Brooklyn held off a late rally by host Kansas City at Association Park and held on to first place in the American Association.
Bill McGunnigle was in his first year of managing Brooklyn and he was the first to get any measure of success out of this franchise. Although his team was ravaged with injuries and illness, pitcher Bob Caruthers was still healthy enough to start. Kansas City player/manager Sam Barkley started Tom Sullivan at pitcher.
The Brooklyn Eagle account of the game said that backup pitcher Al Mays was out with cholera while first baseman Dave Foutz had a bad knee. Shortstop Germany Smith had a bad leg and third baseman George Pinkney and outfielder/pitcher Adonis Terry were struggling with the 99 degree heat in Kansas City. Backup catcher Bill Holbert was ruled out for the game because of the heat as well.
Kansas City opted to bat first and took a 2-1 lead after one inning. Brooklyn's run scored on an RBI double by Caruthers, who was batting third. Caruthers was a good hitter in 1887, but in 1888 he hit just .230, but his reputation preceded him apparently.
In the second, Brooklyn used a walk by Sullivan to rightfielder Bill McClellan, a single by catcher Doc Bushong, a triple by Foutz and some poor fielding by Kansas City allowed four runs to score to give Brooklyn a 5-2 lead. Brooklyn stretched the lead to 8-4 going to the ninth. Kansas City scored two in the ninth, but it wasn't enough.
Kansas City would win the next day against Brooklyn 5-4 in a game that was ultimately ruled a forfeit when one of the umpires for the game, Brooklyn's Terry, walked off the field rather than continue because the Kansas City players were mad at him.
Brooklyn would eventually be caught in the pennant race by St. Louis, which won the American Association flag for the fourth straight year. St. Louis would finish 92-43, 6 1/2 games ahead of Brooklyn. Kansas City finished in last place at 43-89.
There weren't a lot of powerful hitters in the Brooklyn lineup. Bushong batted .209 and second baseman Jack Burdock hit .122 with 30 hits in 246 at bats. First baseman Dave Orr led the team in batting at .305 in just 99 games. Caruthers led the team with 29 wins. In 1889 Brooklyn would win its first pennant and then in 1890 would shift to the NL and win the pennant there, becoming the only team to ever win consecutive pennants in different leagues.
Kansas City lasted just two seasons in the AA and finished in eighth and seventh. One of the few notable players to come along in Kansas City was future Hall of Famer Billy Hamilton making his debut. He would go on to score 1690 runs in just 14 seasons. He also was credited with 912 stolen bases although many of them came under a scoring rule of the day that players stolen bases for taking an extra base on a hit. Hamilton batted .344 in his career.
After the AA Kansas City team disbanded, major league ball would not return there until 1914 when the Federal League placed a team there. The Philadelphia Athletics would move to Kansas City in 1955 and then leave for Oakland in 1968. The Kansas City Royals would take up the banner for Cowtown in 1969.