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  • Writer's pictureKirk Jenkins

Game 1 – the 1899 Cleveland Spiders Take on the 1876 Louisville Grays

This time we’re at the Louisville Baseball Park for Game 1 of our Strat-o-Matic simulated series matching the 1876 Louisville Grays, Louisville’s first major league team, and the 1899 Cleveland Spiders. Starting for the Spiders will be Harry Colliflower. Opposing him on the mound is a surprise – not everyday pitcher Jim Devlin, but Jim Clinton.

The Spiders plated the first run of the game in the top of the first. With one out, Dick Harley drew a walk. After Joe Quinn was out on a line drive to second, Clinton chucked one over the head of Suter Sullivan, with Harley advancing to second on the wild pitch. Sullivan then lined a single to right, scoring the run.

But things started off a good deal worse for the Spiders in the Grays’ half of the first. Joe Gerhardt lined Colliflower’s first pitch to right for a base hit. After Bill Hague flew out to right, Chick Fulmer doubled into the left field gap, scoring Gerhardt and tying the game. Johnny Ryan singled to left, with Fulmer stopping at third. Scott Hastings singled to right, as Fulmer gave the Grays the lead and Ryan came all the way around to third. Bill Holbert singled to center, with Ryan scoring and Hastings advancing to third. Art Allison doubled off the center field wall, scoring Hastings and advancing Holbert to third. Pitcher Jim Clinton then singled to left, making six straight hits for the Grays. Holbert scored on the play and Allison advanced to third. With the score now 5-1, Colliflower managed to get Ed Somerville on a ground ball to third, but Joe Gerhardt – who had led off the inning a good while ago – kept things going with a base hit to right, scoring both Allison and Clinton. When Colliflower mishandled the relay from right, Gerhardt took second on the error. Bill Hague then completed the scoring for the inning by singling Gerhardt in.

For a few moments, it looked like the Grays’ half of the second might be a different story, as Colliflower quickly retired Johnny Ryan and Scott Hastings. But then Bud Holbert lined a single to right, Art Allison singled him around to third, and pitcher Clinton walked to load the bases. Spiders’ catcher Jim Duncan lost control of a pitch from Colliflower, and the Grays’ ninth run of the game came across on the wild pitch.

The Spiders added a run in the top of the fourth. Sport McAllister led off the inning with a sharp single to right. After Joe Duncan was out on a line drive speared by Grays’ third baseman Bill Hague, Clinton wild pitched McAllister to second with Joe Sugden at the plate. On the next pitch, Sugden doubled into the left-center field gap, scoring McAllister to make it 9-2.

But the Grays got the run back in the bottom of the fourth. After Bill Holbert and Art Allison had gone out on a ground ball and a fly out, pitcher Clinton lined a triple down the right field line. The next hitter, Ed Somerville, scored Clinton with a double to right.

Things went quiet for two innings after that – two hits for the Spiders, none for the Grays, no runs for anybody.

As the game entered the bottom of the seventh, the Grays continued to lead the Spiders 10-2. With one out, the Grays’ second baseman Ed Somerville doubled off the left-center field fence. With Joe Gerhardt at the plate, Spiders’ catcher Jim Duncan misplayed a Colliflower fast ball, with Somerville advancing to third on the play. Gerhardt then grounded out to second as Somerville scored. The Grays briefly threatened further damage as Bill Hague reached on a two-base error by left fielder Dick Harley, but Colliflower managed to retire Chick Fulmer on a weak pop up.

The Spiders finally showed some signs of life in the top of the eighth. Sport McAllister led off the inning with a base hit up the middle. After Jim Duncan erased the runner with a ground ball to second, leading to an easy 4-3 double play, Joe Sugden singled to right. Harry Lochhead reached on an error when Chick Fulmer misplayed his ground ball into an error. Pitcher Harry Colliflower launched a double into the left-center field gap, scoring Sugden. Tommy Dowd singled to right, scoring Lochhead and advancing Colliflower to second. After Dick Harley drew a walk, Joe Quinn reached on a one-base error by Grays’ third baseman Bill Hague, scoring the Spiders’ third run of the inning and fifth of the game. But Clinton then ended the inning by getting Sport Sullivan on a liner speared by shortstop Chick Fulmer.

Hanging on to an 11-5 lead, the Grays’ half of the eighth went quickly: 1-2-3 on only 7 pitches. In the top of the ninth, Clinton whiffed Sport McAllister and then got Jim Duncan and Joe Sugden on consecutive fly balls to right to end the game.

So one game in, our Cleveland vs. Louisville series stands at Louisville 1, Cleveland 0.

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