“Remarkable Series of Accidents in a Memorial Day Baseball Game”

31 May

The San Francisco Examiner described it as a, “Remarkable series of Accidents in a Memorial Day Baseball game.”

The 1899 Decoration Day game between the Bakersfield and Merced in the semi-pro San Joaquin Valley League was said to be:

“The banner record for baseball accidents…No less than six Bakersfield athletes were rendered hors du baseball, and one Merced player was carried off the field of carnage in a litter. Two pitchers were disabled by getting hit on the salary arm, and the third hero who took the slab for Bakersfield threw his shoulder out of gear trying to locate the plate.”

The Fresno Morning Republican said of what had been a highly anticipated game in the newly formed league:

“Never in the history of baseball in the valley has such interest been shown in the game…Nearly 500 people had gathered to witness the sport long before ethe time announced for the game to commence.”

The Bakersfield, Californian said the crowd was enthusiastic, but the contest did not live up to expectations.

“Not that it was a good game of ball from a professional standpoint, as it was full of errors from start to finish and many a rank play was responsible for unearned runs.”

And there were more injuries. The Examiner said:

“While the Red Cross corps wrestled with the dislocated shoulder an outfielder who came into pitch split the hand of the catcher. He went to the hospital and then the shortstop got hysterical or something and broke his ankle. Next a Bakersfield man collided with a Merced man. They both stove in their figureheads and air compartments, and the ambulance was called again.

The Californian concluded:

“(N)ot withstanding the crippled condition of the (Bakersfield) team, the boys managed to keep in the lead.”

Bakersfield won 15 to 14 in a game that included 30 hits, 15 errors, eight passed balls, and six hit batsmen.

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