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Aug 25

Olympics – Nationals 19 October 1869

The following is a fairly detailed account of the match. The Olympics and the Nationals were the top clubs in the city and among the stronger nines in the country.

The much talked of games between the National and Olympics clubs, of this city, was played on the National’s grounds in the presence of an immense concourse of spectators, who were attracted thither by reason of the feeling existing between the admirers of both clubs, each nine being considered first class. The Olympics have held the prestige that far by reason of their having beaten the National three games this season. The result of the contest was a victory again for the plucky Olympic boys, due not so much to their good playing as to their unprecedented good lack and the fearful bad plays of George For and Forker in the first inning. The following is our report; at 3.30 o’clock the umpire. Mr. Robert M. Drinkard, called the game with the Nationals at the bat.

National’s Line-up; George Fox-2b, Tom Forker-1b, Dennis Coughlin-SS, Ed “Shelly’ Shelley-3b, Dave Birdsall-C, John “Holly” Hollingshead-Rf, Charlie Pabor-Cf, Billy Williams-P

Olympics Line-up; Davy Force-SS, Ed Leech-P, Fergy Malone-C, Bob Reach-Cf, Dick Hurley-2b, “Billings”-1b, Nick Young-Rf, AV Robinson-Lf

First Inning – Fox the first striker, took three balls, got to third on a passed on three balls, got to third on a passed ball by Malone. Forker struck a high ball to center, brought Fox home, and made first. Coughlin struck to first and was put out by Billings. Forker was then run out at second by Hurley and Billings’ double play. “Shelly”, by safe hit to third, made his first, stole to
second. Birdsall out at first by Force and Billings. Side out with one ran. Force was the first striker for the Olympics, and took first on called balls. Leech struck to second, “juggled” by Fox, and striker made first, while Force got to third. Malone took first on called balls. Bases all
full. By a terrible wild throw of Forker to “Shelly.” Force and Leech got home. By another of the same kind by Birdsall. Malone got home. Reach took first on called balls. Leech out on fly by Fox. Hurley struck to second, well taken by Fox, who made a bad overthrow to Forker, and enabled Reach to get to third, while Hurley went to second. Billings struck to center field, brought Reach and Hurley home. By a bad throw of “Holly” to catcher, Billings got to third. Nick Young struck to second, made first, while Billings came home. Young then stole to second, then to third on passed ball. Robinson out at first by Coughlin and Forker, Young home. Force out on fly to Birdsall. Seven runs. Score 1 to 7.

Second Inning – Studley flew out to Reach; “Holly” struck to pitcher, and got to first. Charlie Tabor sent a long fly to left field, which Robinson captured. Williams out at first by Hurley and Billings. Side out with round 0. Leech out at first by Williams and Forker. Malone drove a grounder to left, and made second stole to third. Reach out at first by Coughlin and Forker, Malone home. Leech tipped out. Side out, 1 run. Score 1 to 8.

Third Inning – Fox out at first by Reach and Billings. Forker shared the same fate by Force and Billings. Coughlin got first by a safe hit to right field. “Shelly” took first on called balls; Coughlin to second, who stole to third; on dropped ball by Malone. Coughlin came home, “Shelly” at second, on a wild pitch, “Shelly” got home. Birdsall took first on called balls, then stole to second. Studley out at first by Force and Billings. Side out with two runs. Hurley flew out to Forker; Billings took first on called balls, then stole to second. Young flew out to Williams. Robinson out at first by Coughlin and Forker. Side out with round 0. Score, 3 to 8.

Fourth Inning – “Holly” tipped out. Pabor flew out to Hurley. Williams out on foul bound to Malone. Side out with round 0. Force by a high hit to left made two bags by wild throwing of Williams and Fox he got to score. Leech by a weak hit at the plate made first and stole to second on dropped ball of Birdsall. Malone by a safe hit to left field brought Leech home and got
first, then stole to second, then to third. Reach out at first by Pabor and Forker. Leech brought Malone home and made first by a safe hit to right field, on wild pitch he took third. Hurley flew out to Forker. Billings shared the same fate at the hands of Studley. Side out with three runs. Score 3 to 11.

Fifth Inning – Fox out at first by Reach and Billings. Forker made a safe hit left and made two basses. Coughlin out on foul fly to Malone. “Shelly” sent a grounder to left field and made first, Forker at third. On wild pitch Forker came home and “Shelly” at third. Birdsall out at first by Forker and Billings. Side out with one run. A change was now made in the National nine, Charley Pabor going to pitch, Williams to right field, “Holly” to center, and Fox resumed second, he having changed positions with Tabor in the second inning. The change was for the better and the peculiar manner of delivery of the new pitcher rather astonished the Olympics for a while. Young took first on called balls then stole to second. Robinson sent a good ball over second base, made first and brought Young home. Force struck to short, fielded to second, putting Robinson out, while Force was put out at second by Fox and Forker, pretty double play. Leech took first on called balls. Malone got to first by a muff of Forker, caused by Fox annoying him. Leech at second, then stole to third. Reach tipped out. Side out with 1 run. Score 4 to 12.

Sixth Inning – Studley took first on called balls; on passed ball by Malone he got to third. “Holly” flew out to Leech; Studley home. Pabor tipped out. Williams by a good ball to center field made first. Fox sent a high ball to center, made first, and was run out between first and second by Hurley and Burroughs; Williams home. Side out with two runs. Leech flew out to Fox. Hurley out at first by Forker. Billings flew out to Coughlin. Side out with round 0. Score, 6 to 12.

Seventh Inning – Forker made first by a clear hit to left field. Coughlin sent a high ball back of first base, and made first, while Forker took second. {Excitement.} “Shelly” drove a grounder to left, made first and brought Forker home; Coughlin at third. Birdsall took first on called balls; bases all full. (“All hands round.” says Fox.) Studley drove a beauty to left, brought Coughlin and “Shelly” home; Birdsall at third, and Studley at second. “Holly” tipped out. Pabor struck out; Birdsall home; Studley at third, then stole home. Williams tipped out. Side out with fire runs.
Young sent a bounding ball to left field and made first. Robinson flew out to Forker. Force sent a long ball to “Holly” in center, which he captured. Young was put out at third by Pabor and “Shelly”, who caught him napping. Side out with round 0. Score 11 to 12.

Eighth Inning – Fox out at first by Reach and Billings. Forker flew out to Billings. Coughlin out at first by Reach and Billings. Side out with round 0, Robinson took first on called balls, stole to
second. Force tipped out. Leech out at first by Fox and Forker, Robinson at third. Malone struck to right, made his first and brought Robinson home. Reach sent a ball to center, and made first. Leech tipped out. Side out with one run. Score 11 to 13.

Ninth Inning – “Shelly” struck out. Here the umpire called game, It being so dark as to render it impossible to see the ball. Time 2:18.

Notes on the game.

Robert M. Drinkard, a member of the Union Club of Washington would later be on the board of Directors of the first National League Baseball Club in the District.

George Fox, a great power hitter, the best of his era.

The Union Ringer’s. Charley Pabor was brought in from the Union Club. But Dick Birdsall and Ed Shelley spent time with both clubs.

Andrew Gibney, a middle infielder played on the Union and National Club’s. He did not play in the game. He first played for the 1864 Gotham team and went on to play for the 1870 Olympics

Davy Force, one of the greatest players from the early days of baseball in Washington. His career spanned from 1869 through 1887, including the inaugural season of the first National League Club in Washington. Francis Richter, editor for Sporting Life ranks him along with Harry Wright as the two greatest shortstops in the early days of baseball. High praise indeed.

Nick Young was a very good player and a great base runner. He would go on to be the President of the National League.

Henry Burroughs, Burroughs would be one of two players to go on to play for the 1871 National Association Olympics. Henry Burroughs was part of the Detroit Base Ball Club in 1865 when he was 20 years old. He was a pitcher and also captain. He had a job as a “professor” at a local gymnasium. A newspaper later said he was a professional, being paid under the table for his baseball playing. Source: “Baseball Fever: Early Baseball in Michigan”. He also played for the Eurekas in 1867 as a third baseman. In 1871-72 he played for the Washington Olympics, mostly as an outfielder. He had one of the highest slugging percentages on the team in 1871. He died in 1878 around age 33. BR Bullpen

“Billings” There was no Billings on the Olympics roster. A Hosea Billings was on the 1867 Excelsior Club of Elmira but doubt this is him. “Billings” is noted at other Olympic games, one game he played third and little Davy Force, if you can believe it, took his place behind the bat. Actual names at this time could be tricky. Bill Williams in one game gave his name as Graham. The reporter at the game thought it was at the request of Mr. Williams. Given the position, first base, I can only assume it is Harry McLean who played that position for the Olympics in 1869. McLean along with Sy Studley and George Fox were on the 1866 National Club. To be fair, it could be, ME “Emmet’ Urell, He also played on the nine and his name is another that is mentioned in association with baseball in the District for many years. He was said to be fairly tall.

John Hollingshead, in order to frustrate baseball researchers played under the name of Samuel John Holly. He was a substitute on the Nationals roster for most of this season. Holly had a great impact on early baseball although his playing career ended when he was fairly young. He was the manager of the 1884 Association team which started the season with great fanfare.

Harry Berhtrong, another of the great early players for Washington did not play baseball in 1869.

The Olympics took the place of the Nationals as the top club in Washington in 1869. In 1870, the National Association of Base Ball Players would allow “professional” clubs for the first time. The Nationals and Olympics would thus become the first two professional clubs in Washington. In 1871 the Olympics, having signed four players from the Cincinnati Club would join the National Association with a very strong club, but injuries would cripple the club.