1873 Boston Red Stockings

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1873 Boston Red Stockings / Franchise: Boston Red Stockings / BR Team Page[edit]

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The 1873 Boston Red Stockings won their second consecutive National Association pennant in the team's third season since its foundation.

That year saw the addition of three new clubs: the Baltimore Marylands, the Elizabeth Resolutes from New Jersey, and the Philadelphia White Stockings and a returning Washington Nationals club bringing the total number of members in the National Association to nine. Opening day came on April 23rd with an 8-5 loss to the Philadelphia White Stockings. For the White Stockings, it was their second win of the season, having defeated the Philadelphia Athletics on the 21st. By July 10th, the Philadelphia Whites were in first place with a 27-3 record; Baltimore was in second place with a 19-13 record, while Boston was in 3rd with a 16-8 record. Some of the reasons for the team’s less than stellar record were: 1) The team got off to a slow start; 2) George Wright had rheumatism; 3) First baseman Jim O'Rourke signed late and was not ready; and finally, catcher Deacon White was indecisive over whether or not he should be playing baseball.

When the White Stockings resumed their season on July 30th, the Red Stockings were still in third place. At the time Harry Chadwick and the New York Clipper had given up on Boston winning the pennant, but Harry Wright did not. In early August the team went on a road trip due to the heat wave that hit the city. When Bob Addy was released by Philadelphia later that month, Wright invited Addy to meet with the team in St. Louis, MO to discuss the possibility of signing with them. Addy travelled out west, stopping off in Rockford, IL for a pick-up game on July 4th before traveling on to St. Louis where he joined the Red Stockings. When the Red Stockings returned to Boston on August 15th, they found that the Canaries were now in first place. The team split a two-game series with the White Stockings, which ended a 5-game losing streak. Heading into a game against the White Stockings on September 15th, the Red Stockings had closed the gap to 4 ½ games which decreased to 3 ½ following a 7-5 win over the White Stockings. By October 1st the Red Stockings were a game back of the White Stockings. Following an 8-6 win over the Athletics and a Philly 14-13 loss to the Nationals, both teams were tied for first place. Boston would move into first place the next day with a 18-7 win over the White Stockings, where they would remain for the rest of the season. It was also the game that saw the Red Stockings clinch the pennant.

Shortly after the season ended, the White Stockings levelled an accusation against Boston. The team claimed that Boston had broken the rules by signing Addy, who had played a pick-up game in Rockford on July 4th. The rule was that a player could not jump from one club to the next within sixty days. Previously the rule had been enforced following the 1871 season concerning Scott Hastings and the Rockford Forest Citys. The White Stockings claimed that all the games Addy played with the Red Stockings should be forfeited and that the championship be awarded to them. For the White Stockings to make this accusation especially when several of their players had been suspected of playing poorly or even going so far as to throw games, was a bit much.

At the time the Championship Committee was made up of Harry Wright from Boston, Hicks Hayhurst of the Philadelphia Athletics and Frank McBride of the White Stockings. Both Wright and McBride had a claim on the pennant. Hayhurst who was the representative of the Athletics, a rival to both clubs, had no rooting interest in seeing either team win the pennant. However, no one believed that the rule that a player could not jump from one team to the next within a span of sixty days should apply to someone playing a pick-up game. In January, McBride said that the Championship Committee could not make a decision until the Judicial Committee had ruled on the matter. Harry Wright tried to get the committee to meet and render a decision. Unfortunately, the committee dawdled and, in the end, decided not to convene. Therefore, it fell to the Championship Committee to make a decision. As a result, Wright managed to convince Hayhurst to side with him, giving the Red Stockings their second straight pennant.

As for the Red Stockings themselves, pitcher Al Spalding posted a 41-14-1 record, and six players had a batting average of .325 or better. From a financial standpoint the team was back in the black. At the annual team meeting that December at Hampshire Hall, the membership was given at 108, while $2,730.00 was collected in membership fees. It was reported that the team was now financially solvent, which was a big step from where they were following the 1872 season. Nicholas T. Apollonio was elected as team president for the upcoming year. Apollonio had been with the organization since its founding was instrumental in helping bring in new members in order to get the team on secure financial footing. Initially he had been elected treasurer but declined the position. As previously noted, Apollonio would become President for the 1874 season. With 74 renewals of membership the team raised $739 from current members and $845 from 34 new members.


Stat Team League Rank
Batting .340 .290 1st
On Base Percentage .355 .304 1st
Slugging .438 .357 1st
Home Run 13 5 1st
ERA 3.07 3.40 4th
Fielding .836 .830 4th

Further Reading[edit]