recall the triumph of a few years ago, when the invincibles who made that name famous were defeated so completely by their white-hosed antagonists, was enough.

No wonder, then, that the base-ball grounds on Twenty-third street were thronged yesterday afternoon, fully 6,000 people spreading themselves over the seats and around the park.


The day was a fine one; both clubs ranked high on the champion list. Bets among disinterested parties favored the Whites, and the prospect of a good match were excellent.

When the boys marched into the field they were treated to a reception that ought to have stirred them up. Each familiar face was welcomed back. They all appeared to be in fine condition, and the preliminary ball-tossing around the field was watched with as much interested by the spectators as many a toughly-contested championship game on other grounds.

The popular preference exhibited itself in spite of the characteristic desired to be impartial. Chicago audiences are seldom partisan in their applause; cheering lustily a good effort on the part of the opponents as well as on the part of the home club.

But nobody could blame them if they did give way to a little sentiment, and applaud the White Stockings a trifle louder than the Reds. It was only natural that they should.

[end of excerpt]


The paper then devoted more than a column to a play-by-play description of the contest.

Boston scored twice in the top of the first inning.

Philadelphia roared back with 5 runs, much to the delight of the crowd.

But the White Stockings were blanked in each of the next 7 innings, while the Red Stockings tallied 2 runs each in the second and third, 1 in the eighth and 4 in the ninth to open an 11-5 bulge.

The Whites rallied for 3 runs in their last inning, but it was only half what they had needed.

The teams combined for 32 hits, 18 by the victors. Only 1 player in either lineup failed to make a hit.

Philadelphia made 8 errors that let batters reach base; Philadelphia, just 2.

But Boston stranded 9 runners to Philadelphia's 4.

Even with all the men on base, the game was completed in 1 hour and 45 minutes.



The top of the Tribune's next column, the third from the left edge of the page, might well have been featured over the story of the game:



The number of people who went out to see the match yesterday between the "Red" and "White" Stockings fully demonstrated that the people of Chicago have not lost their love for the "National Game," and that Chicago merits the reputation she has of being the greatest base-ball city in the country.

But next year Chicago will have a club which she can well be proud of.


The uncredited author then described in detail each of 11 players he said that the Chicago Base Ball Association had signed to play for the city when it 1874, when it would resume its membership in the National Association.

Among the 11 were 4 veterans of the 1871 Chicago club: manager/second baseman Jimmy Wood, pitcher George Zettlein, infielder Ed Pinkham and outfielder Fred Treacey.

Another outfielder, Ned Cuthbert, had scored the decisive run for the White Stockings in 1870 at Cincinnati when they defeated the all-but-invincible Red Stockings. He had played for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1871-72, then for the city's White Stockings in 1873.



Boston and Philadelphia were idle on Sunday, as baseball on the Sabbath was banned almost everywhere in 1873.

The teams spent the day in Rockford, where they were scheduled to meet in an exhibition game on Monday.

It proved a costly day off for the White Stockings:

"Mack, the first baseman of the Philadelphia Baseball Club, was runaway with this afternoon, by a team of unruly horses, and severely injured, so much so that he will not play in the game here tomorrow."

No, that was not Connie Mack, the future Hall of Famer. He would not make his big league debut 1886.

This was Denny Mack, no relation, who would play for 2 teams in the NA, 2 in the National League and 2 in the American Association between 1871 and 1883.

Boston routed Mack-less Philadelphia, 18-2.

Then the teams headed back for Chicago for another game that counted in the standings, on Tuesday, Aug. 19.



"The management of the Association is anxious that the members of the Common Council should understand that the production of their Aldermanic badges at the gate will secure them instant admission," the Tribune explained on the day of the game. "The time before the game was so short that complimentaries could not be sent them."

This is what it had to say about the game in its Wednesday edition:



played their second and last game in this city, at the Twenty-third street grounds, yesterday afternoon, which was witnessed by an audience scarcely less in number than the one which turned out to see them play Saturday afternoon.

The contest was much more worthy a liberal attendance than the former one, the play on both sides being conducted with greater skill, and attended with more satisfactory results.

Especially was this the case on the Philadelphia side. The club made such a poor showing on the occasion of its first appearance, and was treated to such a merciless whipping at Rockford, on Monday, that its defeat for the third time was anticipated even by its warmest friends.

The brilliant victory which it won yesterday was a genuine surprise, and made it more of a favorite than

it was before, it that could be possible.


After Boston scored once in the top of the first, Philadelphia chalked up 3 runs.

Boston closed to within 2-3 in the fourth, then Philadelphia added 2 runs in the fifth.

A run in the sixth brought Boston to within 3-5, but Philadelphia responded with 4 runs in its half.

The final score was 9-4.

Zettlein, the once and future Chicago pitcher, held Boston to 8 hits, while his teammates made 12.

The box score stated that Boston made 7 "Fielding Errors Through Which Runs Were Made," to Philadelphia's 4.

Only 2 of the 13 runs were earned, both by Philadelphia.

The game was over 2 hours after it began.



Boston and Philadelphia would play in Chicago again the following season, but against the city's revived White Stockings, not against each other.

The Whites marked their return to action on May 13 with a 4-0 victory over the Philadelphia Athletics in front of about 4,000 fans.

They lost a rematch with the Athletics 3 days later, dropped 2 games the next week to New York, then posted a pair of wins over the Hartford Blues.

Boston came to town on June 3 and took 2 of 3 from the Whites. The middle game, on Saturday, June 6, attracted 9,992, at the time the largest crowd ever to see a professional baseball game.

When the Red Stockings returned in early July, the teams split 2 games, Boston's win coming by 17-16 in 10 innings on July 4, as 8,000 looked on.


The Whites did not host their Philadelphia namesakes until July 15, when they won 2 games, extending a winning streak to 5, before losing the finale.

The Whites played only 7 games in August, winning 5, to improve their record to 22-18.

The last of the wins, on Aug. 31, began an 18-game, 7-city road trip that lasted until the final day of September. The Whites lost 12 of 17 during the month, making them 27-30 when they finally returned home.

After a week's rest, they closed out the season with 2 games against Philadelphia, losing in 10 innings, 9-13, on Oct. 7, then winning, 15-13, on Oct. 10, to finish 28-31, in fifth place, 13.5 games behind champion Boston and 1.5 behind fourth-place Philadelphia.



Between their 2 official games, the Whites and Philadelphia scheduled 2 exhibition games.

The first was planned for Grand Avenue Park in St. Louis, on Thursday, Oct. 8, but it "did not come off, as both clubs failed to put in an appearance," according to the St. Louis Globe-Democrat.

Its story continued:


[I]t was supposed until late yesterday morning that both clubs would be on hand to play a game. Mr. Solari, the proprietor of the park, advertised the game, and yesterday morning he sent parties to find out the hotel they would stop at so that carriages could be sent to take them to the grounds.

After the arrival of the Chicago trains the hotels were searched, but not a ball tosser could be found, and then a telegram was sent to Jimmy Wood, the manager of the Chicagos, asking what was up, and a reply was returned saying that the Philadelphias refused to come to St. Louis, and, therefore, there would be no game.

Had both clubs kept their engagement, they would have had a couple of thousand dollars more in their treasury, as over 6,000 people went to the grounds to see the game, and at least that many more stayed away, as they had found out that the clubs had thrown off on St. Louis.

Mr. F. Williams, the secretary of the St. Louis Reds, received a dispatch Wednesday from Jimmy Wood, saying there would be no game, and Mr. Williams, thinking that Mr. Solari had received a dispatch to the same purport, did not tell about it.

Had it been known that the Fillies [sic] were going play such a mean trick, a much better game could have been gotten up than the one advertised to come off."



But the second exhibition game took place as intended, in Chicago, on Friday, Oct. 9 -- 3 years to the day since the beginning of the historic conflagration that had led to the White Stockings sitting out the 1872 and 1873 seasons.

From the next day's Tribune:


Yesterday being the anniversary of the Great Fire, and and a sort of general holiday besides, the White Stockings and Philadelphia took their share in celebrating the event by playing an exhibition game of base ball on the grounds at the corner of State and Twenty-third streets.

The contest was but poorly advertised, and hence not more than 500 people attended. It is a pity that the number of spectators was not larger, as the game turned out to be one of the best that has been played here since the commencement of the season.

In order to make it more interesting than the ordinary exhibition game, ten innings were played, with ten men on a side.

The pitching was superb on both sides, though Zettlein is entitled to the palm, if any palm is to be awarded. The Philadelphias could make but six clean hits on him, while the White Stockings batted Cummings for thirteen.


In a brisk 70 minutes, the Whites spotted their guests a second-inning run, then notched 2 in the fifth, 1 in the sixth and 1 in the eighth to win, 4-1.

"The only wonder," the Tribune concluded, "is that the White Stockings cannot do so well in championship matches as they do in games which are played for amusement."

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