The matched game of base ball between the Lone Star of Alma, St. Clair county, and the Bluff Club, of Belleville, came off at the appointed time on Saturday. A large crowd of spectators were present to cheer the boys and enjoy the sport of the occasion. The game throughout was pretty closely contested, the Bluffs, for the first time since their organization, having been vanquished. The boys, however, take their defeat good humoredly, and will endeavor soon to regain their lost honors...
The fielding of the "stars" was, to say the least, very poor, almost the entire work devolving on the pitcher and catcher. The former pitches a very swift ball, but in delivering the ball his arm is not straight, as the rule requires, he thus making a "balk," which, however, the umpire would not recognize.
-Missouri Republican, August 4, 1868
A couple of other things of note:
-I'm assuming that this was the first season for the Bluffs, considering that this was their first loss. If they had gone undefeated in a previous season, it probably would have made a bit of news.
-This must have been a heck of a game to watch. You don't often see a one run game where there are almost seventy total runs scored. It was 25-14 after four innings, when the Bluffs started their come back. If the Bluffs were batting first, they took the lead 28-26 after their half of the seventh, before giving it right back in the bottom half of the inning. They took the lead again in the top of the ninth, 33-29, before giving up five in the bottom of the ninth to lose it. Must have been an exciting game.
-As to the pitcher of the Lone Stars and his delivery, I don't really have the time, space, or inclination to go into this in depth. It would require a detailed explanation of the evolution of the rules of baseball in the 1850s and 60s and the ways in which pitchers attempted to skirt, or simply ignore, the rules. If you're interested in that, I recommend you head over to Eric Miklich's site and you can see how the rules changed over the years. I'd also recommend taking a look at A Game of Inches, as Peter Morris does a great job of explaining what the pitchers were trying to get away with.
I'll just say that the original idea of pitching was that the ball was to be pitched, not thrown, to the bat (and I think that's the actual way it was stated in the 1845 rules). The game was supposed to be a battle between offensive batters/runners and defensive fielders. The pitcher merely instigated the action by delivering the ball to the batter and then defended his position. But pretty much from the beginning, pitchers realized that they had a great deal of control over the game and that the act of pitching could, itself, be an instrument of defense. While the pitchers began to stretch the rules as much as possible, or even ignored them, in an effort to prevent runs, the idea that pitchers only existed to initiate the action persisted for a long time. And I think that's kind of what we're seeing here. The guy was probably "jerking" the ball, as it was known at the time, and that was expressly prohibited in the rules but it was the direction in which pitching was headed. The rule book simply was unable to contain the imagination and ingenuity of pitchers. They were in the process of seizing control of the game and nothing was going to stop them.