Sunday, April 19, 2015

April 19, 1900: Cy Young Leads The Cardinals To Victory

     On April 19, 1900, Cy Young struck out nine men and allowed just five hit on the way to an Opening Day 3-0 victory over the Pittsburg Pirates at Robison Field in St. Louis. The crowd of 15,000 was one of the largest attendance figure in baseball for the day, and they would leave the ballpark happy just one hour and fifty minutes after the contest began.

     For the most part this game was a true duel. Although, the Pirates suffered misfortune in having their starter Sam Leever knocked out by a scorcher that split the hurler's hand in the second. The injury led player/manager Fred Clarke into calling on Rube Wadell to take over. Wadell did not pitch bad; he just had a bad inning. It came in the fourth when Patsy Donovan, Dan McGann, and Jack O'Connor singled, before shortstop Bobby Wallace brought all three men into score with a triple. After that inning came to a close only one Cardinals batter scratched out a hit off of Wadell.

     Young's pitching line may seem dominant, but he had to work to win this game. With the offense failing to provide more of a cushion twice the Pirates found hope late in the ballgame. The first time came in the eighth, when Honus Wagner dropped in what appeared to be a single to center. However, Wagner was thrown out by the catcher Jack O'Connor after he was caught napping at first. The Buccaneers scratched out another hit off of Young in the inning, but no damage was done.

     The game looked to be over in the ninth, as Young set the first two men down in succession. He then gave up a double to Ginger Beaumont, and that was followed by what was described as an awkward bounder by Fred Clarke toward Lave Cross at third. Cross misplayed it and Beaumont wheeled over to third, while Clarke stood on first. In the words of the Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette here is how it came to a close "With Williams up and Wagner to follow things looked stormy. However, Williams was too anxious and went after Young's high ones three times in succession, ending the ballgame with his third strikeout." Young also struck out Bones Ely three times. It was a good way to start a new century of baseball in St. Louis.

   Cy Young spent just two seasons in St. Louis. In those two seasons he posted a 45-35 record with a 2.78 E.R.A. The majority of Young's 511 wins came as a member of the Cleveland Spiders (241 wins), and the Boston Red Sox (192 wins). His time in St. Louis may have been short, but it was surely something that should be remembered. It was appointment baseball. Drop what you're doing The Cyclone is on the hill.

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