1882 Boston Red Caps

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1882 Boston Red Caps / Franchise: Atlanta Braves / BR Team Page[edit]

Record: 45-39-1 in 4th place in National League (1882 NL)

History, Comments, Contributions[edit]

The 1882 Boston Red Caps were the first edition of the the team since its creation in 1871 not to be managed by Harry Wright. They were more commonly known as the Red Stockings or the Bostons.

Wright had resigned the previous December on account of conflicts with the Boston Triumvirs over the lack of finances, as well as criticism over the way he ran the team. Instead, the Triumvirs turned to team captain "Honest" John Morrill to manage the club. As manager, Morrill was now responsible for putting together a team that could compete for the league pennant (the Red Caps had finished in sixth place in 1881, their worst finish ever). It was now Morrill’s responsibility to go out and find replacements for the players who had departed from the club, starting with catcher Pop Snyder who had signed as team manager with the Cincinnati Red Stockings on November 26th. It was not a great loss to the Bostons as Snyder’s numbers were down from the previous season and Boston’s other catcher, Pat Deasley, had proved himself capable on more than one occasion.

Morrill signed two other players, outfielder Pete Hotaling from the Worcester Ruby Legs and Ed Rowen as "change catcher" (which was what a backup catcher was called at the time). Rowen had previously played in the California League on the Bay City team out of San Francisco, CA. Unfortunately for him, that club folded following the 1880 season. Rowen was supposed to play for Oakland after that, but refused due to a contract dispute and became a miner instead.

At the league level, there were a couple of changes that were made: The first came in December of 1881. The Committee on Uniforms had announced that it had been agreed that for the upcoming season, all ballplayers were to wear a certain type of uniform based on the position that they played. For example, all catchers would wear a scarlet shirt, white pants, scarlet belt, white tie, and a red square-top cap. Identification of the team was based solely on the stockings that they wore. In Boston's case, these were red. The idea was to make it easier for fans to identify who made a fielding play, for example whether the play was carried off by the shortstop or the second baseman. Boston debuted its uniforms on April 18th in an exhibition game against Harvard University. The players hated this change. The uniforms were hot and uncomfortable, and they looked like clowns. In June the league relented, announcing that teams could design their own uniforms. Boston then wore a lighter uniform that was white or grey in color, with the traditional red stockings.

The second change came on March 7th when the league held a special meeting at the Osburn House in Rochester, New York. League President William Hulbert was not in attendance due to ill health. Boston president Arthur Soden was elected as chairman pro tempore. Hulbert died on April 10th. Soden then served as acting president until the annual league meeting the following December.

In late March, Boston ran into some legal trouble when the Cincinnati ball club tried to file an injunction claiming that Sam Wise had signed with them. The shortstop had spent the previous season with the Detroit Wolverines. Initially he had signed with the Cincinnati Red Stockings, but he later changed his mind after he receiving two telegrams: one telegram came from Boston and contained a liberal offer; the second was from Harry Wright of the Providence Grays. Wise decided to sign with the Red Stockings, his previous agreement with Cincinnati notwithstanding.

The Boston Herald stated that no court in Boston would entertain for a moment an application for an injunction on what is a trivial matter over a few hundred dollars. If such a claim were allowed, this would open the door for hundreds of cases of a similar nature. The Cincinnati ball club should take a different direction and not interfere in what the Boston club did.

A fracas over season tickets[edit]

At the meeting of the directors of the Boston club in mid-March, it was decided that the price for season tickets was to be placed at $15 for gentlemen, and $10 for ladies. The custom of complimentary season tickets has been abolished, and everyone, including members of the board of directors, would be required to purchase their tickets. It was reported that this decision had been agreed upon by nearly all the stockholders, as it placed everyone on an equal footing, and no one should have had reason to complain about it. However, this rosy view of things was quickly undermined.

On April 2nd, the Boston Herald announced that a new clubroom had been furnished at the rear of George Howland's store. It was located at 765 Washington St. and was furnished for the accommodation of the season ticket holders, stockholders, players, and the press. In the same newspaper a petition was published which read as follow: "The undersigned, stockholders in the Boston B. B. Association, having purchased their shares in said association with the understanding that they thereby became entitled to free admission to all games played on the Boston grounds, hereby respectfully request that the customary season tickets be issued to them as usual, and that no assessment be levied, therefore. It is claimed that every owner of stock considered he was guaranteed a complimentary season ticket, and the original subscribers are said to have fully understood this to be the case. For this reason, the petitioners claim that most of the whole stock had already signed the above document and look to the directors for a revocation of their action.”

This was followed up two days later when a letter from another stockholder appeared in the paper. It stated that this petition was written by a disappointed stockholder, and possibly having himself and his friends elected to office in a corporation he knew to be bankrupt, but having been defeated now endeavored to make value of his stock and unload it. The following explanation was given: "The stock of the Boston Base Ball Association was originally subscribed for by a few persons, no one taking less than five shares (par value $100) while several of them subscribed for 10 shares. Of the original subscribers there are but four holding stock, in all 11 shares: the balance of the stock is held by persons who have purchased at prices ranging from $15 to $30. the only possible value to the stock was the fact that it had been customary to issue one complimentary ticket to each stockholder, whether owner of one or more shares, and, in some instances, ladies' tickets have been given with the gents' tickets, to a stockholder of a single share. Season tickets for gents being sold at $15 and for ladies at $10, a person buying one share had the equivalent of his stock often in one, but always in two seasons, and, as the club must pay the visiting club the sum of 15 cents on each person admitted, this tax has been a severe strain on the finances of the club. A question having arisen, on which legal opinion is divided, whether the stockholders are not personally liable for the debts of the corporation, will soon be decided, and if it is found they are, and after all the debts are paid, I can see no objection to issuing complimentary tickets to responsible stockholders, who, at the end of the season, if there is a deficiency in the finances, will gracefully come forward and pay any equitable assessment necessary to liquidate all debts. The public is interested in having a good nine; this can only be done by cutting off all unnecessary expenses, as experience has shown that every year but one out of six has resulted in pecuniary loss. The directors are expected to provide for any deficiency, and, while they furnish us with a first-class nine, let us support them as well as the club, as it is the only way to ensure success."

In the Boston Herald the next day, the club responded to Porter and the others’ petition. The club had carefully taken the petition into consideration but had decided to decline it: for the upcoming season no deadhead tickets would be issued to stockholders. The board had even gone so far as to investigate the original articles of the association, the constitution, and the team bylaws as to whether the stockholders were entitled to free admission to the baseball games or any other sport. In the past it may have been customary to give complimentary season tickets to the stockholders to ball games or other sporting events. It was detrimental to the association and was a serious financial loss which led to the association to be largely in debt. The board felt that was important to have this discontinued and that moving forward the affairs of the association be managed in a wise and economical manner so that the club is not again in financial debt at the end of the year.

The season[edit]

Boston opened the season on May 1st, and for the first time since 1875, it was at home and not on the road. It was also the first time since the 1879 season that the Red Stockings' opening day] opponent was a team other than Providence. Boston defeated Worcester by a score of 6 to 5 in 10 innings. The Red Stockings struggled in their first season under Morrill, but never managed to fall two games below .500 and only dropped as low as 6th place in the standings. Aside from a one-day stay in first place, the highest the team reached in the standings was third place. When the season ended, the Red Stockings posted a 45-39-1 record. Against all the other National League teams, Boston had a winning record, except for the Troy Trojans, against whom they posted a 4-8 record. It was the only time during the Trojans' brief time in the league that Boston had a losing record against them.

The annual meeting of the Boston Base Ball Association was held on December 20th. The reports of the treasurer and directors were read and approved. From the treasurer's report the following facts were obtained: Total gross receipts for 1881, 28,719.57; for 1882, $42,224.42; a gain for 1882 of $13,504.86. Total expenditures in 1881, $28,644.48; 1882, $38,473.50; an increase in 1882 of $9,829.01. Gross gate-receipts in 1881, $24,987.53; in 1882, $37,917.42, a gain in 1882 of $12,292.92. Net gate-receipts in 1881, $19,686.01; in 1882, $29,847.23, a gain in net gate-receipts for 1882 of $10,161.22. Paid visiting clubs in 1881, $5,301.52; in 1882, $8,060.22, an increase for 1882 of $2,768.70. The home receipts were $30,000; receipts from League clubs abroad, $7,200; receipts from the Metropolitan Club of New York, $3,700; receipts from the Philadelphia Club, $1,300 (New York and Philadelphia fielded teams outside the NL that year, in the "League Alliance"; they played a number of games against NL clubs, in anticipation of being admitted to the league in 1883). The total attendance during the year was 139,615 people, divided as follows: At home, 50,971; League games abroad, 48,066; in New York City, 29,584; and in Philadelphia, 10,904. Afterwards the new directors were elected as follows: Arthur Soden, James Billings, William Conant, Eliot Mayo, and Allan Chase. The previous year's club officers were all re-elected.


Stat Team League Rank
Batting .264 .251 3rd
On Base Percentage .294 .279 3rd
Slugging .347 .342 3rd
Home Run 15 16 t-5th
ERA 2.80 2.88 4th
Fielding .910 .897 t-1st

Further Reading[edit]


  • Richard Hershberger: "Cincinnati signs a reserved player; sour grapes", Boston Herald, November 27, 1881, Sour Grapes
  • Richard Hershberger: "A Boston opinion on the Wise case", Boston Herald March 26, 1882, ProtoBall Wise
  • Richard Hershberger: "Boston clubroom", Boston Herald April 2, 1882, ProtoBall Clubroom
  • Richard Hershberger: "Boston Club finances 6", Philadelphia Times, December 21, 1882, ProtoBall Finances 6
  • Richard Hershberger: "Boston Club finances 7", Philadelphia Item, December 24, 1882, ProtoBall Finances 7