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  • Writer's pictureKirk Jenkins

It’s the Much-Delayed Game 5 – the 1876 Louisville Grays vs. the 1899 Cleveland Spiders

At last, we’re back in Cleveland for Game 5 of the series, with things all tied up at four games apiece. Jim Clinton will be starting for the Louisville Grays, and the Spiders, consensus choice of baseball historians for the worst major league team in history, will counter with Harry Colliflower.

The Grays got off to a fast start, plating two in the top of the first. With one out, third baseman Bill Hague drew a walk. Chick Fulmer followed with a sharp line drive which bounced around in the right field corner until Hague had scored and Fulmer was standing on third. Johnny Ryan then lofted a sacrifice fly to right which brough Fulmer in.

The Spiders managed a threat in the bottom of the second. Suter Sullivan led off by singling to right. He then took second on a passed ball. Joe Sugden singled Sullivan to third with one out, but Otto Krueger lofted an easy fly ball to center and Harry Lochhead fouled out to first baseman Joe Gerhardt.

The Grays scored again in the top of the fifth. Pitcher Jim Clinton led off with a double into the left-center field gap. Ed Somerville scored the Grays’ third run with a base hit up the middle. Joe Gerhardt doubled up Somerville with a 5-4-3 around the horn, but Bill Hague mooted the double play with a long home run to dead center.

The Grays threatened again in the top of the sixth. Johnny Ryan led off with a walk. Scott Hastings forced Ryan at second, but Bill Holbert then doubled off the right field wall, with Hastings stopping at third. But Colliflower bore down, striking out Art Allison and getting opposing pitcher Jim Clinton on a fly ball to left.

The offenses went quiet until the ninth, with the Grays never managing more than one hit in an inning and the Spiders getting only one hit total.

In the top of the ninth, the Grays broke the game wide open. With one out, Ed Somerville singled to left. Joe Gerhardt singled to right, with Somerville stopping at second. Bill Hague singled sharply to center, scoring Somerville with Louisville’s fifth run, Gerhardt stopping at second. Chick Fulmer delivered the Grays’ fourth straight hit, doubling to left, scoring Gerhardt and advancing Hague to third. Johnny Ryan followed with a sharp base hit to right-center, scoring both Hague and Fulmer with the Grays’ seventh and eighth runs. After Scott Hastings made the second out of the inning on a pop up to second, Bill Holbert walked and Art Allison scored the Grays’ ninth run with a base hit to left-center.

Joe Quinn led off the Spiders’ end of the ninth by reaching on a one base error by pitcher Jim Clinton. Clinton got Suter Sullivan on strikes and Sport McAllister on a fly ball to right. With the Spiders down nine and down to their last out, Joe Sugden prolonged things by singling to left, but Clinton shut the Spiders down, getting Otto Krueger on a fly ball to center.

Five games in, the series stands at Louisville 3, Cleveland 2. Next time, the Grays will try to shut the Spiders down for good.

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