1875 Boston Red Stockings
1875 Boston Red Stockings / Franchise: Boston Red Stockings / BR Team Page
Record: 71-8-3; Finished 1st in National Association
- Manager: Harry Wright
- Ballpark: South End Grounds; Hampden Park, Springfield, MA (May 14); **Adelaide Avenue Grounds, Providence, RI (June 22)
History, Comments, Contributions
The 1875 Boston Red Stockings were the champions of the National Association for the fourth time in the team's fifth season.
During the off-season, the Baltimore Canaries called it quits after three seasons in the league, while six new teams were admitted bringing the total to 13. Three of the new teams were from the Midwest: the Keokuk Westerns from Iowa, and two clubs from St. Louis, MO: the St. Louis Red Stockings and the St. Louis Brown Stockings. The other three teams were: the New Haven Elm Citys, Connecticut's second National Association entry; The Philadelphia Centennials, Philadelphia's third entry; and a return appearance by the Washington Nationals. As for the Red Stockings, of the 11 players who played for the team the prior season, only George Hall did not return. He was replaced by Jack Manning. The club would also alternate McVey with Jumbo Latham until Latham was sent back to New Haven to help out that team. Manager Harry Wright retired as a player prior to the start of the season, but would make one game appearances each season up to September 29, 1877.
The 1875 edition of the team barely lost all season. Boston opened the season at home against the Elm Citys with a 6-0 win. They would then go a 26-game undefeated streak, very similar to that put together by the old Cincinnati Red Stockings. Along the way, the team played the Washington Nationals in Richmond, Virginia on April 29th and May 1st, defeating the team by scores of 22-5 and 24-0 in front of hostile crowds. On May 18th the team travelled to Hartford, CT to face the undefeated Dark Blues, who had a 12-0 record. A large crowd had gathered to witness the match, including noted author Mark Twain, with Boston winning by a score of 10-5, while Twain ended up losing his umbrella. Boston’s winning streak came to an end on June 5th with a 5-4 loss to the St. Louis Brown Stockings. By July 1st the team had a 37-3-2 (.925) record. The Philadelphia Athletics were in second place with a 25-7-2 (.781) record but were 8 games back.
On July 20th it was announced that Al Spalding had signed with the Chicago White Stockings for the following season. Joining him were teammates Cal McVey, Deacon White, and Ross Barnes. They would be joined from the Athletics by Cap Anson and Ezra Sutton, though Sutton would later back out. While three players (White, Sutton and Barnes) were born in New York, all had ties to the midwest when it came to their playing careers, whether it was with the Cincinnati Red Stockings (Cal McVey), the Cleveland Forest Citys (Ezra Sutton, Deacon White), or the Rockford Forest Citys (Cap Anson, Ross Barnes and Al Spalding). It has been said that Spalding sent a letter to the White Stockings offering his services for the next season. However Spalding claimed, years later, that William Hulbert approached him to sign with the team.
The press and fans were rather upset with the four seceders leaving the team with the Worcester Spy referencing the Bible, the Boston Daily Advertiser writing that the famous Boston Nine has been assaulted by Chicago. One fan wrote to the Boston Globe wondering why the four ballplayers did not just go to owners of the team and tell them what Chicago was doing and that if the club officials could not meet the terms that the players were asking, then they could understand the four players leaving. For whatever reason, none of the four ever said a word about it to anyone in the Boston organization, especially not even to Harry Wright, as all four of them owed their current positions to Wright. Despite their signing with Chicago, the four seceders did not go the way of the Philadelphia White Stockings from the 1873 season, and continued to play with honesty and integrity.
The team clinched the pennant on September 6th with a 9-4 win over the Philadelphia White Stockings. The win gave Boston a record of 56-7-3 (.889). It was the team's fourth pennant, and was the fastest one had been won compared to previous seasons as there were still 16 games to go. The last game of the season, and what turned out to be the last game in the league's existence came on October 30th, with Boston defeating Hartford, 7-4, at the South End Grounds, giving Boston a record of 71-8-3 (.899). They had also won all of their home games for an unblemished 38-0 record.
Deacon White lead the league with a batting average of .367 and slugging percentage of .517; Jim O'Rourke lead the league with 6 home runs; Cal McVey lead the league with 87 RBIs and an on-base percentage of .375. Al Spalding lead the league in both Wins (54-5-3) and ERA (1.59). Overall the team hit .320 in a league that hit .254. Candy Cummings from Hartford was the only non-Boston player in a lead league category. He lead the league in strikeouts with 82.
Of the nine players who took the field in 1871, only five were still playing with the team when the National Association folded following the 1875 season: Ross Barnes, Cal McVey, Harry Schafer, Al Spalding and George Wright. Harry Wright, even though he retired following the 1874 season, was still part of the team as its manager. Outfielder Fred Cone, having left the team following the 1871 season, returned to the league in 1873 as an umpire. Between 1873 and 1875 he would appear in 23 games. First baseman Charlie Gould remained in the league until July 20, 1875. Gould had played in Boston for two seasons, but was not re-signed for the 1873 season. He signed with Baltimore in 1874, playing in 33 games. That year also saw him umpire three games. The next season found Gould in New Haven as a player/manager, lasting 27 games with that team, 23 of them as team manager, posting a 2-21 record before being replaced by Jumbo Latham. Between June 26th and July 20th, Gould umpired in five games, four of them involving his old team the Boston Red Stockings.
During the off-season life continued as normal for the team. At the annual team meeting, Nicholas Apollonio was re-elected president for 1876 because none of the members of the Association held him accountable for Spalding and Company's departure, and nothing the directors did could have kept the players from leaving the team in any case. Team manager Harry Wright would make many changes to the team to make up for the loss of the four seceders. Three of the vacant slots were filled by players from other teams: First baseman Tim Murnane and pitcher Joe Borden both came from the Philadelphia White Stockings, while Catcher Tim McGinley came from the New Haven Elm Citys. The position of second base was initially filled by outfielder Andy Leonard.
|On Base Percentage
- Charles Bevis: Nicholas Apollonio, SABR Bio Project 
- Harold Kaese: Boston Braves: 1871-1953, Northeastern University Press, Boston, MA, 2004. ISBN 978-1555536176. Originally published in 1948.
- Bob LeMoine and Bill Nowlin, eds.: Boston's First Nine: The 1871-75 Boston Red Stockings, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2016. ISBN 978-1-943816-29-3
- Philadelphia Sunday Mercury: "The Boston Club Rooms", Mar. 14, 1875 1875