Cleveland versus Louisville in Game 2
Today we’re back at the Louisville Baseball Park for Game 2 of our series between Louisville’s first major league baseball team, the 1876 Louisville Grays, and the consensus choice as the worst major league baseball team in history, the 1899 Cleveland Spiders. Louisville manager Jack Chapman is sending workhorse Jim Devlin to the mound for this one, and Cleveland manager Lave Cross is countering with Jim Hughey.
The Spiders lost no time getting on the board against Devlin. Tommy Dowd led off the game with a walk, and Dick Harley then singled up the middle, bringing Dowd around to third. Joe Quinn was out on a slow roller to first, but Suter Sullivan then scored two with a base hit to right. Sport McAllister singled up the middle, with Sullivan stopping at second, but Charlie Hemphill’s base hit to right scored Sullivan with the Spiders’ third run of the inning.
There it stayed until the Grays’ half of the fourth. Catcher Bill Holbert led things off with a double in the right-center field gap. Bill Hague hit a scratch single to left, but the Spiders managed to keep Holbert from scoring. It looked like Hughey was going to wiggle out of it, as he got Art Allison on a line drive and Scott Hastings on a pop up to shortstop, but with Chick Fulmer at the plate, Cleveland catcher Joe Sugden muffed a breaking pitch, and Holbert scored on the passed ball.
The Spiders threatened to put the game away in the top of the seventh. With one out, Dick Harley and Joe Quinn hit back-to-back base hits up the middle. Suter Sullivan reached on an error by Ed Somerville, scoring Harley. Sport McAllister then singled to center. Quinn scored on the base hit and when Scott Hastings overthrew the cutoff man, McAllister advanced to second. Charlie Hemphill singled to right, scoring Quinn and McAllister with Cleveland’s sixth and seventh runs of the game. The Grays got one back in the bottom of the seventh on three straight singles by Jim Devlin, Johnny Ryan and Joe Gerhardt, but heading into the top of the eighth, it was 7-2 Cleveland.
The Spiders added two more in the top of the eighth on some curious fielding plays by Louisville. Tommy Dowd started the inning by drawing a five-pitch walk. Devlin then hit Dick Harley with a pitch. Joe Quinn followed with a single to short right, loading the bases. Suter Sullivan then hit a ground ball to second, but rather than trying to cut off the run, the Grays settled for the force out at first. With Sport McAllister at the plate, Devlin uncorked a wild pitch, and Harley came home with the Spiders’ ninth run of the game.
The Grays finally came to life in the bottom of the eighth. Bill Hague led things off with a single up the middle. After Art Allison drew a walk, Scott Hastings singled to short left to load the bases. Jim Hughey got two-thirds of the way out of the jam, getting Chick Fulmer on a popup and Ed Somerville on a line drive, but then the wheels came off the wagon. Hughey walked opposing pitching Devlin, forcing home a run. Johnny Ryan then doubled down the right field line, clearing the bases. Joe Gerhardt followed with a single to right-center, scoring Ryan with the Grays’ fifth run of the inning and seventh of the game.
So the game came to the bottom of the ninth with the Grays still two down. After Bill Hague led off with an easy fly to center, Art Allison lined a single to left-center. Scott Hastings was out on a line drive speared by Cleveland third baseman Suter Sullivan, but then Chick Fulmer crushed a triple into the left-center field gap, scoring Allison and bringing the Grays within one. But then, with the tying run only ninety feet away, Hughey managed to retired Ed Somerville on a ground ball to short to end the inning and the game.
Two games in, it’s Grays 1, Spiders 1. Next time, the scene shifts to Cleveland.