Oct 28

A look at the Pre Season 1887 Senators

The following published in late March 1887, gives an interesting overview of the Washington nine by a correspondent from the Washington Star.

The players of the Washington team who have reported for duty took advantage of every opportunity, during the past week, o limber up. The grounds were not in good condition, owing to the violent snow storm, but answered preliminary practice. A Star reporter visited the grounds yesterday afternoon to see how matters looked. In the outfield there were fourteen of the men of the Washington team, practicing throwing and batting. A steam-roller was busily at work on the springy, but level, sod of the infield. Manager Gaffney kept one eye on the infield work and the other on the outfield practice.

A hundred or more base ball enthusiasts watched the movements of the ball-tossers with a good
deal of interest. Taken altogether the players were a likely looking set of young fellows and their active movements showed conclusively that they are in pretty fair condition already. They all seemed in good spirits. They were Dupee Shaw, Jack Farrell, John McGlone, Jim Donnelly, Bob Keating, Connie Mack, Frank Gilmore, George Shock, AW Stuart, Phil Baker, George Keefe, Bill Krieg, Hank O’Day and Pat Dealy. Big Billy O’Brien, who had just come out of the west, was seated on a saw-horse and critically watched the movements of his new mates. He is a heavy set, smooth-faced blonde, about 5 feet 10 inches in height. His looks do not belie the reputation which has preceded him, of being a terrific hitter. Having just arrived, he did not don the practice uniform, so that it is only guess-work as to how he handles himself on the field. Of the other new men AW Stuart attracted special attention. He is built, as the saying is from the ground up, and looks every inch a ball-player. He is below. Rather than above, medium height, and he is not fat, but he weighs one hundred and seventy-five pounds and withal is probably the fastest runner in the team, not excepting Cliff Carroll. All he asks is a fair show, something that has not always been granted him. He frankly says that if he is in too fast company, he will move off without a complaint, but he wants to be judged by his work. Not only Manager Gaffney, but the players, think well of him.

John McGlone and Jim Donnelly, the rival candidates for the position of third base, were mated to strike alternate balls, and their bearing towards each other showed that they enter the competitive examination with no hard beings. Dupee Shaw kept up a running fire of comments and gags, as usual, and endeavored to keep everybody in a good humor. The new rules were
not tested, and the twirlers pitched only enough to limber their arms a little.

Jim Whitney and Al Myers have not signed, and are holding off for more salary. They bear the same relation to the club as if they had been reserved from last year, and can be compelled to play in Washington at the price offend or remain idle, Paul Hines, Cliff Carroll and Barney Gilligan are still obdurate, but the management is more determined than ever not to give in to them. They have until the 1st of April to report for duty. Every day after that date that they remain out will be at their own expense. If they should sign ten days late they will be docked ten days’ pay. There is no reason to suppose that all of the five valuable men who are holding out for more pay will not be on hand when the season opens. Other clubs encounter
the same difficulties, so that Washington is not alone in its fight.

Even at this early day the wiseacres are predicting the players who will be released, but Manager Gaffney is averse to releasing any one, especially until he has had an opportunity of judging
of their relative merits. Besides the present is not the time for thinking of the release of any
body. After the season is well under way players will be in demand. Nearly all the clubs, both big and little, have filled their lists with new men, some of whom will not prove successful. When they find their weak spots they will begin to look around for strengthening material. The Washington’s have several men for the same positions, and when the team is picked the players not needed can be released to advantage. Everybody takes it for granted that, having secured Al Myers, there is no use for Sam Crane. The latter player can be sold at a profit now, but later if he
is not needed here, will be in greater demand. He is not an unknown quantity, and managers may
want just such a man. Bob Keating and George Keefe are not ranked high as pitchers, but as they are not very expensive luxuries they can pay their way by taking tickets and by careful nursing may develop into something phenomenal.

The April games are intended as simply practice games to show the abilities of the men. During the month Billy O’Brien will be given an opportunity to show his worth at first base, and if he proves satisfactory Bill Krieg will probably be a regular catcher. This much is settled, that Connie Mack will catch Jim Whitney, Barney Gilligan will attend to Dupee Shaw and Pat Dealy to Hank O’Day. Bill Krieg, or one of the other catchers, will play with Frank Gilmore. It is also settled that Mack will head the batting nine in every game in which he lakes part. Whitney
and Mack are expected to equal Shaw and Gilligan as a battery, while O’Day and Dealy may show up with the best of them.

The men who have reported are all enthusiastic over Washington’s prospects, provided the
kickers are on hand at the beginning of the season. “They put us down as tail-enders,” said one
of them. “That’s all right. But then there is no more reason why we should take last place than
second place. That’s what we are going to try for, I regard Detroit as cut of the race, but with that
exception, we are as strong as any of them.”