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Washington’s First Post Season Series
On 8 October 1880, an Inter-league playoff series is hastily arranged between the Washington Nationals, champions of the National Association and the Chicago White Stockings, champions of the National League. The games will be played in Washington and Baltimore.
The National League Champion Chicago White Stockings
The White Stockings finished first in the National League with a record of 67-17. Cap Anson is the 28 year old manager of a very talented team. Anson bats .337 for Chicago and is one of the most dominating players in the league. King Kelly a flamboyant and multi-talented player bats .291 mostly in the outfield but also behind the plate. In the outfield are three talented and young players. George Gore, at 26 years old is the oldest and the best. In 77 games he batted .360. Ned Williamson and Abner Dalrymple both 22 were good hitters in their own right. Silver Flint the 24 year old catcher was the nominal catcher although King Kelly would take his place in the series with Washington. With Silver Flint out and Kelly behind the bat Fred Goldsmith would play. Goldsmith is 28 years old and batted .262 in 35 games. The pitching would be handed by Larry Corcoran, just 20 years old, his record 43-14. The other starter is Fred Goldsmith, he is 21-3. Andy J Piercy will umpire and make a brief appearance for Chicago. Piercy has been playing in California since at least 1878. He will spend time with the 1881 White Stockings before heading back west. Joseph L Quest will spend time at second. Quest at 27 years old has been a fixture for the White Stockings since 1879. He has a long ten year career batting .217 in 596 games. Thomas Everett Burns is another infielder. Born in Honesdale, Pennsylvania in 1857 he is at the start of a long career with the White Stockings. In the 12 seasons he will play 1,249 games for Chicago. He ends his career with Pittsburgh in 1892.
The national Association Washington Nationals
Ormond Butler is the manager having replaced Jim Gifford earlier in the season. Bill McClellan bats first and is a left-handed shortstop. He is 24 years old and played for the 1879 Senators. Tony Mansell bats second and plays left field. A left handed batter, he is 25 years old. John Morrissey plays third base. He has been playing in the minors since 1879. George Derby pitches and plays right field. Derby played on the 1879 team and is just 22 years old. He is credited with a pitching record of 10-7 and an average of .225. He would go on to have success in 1881 and 1882 with the Detroit League Club. Martin Powell plays first; he is a tall 6-00 lefty. Like Derby he would go on to play for Detroit. Pop Snyder at 25 years old is one of the best catcher’s in baseball. Jack Lynch is the ace of the staff. Just 24 years old he attended Fordham University. He will go on to pitch in the majors winning 110 games. But he is dealing with a lame arm and Derby will have to step up. Phil Baker can play anywhere on the field. Just 23 years old he has been playing since 1877. He is a fixture on the Washington teams of the 1880s. Joe Gerhardt, District native and considered one of the top infielders of his era. Just 25 tears old he has been playing since 1873. He would continue playing baseball until 1893, ending his career with Albany. Sam Trott returns from the 1879 club. He will continue playing baseball until 1889 ending with the Newark Atlantic Association Club. A versatile player he is able to play anywhere on the diamond. In 250 major league games he batted .250. At 33 years old, Oscar Bielaski is the substitute player for the Nationals. Born in the District in 1847 he has long been a fixture in local baseball. He dies in Washington in 1911 and is buried at Arlington.
9 October Chicago 7 Washington 4
“Chicago, Champions of the League arrive at the grounds attired in blue flannel suits, with white caps, belts and stockings. A crowd of 1,000 spectators are on hand. Jack Lynch was not in trim and should have been retired from the pitcher’s position. The rheumatics are affecting him, and he is in no condition to present the ball. George Derby was brought in to take his place, Lynch taking Derby’s place in right field. Attendance 1,000.”
“Chicago scores three in the first inning and three more in the fourth. In the fourth Abner Dalrymple hits a bounding ball into right field that caroms on the top of a carriage and goes into the street, giving the batter a home run and scoring two others. It is said that Washington did some sharp and excellent fielding but the luck was with Chicago. Sam Trott umpired and the result was rather unsatisfactory. Called balls, Corcoran 112, Lynch 49, Derby 35, Called Strikes Corcoran 24, Lynch 9, Derby 8.Time 2:20.” Line-ups
“From the way the Chicagos opened the first innings it looked as if they were just going to play with the Nationals, they making three hits, on which three runs were secured, two of them being earned; but the Nationals went to work, and by good plays kept them, in the second and third innings, from scoring while they made two. In the fourth inning, after two men were out, Gerhardt had a chance ato throw the side out, but unfortunately this usually reliable player slipped up on the chance, and allowed Kelly to reach first base. The next striker, Dalrymple, then knocked a ball over the right-field fence, on which he made a clean home-run, Gore and Williamson followed with sharp hits, and the Chicagos made three unearned runs. The play during the game was very sharp, both sides playing with great watchfulness. The umpiring of Mr.Trott was a little off as regards strikes, but neither side was benefited by his decisions.
11 October Chicago 1 Washington 7
“The Nationals, with the exception of an error by second baseman Joe Gerhardt, play a faultless fielding game and out batted the visitors as well. Many hits made by the Nationals being well struck. Chicago made many errors in their efforts to stop the hot traveling balls.”
“Chicago did some excellent work but George Derby bothered them considerably. Fred Goldsmith started for Chicago but he was hit hard and lasted four innings when Larry Corcoran took his place and was treated nearly as badly.”
“Attendance was only medium, the fair in the District and the sesquicentennial at Baltimore serving to draw largely upon those who usually attend ball games. Mr. Oscar Bielaski umpired the game, but, like most all umpires of the present day made a great many mistakes in calling balls and strikes.” Line-ups.
October 12 Chicago 6 Washington 14
“Chicago started out with hitting George Derby’s pitching, and aided by errors put in five runs, earning two of them. After this the Nationals got down to work, playing steadily, and Derby became more effective, permitting Chicago only one more run.”
”At the end of the fourth inning the score stood 6 to 5 in favor of Chicago. It should have been a tie but George Derby, after having his third strike in the inning missed, failed to run to first base when he had the chance, and the run by John Morrissey’s that came home was lost.”
“In the fifth inning Tom Mansell lead off with a triple to left field. John Morrissey follows with a triple to left. Then came a rapid succession of singles until Bill McClellan was reached. A single apparently did not satisfy him and he drove the ball over the right center field fence for three bases. Mansell came to bat for the second time and hit a single to left and came home on wild throws. Washington scores nine runs in the inning.”
The Washington Sunday Herald writes, “National League President William Hulbert thinks the Nationals are the best club the Chicagos have met this season. We agree and say that if they had been allowed in the League the Chicagos never would have been the present champions.” teams will then play in Baltimore, today and tomorrow. Today is a five inning match.
13 October Chicago 4 Washington 2
“The game is played in Baltimore. The game is lost to the Nationals through an outrageous decision of the umpire. Jack Lynch is in the box and Sam Trott behind the bat.”
The next game is played in Washington on short notice.
14 October Chicago 5 Washington 8
”The Nationals downed the Chicagos again in a well played game of six innings. The game is remarkable for some heavy hitting and fine fielding, the Chicagos slightly excelling in the former and the Nationals in the later. It was not generally known that the two clubs would play here, it having been announced that they would visit Baltimore, but despite the short announcement there was a good attendance of spectators.”
The past season has been a disastrous one financially for the Nationals, owing to the disbanding of clubs which they expected to play. The directors are now considering the question of organizing a nine for 1881 and securing league membership.
“Cap Anson says the National’s are the hardest club to beat in the country. The playing of the Nationals was superb, only three trivial errors being made.”
“The Nationals downed the Chicagos again in a well played contest of six innings. This makes the sixth game out of ten that they have won from this western club, champions of the league, this season. The exhibition was remarkable for some heavy batting and fine fielding, the Chicagos slightly excelling in the former and the Nationals leading in the latter. It was not generally known that the two clubs would play here, it having been announced that they would visit Baltimore, but despite the short announcement there was a good attendance of spectators. The same clubs will play again at 330PM tomorrow. “
“The past season has been a disastrous one financially to the Nationals, owing to the disbanding of clubs which they expected to play against. The directors are now considering the question of organizing a nine for 1881 and securing league membership.”
15 October Chicago 9 Washington 0
Larry Corcoran pitched as he never pitched before, the heavy hitters of the Nationals only getting two hits off him. Another instance of rowydism was witnessed; both George Gore and Abner Dalrymple deliberately interfered with Joe Gerhardt while he was attempting to throw Chicago players out at first base. If the umpire, Latham, had attended to his business he would have declared the men out. In the absence of Mr. William Hulbert gives members of the nine chances to accomplish what they would not dare attempt if that gentleman was with them.
16 October Chicago 4 Washington 5
The Nationals played their final game of the season and administered a defeat to the Chicago Club, the champions of the league. They have done what no club in the league was able to accomplish this year, and that was to defeat the champions by winning a majority of a series of games. In almost every instance they have confronted the same strong team that has been pitted against the league clubs. Many persons claim that the Nationals should enjoy the laurels of champions. They downed every club in the National Association, and finally were left alone. Then they went hunting for league nines, and of all that they encountered only one, the Clevelands, can claim to have got the better of them, but in the last series with that club honors rested easy between the two nines. Time 2:20. Umpire Goldsmith.
The game was finely played by both sides. Bielaski’s catch of Dalrymple’s long hit, in the tenth inning, saved the game for the Nationals.
Mr. Fred Goldsmith, one of the pitchers of the Chicagos, umpired the game and gave general satisfaction, despite the growls of Larry Corcoran, it was an unpleasant position for the gentleman, but he filled it ably and acted honestly with both clubs.
The Nationals defeat the White Stockings 4 games to 3 with one tie.