Baseball in the Pythagorean Universe 1871-Present

This timeline is a bit different, in that it uses statistics to change history.

At, they have a stat called "Pythagorean Won-Loss Record", which is based on how many runs a team scores and how many they give up in a certain season. It calculates the record the team should have had, and the differences between those records and the ones in real life can be staggering.

In this timeline, I'm going to not only post records, but simulate playoff series where applicable in order to find out how baseball would have been different in a Pythagorean universe. The implications of some of these changes should be far-reaching, and I hope to start some good discussion about them.

Some rules to keep in mind:

1) Since I'll be using WhatIf Sports as a simulator, the rosters of the teams will stay the same as in real life. We can certainly discuss moves and trades teams could have made in order to improve themselves, but I can't use them in game action.

2) Strikes still happen, since the Pythagorean record is based on real-life stats. When we eventually get to the 1981 split season, though, I'll keep the playoff format as it was, with the small change that the top two teams overall in a division make the playoffs. (The Puthagorean stats don't recognize split seasons.)

3) This isn't a rule, but I'm a Pittsburgh native and a fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates, so if I refer to a team as "we" or "the local team", that's who I'm talking about.

4) This timeline starts with the first year of the National Association, 1871.

5) All figures in parentheses are the number of games a team has lost or gained from their real-life record.

6) When it comes time to simulate playoff series, I'm going to let real-life results stand when the same teams are involved in a series. The only series I will simulate will be those with different teams involved.

Without any further ado, let's get started.

1871: No change, as the Philadelphia Athletics take the first pennant in Organized Baseball with an 18-10 mark, a net loss of three games from their real 21-7 mark. That three-game loss is the biggest negative swing. The Boston Red Stockings move up to second from third despite a one-game loss from 20-10 to 19-11. The biggest gain comes from the Rockford Forest Citys, who go from 4-21 and last place in the nine-team league to 10-15 and seventh place, a net gain of six games.


1. Philadelphia Athletics: 18-10 (-3)
2. Boston Red Stockings: 19-11- 1 GB (-1)
3. Chicago White Stockings: 17-11- 1 GB (-2)
4. (tie) Washington Olympics: 15-15- 4 GB (0)
(tie) Troy Haymakers: 14-14- 4 GB (+1)
6. New York Mutuals: 16-17- 4.5 GB (0)
7. Rockford Forest Citys: 10-15- 6.5 GB (+6)
8. Fort Wayne Kekiongas: 5-14- 8.5 GB (-2)
9. Cleveland Forest Citys: 10-19- 8.5 GB (0)

1872: The Red Stockings lose a game, from 39-8 to 38-9, but that's still good enough to take the pennant. The New York Mutuals finish five and a half games out instead of eight and a half despite gaining just two more wins, from 34-20 to 36-18. That's the biggest swing of any kind this year; it's duplicated by the Washington Nationals (0-11 to 2-9) and the Middletown Mansfields (5-19 to 7-17). Despite only playing eleven games, the Nats thus move from eleventh place to seventh, while the Mansfields slip from eighth to ninth.

FINAL STANDINGS: (Expansion teams in bold italics)

1. Red Stockings: 38-9 (-1)
2. Mutuals: 36-18- 5.5 GB (+2)
3. Baltimore Canaries: 35-19- 6.5 GB (0)
4. Athletics: 30-14- 6.5 GB (0)
5. Haymakers: 16-9- 11 GB (+1)
6. Olympics: 1-8- 18 GB (-1)
7. Washington Nationals: 2-9- 18 GB (+2)
8. Forest Citys: 7-15- 18.5 GB (+1)
9. Middletown Mansfields: 7-17- 19.5 GB (+2)
10. Brooklyn Atlantics: 8-29- 25 GB (-1)
11. Brooklyn Eckfords: 4-25- 25 GB (+1)

Out: White Stockings, Rockford Forest Citys, Kekiongas

1873: The Stockings lose a game, from 43-18 to 42-17, but still take their second consecutive NA crown. They win by three and a half over the Baltimore Canaries, who move from third to second by gaining three games (34-22 to 37-19). The Nats also have a three-game positive swing (8-31 to 11-28) but still finish seventh. The Athletics lose three games (36-17 to 33-20) and tumble from second to third as a result.

FINAL STANDINGS: (Expansion teams in bold italics)

1. Red Stockings: 42-17 (-1)
2. Canaries: 37-19- 3.5 GB (+3)
3. Philadelphia Whites: 33-20- 6 GB (-3)
4. Athletics: 29-22- 9 GB (+1)
5. Mutuals: 29-24- 10 GB (0)
6. Baltimore Marylands: 0-6- 26.5 GB (0)
7. Washington Blue Legs: 11-28- 21 GB (+3)
8. Elizabeth Resolutes: 3-20- 21 GB (+1)
9. Atlantics: 17-37- 22.5 GB (0)

Out: Olympics, Forest Citys, Haymakers, Nationals, Eckfords, Mansfields

Note: The Marylands' games behind was calculated using the current formula, but their placing was determined by the Pythagorean system.

1874: The Red Stockings become three-time champions, keeping their real-life record of 52-18 intact. Their margin over the second-place Mutuals thus expands from seven and a half games to eight and a half, as the Mutuals lose a game (42-23 to 41-24). The Brooklyn Atlantics have the biggest fall from grace, slipping from 22-33 (seventh) to 18-37 (eighth), a four-game slide. The biggest positive switch belongs to the Hartford Dark Blues, who add five wins and move from seventh place at 16-37 to sixth place at 21-32.


1. Red Stockings: 52-18 (0)
2. Mutuals: 41-24- 8.5 GB (-1)
3. Athletics: 34-21- 10.5 GB (+1)
4. Whites: 32-26- 14 GB (+3)
5. Chicago White Stockings: 26-33- 20.5 GB (-2)
6. Hartford Dark Blues: 21-32- 22.5 GB (+5)
7. Atlantics: 18-37- 26.5 GB (-4)
8. Canaries: 9-38- 31.5 GB (0)

Out: Marylands, Blue Legs, Resolutes

1875: The final year of the NA sees the Red Stockings lose five games (71-8 to 66-13) but still take the pennant by nine games over the Athletics, who actually gain a game from 53-20 to 54-19. Their real-life margin of victory was fifteen games. The Stockings sustain the biggest loss of the season; the biggest gain goes once again to Hartford, which improves from 54-28 to 58-24, a difference of four games. Unfortunately, that's still only good for a third-place finish.

FINAL STANDINGS: (Expansion teams in bold italics)

1. Red Stockings: 66-13 (-5)
2. Athletics: 54-19- 9 GB (+1)
3. Dark Blues: 58-24- 9.5 GB (+4)
4. Whites: 41-27- 19.5 GB (+4)
5. St. Louis Brown Stockings: 35-33- 25.5 GB (-4)
6. White Stockings: 31-36- 29 GB (+1)
7. Keokuk Westerns: 3-10- 30 GB (+2)
8. Philadelphia Centennials: 3-11- 30.5 GB (+1)
9. St. Louis Red Stockings: 3-16- 33 GB (-1)
10. Mutuals: 26-42- 34.5 GB (-4)
11. Washington Nationals: 3-25- 37.5 GB (-2)
12. New Haven Elm Citys: 8-39- 42 GB (+1)
13. Atlantics: 4-40- 44.5 GB (+2)

Out: Canaries

Thoughts so far?
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You have great taste in baseball teams.

For the 1981 season, OTL had exactly the scenario you mentioned. The Cardinals and Reds had the best overall records in their divisions but neither made the playoffs.
One thing you could do if you want to tweak rosters/make trades is use the WAR data on Baseball Reference. For example, if you move a first baseman with a WAR of 8 to the Pirates, and their starting 1B in OTL has a WAR of 5, the Buccos have a 3-game improvement in their record (with the Pythagorean as the baseline). The player's old team drops 3 games, or 8 minus their new first baseman's WAR, with a third team being affected if needed to balance the records.
In this post, we'll discuss 1876-1881 in the brand-new National League.

1876: The new league's first pennant goes to the Chicago White Stockings, who improve from 52-14 to 55-11 and increase their margin of victory from six games to eight. There's a tie for second between the Hartford Dark Blues (who improve from 47-21 to 48-20) and the St. Louis Brown Stockings (who improve from 45-19 to 46-18).

The biggest dropoff belongs to the New York Mutuals, who fall from 21-35 to 17-29 (four games) and fall to seventh from sixth. The real-life seventh-place team, the Philadelphia Athletics, takes the sixth spot with a six-game improvement, the largest of the year (14-45 to 20-39).


1. Chicago White Stockings: 55-11 (+3)
2. (tie) Hartford Dark Blues: 48-20- 8 GB (+1)
(tie) St. Louis Brown Stockings: 46-18- 8 GB (+1)
4. Boston Red Stockings: 36-34- 21 GB (-3)
5. Louisville Grays: 27-39- 28 GB (-3)
6. Philadelphia Athletics: 20-39- 31.5 GB (+6)
7. New York Mutuals: 17-39- 33 GB (-4)
8. Cincinnati Reds: 11-54- 43.5 GB (+2)

1877: The Boston Red Stockings' real-life pennant-winning record of 42-18 is enough for them to hold on to their title by eight games over the second-place Louisville Grays, who lose a game (from 35-25 to 34-26). The defending champion White Stockings improve from 26-33 to 29-30, which is the biggest improvement of the year and enough for them to take fourth place from the Brown Stockings, who are the only other team in the league to lose ground (one game, 28-32 to 27-33).


1. Red Stockings: 42-18 (0)
2. Grays: 34-26- 8 GB (+1)
3. Hartfords of Brooklyn: 31-27- 10 GB (0)
4. White Stockings: 29-30- 12.5 GB (+3)
5. Brown Stockings: 27-33- 15 GB (-1)
6. Reds: 16-41- 24.5 GB (+1)

Out: Athletics, Mutuals
Name Changes: Hartford (Dark Blues to Hartfords of Brooklyn)
Franchise Moves: Hartford to Brooklyn (Hartfords of Brooklyn)

1878: The Red Stockings defend their pennant successfully despite dropping a league-high five games (41-19 to 36-24). This turns a rather comfortable victory into a nip-and-tuck pennant race with the Cincinnati Reds, who drop two games themselves (37-23 to 35-25), but cut three games off of their deficit to finish just a game back. The White Stockings pick up three games (30-30 to 33-27) and finish third, just three games back. The Providence Grays (33-27 to 31-29) drop two games and fall from third to fourth.

The largest improvement, though, comes from the last-place Milwaukee Grays, who improve four games from 15-45 to 19-41 but still finish eight games behind the fifth-place Indianapolis Blues and seventeen games behind the Red Stockings.

FINAL STANDINGS: (Expansion franchises in bold italics)

1. Red Stockings: 36-24 (-5)
2. Reds: 35-25- 1 GB (-2)
3. White Stockings: 33-27- 3 GB (+3)
4. Providence Grays: 31-29- 5 GB (-2)
5. Indianapolis Blues: 27-33- 9 GB (+3)
6. Milwaukee Grays: 19-41- 17 GB (+4)

Out: Louisville Grays, Hartfords, Brown Stockings

1879: The Red Stockings improve by a league-best five games (54-30 to 59-25), but can't catch the Providence Grays, who improve from 59-25 to 61-23 and take the pennant by those two games. Two teams drop a league-high four games apiece: the White Stockings and the Buffalo Bisons, which turns the race for third into a barnburner. The Bisons prevail by half a game, 42-36 to 42-37, with the Reds just a half-game behind them at 42-38 (down one game).

FINAL STANDINGS: (Expansion teams in bold italics)

1. Grays: 61-23 (+2)
2. Red Stockings: 59-25- 2 GB (+5)
3. Buffalo Bisons: 42-36- 16 GB (-4)
4. White Stockings: 42-37- 16.5 GB (-4)
5. Reds: 42-38- 17 GB (-1)
6. Cleveland Blues: 28-54- 32 GB (+1)
7. Syracuse Stars: 20-50- 34 GB (-2)
8. Troy Trojans: 21-54- 35.5 GB (+2)

Out: Milwaukee Grays, Indianapolis Blues

1880: The White Stockings become the NL's first repeat pennant winners despite losing a league-high six games (67-17 to 61-23). The defending champion Grays gain three games (52-32 to 55-29) to finish six games back in second place instead of fifteen, while the league-high six-game improvement of the Worcester Ruby Legs from 40-43 to 46-37 moves them from fifth to fourth, just a half-game behind the third-place Cleveland Spiders. The gap between fifth and sixth (Red Stockings and Troy Trojans) and seventh and eighth (Bisons and Reds) is just half a game in both cases as well.

FINAL STANDINGS (Expansion teams in bold italics):

1. White Stockings: 61-23 (-6)
2. Grays: 55-29- 6 GB (+3)
3. Blues: 47-37- 14 GB (0)
4. Worcester Ruby Legs: 46-37- 14.5 GB (+6)
5. Red Stockings: 38-46- 23 GB (-2)
6. Trojans: 37-46- 23.5 GB (-4)
7. Bisons: 26-56- 34 GB (+2)
8. Reds: 24-56- 35 GB (+3)

Out: Stars

1881: The White Stockings go back-to-back and take their third pennant overall, as their 56-28 real-life record remains unchanged. The Grays still finish second, but drop from 47-37 to 44-40, which makes their final deficit twelve games. The Bisons take the biggest tumble, going from 45-38 to 41-42 (down four games) and from third place to fourth. The Detroit Wolverines gain just two games (41-43 to 43-41), but that's enough to move them from sixth place all the way to third. The league's largest gain is four, as the Blues improve from 36-48 (seventh place) to 40-44 (fifth place).

FINAL STANDINGS: (Expansion teams in bold italics):

1. White Stockings: 56-28 (0)
2. Grays: 44-40- 12 GB (-3)
3. Detroit Wolverines: 43-41- 13 GB (+2)
4. Bisons: 41-42- 14.5 GB (-4)
5. Blues: 40-44- 16 GB (+4)
6. Trojans: 39-45- 17 GB (0)
7. Red Stockings: 35-48- 20.5 GB (-3)
8. Ruby Legs: 34-48- 21 GB (+2)

Out: Reds

Next time: We begin baseball's two-league era, as the American Association debuts.

When there are two (and in some cases three) leagues to do in a year, I've decided to keep them in separate posts until the official postseason era begins in 1903, since they won't interact at all. Next time will thus be 1882-1886 in the National League, then 1882-1886 in the American Association, then 1887-1889 in the NL, then 1887-1889 in the AA. If I don't remember beforehand, I'll fit the Union Association of 1884 in at the end of the decade.

I thought about trying to sim some of the unofficial exhibition series between the NL and AA, but they had all different numbers of games, plus the official lineups are all lost to time. Since baseball counts the 1903 World Series as its first official postseason, so will this universe.

Finally, a question: What year did MLB officially start forcing teams to make up rainouts, if there was a certain year? I want to know exactly when to introduce makeup games into this universe.
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I'm going to change the order I gave yesterday slightly and do the American Association from 1882-1886 first, with the National League to follow next time.

1882: The Cincinnati Red Stockings take the first AA pennant as they did in real life, improving by five games from 55-25 to 60-20. That's not the biggest positive swing, though: that honor goes to the second-place Louisville Eclipse, who improve from 42-38 to 48-32, but only gain one game in the final standings, from thirteen games behind to twelve. The biggest negative swing goes to the St. Louis Brown Stockings, who fall from 37-43 to 32-48, a loss of five games. But they still finish in fifth place, fifteen games ahead of the cellar-dwelling Baltimore Orioles.

My hometown of Pittsburgh gets its first organized team, and the Alleghenies improve from 39-39 to 40-38, still good for fourth place, half a game behind the third-place Philadelphia Athletics.


1. Cincinnati Red Stockings: 60-20 (+5)
2. Louisville Eclipse: 48-32- 12 GB (+6)
3. Philadelphia Athletics: 39-36- 18.5 GB (-2)
4. Pittsburgh Alleghenies: 40-38- 19 GB (+1)
5. St. Louis Brown Stockings: 32-48- 28 GB (-5)
6. Baltimore Orioles: 17-56- 39.5 GB (-2)

1883: Our first championship change, as the Red Stockings gain eight games (61-37 to 69-29) and take the pennant away from the Athletics, who lose five games (66-32 to 61-37) and tumble to third. The Browns lose three games (65-33 to 62-36), but still manage to move up to second.

As for my Alleghenies, they go from 31-67 and seventh place to 35-63 and sixth place, a difference of four games to the good. They finish half a game ahead of the Columbus Buckeyes despite the Bucks gaining two games (32-65 to 34-63).

FINAL STANDINGS: (Expansion teams in bold italics)

1. Red Stockings: 69-29 (+8)
2. Browns: 62-36- 7 GB (-3)
3. Athletics: 61-37- 8 GB (-8)
4. New York Metropolitans: 57-39- 11 GB (-5)
5. Eclipse: 49-48- 19.5 GB (-3)
6. Alleghenies: 35-63- 34 GB (+4)
7. Columbus Buckeyes: 34-63- 34.5 GB (+2)
8. Orioles: 29-67- 39 GB (+1)

Name Change: St. Louis (Brown Stockings to Browns)

1884: The AA expands to thirteen teams, all in one grouping, this year. It also crowns a new champion, as the real-life champion New York Metropolitans add three games to their total, going from 75-32 to 78-29. The Red Stockings move from a tie for fourth with the Browns into second place by themselves, improving from 68-29 to 73-36 and finishing just six games out. The second-place Buckeyes lose three games (69-39 to 66-42) and fade to fourth.

The hometown Alleghenies lose two games (30-78 to 28-80) and fall past the Indianapolis Hoosiers and into dead last. fifty and half games behind the Mets. They thus become the first AA team to finish more than fifty games behind a pennant winner. Also, they're the only team to finish behind all of this year's expansion franchises, some of whom (particularly the Virginians and Nationals) don't even last a full season.

FINAL STANDINGS: (Expansion teams in bold italics):

1. Metropolitans: 78-29 (+3)
2. Red Stockings: 73-36- 6 GB (+5)
3. Eclipse: 68-40- 10.5 GB (0)
4. Buckeyes: 66-42- 12.5 GB (-3)
5. Athletics: 65-42- 13 GB (+4)
6. Orioles: 63-43- 14.5 GB (0)
7. Browns: 63-44- 15 GB (-4)
8. Richmond Virginians: 13-29- 32.5 GB (+1)
9. Toledo Blue Stockings: 42-62- 34.5 GB (-4)
10. Brooklyn Atlantics: 38-66- 38.5 GB (-2)
11. Washington Nationals: 14-49- 42 GB (+2)
12. Indianapolis Hoosiers: 31-76- 47 GB (+2)
13. Alleghenies: 28-80- 50.5 GB (-2)

1885: The champion Browns lose four games, more than any other team, but still take the pennant by thirteen games over the second-place Red Stockings. The biggest improvement goes to the A's, who gain six games (55-57 to 61-51) and move past the Alleghenies and into third place, just a game behind Cincinnati. The Alleghenies stay where they are record-wise (56-55) but fall to fourth eighteen and a half games out, while the defending champion Mets lose three games (44-64 to 41-67) and go from first to worst (in this case, eighth).


1. Browns: 75-37 (-4)
2. Red Stockings: 62-50- 13 GB (-1)
3. Athletics: 61-51- 14 GB (+6)
4. Alleghenies: 56-55- 18.5 GB (0)
5. Grays: 54-58- 21 GB (+1)
6. Colonels: 53-59- 22 GB (0)
7. Orioles: 43-66- 30.5 GB (+2)
8. Metropolitans: 41-67- 32 GB (-3)

Out: Virginians, Nationals, Blue Stockings, Hoosiers, Buckeyes

Name Changes: Brooklyn (Atlantics to Grays), Louisville (Grays to Colonels)

1886: The Browns take their second straight pennant, gaining four games (93-46 to 97-42) and expanding their victory margin over the second-place Alleghenies from twelve games to fourteen. The Als improve by two games themselves (80-57 to 82-55), for all the good it does. The Colonels also improve by four games (66-70 to 70-66), which is good enough to take third place away from the Brooklyn Grays, who tumble from 76-61 to 69-68 and from third place to fifth.

The A's take the worst fall of all: from 63-72 and ten games ahead of the Mets for sixth to 55-80 and a tie for sixth with them (they improve from 53-82 to 55-80).

The Orioles' last-place finish is their third in five years of existence.


1. Browns: 97-42- (+4)
2. Alleghenies: 82-55- 14 GB (+2)
3. Colonels: 70-66- 25.5 GB (+4)
4. Red Stockings: 70-68- 26.5 GB (+5)
5. Grays: 69-68- 27 GB (-7)
6. (tie) Athletics: 55-80- 40 GB (-8)
(tie) Metropolitans: 55-80- 40 GB (+2)
8. Orioles: 46-85- 47 GB (-2)

Some notes about team names:

1. The Red Stockings are today's Reds.

2. The Athletics have nothing to do with any other team called the Athletics, including the one currently playing in Oakland.

3. The Alleghenies are today's Pirates. Baseball Reference spells the name "Alleghenys", but it's always been spelled "Alleghenies" around here, so that's what I'm using.

4. The Brown Stockings/Browns are today's Cardinals.

5. The Orioles are the same team that later jumped to the National League. That team and the one currently playing in the American League have no connection.

6. The American Association's Metropolitans have no connection to today's National League Mets.

7. The Brooklyn Atlantics are today's Los Angeles Dodgers.

8. The American Association Hoosiers have nothing to do with the Federal League team of the same name.

9. The American Association Nationals and the current Nationals have no connection.

10. The Eclipse/Colonels are the same team that would later jump to the National League.

Next time: the National League from 1882-1886.

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As a special bonus post, let's take a look at the one-year wonder known as the Union Association of 1884:

The St. Louis Maroons lose five games, from 94-19 to 89-24, but still take the UA's only pennant. They defeat the second-place Cincinnati Outlaw Reds by fourteen games, seven less than in real life, even though the Reds improve from 69-36 to 71-34. The Maroons' five-game loss is worst in the league; the biggest gain is four by the Philadelphia Keystones, who improve from 21-46 to 25-42, but somehow fall from eighth to ninth. Going strictly on a percentage basis, the Milwaukee Brewers, who play just a dozen games, finish second at 8-4; here, they "finish" fifth, five games ahead of the St. Paul White Caps, who check in sixth at 1-7.

The Pittsburgh vicinity has two teams; we share one with Chicago, which improves a game from 41-50 to 42-49 but falls from sixth to eighth, and the Altoona Mountain City (that's the club's official name, no plural) drops from 6-19 to 4-21 but still finishes tenth in the twelve-team league (again, based on percentages).


1. St. Louis Maroons: 89-24 (-5)
2. Cincinnati Outlaw Reds: 71-34- 14 GB (+2)
3. Boston Reds: 61-48- 26 GB (+3)
4. Baltimore Monumentals: 55-50- 30 GB (-3)
5. Milwaukee Brewers: 8-4- 50.5 GB (0)
6. St. Paul White Caps: 1-7- 52.5 GB (-1)
7. Chicago/Pittsburgh: 42-49- 36 GB (+1)
8. Wilmington Quicksteps: 2-16- 47.5 GB (0)
9. Philadelphia Keystones: 25-42- 41 GB (+4)
10. Altoona Mountain City: 4-21- 44 GB (-2)
11. Washington Nationals: 47-65- 41.5 GB (0)
12. Kansas City Cowboys: 18-61- 54 GB (+2)

Note 1: Standings placements are done using the Pythagorean formula, while games behind are calculated using the current MLB formula. Any discrepancies are deliberate and unavoidable.

Note 2: According to Baseball Reference, the Chicago/Pittsburgh team had no official nickname.

Here's 1882-1886 in the National League:

1882: The White Stockings take their third pennant in a row and their fourth overall, improving a league-high six games in the process (55-29 to 61-23). The Grays finish second for the third straight year as well, staying at 52-32 but seeing a close three-game deficit turn into a nine-game runaway. The Wolverines drop like rocks, losing a league-high seven games and falling under .500 (42-41 to 35-48), but somehow managing to stay in sixth place.


1. White Stockings: 61-23 (+6)
2. Grays: 52-32- 9 GB (0)
3. Red Stockings: 47-37- 14 GB (+2)
4. Bisons: 45-39- 16 GB (0)
5. Blues: 40-42- 20 GB (-2)
6. Wolverines: 35-48- 25.5 GB (-7)
7. Trojans: 34-49- 26.5 GB (-1)
8. Ruby Legs: 23-61- 38 GB (+5)

1883: The Boston Beaneaters (formerly Red Stockings) become the first renamed team to claim a National League pennant, winning their third overall as a franchise and their first in five years. Their record improves from 63-35 to 66-32, and their winning margin over the White Stockings rises from four games to seven, as the Chicago bunch stays put at 59-39. They don't stay put in the standings, however; the Grays improve by seven games (58-40 to 65-33) and take second place, just a game behind the Eaters. This is Providence's fourth straight second place finish, and the best the defending champions can do is third. The Blues drop a league-high three games (55-40 to 52-45), but stay in fourth.

The expansion Quakers break the Reds' record for most games out at the end of a season, finishing forty-five games behind the Eaters despite a four-game improvement (17-81 to 21-77).

FINAL STANDINGS: (Expansion teams in bold italics)

1. Beaneaters: 66-32 (+3)
2. Grays: 65-33- 1 GB (+7)
3. White Stockings: 59-39- 7 GB (0)
4. Blues: 52-45- 13.5 GB (-3)
5. Bisons: 51-46- 14.5 GB (-1)
6. New York Giants: 44-52- 21 GB (-2)
7. Wolverines: 39-59- 27 GB (-1)
8. Philadelphia Quakers: 21-77- 45 GB (+4)

Out: Trojans, Ruby Legs

Name Change: Boston (Red Stockings to Beaneaters)

1884: After four straight seconds, the Grays break through, taking their second pennant overall with a record of 82-30, two games lower than real life. The Eaters improve from 73-38 to 74-37, thus lowering their deficit from ten and a half games to seven and a half and staying in second place.

Two teams drop three games apiece without affecting their placement in the standings: the Bisons skid from 64-47 to 61-50, but hold off the New York Giants by half a game to keep third, and the expansion Philadelphia Quakers fall from 39-73 to 36-76, but still finish sixth. The White Stockings make the biggest improvement, gaining seven games (62-50 to 69-43) and going from a tie for fourth with the Giants to sole possession of third.

The Wolverines become the first National League franchise to finish fifty or more games out of first place, hitting that number exactly with their 32-80 record.

The Grays would go on to defeat the New York Mets of the American Association three games to none in the first recognized postseason series between two rival leagues. Back then, it was called the World Series; with the advent of the modern Fall Classic, those games are now considered exhibitions.


1. Grays: 82-30 (-2)
2. Beaneaters: 74-37- 7.5 GB (+1)
3. White Stockings: 69-43- 15 GB (+7)
4. Bisons: 61-50- 20.5 GB (-3)
5. Giants: 61-51- 21 GB (-1)
6. Quakers: 36-76- 46 GB (-3)
7. Blues: 34-78- 48 GB (-1)
8. Wolverines: 32-80- 50 GB (+4)

1885: Our second overall pennant change and first in the NL, as the New York Giants win their first flag with their real-life record of 85-27. That's because the White Stockings drop four games, from 87-25 to 83-29, which leaves them in second place two games back. Then it's way back to the third-place Quakers, who lose a game (56-54 to 55-55) and finish an unbelievable thirty games behind the Giants.

The White Stockings' loss isn't the league's largest; that belongs to the Grays, who plunge seven games (53-57 to 46-64) and fall from fourth place to sixth. The biggest improvement belongs to the Wolverines, who improve by a league-high seven games (41-67 to 48-60) and move up from sixth to a fourth-place tie with the Eaters.

The Bisons equal the Wolverines' record set last year for most games out of first place at the end of a season, finishing fifty games out (35-77, three-game drop).

The Giants would go on to face the AA's St. Louis Browns in the 1885 "World Series".

FINAL STANDINGS: (Expansion teams in bold italics)

1. Giants: 85-27 (0)
2. White Stockings: 83-29- 2 GB (-4)
3. Quakers: 55-55- 29 GB (-1)
4. (tie) Beaneaters: 50-62- 35 GB (+4)
(tie) Wolverines: 48-60- 35 GB (+7)
6. Grays: 46-64- 38 GB- (-7)
7. St. Louis Maroons: 34-74- 49 GB (-2)
8. Bisons: 35-77- 50 GB (-3)

Out: Blues

1886: The White Stockings are back on top of the heap, taking their fifth pennant and first in four years despite dropping from 90-34 to 88-36. That still gives them a three-game victory over the second-place Wolverines, who also drop two games (87-36 to 85-38). The White Stockings' margin of victory remains two and a half games. The defending champion Giants remain in third despite a four-game slide, which is the most in the league this year (75-44 to 71-48).

Largest improvement goes to the St. Louis Maroons, who gain four games (43-79 to 47-75), but remain in sixth place. In fact, the overall standings remain exactly the same as in real life, which as I said before is rare when we talk about Pythagorean standings.

We have two expansion teams this year, and despite small improvements on their real-life records, each one breaks the fifty games back barrier. The Kansas City Cowboys improve by two games (30-91 to 32-89) but still finish fifty-four and a half games out, and the Washington Nationals (no relation to the current Nats, thankfully) improve by three (28-92 to 31-89) but still finish a jaw-dropping fifty-five games behind the White Stockings.

The White Stockings-Browns "World Series" remains intact, and the series goes to the Browns, four games to two.

FINAL STANDINGS: (Expansion teams in bold italics)

1. White Stockings: 88-36 (-2)
2. Wolverines: 85-38- 2.5 GB (-2)
3. Giants: 71-48- 14.5 GB (-4)
4. Quakers: 68-46- 15 GB (-3)
5. Beaneaters: 58-59- 26.5 GB (+2)
6. Maroons: 47-75- 40 GB (+4)
7. Kansas City Cowboys: 32-89- 54.5 GB (+2)
8. Washington Nationals: 31-89- 55 GB (+3)

Out: Grays, Bisons

Note 1: In case you couldn't tell, I've made up a little key so you can pick out the championship changes at a glance. If there's a change, the "new" champion's in bold, the real-life one in italics. If there's no change, I've left it alone.

Note 2: 1886 was the first year in which we had an unfinished race in the NL. A full season was 126 games, and the White Stockings had a two and a half game lead and two games to play, while the second-place Wolverines had three. In order for there to be a tie, the Stockings would have had to lose both of their remaining games and the Wolverines would have had to sweep all three of theirs. I'll be keeping track of other unfinished races as this thread goes on.

Next: We finish our first unfinished race.

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According to the rules of the Pythagorean universe, if the trailing team in an unfinished race had more games to make up than the leader, the team in the lead had the option to either make their opponent play its extra games first or try to win the pennant themselves by winning their own makeup games before the other team could make use of its game or games in hand. White Stockings manager Cap Anson set a precedent when he declared that his squad would win the pennant on its own merits "or else". They decided to open their quest in Philadelphia, where they replayed a tie against the Quakers. Meanwhile, the Wolverines visited Washington for a makeup game against the Nationals. The first two makeup games were played on October 11, 1886.

White Stockings 13, Quakers 0

The White Stockings romped to the National League pennant, scoring four in the second and six in the eighth. Second baseman Fred Pfeffer hit a home run and drove in three, and Anson drove in three as well. John Clarkson pitched a brilliant three-hitter, but the Quakers didn't help themselves by committing five errors. The Stockings now advance to the World Series, where they'll meet the American Association Champion St. Louis Browns. The Quakers finished with a mark of 68-47.

W- Clarkson (37-17)
L- Ferguson (30-10)

HR- CWS: Pfeffer (8)

As it turned out, the Stockings would have clinched regardless, as the last-place Nats beat the Wolverines 3-2 despite managing just three hits. One of those hits was the game-winner, a two-run homer by center fielder Jack Farrell, who knocked in all three Washington runs on the day. The Nats thus finished their season with a record of 32-89.

The final standings:

White Stockings: 89-36
Wolverines: 85-39- 3.5 GB

Next: 1887-1891 in the American Association.

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Now for the American Association from 1887-1891:

1887: The Browns take their third straight pennant despite dropping four games (95-40 to 91-44), the most of any team. The second-place Red Stockings thus make up two games on them, from fourteen games out to twelve, despite dropping two games themselves (81-54 to 79-56). The Grays are the most improved team (six games. 60-74 to 66-68) but still finish sixth. No Pittsburgh team, as the Als have jumped to the National League.

FINAL STANDINGS: (Expansion teams in bold italics):

1. Browns: 91-44 (-4)
2. Red Stockings: 79-56- 12 GB (-2)
3. Orioles: 75-60- 16 GB (-2)
4. Colonels: 75-61- 16.5 GB (-1)
5. Athletics: 67-66- 23 GB (+3)
6. Grays: 66-68- 24.5 GB (+6)
7. Metropolitans: 45-88- 45 GB (+1)
8. Cleveland Blues: 41-90- 48 GB (+2)

Note: The Blues would eventually jump to the National League and become the Spiders.

1888: The Browns continue their dynasty, improving by two games (92-43 to 94-41) and cruising to their fourth consecutive pennant by seven games over the Athletics, who improve by five games themselves (81-52 to 86-47) and move past the Brooklyn Bridegrooms into second place. The Colonels also improve by five games (48-87 to 53-82), which is enough to promote them from seventh to sixth. The biggest loss goes to the Red Stockings, who fall from 80-54 to 77-57, a three-game difference. But they still finish fourth, twenty and a half games ahead of the fifth-place Orioles.

The expansion Kansas City Cowboys become the second AA team to finish more than fifty games out of first, as their 41-91 mark leaves them fifty-one and a half games behind their cross-state rivals from St. Louis.

FINAL STANDINGS: (Expansion teams in bold italics)

1. Browns: 94-41 (+2)
2. Athletics: 86-47- 7 GB (+5)
3. Bridegrooms: 86-54- 10.5 GB (-2)
4. Red Stockings: 77-57- 16.5 GB (-3)
5. Orioles: 58-79- 32 GB (+1)
6. Colonels: 53-82- 41 GB (+5)
7. Blues: 51-81- 41.5 GB (+1)
8. Kansas City Cowboys: 41-91- 51.5 GB (-2)

Out: Metropolitans

1889: The Browns and Bridegrooms end in a virtual tie. The Grooms fall from 93-44 to 89-48, while the Browns cut two games off of their final real-life deficit despite dropping two games (90-45 to 88-47). The Bridegrooms experience the biggest dropoff; the biggest increase goes to the Colonels, who gain ten games, from 27-111 to 37-101. Unfortunately, they still finish dead last, twenty and a half games behind the seventh-place Cowboys and fifty-two and a half games in back of Brooklyn, which breaks the record for number of games behind set by the Cowboys last year.

FINAL STANDINGS: (Expansion teams in bold italics):

1. (tie) Bridegrooms: 89-48 (-4)
(tie) Browns: 88-47- (-2)
3. Red Stockings: 79-60- 11 GB (+3)
4. Athletics: 73-60- 14 GB (-2)
5. Orioles: 67-68- 21 GB (-3)
6. Columbus Solons: 58-80- 31.5 GB (-2)
7. Cowboys: 57-80- 32 GB (+2)
8. Colonels: 37-101- 52.5 GB (+10)

Out: Blues

1890: The Colonels pull off the worst-to-first gambit, winning the pennant by a game over the Solons despite losing three games from real life (88-44 to 85-47). The Solons make it close with their six-game improvement from 79-55 to 85-49, thus cutting their final deficit from ten games to one.

The other team to gain six games is the expansion Brooklyn Gladiators, who replace the Bridegrooms after their jump to the National League. The Glads improve from 26-72 to 32-66. which is enough to jump them over the A's and into eighth place despite only playing ninety-eight games. The A's are this year's biggest losers, dropping six games (54-78 to 48-84).

FINAL STANDINGS: (Expansion teams in bold italics)

1. Colonels: 85-47 (-3)
2. Solons: 85-49- 1 GB (+6)
3. Browns: 78-57- 8.5 GB (+1)
4. Toledo Maumees: 70-62- 15 GB (+2)
5. Rochester Broncos: 63-63- 19 GB (0)
6. Orioles: 16-18- 49 GB (+1)
7. Syracuse Stars: 53-74- 29.5 GB (-2)
8. Brooklyn Gladiators: 32-66- 36 GB (+6)
9. Athletics: 48-84-37 GB (-6)

Note: Standings placement was determined using the Pythagorean formula, but games behind was determined using today's MLB formula. Differences are inevitable and not mistakes on my part.

Out: Red Stockings, Cowboys

1891: The AA's final year sees the expansion Boston Reds win the pennant with a record of 92-43, down a game from their real-life mark of 93-42. That's good enough for a nine-game bulge over the second-place Browns. No team drops more than two games: the A's (73-66 to 71-68) and the expansion Washington Statesmen (44-91 to 42-93) fit that bill, and their placings (fifth and ninth, respectively) aren't affected. The biggest improvement goes to a team that folded after just thirty-six games, as the expansion Milwaukee Brewers improve from 21-15 to 24-12, which is good enough (percentage-wise, at least) for them to finish third.

The expansion Washington Statesmen become the fourth and final team in AA history to finish fifty games or more behind a pennant winner; their 42-93 mark puts them exactly fifty games in back of the Reds.

FINAL STANDINGS: (Expansion teams in bold italics)

1. Boston Reds: 92-43 (-1)
2. Browns: 84-52- 8.5 GB (-1)
3. Milwaukee Brewers: 24-12- 49.5 GB (+3)
4. Orioles: 71-64- 21 GB (0)
5. Athletics: 71-68- 23 GB (-2)
6. Solons: 62-75- 31 GB (+1)
7. Cincinnati Kelly's Killers: 43-57- 31.5 GB (0)
8. Colonels: 55-82- 38 GB (+1)
9. Washington Statesmen: 42-93- 50 GB

Out: Maumees, Broncos, Stars, Gladiators

A few last notes about team names:

1. The Reds are the same team that won the championship in last year's Players League. They have nothing to do with either the current Cincinnati franchise of the same name or the Boston Red Sox.

2. The AA's Milwaukee Brewers have nothing to do with today's Brewers of the National League.

Two of these races are unfinished: 1889 and 1890. We'll deal with 1889 in our next post.

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Now to finish the 1889 American Association race:

The Bridegrooms and Browns are tied. Brooklyn has three games left to play, while St. Louis has five. The Grooms magic number is five, because they actually trail the Browns by a game in the loss column (the Browns have 47 loses, the Grooms 48). Much as the White Stockings did in the National League of 1886, the Grooms decide to play their three games first and leave the Browns two chances to catch them at the end.

We begin the makeup games on October 17, as both the Grooms and the Browns play doubleheaders. The Grooms host the expansion Solons, while the Browns travel to Baltimore to take on the Orioles.

Let's start with Game 1 in each city. First, to Brooklyn:

Bridegrooms 11, Solons 9

The Bridegrooms knocked their magic number down to four in front of an overflow crowd at Washington Park. Five-run innings in the sixth and eighth paved the way for the victory, although the home team had to withstand a five-run Columbus rally in the ninth that ended when Solons catcher Jack O'Connor, the tying run, flew out to right center. This wasn't one of the home team's best defensive efforts, as they committed a mind-boggling eight errors, including the not-so-rare-these-days feat of three on consecutive plays. On the positive side, catcher Joe Visner led the offense by homering and driving in four runs, while shortstop Germany Smith and pitcher Bob Carruthers drove in two each. Both Carruthers and Columbus's Mark Baldwin threw complete games, and Solon first baseman Dave Orr collected four hits while third baseman Lefty Marr drove in three runs.

W- Carruthers (41-11)
L- Baldwin (27-35)

HR- BRO: Visner (9)

Now, to Baltimore:

Browns 8, Orioles 3 (Game 1)

The Browns kept pace, amassing seventeen hits against the O's. Every member of the lineup had at least one hit, and left fielder Tip O'Neill (not the future Speaker of the House) and first baseman Charlie Comiskey (future owner of the Chicago White Sox) led the way with three hits apiece, while catcher Jocko Milligan scored three runs. As was the case in Brooklyn, both pitchers (Silver King for the Browns and Matt Kilroy for the O's) threw complete games.

W- King (35-17)
L- Kilroy (29-26)

As of now, the standings read this way:

(tie) Bridegrooms: 90-48
(tie) Browns: 89-47

Now for Game 2, starting in Brooklyn:

Bridegrooms 9, Solons 8 (Game 2)

Down 8-2 after five, the Bridegrooms came back with one in the sixth, three in the seventh, and three in the bottom of the ninth to cut their magic number to three. Center fielder Pop Corkhill's single, one of his three hits, drove home left fielder Darby O'Brien with the winning run. O'Brien's own day was quite remarkable: five for five with three runs scored and five more driven in. As for Columbus, Lefty Marr collected four more hits and drives in two runs, while left fielder Jim McTamany went four for five and scored four times. Both Brooklyn's Adonis Terry and Columbus's Wild Bill Widner threw complete games, despite giving up seventeen runs and twenty-eight hits between them.

W- Terry (23-15)
L- Widner (12-21)

Finally, to Baltimore for the Browns-O's nightcap:

Orioles 3, Browns 2 (Game 2)

The Orioles got a two-run fourth inning homer from left fielder Mike Griffin and a six-hitter from pitcher Frank Foreman to defeat the Browns and reduce St. Louis's elimination number to two. The Browns scored two in the second when center fielder Joe Sommer of the Orioles lost pitcher Elton Chamberlain's flyball in the sun, and then proceeded to throw the ball into the dugout once he found it. They then gave a run back in the bottom of the inning when third baseman Arlie Latham muffed a grounder from Orioles right fielder Joe Hornung. Chamberlain threw a five-hitter in a losing cause for St. Louis, and both he and Foreman threw complete games, which means that all eight pitchers threw complete games today.

W- Foreman (24-21)
L- Chamberlain (34-16)

HR- BAL: Griffin (5)

Here are the standings at the end of play on October 17:

Bridegrooms: 91-48 (Magic Number: 2)
Browns: 89-48- 1 GB

By losing both games today, the Solons dropped into seventh place, half a game behind the idle Cowboys.

Next time: We examine the events of October 19, as the two teams go head-to-head at Washington Park.

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Now the Browns and Grooms will face off on October 19 at Washington Park in Brooklyn. A win by the Grooms means that they are AA champs. A win by the Browns forces a tie, with the Grooms' season finished and the Browns needing to win both of their remaining games to take the pennant.

Bridegrooms 7, Browns 5

In a sloppy game which featured a combined eight errors, the Grooms survived to take the AA pennant. The key hit came from third baseman George Pinkney, whose two-run bloop single to left in the bottom of the seventh gave the Grooms a 5-4 lead. They added two more in the eighth on base hits by first baseman Dave Foutz and center fielder Darby O'Brien. Foutz scored three runs, and center fielder Oyster Burns led the Brooklyn attack with three hits. Adonis Terry got the win on the mound, allowing just two hits and one earned run over the game's final three innings. Starter Tom Lovett hit a homer in the fifth to help his own cause.

Catcher Jocko Milligan was the offensive star for St. Louis, going three for five and scoring a run. Second baseman Yank Robinson added two hits and scored another run. Starter Jack Stivetts allowed two runs on six hits over six innings before turning the game over to the Browns' bullpen. Nat Hudson took the loss, allowing three earned runs on three hits in an inning and a third. The Browns loaded the bases with one out in the top of the ninth on base hits by Robinson and Milligan and a walk to left fielder Tip O'Neill, and pushed a run across with two out on a throwing error by Grooms third baseman George Pinkney. But Terry got first baseman and future White Sox owner Charlie Comiskey to fly out to left, ending the ballgame and setting off the first of many baseball celebrations in Brooklyn.

W- Terry (24-15)
L- Hudson (3-3)

HR- BRO: Lovett (3)

The final standings:

Bridegrooms: 92-48
Browns: 89-49- 2 GB

Next: We finish the AA's 1890 pennant race.

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No, but I've read other stuff by him in the past. He's a funny writer, but it doesn't translate to TV when he appears on MLB Network.
This one's a bit early, but it's a long post.

As we begin our resolution of the 1890 AA pennant race, the Colonels lead the Solons by a game and have two games in hand, as they have to make up eight games and the Solons six. They'll play home-and-home at some point if necessary, but in the Pythagorean universe, the first priority in terms of scheduling are games which can be made up as doubleheaders. This is done both to reduce travel expenses in this age before airplanes and to reduce the number of days needed to finish the races, since late fall and winter come mighty quickly in the Northeast and Midwest, then as now.

The Colonels' magic number is seven as they take the field for their makeup doubleheader against the Rochester Broncos in Louisville on October 18. Meanwhile, the Solons are on the road in Syracuse, playing a makeup doubleheader of their own against the Stars. Each of these series will conclude with a single game two days later in the other city.

We begin with Game 1 in Louisville:

Colonels 5, Broncos 4

The Colonels held off a late rally from the Broncs to take Game 1 and reduce their magic number to six. Center fielder Chicken Wolf and first baseman Harry Taylor combined to drive in all five Louisville runs; Wolf had three RBIs, while Taylor had two and went two for three. Taylor's single to right in the bottom of the fifth broke a 2-2 tie and provided the home squad with its margin of victory. On the mound, pitcher George Meakim gave up two runs on four hits in seven innings, and Red Ehret picked up what would today be called a save despite giving up two runs on three hits over the final two frames. Meakim also scored the winning run on Taylor's base hit.

The Broncos got two hits apiece from third baseman Jimmy Knowles and right fielder Harry Lyons, and Knowles drove in a run. They moved the tying run into scoring position in the top of the ninth, but Knowles hit into a fielder's choice to end the game. Starting pitcher Bob Barr went all the way in a losing cause, giving up five runs on eleven hits.

W- Meakim (13-7)
L- Barr (28-25)

Now for Game 1 in Syracuse:

Solons 8. Stars 5

The Solons took advantage of no less than six errors by the Stars to score the victory and keep pace with the Colonels for the moment. Despite shaky defense behind him, Stars starter John Keefe no-hit the visitors through five and two-thirds innings and was leading 2-1 before giving up his first hit, a two-run single by Columbus first baseman Mike Lehane that put the Solons in the lead 3-2. They made it 4-2 later in the inning on an infield single by shortstop Bobby Wheelock.

After giving up three in the last of the sixth to fall behind again, the Solons took the lead for good in the top of the seventh. Catcher Jack O'Connor's single to left tied the game at five, and right fielder John Sneed bounced into a fielder's choice to score center fielder Spud Johnson with the go-ahead run. O'Connor and Sneed were also responsible for two insurance runs in the ninth; O'Connor's infield grounder scored one run and Sneed's infield single the other.

Left fielder Jim McTamany scored three runs and drove in another despite going 0 for 4, and Johnson scored two more despite going 0 for 5. Starter Frank Knauss tossed a complete game, giving up five runs on eight hits but only throwing a hundred and three pitches.

The Stars were led on offense by catcher Grant Briggs, whose two-run single in the last of the sixth gave the home squad a 5-4 lead. Left fielder Bones Ely and second baseman Cupid Childs each contributed two hits and an RBI. On the mound, Keefe took the loss despite giving up just three hits in six and a third innings, mostly because he gave up six walks without recording a single strikeout.

W- Knauss (18-12)
L- Keefe (17-25)

The standings after Game 1:

Colonels: 86-47 (Magic Number: 6)
Solons: 86-49- 1 GB

Now for the nightcaps, beginning in Louisville:

Colonels 16, Broncos 6

The Colonels completed the sweep and reduced their magic number to five. Wolf added a three for four, four RBI second game to finish four for seven with seven RBIs total for the afternoon. He broke a 2-2 tie with his base hit to center as part of a three-run second, then smacked a two-run homer to center in the fourth to increase the home squad's lead to 7-2. Shortstop Phil Tomney had a big game as well, going three for six and driving in four more runs. His big hit was a two-run ground rule double to right as part of a six-run Louisville fifth that put the game out of reach for good. Right fielder Farmer Weaver drove in three runs, and both Wolf and third baseman Harry Raymond scored three.

On the mound, Scott Stratton not only pitched a complete game, but went two for four and scored twice. The Colonels pounded out thirteen hits, but were helped immensely by the Broncos' nine walks and five errors.

Second baseman Bill Greenwood led the Rochester offense by going two for four and driving in three runs, two of them with a second-inning single that tied the game at two. Left fielder Ted Scheffler went four for five in a losing cause. Starting pitcher Cannonball Titcomb took the loss on the mound, giving up thirteen runs on eleven hits and walking four in just four and two-thirds innings. Game 1 starter Bob Barr relieved him and allowed three runs over the final three and a third, giving up just two hits but walking five.

W- Stratton (35-14)
L- Titcomb (10-10)

HR- LOU: Wolf (5)

Finally, back to Syracuse:

Solons 6, Stars 5

The Solons trailed 4-0 after one, but pulled off a big comeback in order to remain a game behind Louisville. John Sneed led the offense by going four for four and driving in three runs. One of his RBIs came in the sixth, when the Solons scored three times to tie the game at five. Mike Lehane's base hit drove in the tying run.

The game was still tied going into the top of the ninth, when the Solons touched up Game 1 loser John Keefe for the winning run. Bobby Wheelock's easy leadoff grounder to first became trouble when Keefe dropped first baseman Mox McQuery's toss for an error. Wheelock then stole second, moved to third on a groundout from pitcher Hank Gastright, and scored on second baseman Jack Crooks' triple into a gathering crowd behind a rope in center field.

Gastright finished his complete game in the last of the ninth, helped out immensely by his defense. Lehane smothered center fielder Rasty Wright's grounder and just barely won a footrace to the bag for out number one, McTamany made a diving grab of Childs' sinking fly ball for out number two, and McQuery was caught stealing after working a walk to end the game. Gastright thus earned his complete game win despite giving up five runs on seven hits and five walks.

The Stars took advantage of two Columbus errors in their four-run first. Crooks fumbled a grounder from right fielder Pat Friel to drive home one run, and Wheelock couldn't find the handle on a similar grounder from Stars starting pitcher Ed Mars to bring in another. A double by Wright and a single by Briggs plated the other two.

Both center fielders, Wright for Syracuse and Johnson for Columbus, went two for five, scored twice, and drove in a run.

W- Gastright (31-14)
L- Keefe (17-26)

The standings at the end of the day:

Colonels: 87-47 (Magic Number: 5)
Solons: 87-49- 1 GB

Next time: These three-game, two-city series conclude.

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It's now October 20, and the three-game, two-city series pitting the Colonels against the Broncos and the Solons against the Stars are set to conclude. First, we head to Rochester:

Colonels 11, Broncos 2

The Colonels rolled over the Broncos before a sparse crowd on a cold, windy day to reduce their magic number to four. Five different Louisville players had two hits, and Harry Raymond led the team in RBIs with three. But it was Farmer Weaver whose two-run single in the third gave the visitors the lead for good. Raymond's major contribution was another two-run single in the seventh. The Colonels totaled twelve hits on the day, and the Broncos helped their cause with a sieve-like defense that committed six errors. Five different Colonels scored twice, with the other run coming from pitcher Red Ehret. Red went all the way on the hill, giving up two runs on seven hits.

Center fielder Sandy Grim was the only Bronco with more than one hit, and he and John Grim drove in the Rochester runs. Grim was the prime defensive goat as well, committing three of the Broncos six errors on the afternoon, with Ted Scheffler responsible for two more. A seventh defensive miscue not classified as an error was catcher Deacon McGuire's passed ball in the second that scored a run for the Colonels. Starter Will Calihan absorbed the loss, giving up nine runs on eleven hits and walking five without a strikeout in seven innings' work.

W- Ehret (26-14)
L- Calihan (18-16)

Now, to Columbus to see how the Solons coped with the Stars:

Solons 9, Stars 3

The Solons completed their sweep of the Stars, and thus remain a game back of the Colonels with just three left to play. Bobby Wheelock paced the Columbus offense, going two for four and driving in three runs. His big blow came in the form of a two-run single in the fifth. John Sneed knocked in two more runs and scored three times, and everyone in the lineup had a hit except for Jim McTamany, who was walked in three of his five at-bats. The Solons scored four times in the first, batting around in the process, and never looked back. Starter Jack Easton pitched a complete game five-hitter in just one hundred pitches, giving up two earned runs.

Only two Syracuse players got hits off of Easton. Cupid Childs went three for four with a home run which led off the ninth. and Pat Friel went two for four and knocked in a pair. Shortstop Barney McLaughlin's day was memorable for a different reason: he committed all three Stars errors. Starter Dan Casey took the loss, giving up nine runs (eight earned) and eleven hits in five innings, and also giving up four walks.

W- Easton (16-14)
L- Casey (19-23)

HR- SYR: Childs (3)

The standings to the moment:

Colonels: 88-47 (Magic Number: 4)
Solons: 88-49- 1 GB

Next: The Colonels and Solons switch dance partners on October 22, as the Colonels travel to Syracuse while the Solons entertain the Broncos.


A postscript: I won't be able to sim the unfinished 1890 Players' League pennant race. WhatIf Sports doesn't tell the difference between the National League New York Giants and the Players' League New York Giants, and the National League version is the one that's in the program. Sorry! (I'll still document it in a post, though.)
It's now October 22, and we begin in Syracuse, where the Colonels are taking on the Stars:

Colonels 5, Stars 4

Down 4-1 after seven innings, the Colonels scored twice in the eighth and twice more in the ninth to beat the Stars and reduce their magic number to three. Second baseman Tim Shinnick's two-run homer cut the Syracuse lead to 4-3 in the top of the eighth, and the Colonels quickly got to starter Mike Morrison in the ninth. Farmer Weaver led off with a line drive base hit to center, and Phil Tomney drew a walk. After one out, catcher Jack Ryan's grounder found the outfield grass in left. Weaver scored to tie the game, and Tomney stopped at third. Harry Raymond's sacrifice fly brought Tomney home with the go-ahead run, and Red Ehret came out of the Louisville bullpen to make it stand up. For the second time in four games, a caught stealing finished things up, as Ryan threw Pat Friel out at second base to end the game after Friel had stroked a two-out single.

George Meakim was the winner in relief, giving up just one hit in an inning and two-thirds after relieving starter Herb Goodall, who had given up four runs on six hits and five walks in six and a third. No Colonels player had more than one hit.

The Stars built their early lead mainly on the strength of a two-run second inning double by Bones Ely. Third baseman Tim O'Rourke had already driven in a run with a single in the first, which meant that the Stars were up 3-0 after two. The other run came on a vases-loaded walk to Barney McLaughlin in the fifth. O'Rourke and Friel each had two hits for the home squad.

Everyone's attention now turns to Columbus. If the Broncos can upset the Solons, the Colonels would only need to beat them once in their upcoming home-and-home series to take the AA pennant.

W- Meakim (14-7)
L- Morrison (6-10)

HR- LOU: Shinnick (2)

Now to Columbus:

Broncos 9, Solons 8

In a wild and woolly affair, the Broncos scored three times in the top of the ninth, then held off a late Columbus rally. The score was 4-2 Solons going into the top of the eighth, when the visitors scored four times to take the lead. Three of the runs scored on defensive miscues, as Jim McTamany dropped Bronco second baseman Bill Greenwood's fly ball to let in two runs and a wild pitch from Jack Easton plated another.

After Columbus scored three times in the bottom of the eighth to take the lead, the Broncos came back with three of their own in the ninth. Ted Scheffler worked a leadoff walk, stole second, moved to third on a groundout, and scored the tying run when center fielder Sandy Griffin tripled to deep center. Griffin later scored the go-ahead run on catcher Deacon McGuire's base hit, and first baseman Jim Field's sac fly brought home John Grim, who had walked earlier. The Solons' aforementioned ninth-inning rally ended when McGuire gunned down John Sneed trying to steal second. Reliever Bob Barr thus got the win despite giving up four runs on five hits in two innings. McGuire was the Broncos' offensive star, going four for five and driving in three runs.

Third baseman Charles Reilly's two-run double tied the game at six in the bottom of the eighth, and the Solons took the lead on Bobby Wheelock's ground-rule double to left center. Sneed went two for five while scoring twice and driving in a run, and Jack O'Connor matched that performance in just three at bats. Easton gave up four runs on three hits and two walks in an inning and a third and was saddled with the loss.

In the ninth, McTamany led off with an infield single, stole second, moved to third on O'Connor's fly to right center, and scored on Sneed's single. Sneed was caught stealing on the very next pitch to end the game.

The Solons' elimination number is now two going into their season-ending home-and-home series with the Colonels, which will begin in Louisville in less than forty-eight hours.

W- Barr (29-25)
L- Easton (16-15)

The standings to the moment:

Colonels: 89-47 (Magic Number: 2)
Solons: 88-50- 2 GB

Next: Game 1 of the big home-and-home.

It's October 24 now, and the Colonels and Solons are scheduled to meet in the first of a two-game home-and-home series in Louisville. If the Colonels win, they're the AA champs and the season's over. If the Solons win, the two teams hook up again in two days, this time in Columbus.

Colonels 3, Solons 2

The Colonels took the AA pennant in a nailbiter. They scored all the runs they would need in the second. Farmer Weaver led off with an infield single, stole second after one out, moved to third on Charlie Hamburg's infield hit, and scored on Jack Ryan's sacrifice fly. Hamburg, who had stolen second earlier, then scored on Harry Raymond's ground single to right center. Raymond also singled in an insurance run in the sixth. The Solons made it close at 3-2 on Charlie Reilly's leadoff homer to deep right in the top of the seventh, but could get no closer. John Sneed singled in their other run in the fourth.

George Meakim tossed a complete game five-hitter for Louisville, and Weaver finished his day with three hits in four at-vats and a pair of runs scored. Reilly went three for four for the losing Solons, and Frank Knauss also tossed an eight-inning complete game, giving up all three Louisville runs on ten hits.

W- Meakim (15-7)
L- Knauss (18-13)

HR- COL: Reilly (5)

The final standings:

Colonels: 90-47
Solons: 88-51- 3 GB

Next: The National League from 1887-1891.