Saturday, May 2, 2015

May 2, 1882: The Organization Starts Things Off With a Winner

     On May 2, 1882, the first game in the history of the Cardinals organization was played. The club was then known as the St. Louis Brown Stockings, and those Brown Stockings started things off right with a 9-7 victory over the Louisville Eclipse in front of a home crowd. While an actual game account is hard to come by, I did locate a blurb in The Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette that had an inning-by-inning box score, which at the very least painted a picture of that game. The Brown Stocking surged out the gate, scoring six runs in the first four innings, and found themselves with a comfortable 9-2 lead before the Louisville club began a comeback by scoring a run in the seventh, then two more in the eighth, and two more in the ninth, before the Brown Stockings held onto to victory #1.

     The 1882 club went 37-43.  Here is what the first lineup looked like: Jack Gleason 3B, Bill Gleason SS, Oscar Walker CF, Charlie Comiskey 1B, Bill Smiley 2B, Sleeper Sullivan C, Ned Cuthbert LF, Jumbo McGinnis P, George Seward RF. McGinnis was the club's first 20 game winner, as he posted a 25-18 record on the season. The man they called Jumbo started 45 of the Brown Stockings and completed 43 of them. Bill Gleason led the team with a .288 average, as well as 11 doubles, and 6 triples. The club's first home run hitter was Oscar Walker who hit 7 in that inaugural season.

     Regardless of personal stats, every man on that roster was a part of something special. They laid the foundation. It was the foundation for the team we know and love, and it was the foundation for a nation: Cardinal Nation. I'm glad I'm a member.

The game was played by a far different set of rules in 1882. I have looked into 19th century baseball and it is interesting to say the least. This is an absolutely great website that can give you insight into the game and how it all began:

Take a look at the first club's stats:

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