On July 26, 1901, the Cardinals whooped the Pirates in more than one way, as they smacked them around with their fists, then beat them 12-7 on the scoreboard. The Bucco's came out swingin', as they scored six runs in the first, and looked like they may just roll over the Cardinals, Then the Birds came flying back into the fray with a run in the second, then four more in the third. It was during the four run third that all hell broke loose.
The Birds strung together a few hits against Deacon Phillippe, scored a couple runs, on a timely hit by player/manager Patsy Donovan, which was followed by a hotshot up the middle by third baseman Otto Kruger. The Pirates second baseman Claude Ritchey fielded the ball, but threw it away when he tried to run down Kruger at first. Now the account in the Pittsburgh Press claimed that the Cardinals players gathered around the ball, as their former teammate, who was now catching for the Pirates, Jack O'Connor scrambled toward the dugout in an attempt to retrieve the ball. An account out of the St. Louis Republic claimed the players on the Cardinals bench scattered. I guess the writers had on their home team glasses on that fine day, and saw it through them when they sided with one team or the other. The paper out of St. Louis did acknowledge that O'Connor had come into contact with several Cardinals players, before finding the ball, while another run scored.
At that point O'Connor was enraged, so he went after the closest man to him, which was the skipper Donovan, who by all accounts was clearly assaulted. O'Connor picked the wrong battle, because every single player on the St. Louis bench had his back, and one player in particular, a 24-year-old pitcher by the name of Eddie Murphy flew in and floored O'Connor with a knockout blow to the jaw. According the Pittsburgh Press "The catcher fell and was dead to the world." Benches began to clear, before the police got involved to break up the melee. The officers had their hands full, as they also had to contain a crowd of men who attempted to storm the field, A good five minutes later the police got it under control, but the teams were hot, and there were tense moments throughout the rest of the game.
The Pirates maintained a 7-5 lead until the Cards blew the door open with a four runs in the seventh, then three more in the eighth to put the visitors away. In the end it was called the most exciting game that happened at League Park up to that point, for a team that would finish fourth in the standings that season. The Pirates won the National League pennant with 90 wins, but this was two seasons before the World Series would begin between the National and American leagues. While the Pirates came out on top of the standing that season, they knew when they had to face the Cardinals they would have a fight on their hands. They sure did on that day in late July.
The account of the game in the photo above was taken out of the Pittsburgh Press, while the picture of the (sort of weird) fan came out of the St. Louis Republic. If you are interested in reading the Republic's account of the game you could do that here:
I would have liked to clip it completely, but quite frankly it was too large, so I went with the rather laughable piece out of Pittsburgh.