“The most Extraordinary of the Championship Contests so far”

8 Feb

A game recap and box score from the National League’s inaugural season.  On August 26, 1876, the Chicago White Stockings defeated the St. Louis Brown Stockings 23-3 in Chicago.

Cap Anson, 50 errors in 1876

Cap Anson, 50 errors in 1876

Among the game highlights, White Stockings 3rd baseman Cap Anson made five errors, on his way to 50 for the season, Brown Stockings pitcher George Bradley also committed five (he only had 12 for the season) and the two teams combined for 28 errors.

The Chicago Inter-Ocean said the game was the turning point of the season in the White Stockings drive for the first league championship in a breathless, meandering report:

“The closing game of the Chicago-St. Louis series which was played Saturday at the Twenty-Third Street grounds, proved to be by all odds the most extraordinary of the championship contests so far.  As if determined to wipe out every record of the St. Louis having ever won a game from them, the Chicagos turned themselves loose and broke Bradley’s heart…Nearly 5,000 witnessed the game, and the enthusiasm rose at times to fever-heat.”

The story said Anson redeemed himself for his errors “two or three” of which were “comparatively easy balls,” by hitting a triple and a home run:

“Obtained on a terrible drive to right field which went clear to the fence…The Chicago batting was tremendous, and the visitors were kept on a continual hunt for the ball.”

The box score:


Albert Spalding, Chicago’s manager, and pitcher, who batted 7th started all but six of the White Stockings 66 games in 1876. Bradley, who batted third, started all 64 of the Brown Stockings games and pitched 573 of the 577 innings played by St. Louis—outfielder Joe Blong pitched 4 innings in one game.  Bradley also pitched the National League’s first no-hitter against the Hartford Dark Blues on July 15.  As expected with the number of errors, Bradley gave up 151 unearned runs for the season.

1876 St. Louis Brown Stockings, George Bradley

1876 St. Louis Brown Stockings, George Bradley, standing center, Joe Blong, standing left

After his 45-19 season for the third-place Brown Stockings, Bradley was acquired by the White Stockings in 1877, with Spalding moving to 1st base.  The White Stockings finished 5th with a 26-33 record, Bradley was 18-23.

St. Louis finished fourth, Blong split time between the outfield and the mound and went 10-9 for the Brown Stockings.


3 Responses to ““The most Extraordinary of the Championship Contests so far””


  1. “Leather-Fisted Phil” | Baseball History Daily - April 12, 2013

    […] team’s captain had to agree that an injury was serious to necessitate a substitution; Chicago’s “Cap” Anson said he did not agree to a substitution when backup catcher “Big Bill” Brown entered the game […]

  2. Frank Bancroft | Baseball History Daily - July 14, 2014

    […] Manager Bancroft heard of him, and in 1878 engaged him as a change pitcher for the New Bedfords.  G. Washington ‘Grin’ Bradley was the regular pitcher of the team, and as he was an every-day pitcher Stovey was never allowed an […]

  3. “Boys of ’76” | Baseball History Daily - January 5, 2015

    […] George Washington Bradley, 72, who won 45 games for the St. Louis Brown Stockings; John “Jack” Manning, 71, who hit .264 and won 18 games as an outfielder and pitcher for the Boston Red Stockings; Alonzo “Lon” Knight, 71, an outfielder and pitcher for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1876 and hit .250 and won 10 games, and three members of the Hartford Dark Blues, Tommy Bond, 68, a 31-game winner; Tom York, 74, who played leftfield and hit .259, and John “Jack” Burdock, 72, an infielder who hit. 259. Also present was the only surviving umpire from the 1876 season–Calvin J. Stambaugh. […]

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