The 1885 Eastern League Champion National’s take on the American Association Baltimore Orioles in a post season series. It would seem to be a cake walk for the Orioles, a major league team taking on a minor league team. But the Orioles had finished the season in eighth place with a record of 41-68. A weak team in a weak association.
Washington played a total of 145 games in 1885; they won a total of 110 games against 34 defeats and one tie. Some of their victories game against New York, Buffalo, Providence and Boston of the League. Brooklyn, Metropolitans, Athletics and the Baltimore’s of the American Association. No club in the country had a better record.
Michael Scanlon is the team’s manager although he did not usually accompany the team on the road. Discipline tended to break down while on the road and the team had trouble with alcoholism. It should be noted that any modern reference to Scanlon typically contains a reference to his being hot-headed or a loud mouth. Hard to believe that an Irishman would be like that! While he had his faults as a manager he had a keen eye for talent and in 1884 and 1885 rebuilt the team on the fly while the season was underway.
While the post season series was anticipated by National fans the focus was shifting to what would transpire in 1886. Would Washington play in the majors or return to the Eastern League. If it entered the majors would it be in the National League or the American Association. At this point in time the National League charged fifty cents admission, a major problem for supporters in Washington. Many wanted the National’s to play in the American Association, the weaker of the two. There was little doubt by many that the team would be in the American Association, a league that charged only a quarter.
5 October Washington 2 Baltimore 4
The National’s traveled up to Baltimore and lost. The Orioles bunched their hits in the third inning to win the game. It was sharply played, but was not satisfactory to either players or spectators; some outrageous decisions by the umpire took out much of the interest in the game. Hardie Henderson gets the win, Hank O’Day the loss. Day game between the two nines to be played tomorrow at Capitol Park. Umpire Cassidy. Time 2:00.
6 October Rain prevented the Baltimore-Washington game from being played.
7 October Baltimore 5 Washington 13
Despite the chilly atmosphere, some 1,500 people went to Capitol Park to witness the game. As the home team trounced the visitors soundly, there is no reason to doubt that the spectators felt fully repaid for their trip to the grounds. John Henry began pitching for the Baltimore’s, and was so wild in his delivery that in the first inning he sent five of the National’s to first base on called balls. The National’s, batted with great freedom throughout, and earned their victory legitimately. Only five innings were played, when, by consent, the game was called. Phil Baker’s play at first and Chris Fulmer’s catching were the chief features of the home team’s fielding. Ed Greer played brilliantly in center field for the visitors, one of his catches being of the phenomenal order. Phil Baker, Abner Powell, Ernie Burch, Jimmy Knowles, Bob Barr, and Ed Joe Sommer’s batted well. The two teams are playing to determine the question of superiority as between the National and the team from our neighboring city; it is also for the possession of a valuable trophy in the shape of an elegant punch bowl, which is now on exhibition in the window of Drew’s drug store, corner of Ninth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. Umpire Holland. Time 1:50.
8 October Rain prevented the two clubs from playing in Baltimore because the grounds were unfit for ball.
9 October Baltimore 1 Washington 3
The National’s defeated the Baltimore’s for the second time this week at capitol Park in a close and interesting a game as s witnessed, and 900 spectators present were repaid for their visit. The visitors had out their strongest nine, but it was of no avail, as the home representative played with a snap, and vim that was refreshing to behold, and outplayed their opponents at the bat and in the field. Abner Powell allows just four hits. Ernie Burch has the only extra base hit, a double. Hardie Henderson takes the loss. Umpire Mr. Lockie of Baltimore. Time 1:40.
10 October Baltimore 0 Washington 2
Only about 1,000 spectators witnessed the interesting game at Capitol Park, but that number saw a very fine contest, marked by some pretty plays and exiting incidents. Bobby Barr had on his pitching shoes, and the way he fooled the best batsmen of the Baltimore Club was enjoyable to the spectators. He pitched a magnificent game, striking out eight and assisting four times in the field. He was capitally backed by Chris Fulmer, whose throwing to bases was accurate and true. The batting and second-base play of Jimmy Knowles was perfect in every respect. The feature of the game was Phil Baker’s running backward catch almost to the benches of a ball batted very high and a quick return to Barr, to cut off a runner who was trying to make second. The batting was weak on both sides, and no runs were made until the eighth inning by the home club. In that inning Baker made a hit to left and went to first, Fulmer followed with a long hit to the left field fence for two bags. Baker made for home, and Joe Sommer’s in fielding it home stuck Baker in the head, thereby allowing both he and Fulmer to score. Baker was right badly hurt by the blow, but soon recovered. The umpiring was good, though many were inclined to kick over his judgment in strikes. This decides the question of supremacy, and the punch-bowl remains in Washington. The trophy was filled and emptied last night at Scanlon’s. Umpire Lockie of Baltimore. Time 1:41.