At the Grand Avenue Base Ball Park, yesterday afternoon, the St. Louis Brown Stockings narrowly escaped defeat at the hands of their worthy rivals, the Eckfords, of Chicago. The latter were aided by luck and the umpire throughout, but were unable to score a victory, owing to their utter inability to bat McGinnis. The Browns presented their strongest team, except that Macdonald was too ill to fill his customary place at second. It seemed as if the Browns regarded their task as an easy one, as their play was spiritless until toward the close, when they awoke to the necessity of having to do something to avert defeat. Cuthbert donned the old familiar uniform for the first time this season, and was greeted with cheers…
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, June 20, 1881
Edgar E. Cuthbert is well known to the patrons of base ball all over the country by his graceful skill in handling the ball and bat while connected with the leading clubs during the past seventeen seasons. He was born in Philadelphia, Pa., about thirty-four years ago, and commenced playing ball with the Keystones of his native city, with whom during the seasons of 1865 and 1866 he filled at times every position in the nine except that of pitcher. He commenced the season of 1867 as catcher of the West Philadelphia Club, but afterward joined the Athletics, playing right field during the remainder of that season. He continued with the Athletics during 1868 and 1869 as their left fielder and change catcher. In 1870 Cuthbert was the center fielder of the then newly-organized Chicago Club, and during the seasons of 1871 and 1872 he was again filling his old position at left field for the Athletics, and under whose colors he had participated in upwards of 300 games. Cuthbert was chiefly instrumental in organizing the Philadelphia Club in 1873, and his fine fielding, batting and base running materially helped the "Phillies" to attain their phenomenal success during that season, and led to his re-engagement by the Chicago Club in 1874. He was one of the first players engaged by the St. Louis Club, with whom he made a brilliant record, during the seasons of 1875 and 1876, both with the ball and the bat. The Centennial season was the last in which he played professionally, being engaged in business in St. Louis, Mo., where he has taken up his permanent residence. He has, however, occasionally played in local games during the past five seasons, and but a few weeks ago was credited with having made the most wonderful catch in the outfield ever witnessed in St. Louis. For many years Cuthbert occupied a prominent position as a player, his magnificent outfielding, safe and sure batting and fast base-running being each in turn deserving of commendation. Recalling with a friendly and cordial recollection his antics and drollery both on and off the ball-field, and the enjoyment and zeal with which he used to enter into the spirit of the game, we hope to have the pleasure of chronicling his appearance on the ball-field many seasons still to come.
David Nemec, writing in Major League Baseball Profiles, Volume One, doesn't seem to be a big fan:
Some historians consider [Cuthbert] the first player to employ a headfirst slide to steal a base and regard him as one of the best early-day outfielders and a particularly good judge of hard-hit balls. But the November 17, 1900, issue of TSN took exception, claiming that he "played to the grandstand," making every fielding chance look hard so as to please the crowd. Cuthbert was also accused of playing inordinately deep and purposely waiting until the last second as if he had misjudged a ball when it was hit in front of him and then, in a burst of speed, racing in and grabbing it off his shoe tops. Hot dog or not, he played past his time and in his last few seasons was almost a caricature of his former self.
Also, note that nowhere in this post, while speaking about the greatness of Ned Cuthbert, did I say anything about him talking Von der Ahe into buying the Brown Stockings. I assume, if you've been reading me long enough, you already know how Von der Ahe got control of the club and, if you don't, stick around because I'm going to go over all of that again.