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Random Game Callback, June 26, 1880
2006-06-26 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

Cap Anson's Chicago team continued its torrid start with a 4-0 win over Worcester before a crowd estimated at 4,000 at Lake Front Park in Chicago. The win improved Chicago's record to 28-3.

Fred Goldsmith, Chicago's #2 starter, got the call. Larry Corcoran, the #1 starter, was playing shortstop. Worscester manager Frank Bancroft started lefty Lee Richmond.

According to the newspaper account of the game in the Chicago Tribune, Corcoran, leftfielder Abner Dalrymple, and centerfielder George Gore (nicknamed "Piano Legs"), normally left handed hitters, all batted from the right side in this game. According to Peter Morris's A Game of Inches, this is one of the first instances of a team making a concerted effort to gain a platoon advantage. It does not seem that it was repeated often as all three men are listed in the history books as righthanded hitters. All three men got a hit in the game.

Chicago scored single runs in the first four innings. Anson opted to have his team bat first. Third baseman Ned Williamson bounced a double over the fence and scored on a wild pitch and passed ball.

In the second, Corcoran doubled and came around to score after a ground out and a deep fly ball from catcher Silver Flint.

Williamson drew a two-out walk in the third, which was no mean feat since it took eight balls to get a walk in 1880. Goldsmith tripled to score Williamson with the third run.

Flint reached base in the fourth on an error and went to second on a walk to second baseman Joe Quest. Gore singled home Flint with the fourth run and final run of the game.

Worscester had several chances to score, but some good fielding by Chicago snuffed out the rallies. In the eighth, Worcester's third baseman Art Whitney doubled, but had to leave the game because of twisted ankle. Worcester's lone substitute was Doc Bushong and he was sitting in the stands in uniform and he came on to the field to run for Whitney. Substitutions were a strange sight in 1880 and Bushong's name doesn't appear in the boxscore. Bushong advanced to third on a passed ball. But Goldsmith bore down. He got first baseman Chub Sullivan to ground out to short and Bushong couldn't score. Second baseman George Creamer popped out to short and left fielder George Wood struck out.

Worscester got a runner to third with one out in the ninth, but Goldsmith got the last two batters to pop out to the mound to end the game.

The newspaper account said that Worscester was such a tough opponent that Chicago had no hope of sweeping the three-game series. But they did. And Chicago wouldn't lose many games, winning the pennant with a 67-17 record, 15 games ahead of second place Providence. Worcester finished in fifth at 40-43.

Although Gore batted ninth in this game for Chicago, he was the best player in the NL. He led the league with a .360 batting average and a .399 OBP. Corcoran won 43 games, although that was only second in the league as Cleveland's Jim McCormick won 45. Goldsmith was 21-3 as a pitcher.

Making his debut in 1880 with Chicago after two years in Cincinnati was King Kelly. He batted just .291 in 1880, but he would go on to become one of the greatest stars of the 19th Century.

Worcseter featured one of the 19th Century's first power hitters in Harry Stovey. He led the NL with 6 home runs and 14 triples. He would hit 122 home runs in 14 seasons. Stovey led his league in home runs six times and in slugging percentage three times.

Sources: Chicago Tribune, Retrosheet,

2006-06-26 04:30:52
1.   Sam DC
Somehow, Bob, I'm not surprised you managed to avoid the 1970 Orioles game today.

Somehow hard for me to fathom that Worcester once had a major league team. Although I realize we're talking 1880.

Then again, a quick Worcester google says that two weeks before this game -- on June 12, 1880 -- the first perfect game in baseball history was pitched in Worcester. And Ted Williams hit his first major league home run there in 1939 (thought it was exhibition).

2006-06-26 06:18:22
2.   Ravenscar
"Piano Legs"?
2006-06-26 10:15:09
3.   Bob Timmermann
If this had been 1970's turn at bat, I would have picked the Brewers-A's game, which went 15 innings.

Men were still men then. Brewers starter Skip Lockwood went 12 innings in that one.

2006-06-26 11:06:50
4.   Linkmeister
Silver Flint sounds like a former bartender in Virginia City.

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