May 02

Umpire Leaves game under police protection.

Thursday 2 September 1897
Pittsburgh 6
Washington 5

The concluding game of the series between the Pittsburgh’s and Washington’s at National Park was brought to a sensational finish in the eighth inning when Umpire Kick Kelly called the game with two out, two runs in, a man on third and one run necessary to tie the score. It was a bit of bad judgment on Kelly’s part, as a few minutes more would have decided the game one way or the other and prevented the dissatisfaction expressed by the indignant spectators. After making the decision that it was too dark to play. Umpire Kelly made his way through the crowd in the grand stand to Mr. Wagner’s office. Several of the ladies in indignation shook their fans and parasols at the poor arbitrator, while some of the sterner sex let loose ejaculations regarding lynching that were more forcible that, elegant. But to say that Kelly was handled roughly or was nearly mobbed is the purest fiction. Washington spectators fully understand the difficulties that surround an umpire, and while they were indignant that their club did not have a chance to win out, the idea of assaulting the umpire was remote from their minds One man walked up to umpire Kelly as he was entering Mr. Wagner’s office, and patting him on the back called him a good boy. Special Officer O’Day thought it was a case of assault, and came near running in the conscientious spectator. There was considerable disagreement among the spectators as to what Umpire Kelly really did. Several of the spectators declared that Kelly had called Charlie Reilly out for interference, and a pretty problem would have come up had he done so. Reilly had scored his run on Al Selbach’s out, and was out of the play that followed. How a player could interfere with a ball a couple of feet over the catcher’s head is a mystery. Zeke Wrigley might have been called out on the technicality, but not Reilly. The umpire could not be seen by a Star reporter last evening President Young had sent him elsewhere. This morning the Star man saw Catcher McGuire, and Jim says that Kelly called the game on account of darkness, so as to avoid further trouble, as the players of both teams were crowded around him, and all talking at once. Secretary Robb, who was with Umpire Kelly in Mr. Wagner’s office after the game, says that Kelly decided that Wrigley was out at the home plate on account of Reilly interfering with catcher Joe Sugden. President Young said that Kelly called the name on account of darkness and scouted the report that he had called Wrigley out on the interference. Mr. Young says that Kelly simply lacks judgment, and in time will do well. The president says he sat back of the catcher during the entire game, and that Kelly made very few mistakes on balls and strikes. If Kelly had declared Wrigley out for Reilly s interference it would have made the third out, and the calling of the game then would have brought the contest to a close in a proper manner. Reilly had scored his run on Selbach’s out, but remained on the home plate, and as Harry Davis threw the ball home to Sugden, he gave the Pirates’ catcher a push that would have prevented him getting the ball if it had been thrown accurately. Instead the ball came home very high, but it is a question whether Sugden would not have got the ball at that, it seems to be a foregone conclusion that whenever one of the Senators attempt to pull off a trick he is bound to make a mess of it. Several times in the past this interference dodge has been resorted to but always at the cost of the home club. Had Reilly gone to the bench, Captain Patsy Donovan would have had no chance to kick, the mix up at the plate would not have resulted, and the Senators might have had another victory to their credit. Play the games on their merits, boys, and it will pay you in the end. Umpire Kelly’s chief fault is calling balls and strikes. His decisions on the bases were, for the most part, correct, but he lost his head in the eighth, when he called the game. The policeman who escorted Kelly from the grounds to the 7th street cars and then to the 9th street line says that the umpire told him that he had declared Wrigley out for Reilly’s interference with Sugden at the home plate, and, that making the third out, he had declared the game called on account of darkness. Charley Farrell, the Washington catcher who was in the thick of the fray around the home plate; says that Kelly made the declaration that the game was called on account of darkness, and made no mention of Wrigley being declared out. Time 2:10. Umpire Kelly. Line-up, Selbach-Lf, Brown-Cf, DeMontreville-2b, Farrell-C, Gettman-Rf, Tucker-1b, Reilly-3b, Wrigley-SS, Mercer-P.

The game. Win Mercer started in to do the twirling for the Senators, but after persisting in his objections to the umpire’s rulings in the first inning, he was removed from the game and Roger Bresnahan substituted. The kick came ever a play at second base and the decision could not be reversed, and it seemed foolish to continue this protest. Roger pitched good ball after the second inning, many of the Pirates’ hits being of the lucky order going to the infield on short or long bounds and out of the reach of the opposing players. Jesse Tannehill was the first twirler on the rubber foe, the Pirates and seemed to be doing well, as left handers usually do, he was removed in the fifth inning and Jim Hughey substituted. The latter did well, holding the Senators down to five hits for the remainder of the game, but one of them was a corker, a home run drive into bleachers by Tommy Tucker. The Pirates tore off three runs in the first inning. Patsy Donovan reached first on Tommy Tucker’s error on Gene DeMontreville’s assist. Dick Padden went to first on balls and Mike Smith’s sacrifice moved the runners up a base each. Harry Davis’ single scored Donovan and Padden, while the former stole second and scored on Bones Ely’s single to right center. In the second they scored one more on Tannehill’s single to left, a sacrifice by Donovan shoving him to second, from where he scored on Padden’s single to left. Their last two runs came in seventh, when after two men had reached first and second. Sugden soaked a triple to right center, clearing the bases ahead of him. The Senators didn’t do a thing until the third, when they corralled two tallies. Al Selbach beat out a grounder to second and went to third on DeMontreville’s nice two-bagger to left. Duke Farrell’s grounder was juggled by Ely and Selbach scored DeMontreville going to third on the error and then home when Jake Gettman’s hit forced Farrell at second. In the sixth Tommy Tucker made the third run on his drive into the bleachers. The Senators went to the hat in the eighth inning with the score six to three against them. After Tucker had gone out on a fly to right, Reilly sent a nice single into center; Wrigley repeated the safe hit business by hammering a clean one into right. McGuire was then sent to the plate in Bresnahan’s place, and was rewarded with a base on balls the three corners thereby being filled. Selbach then drove a hot one at Padden, who fumbled it, but managed to get it to first ahead of the runner. Meantime Reilly had scored and Wrigley had set sail for the same for the same harbor. Davis then let loose with the ball to head off Wrigley, but the ball went wild, about three feet over Joe Sugden’s head and the runner scored. Captain Donovan then came running in from right field to straighten out the confusion, and seeing a chance for a protest, claimed that Reilly had interfered with the Pirates catcher. It was here that Kelly showed poor judgment. He would not allow the protest against Reilly, but as he was no doubt heartily sick of the continued badgering of the players, he suddenly concluded that it was too dark to play, and he called the game. It was then 6:30, two minutes after sunset. It was tough on the Senators, but a life saver for the Pirates. The score, therefore, stands at 6 to 5 in favor of the Pittsburgh’s, as the two runs made by the Senators in the eighth; of course go to their credit.

Mercer Benched by the Indicator Handler. The prospect of climbing to the dizzy heights or eighth place by winning from the Pirates must have made the Senators nervous, as the aggregation from Smoketown took the concluding game of the series by a narrow margin. When the home team did have a fighting chance to save the game in the eighth inning, Umpire Kelly became possessed of a burning desire to show that he had no hard feeling against Patsy Donovan’s boys when he called the game on Wednesday with the score against Patsy’s team, and he more than evened things up by calling today’s contest when Washington had the worst end of the struggle. Although it was really light enough to finish the inning, it was considerably darker than when the previous day’s contest was stopped, and as Kelly claimed that several of the Statesmen could they could not see the ball on Wednesday, he at least showed a degree of consistency in his decision as to darkness. The contest was full of exciting incidents from the start, Mercer being removed by the indicator handler in the first inning because Win kicked somewhat vigorously about Kelly’s yellow decision at second base and on balls and strikes. Roger Bresnahan succeeded Mercer, but was not effective enough to win out, although the youngster pitched a rood game. An amusing feature was the delight the fair fans took in jabbing umpire Kelly in the ribs with parasols as he made his way through the stand to escape the wrath of the male rooters. Things were a little more serious when the umpire left the grounds, and the largest crowd of excited fans waited outside, it was deemed advisable by the police to escort Kelly to a place or safety.

Kick Kelly. Wikipedia, John O. “Kick” Kelly (October 31, 1856 – March 27, 1926), also nicknamed “Honest John” and “Diamond John,” was an American catcher, manager and umpire in Major League Baseball who went on to become a boxing referee and to run gambling houses in his native New York City. He made a notable impact on the development of umpiring, helping to pioneer the use of multiple umpires in games in the 1880s. By the time he initially retired in 1888, he held the record for most games umpired in the major leagues (587); he returned to work the last two months of the 1897 season.

Baltimore was in a tough pennant fight and many in the District were rooting for the other guys as evident in this article.

Base Ball Notes. The boy that carries the out-of-town scores to the blackboard is a player after applause just as much as the men on the diamond. He usually tells the scores to the spectators as he passes by, but today he kept mum on the tenth inning result in Baltimore and ran all the way to the board. It didn’t take a hard guess to tell the result from the boy’s actions. When the figures went up telling of the Browns’ victory a great shout came from the spectators.