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Random Game Callback, August 25, 1889
2006-08-25 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

On a Sunday afternoon in Hamilton, Ohio, about 25 miles north of Cincinnati, the Brooklyn and Cincinnati teams of the American Association got together before a crowd of 5,000. But the game was never completed as the local authorities arrested all the participating players in the bottom of the fourth of the inning and ended the game.

The American Association's big selling point compared to the much more staid National League was that it offered Sunday play. Well, that and beer and cheaper admissions. But Sunday ball was a big selling point in an era when many people had six-day workweeks.

Cincinnati had played Sunday games at home earlier in the 1889 season and in many years before that. Cincinnati's first NL team was booted out of the league after the 1880 season for playing Sunday games as well as serving beer, which was pretty much a necessity for the large German population of the city.

But for reasons I'm not sure of, the city fathers of the Queen City decided not to allow the Reds (the ancestor of the current Cincinnati team) play at their usual home at League Park. So Brooklyn and Cincinnati decided to decamp for Hamilton.

Prior to the start of the game, a county magistrate arraigned Brooklyn manager Bill McGunnigle and Cincinnati manager Gus Schmelz for violating the Sunday law, but let the game go on.

McGunnigle started Bob Caruthers and Schmelz had Jesse Duryea pitching for him.

Cincinnati opted to bat first, but failed to score. In the bottom of the first, Brooklyn third baseman George Pinkney doubled to score second baseman Hub Collins and first baseman Dave Foutz. Pinkney would double in two more in the third.

In the top of the fourth, second baseman Bid McPhee singled and Tony Mullane walked. Hick Carpenter got an infield to load the bases. Outfielder George Tabeau hit a grounder to Collins who stepped on second for a force, but thew wildly in an attempt to get a double play but threw the ball away and McPhee and Mullane scored.

In the bottom of the fourth, with Caruthers at bat, a commotion at the gate of the stadium stopped play. Eighteen police officers, led by a Chief Lindley, stopped play. Each officer arrested a player and took him to Hamilton City Hall, where a Mayor Dirk arraigned them. The mayor fined each player $5 plus court costs and the bill came to $159.30. The Cincinnati team paid the fine and the players were released. Umpire Bob Ferguson, according to the Brooklyn Eagle story of the game, mingled in with the crowd to avoid arrest. The complaint was issued by a group called the Law and Order League of Hamilton. Presumably Hamilton has had no crime since this day in 1889.

Since Brooklyn had no more games schedule in Cincinnati, the game was replayed in its entirety and made up in Brooklyn in September.

At the time, Brooklyn trailed St. Louis by two games in the AA pennant race, but the Bridegrooms came on strong down the stretch winning 22 of 30 in September and October to beat out St. Louis by two games with a 93-44 record. Brooklyn picked up an important win on September 8, when St. Louis forfeited a game to Brooklyn because its team captain and manager, Charles Comiskey, feared that there would not be enough police protection at that game. That was one of three forfeits involving Brooklyn that year. They won two of them and lost the other.

Cincinnati finished in fourth place at 76-63, 18 games behind Brooklyn.

At the end of the season, Brooklyn agreed to play the NL champions, the New York Giants in a postseason series. The Giants won six of the nine games. The next season, Brooklyn would abandon the AA and join the National League. And Brooklyn would win the pennant again, the only time a franchise won consecutive pennants in two different leagues.

Sources: Brooklyn Eagle, Retrosheet,

2006-08-25 23:56:55
1.   Greg Brock
That was definitely one of the best RGC's I can remember. I'm sad to see them go.

To everything there is a season, and so forth.

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