1879 Boston Red Caps

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1879 Boston Red Caps / Franchise: Atlanta Braves / BR Team Page[edit]

Record: 54-30; Finished in 2nd place in National League (1879 NL)

History, Comments, Contributions[edit]

The 1879 Boston Red Caps, also known as the Red Stockings, were coming off two straight pennants, but failed to capture a third, finishing second in the National League. This was still a time when the fledgling circuit was getting established, and stability was at a premium. Once again, there was significant movement affecting the composition of the league at the meetings that preceded the season.

Meanwhile in Boston, more players were leaving the team: George Wright and Jim O'Rourke departed for the Providence Grays, with Wright being named manager. O’Rourke left because he refused to resign as the team taxed its players $20.00 for uniforms and .50¢ a day for travel maintenance. When neither the club nor O'Rourke refused to budge, fans took up a collection, but apparently this was not good enough for O'Rourke who went to Providence instead. With the way the Boston Triumvirs ran the team, who could blame him! Three other players, Jack Manning, Andy Leonard and Harry Schafer would spend the upcoming season playing ball in the minor leagues, leaving Harry Wright as the only member of the Red Stockings from its days in the National Association. For Harry Wright, finding replacements for the departed ball players was not an easy task. Throughout the season, Wright tried out various players at the positions of first base (Ed Cogswell and John Morrill), third base (John Morrill, and Ezra Sutton), shortstop (Ezra Sutton and Sadie Houck), and in the outfield (Bill Hawes, Charley Jones, John O'Rourke, Pop Snyder).

On May 1st the Red Stockings opened the season on the road, a game in which the club “Chicago-ed” the Buffalo Bisons, 5-0. They followed this up by winning six of their next seven games, including a 13-2 thrashing of the Cincinnati Red Stockings. After which Boston went on a seven-game losing streak starting with a 7-4 loss to the Red Stockings. This was followed by a six-game losing streak to the Chicago White Stockings, in which the team was “Chicago-ed” in their first two home games by a combined score of 14-0. Boston ended the first month in fifth place with a 7-8 record. The team then opened the month of June by ending the losing streak in a 7-4 win over Buffalo in a game that lasted only six innings. The first match between the Wright brothers came on June 24th with a 4-1 Providence win. Boston spent most of the season in third or fourth place and it was not until August 29th that the team would move into second place. Except for a brief stint in third place on September 4th, Boston would remain in second until the end of the season.

Going into the last series of the season against the Grays, Boston needed to win only four games to clinch the pennant. Instead, the Red Stockings won only two. Boston won the first game, 7-3. They were blown out in the second game, 15-4, and lost the pennant clincher on September 26th by a score of 7-6. The Red Stockings' season ended on September 30th with a 14-3 blowout loss, giving them a 29-13 record at home and a 25-17 road record for a 54-30 overall mark, placing the team five games back of the Grays for a second-place finish. Left Fielder Charley Jones led the team with runs (85), hits (112), doubles (22), home runs (9), walks (29), strikeouts (38) and tied with John O'Rourke in RBIs (62). O'Rourke also led the team in batting average (.341).

Boston Uniform: 1879

Further Reading[edit]

  • Harold Kaese: Boston Braves: 1871-1953, Northeastern University Press, Boston, MA, 2004. ISBN 978-1555536176. Originally published in 1948.
  • Dennis Pajot: “1878 Winter Meetings: The National League Is Back to Eight Clubs”, SABR 1878
  • Albert Spalding: Spalding's Official Baseball Guide, A.G. Spalding & Bros., Chicago, IL, 1879