The prettiest and the hardest fought game of the year was the result of the meeting between the St. Louis Browns and the Buckeyes, of Cincinnati, at the Grand Avenue Park yesterday afternoon. The visitors are old men at the business. Jones and Long John Reilly were, not more than two years ago, rated as stars in the League firmament. Eden played with the Chicago League team and with the Indianapolis club; Shoup, Booth and Miller played with the Cincinnati professionals, while Merney, Shallix and Carey have played so many good games that they are rated as tip-top players. It was such men as these that the Browns had to face yesterday, and they went into the game in a business-like way. In the first inning, after the first two men had been retired, McCaffery walked up to the home-plate. About the second ball pitched
and he hit out from the shoulder, while the ball disappeared into the right center field. Mack ran round to third before the infielders got hold of the ball. Once on the bag, he watched the game closely, and when Miller threw a ball wide, which got past Shallix, McCaffery came running home, and got there before the ball. This run the Browns made the most of and with it they held the lead until the seventh inning. Then there was some loose playing. John Reilly hit to short and the ball beat him to first, but Lewis failed to hold it tight, and the runner was given his base. Then Carey tried McGinnis and Mack threw to first instead of to second, and Reilly reached that bag. Then Baker
Let A Ball Pass Him,
and Reilley, who had stolen third, came home. This evened things up and the score remained 1 to 1 until the end of the ninth inning. The tenth inning saw the Bucks retired in one, two, three order. Magner was the gentleman to lead off for the Browns. The crowd sat trembling with anxiety. They looked for something to happen. Something did happen. John T. hit the ball right on the nose, and it went on a dead line, lickety-skip, out to the center field fence. Magner ran around to third and would have attempted to get home but the boys would not let him, for there was only one man out. He was just laying for the ball when Shallix made a wild pitch, which let in Magner with the winning run.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 14, 1881
The one of the points of this series, which we're slowly getting to, is how the 1881 season laid the groundwork for the creation of the American Association. After struggling economically for several years, the baseball market appeared to have rebounded in 1881 and you see a lot more clubs traveling around and playing matches in other cities. We've already seen several clubs from Cincinnati, Dubuque and Chicago come to St. Louis. The Reds visited Louisville and Cincinnati. And we'll see more of that as we go forward.
This game is somewhat significant if we're looking for precursors to the AA. You had a very good Cincinnati club playing a very good St. Louis club in a fantastic and exciting match of baseball. I would imagine that the game drew well and that the excitement generated by this game drove attendance at Brown Stocking games even higher. It was the success of games like these between clubs from markets that were not represented in the League that helped spawn the idea of a new professional baseball league. It underlined the idea that the baseball market had recovered economically and that that market could now sustain a new league.
People in St. Louis and Cincinnati were paying attention and beginning to formulate a plan. The Interregnum was quickly coming to an end and the Restoration was nigh.