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Random Game Callback, June 27, 1894
2006-06-27 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

In the highest scoring year in major league history, the highest scoring team in the National League, Boston, routed the lowest scoring team, Louisville, 13-3 before a crowd of 1228 at Eclipse Park in Lousville.

1894 was the second season after the pitching distance had been lengthened to 60'6" and the hitters were starting to enjoy teeing off. Boston would score a record 1220 runs, an average of 9.17 runs per game. Louisville would score just 692 runs. Interestingly, 692 runs would have been enough to lead the NL in scoring in 1968, beating out the Reds by two.

Frank Selee's Boston squad had won the last three NL pennants and were in a tight race with Boston at this time. Selee started Jack Stivetts. Louisville was managed by Billy Barnie, but team captain Tom Brown called most of the shots and Brown had Jock Menefee pitching.

Boston had a lineup filled with some of the 19th Century's greatest stars: second baseman Bobby Lowe, who was the first major leaguer to hit four home runs in a game; outfielder Hugh Duffy, who batted .440 in 1894; and outfielder Tommy McCarthy, who was nearing the end of a 13-year career that somehow earned him a plaque in Cooperstown.

Menefee was pounded early and often. He gave up 14 hits, including two triples and two doubles. Boston also received five walks and had four batters reach on errors. Boston scored three times in the first and five times in the sixth en route to an easy win.

Louisville got 11 hits, but just three runs and one of them came on a home run from Brown, who started at shortstop. Brown won a prize for being the first Louisville player to hit a home run at home, although the newspaper account didn't say what it was. Louisville hit just 42 home runs all season. Boston led the league with 103, 48 more than the second best team, Chicago.

Despite all of Boston's scoring, they finished in third place at 83-49, eight games behind Baltimore. Louisville finished twelfth in the 12-team NL at 36-94, 54 games out.

Duffy's .440 average led the NL, which isn't surprising since Duffy's mark is the major league record. He won the Triple Crown too (except RBIs weren't an official statistic then). Duffy hit 18 home runs and drove in 145 runs. He slugged .694. Boston's top pitcher was Hall of Famer Kid Nichols, who went 32-13 with a 4.75 ERA. Stivetts went 26-14 with a 4.90 ERA.

The Louisville franchise had its ups and downs in its existence from 1882 to 1899. Playing in the American Association in 1889, Louisville finished in last at 27-111. The next year, Louisville won the AA at 88-44. In 1891, Louisville went back to last at 54-83. In 1892, Louisville joined the NL and never finished better than ninth, although they were 75-77 in their final year. The Pittsburgh Pirates ended up buying up their best players, such as Honus Wagner, Fred Clarke, and Rube Waddell, before the franchise was put out of its misery. Clarke would make his debut for Louisville just three days later.

Sources: Boston Globe, Retrosheet,

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