Hugh Daily is better known as “One Arm” Daily although to be fair he had two arms, just no left hand. Having it shot off in his youth while playing around with a loaded musket.
Born in Ireland and raised in Baltimore, Daily was an extremely talented twirler, having great speed and a devastating curveball. Maybe the first seen in the District, although a contemporary named Tucker was said to have the best curve ball ever witnessed.
Daily was also tall for the time, listed at 6-02. But his effectiveness was limited by his explosive temper and related antics that made him hugely unpopular. While his lifetime record of 73-87 is not impressive in 1884 at the age of 36 he recorded 483 strikeouts, 14 with the Nationals.
Hugh Dailey has several connections to the District. The first dates back to 1877.
Baseball in the District enjoyed a huge revival of interest in 1877. The upstart Nationals taking on the stronger clubs like the Astoria or Creighton clubs, and winning. Each team had a headquarters and strong following.
The rise of the Nationals caused the other clubs to look outside the District for help. The Astoria nine found it in Baltimore signing several players in a bid to defeat the Nationals.
21 August The Astoria Club, “The Pet’s of Swampoodle,” defeat the Nationals by a score of 7 to 5, in their highly anticipated first match. The Nationals play the Astoria’s at the park at North Capital and G Streets in front of 3,000 spectators. A thunder shower came up just about the time set for beginning play which delayed the game. The Nationals won the toss and sent their opponents to the bat, who failed to score. The Nationals succeeded in making two runs in their first inning, when they should have been blanked. In the second inning, by a heavy streak of batting, the Astoria’s scored four runs, which to all intents and purposes settled the fate of the Nationals, who went to the bat for the second inning and succeeded in scoring just one run, making the game stand 4 to 3. The Astoria’s third inning resulted in a blank, as did the Nationals. In the fourth inning the Astoria’s’ made two runs, while they treated their opponents to a goose-egg. Each club scored one in the fifth inning, and from that up to the eighth the game was marked by close playing, each club doing its level best, the Nationals striving nobly to close the gap, but only scoring once, and that in the eighth inning; while the Astoria failed to score a run.
In the ninth inning the Astoria’s succeeded in getting two men on bases before there was a hand out, and owing to an unpardonable muff of Dallas, aided by the inattention of Diggs, both men scored, the inning closing with four more runs for them. The Nationals went to the bat for their ninth inning a defeated club, for it was a vain hope to think that they could overcome the lead of their opponents. The first two men to the bat struck out, after which three men reached their base on errors and one man reached home. All the errors were attributable to Sullivan, but as it was dark, and the players could hardly see, that may mitigate them. Finally the umpire prevailed upon to call the game on the eighth inning, which made the Nationals the victims.
The pitcher Hugh Daily ford not get a mention here, despite a strong pitching performance. Daily faces the Nationals on the 4th of September.
4 September About 8,000 spectators assembled on the Olympic grounds to witness the second game in the series between the Astoria and Nationals clubs; in face a larger audience has seldom been seen at a match in this city. The many friends of the National encouraged their players by the most lavish applause, and as the game opened with a run on each side every settled themselves for a hard battle, but in the fourth inning a dispute arose relative to a decision of the umpire, to which the Astoria took exception, and a wordy warfare ensued, which was brought to an end by the Astoria withdrawing from the field, and the umpire was compelled, according to the rules, to decide the game in favor of the National by a score of 9 to 0.
The rise of interest in the game brings other problems, as recorded by the press.
These disputes on the ball field must be stopped, or the enthusiasm which has been aroused will soon die out.
Another growing evil, and one which should be checked, is the practice of importing pitchers, is the practice of importing pitchers to play particular games when we have as goof material in Washington as can be found elsewhere, although they may not be “curve” pitchers. The many patrons of the game would greatly prefer our home players, such as Stearns, Waters, Paige and Conway should occupy the pitcher’s position rather than to see men whom they have never heard of before working for the local championship. The game is being killed by the betting men all over the country, who do not take any interest in these contests any more than that they may win a few dollars.
Already the subject is being considered by several of the managers of clubs of withdrawing from the league and playing for amusement, not for profit.
The game like the nation was changing.