Clipping:Bob Ferguson assaults a player; game selling

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Date Friday, July 25, 1873

[Baltimore vs. Mutual 7/24/1873] It is needless to give much account of this game, as it was evidently a square give away. It was impossible for the Baltimores to win while the umpire was opposed. Baltimore American July 25, 1873

The other exciting game of the week was the one between the Mutual and Baltimore nine, which was so exciting in the ninth inning that both the catcher of the Mutuals and the umpire [Ferguson] forgot themselves, and, through the insult given by the one and resented by the other, an emeute occurred which made things spicy for the time being. It appears that Hicks “wanted to know, you know,” whether Hatfield was playing any little game of the Heathen Chinee style of thing, whereupon Hatfield suggested that Hick’s play was rather “pecooler,” and as Ferguson coincided with this view of the case, Hicks got his mad up, and plainly intimated to Rob that the truth was not in him. Now, as Rob is not possessed of that amiable disposition which will bear patiently with remarks of this kind, and as a bat was unluckily handy at the time, Rob picked it up and moved it “kloder lively, ver know,” very near Hicks, and as the latter just then put out his arm, the bat grazed the skin of the elbow just enough to make the blood flow. In a moment Rob was repentant, but Hicks walked off the ground with his arm hanging helpless and apparently broken, and the crowd seeing, and learning that “the umpire struck Hicks,” they became excited. The game, however, was proceeded with, and as it ended in a Mutual victory, the effect of the “foul strike” incident was mollified. Still it was found necessary to have the police accompany Ferguson to the club-house, where the “onpleasantness” was mutually talked over, the misunderstanding explained, and both apologizing to each other, things were amicably adjusted, and afterwards “all was quiet on the Potomac.” New York Sunday Mercury July 27, 1873

On Friday...the Mercury representative met with Hicks on the Knickerbocker Grounds, and was surprised to find his arm bound up in splinters, and to learn that it was broken by the blow of the bat. Hicks complained that the Mercury version of the trouble had not done him justice, and he asked that it be stated, as coming from him, first, that he did not charge Hatfield with fraud; secondly, that not having done anything requiring an apology he had not apologized to Ferguson; and thirdly, that the blow was so forcible a one that it had broken his arm instead of “just grazing the skin” and that he had put up his arm to save his head. New York Sunday Mercury August 3, 1873

There was a choice bit of base ball gossip recalled by the spring race meeting here during the past week, which, though it is slightly antiquated, is spicy enough to be retold, especially as it concerns a character prominent in turf circles and at present stopping in the city. It was in the days when players would sell a game for a consideration, which, to say the least, would not overweight them when divided. The story-teller is an old base-ball man himself, and in a week from now will be following the fortunes of the turf in some distant city. He didn’t like to be particular because the subject was a tricklish [sic] one and he swore the Post-Dispatch to secrecy as to names before relating the incident. One of the clubs concerned was the old Mutuals and there were two players on the nine, one of whom has already been spoken of as the now racing man. One of these was a catcher and the other was in the field. The two, the story runs, were trying to sell out to the club opposing them in a game in which Bob Ferguson acted as umpire. A man was coming home from third, the ball reached the catcher’s hands in time to make a dead out but the catcher stepped aside and allowed him to come in. Ferguson saw the play and called the man out. The catcher objected in language anything but pleasant to the ear and Bob replied by breaking his arm with a bat. This moved the fielder to utter his sentiments on the question but Ferguson’s reply was “Yes, and you crooked blank blank blank come in here and I’ll break your arm too.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch June 12, 1886

Source Baltimore American
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Submitted by Richard Hershberger
Origin Initial Hershberger Clippings


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