From the Boston Post
NORMAN LENT OUT
Foot injury may cost Unions pennant
“Norman Lent, the most feared hitter in all of base ball, will be missing for a good portion of the season. While rounding the bases in the 7-0 defeat of the New Yorks, Lent came up lame. Initial word of a break proved unfounded, but the extent of the injury is unknown.
“The Unions, who entered the day 3 victories behind the Philadelphians, will rely on Lincoln Denny and Eddy Rowland to man the backstop. Denny, a first year player, has hit well, but not at the level of Lent; while Rowland failed to show much ability as Lent’s primary replacement last season. Denny and Rowland were expected to see increased time in any event with the expansion of the schedule.”
From the Boston Post
FATE CRUEL TO UNIONS
Promising hurler sees season cut short
“Boston faithful are bemoaning the existence of a ‘curse’ on their favorite nine. Richard Orr, a youthful hurler who has the misfortune of working on days the Unions leave their bats behind, has fallen victim to what a doctor is calling a tired shoulder. He has been advised not to participate in any ball related activities for at least a week and possibly longer.
“The fresh faced 18 year old, who the crowds at the South End Grounds have dubbed ‘Pud’, had shown grand promise will be missed on the pitch.
“Since Lent went down with his foot ailment; the Bostons have slipped from second to a tie for sixth with New York and Cleveland. The Brooklyns are looking to be the last hope for the Eastern faction as five of the Westerns are within three wins of first.”
After 29 games, seven clubs were within 2 games of first, the most competitive race so far in the EL. But when New Haven saw two hurlers go down with injuries (while in a surprising 9th place of 12) they petitioned the 7th place New York club to transfer a pitcher to their roster. New York was by no means out of the race, with just under ¾ of the season to go, but was not faring well in a season in which pitching was dominating. Initially, the Nine refused, but when New Haven threatened to side with the Western clubs, tilting the balance of power to McCormick, the Nine relented. One wonders what all the fuss was about, as the player transferred was Robt Bakios who had not even appeared in a game during the 1875 campaign.
When Chicago sweeps a 4 game set at Keokuk against a terrible Hawkeye squad (9-4, 12-1, 8-7, and 24-8) the Eastern press levies accusations of game fixing. Keokuk, owned and half hearted managed by James Winfred McCormick’s brother is well on their way to a barely .300 winning season at that point. While Chicago was leading league, just ahead of Philadelphia, Cleveland and a very game Boston squad. Upon sweeping four from Brooklyn in the next series, McCormick wondered if the Eastern scribes thought the Atlantics fixed those games as well.
In the off-season, the Cleveland Eries acquired the contract of Son Honahnie from Boston and made him their field captain. Never a regular, Honahnie had nevertheless shown an outstanding ability to get clutch hits for the Unions, and endeared himself with the “wet” element of the South End Grounds fandom. “He loves to play in Saint Louis,” Norman Lent would say, “since he does not even have to travel back to our boarding home to find a draft. He merely needs to yell to some crank and a ball is traded for a fine dark beer.” Honahnie, running the Eries, felt since he was field captain, he should also be the regular first baseman and was doing a grand job at both. But as the summer wore on, Son began to wilt; his average started to slide and the Eries started to fall further behind the red-hot Browns. After a 12-0 drubbing at the hands of state rival Cincinnati, Leander Tanner, a rookie shortstop that had started every game for the Clevelands found his manager calmly enjoying a pint or more of beer at a nearby watering hole. Accusing his captain of being a drunkard with a mind more on suds than ball, Honahnie proceeded to show the youngster that not all of Son’s hits came with the bat. Tanner played for about a week looking like a boxer who had taken a dive.
With the season on the line, Boston—which survived an extended injury by Norman Lent to hang close most of the year--comes to Chicago with a 2 game lead on the Browns for a four game set. The Unions sweep and push the Browns into 4th place. The Browns will rally to finish tied for 2nd, but their 2-6 record against Boston is the difference.
Boston’s Valentin Gauani and Chicago’s Jackson Rainey are the first 20 game winners in the league. Henry Panell is the only official .400 hitter, as Norman Lent’s injury keeps him from the required plate appearances.
For the first time, no team hits .300 on the season.
Many writers wonder if the expanded season is good for the health of the players, noting that in addition to Lent several key players missed time down the stretch, most notably Frank Richardson of New York. Cincinnati pitcher and field captain Tory Claessens also missed time at the end of the season with an arm injury, leading Queen City scribes to note “while our Kings continued to lose, it was at least honest losses and not the disinterested ones that have marked Claessens’ tenure in the Empire League.”
Team W L PCT GB Home Away XInn 1Run
Boston 54 34 .614 - 26-18 28-16 6-3 18-12
Brooklyn 51 37 .580 3.0 28-16 23-21 8-7 19-14
Chicago 51 37 .580 3.0 24-20 27-17 6-7 14-16
Washington 50 38 .568 4.0 26-18 24-20 3-5 16-14
New York 49 39 .557 5.0 26-18 23-21 10-0 19-11
Cleveland 48 40 .545 6.0 26-18 22-22 4-5 16-17
Philadelphia 47 41 .534 7.0 24-20 23-21 5-3 18-16
New Haven 43 45 .489 11.0 23-21 20-24 1-8 13-15
Saint Louis 42 46 .477 12.0 25-19 17-27 4-9 18-22
Cincinnati 38 50 .432 16.0 19-25 19-25 3-7 16-19
Hartford 28 60 .318 26.0 16-28 12-32 3-3 7-16
Keokuk 27 61 .307 27.0 14-30 13-31 5-1 16-18