July 4, 1892: Boston’s comeback win spoils Cincinnati’s glorious day

This article was written by Joel Rippel

Jack Stivetts (BASEBALL-REFERENCE.COM)The Cincinnati Reds and the city of Cincinnati were looking forward to the arrival of the defending National League champion Boston Beaneaters for a holiday doubleheader.

A newspaper headline said: “Big Bostons. They will be here To-Day. The Two Fourth of July Battles. Can the Reds Give the Leaders Two Falls?”1

In the middle of an 18-game road trip, the Beaneaters arrived in Cincinnati on a roll. They had won 12 of their previous 14 games and brought a league-best 47-18 record into the third meeting of the season between the two teams.

The host Reds, who had finished in seventh place in the eight-team National League in 1891, were playing solid baseball as well. They had gone 5-1-1 over their prior seven games to improve to 36-26-2.

Baseball fans turned out in force for the doubleheader. The first game was the sixth game of the season between the two. In early May the teams met twice in Cincinnati, with the first game ending in a 0-0, 14-inning tie and the Beaneaters winning the next day, 3-2. In mid-June the Reds visited Boston for a three-game series, with the Beaneaters winning two of three.

“The early trains brought in a great crowd of excursionists from surrounding cities and towns, and before 9 o’clock there was a human stream drifting toward the Cincinnati Park,” wrote the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Every seat in the park was occupied, and they were standing up all the way around when Umpire (Bob) Emslie came on the lot and called play.2

The Reds continued their recent strong play with a 9-5 victory over the Beaneaters in the first game. The Reds scored five runs in the first inning to open a 5-1 lead. The Beaneaters scored three runs in the third inning and one run in the seventh inning to forge a 5-5 tie. But the Reds regained control with a run in the bottom of the seventh and three runs in the eighth inning.

The standing-room crowd of 9,678 for the first game grew larger for the separate-admission second game. The crowd of 10,861 for the second game – the doubleheader’s combined attendance of 20,479 was the largest for a single day in Cincinnati history – saw the Reds fall one out short of “the most glorious base-ball Fourth in the history of Cincinnati.”3

The Reds jumped on the Beaneaters early in the second game, scoring six runs in their first three times at bat to open a 6-0 lead. Through six innings, the Reds led 6-1 and were on the verge of a victory and sweep, which “up to the closing inning, looked to be a moral cinch.”4

The Beaneaters started their comeback in the seventh with four runs off Reds starter Frank Dwyer. The comeback began rather quietly when leadoff hitter Bobby Lowe was hit by a pitch and Charlie Bennett reached first on an error when Reds third baseman Arlie Latham, “who played a very rocky game in both contests, fell down on an easy play.”5

Consecutive singles by Jack Stivetts, Tommy McCarthy, and Hugh Duffy and sacrifices by Herman Long and Tommy Tucker helped the Beaneaters pull within one run, 6-5.

Reds manager Charlie Comiskey brought in pitcher Elton “Ice Box” Chamberlain in the eighth inning. Chamberlain retired the Beaneaters in the eighth to maintain the Reds’ slim lead. Stivetts, the Beaneaters pitcher, led off the ninth inning with a single – his third hit of the game. Chamberlain struck out McCarthy and then appeared to have the dangerous Duffy, who had four hits in the game, struck out. But the third strike got away from Reds catcher Henry “Farmer” Vaughn and Stivetts advanced to second base. Long followed with a single to drive in Stivetts with the tying run. Long then stole second and came home on a single by Tucker.

Stivetts retired the Reds in the ninth inning to close out the Beaneaters’ stunning comeback victory.

A Cincinnati newspaper account of the game lamented, “It isn’t yet clear how we lost it. One run was all that stood between us and a fitting climax to a day of brand sport. No one at the outset really expected the Reds to throw down the visitors in succession. There is scarcely a team in the League that has accomplished that feat, but after winning one game and having the other on easy avenue, with a lead of 6 to 0, it was heart-breaking to lose it. To lose such a game was enough to make a person rent the ambient air with a few choice expressions that might not pass muster in polite society.”6

The account said, “Artistically, no two worse games of ball have played at the local park this season. The score shows that no less than an aggregate of twenty-three errors were made by the two teams in the two games.”7

Latham, whose error contributed to the Beaneaters’ comeback, had five errors in the doubleheader, as did Long, the Beaneaters’ shortstop.

Despite that, the account concluded, “While there was plenty of misplays, the games were just the kind to suit the crowd. Both were full of lively hitting, hustling base-running and fast playing all around. Both games were of the scrappy up-hill kind people like to see. They were both fought down to the bitter end. The Bostons won the second game against great odds.”8

The dramatic doubleheader split helped the Beaneaters maintain their hold on first place. Eight days later, the Beaneaters finished the first half of the National League schedule in first place with a 52-22-1 record, 2 games ahead of the second-place Brooklyn Bridegrooms (51-25-1). The Beaneaters were 28-12 on the road in the first half of the season.



In addition to the sources cited in the Notes, the author also consulted Newspapers.com and Retrosheet.org.



1 “Big Bostons,” Cincinnati Enquirer, July 4, 1892: 2.

2 “Near It,” Cincinnati Enquirer, July 5, 1892: 2.

3 Ibid.

4 Ibid.

5 Ibid.

6 Ibid.

7 Ibid.

8 Ibid.

Additional Stats

Boston Beaneaters 7
Cincinnati Reds 6

League Ballpark
Cincinnati, OH

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