Monday, July 15, 2013

First No-Hitter in National League History

Just a reminder that today, July 15, marks the 137th anniversary of the first no-hitter in National League history, hurled by George Washington Bradley of our beloved St. Louis Brown Stockings over the visiting Hartford Blue Legs, 2-0, at Sportsman's Park on North Grand, July 15, 1876. Old GWB was quite the workhorse that season, having the same won-lost record as the third-place Browns, 45-19. He pitched 573 (yes, 573) of the 577 innings the Browns played that season. Pitchers were restricted to delivering the ball submarine style and couldn't bring their hands above the belt until after they'd released the pitch.

The newspapers of the day treated the no-hitter as a team effort, since it truly was. The ball was in play a lot. And, the local papers downplayed the no-hit aspect of the game because, I believe, they were a little sore that Bradley had already signed a contract for 1877 to play for the Philadelphia Athletics. Signing during the season to play with another team the following season was allowed. Philadelphia was closer to Bradley's home in Reading, Penn.

The Saturday, July 15, game started at 4 p.m. local time and ended at 5:58 p.m. (no time zones for another decade, until the railroad magnates demanded Congress set up such zones to help railroad scheduling; all time was local observatory time, which meant that when it was 4 p.m. in St. Louis it was about 3:50 p.m. in Kansas City and 4:10 p.m. in Chicago). Daylight savings time hadn't been invented yet, so that would translate to 5 to 6:58 p.m. Central Daylight Time today. So, sometime today, between 5 and 6:58 p.m. hoist a cold one to the memory of George Washington Bradley, a great pitcher of the early days of baseball, who was still working as a ballpark guard in Philadelphia during the Cardinals-A's World Series of 1930.

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