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First Major League Game
(Both Catchers Are Stars of the Game)

Source: The Great Encyclopedia of 19th Century Major League Baseball by David Nemec

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FOREST CITY (Cleveland) at KEKIONGAS (Fort Wayne)
May 4, 1871


CLEVELAND AB R H PO A   FORT WAYNE AB R H PO A

J. White, C 4 0 3 9 0   Selman, rf 4 0 0 4 0
Kimball, 2b 4 0 0 3 4   Mathews, p 4 0 0 1 0
Pabor, cf 4 0 0 0 0   Foran, 3b 4 0 1 2 0
Allison, rf 4 0 1 2 0   Goldsmith, 2b 4 0 0 3 1
E. White, lf 3 0 0 1 0   Lennon, c 4 1 1 9 1
Pratt, p 3 0 0 1 2   Carey, ss 3 0 0 3 1
Sutton, 3b 3 0 1 0 0   Mincher, lf 3 0 0 2 0
Carleton, 1b 3 0 0 9 0   McDermott, cf 3 0 1 0 1
Bass, ss 3 0 0 2 4   Kelly, 1b 3 1 1 3 0

Totals 31 0 5 24 10   Totals 32 2 4 27 4
Cleveland 000 000 000 - 0   Fort Wayne 010 010 000 - 2


First base by errors - Cleveland 4, Fort Wayne 0; Two base hits - J. White, Lennon. Double Plays - Carey (unassisted). Walks, by - Mathews 1, Pratt 1. Strikeouts, by Mathews 6. Passed balls - J. White 2, Lennon 1.
Umpire - J.L. Boake. Time 2 hours.



The box score of the National Association's inaugural game together with the story of it that a long-forgotten reporter dispatched to the New York Herald. The play-by-play account has been edited for the sake of clarity, but nothing will ever change how crisp a game it was, or the remarkably prominent role that both catchers played.

 

"The finest game of base ball ever witnessed in this country was played on the grounds of the Kekiongas of this city this afternoon, the playing throughout being without precedent in the annals of base ball, and the members of both clubs establishing beyond doubt their reputation as among the most perfect ball players in the United States. Not an error was made by Cleveland, and only three by Fort Wayne. The batting was not as heavy as some, though the pitching was superior. Especially was that of Mathews, of Fort Wayne, commented upon. The umpiring was fair, impartial, and entirely satisfactory to both clubs. Owing to the threatening indications of the weather, not over five hundred persons were on the ground. The enthusiasm ran high among the spectators, and we doubt if a game in this country was ever witnessed with closer attention.

"The Kekiongas won the toss and sent the Forest Citys to the bat. The following is the game by innings:"

FIRST INNING

CLEVELAND - J. White doubled. Kimball lined out to Carey, who made an unassisted double play when White strayed off second thinking the ball would go through. Pabor fouled out to Lennon.
FORT WAYNE - Selman fouled out to J. White. Mathews was retired when J. White took his foul fly on one bounce. Foran singled. Goldsmith fouled out to J. White.

SECOND INNING

CLEVELAND - Allison struck out but reached first when Lennon mishandled the third strike. E, White struck out, but Allison moved to second after escaping a run-down involving Carey and Kelley. Pratt fouled out to Foran. Mincher made a fine running catch of Sutton's drive to retire the side and strand Allison at second.
FORT WAYNE - Lenon doubled to left. Allison snagged Carey's fly with one hand after a long run. Mincher flied to Kimball. McDermott singled to score Lennon from second. Kelley fouled out to J. White. - One run.

THIRD INNING

CLEVELAND - Carleton fanned. Bass flied to Mincher. J. White fouled out to Lennon.
FORT WAYNE - J. White put out Selman by grabbing his foul fly on one bounce and then retired Mathews with a fine catch of his foul tip. (Note: A batter was out in 1871 if a catcher caught a foul tip on either the fly or the first bounce.) Foran flied out to E. White.

FOURTH INNING

CLEVELAND - Kimball and Pabor both flied to Selman. Allison fouled out to Lennon.
FORT WAYNE - Goldsmith drew a base on balls. Lenon fouled out to J. White. Carey reached first after forcing Goldsmith at second. Mincher popped to Pratt.

FIFTH INNING

CLEVELAND - E. White struck out. Pratt walked. Sutton singled, sending Pratt to third, but was caught off first when he rounded the bag too far. Carleton flied to Mincher.
FORT WAYNE - McDermott grounded out. Kelley singled, moved to third on two passed balls and then scored when Selman grounded out. J. White caught Mathews's foul fly on one bounce. One run.

SIXTH INNING

CLEVELAND - Bass flied to Mincher. J. White reached first on Goldsmith's error and went to second on a passed ball. Kimball flied to Foran. Pabor popped to Mathews.
FORT WAYNE - Foran flied to Kimball. Goldsmith's foul tip was caught by J. White. Lennon flied to Bass.

SEVENTH INNING

CLEVELAND - Allison reached first on Goldsmith's error. Lennon nailed Allison when he tried to steal second as E. White struck out. (Note: Very first Caught Stealing throw by a catcher in the major leagues.) Pratt popped to Carey.
FORT WAYNE - Carey, Mincher and McDermott all grounded out.

EIGHTH INNING

CLEVELAND - Sutton fouled out to Lennon. Carleton grounded out. Bass popped to Goldsmith.
FORT WAYNE - Kelley flied to Allison. Selman flied to Kimball. Mathews grounded out.

NINTH INNING

CLEVELAND - J. White singled to center but was caught at second by McDermott when he tried to stretch it. Kimball flied to Selman. Pabor reached first when McDermott muffed his fly. Allison fanned.
FORT WAYNE - [Since the rules in 1871 required that a full game be played even if the team up last was ahead going into the bottom of the ninth, the Kekiongas took their last raps.] Foran and Goldsmith both grounded out to Pratt. Moments after Lenon grounded to Bass, rain, which had threatened all day, began coming down in sheets.


SOURCE: The Great Encyclopedia of 19th Century Major League Baseball by David Nemec (Member of SABR); Donald I. Fine Books, New York, NY, 1997. Copyright David Nemec