May 24, 1886: Fred Dunlap hits for the cycle, records 16 chances at second base

This article was written by Mike Huber

Fred DunlapAbout 3,000 spectators filled the Union Grounds1 in St. Louis to watch the last game in a three-game National League series between New York Giants and St. Louis Maroons. The Giants had won the first two games, played on May 21 and 22, outscoring the home team by a combined 13-4. Since May 23 fell on a Sunday, each team had a day off before the series finale. The fans at Monday’s game witnessed a slugfest in which St. Louis second baseman Fred Dunlap hit for the cycle.2

Although it was fairly early in the 1886 season, New York had become a streaky team – winning three, losing two, winning three, losing four, before taking two of three at Kansas City. The Giants had played only five games at home but still had a winning record at 10-7, good for third place in the NL.

St. Louis’s losses in the first two games of the series had dropped the Maroons, who had not yet played an away game, to fourth at 9-10. Both teams trailed the front-running Detroit Wolverines and second-place Chicago White Stockings in the NL standings.

The Giants sent right-hander Mickey Welch, known as “New York’s famous little twirler,”3 to the mound. The future Hall of Famer was in his seventh major-league season and fourth with the Giants. He had won 44 games for New York in 1885, including 17 decisions in a row, to set the franchise record,4 but his control was always an issue. He led the league in bases on balls in three consecutive seasons (1884-1886), yielding a combined 440 walks in that span.

St. Louis –which had joined the NL after winning the 1884 Union Association championship – countered with Henry Boyle.5 In his third season with the Maroons, Boyle had won 15 of 18 decisions in his rookie campaign, but then he lost 24 of 40 decisions in his sophomore year. In 1886 he won only nine games, against 15 losses, but the lanky right-hander led the NL with a 1.76 ERA.

The scoring started in the bottom of the first when New York’s Jim O’Rourke led off with a fly ball past second base. Dunlap muffed the catch, and O’Rourke was safe. He scored on a double by Roger Connor for a Giants’ 1-0 lead.

It remained that way until the third, when the Maroons “battled Welch’s curves”6 for three runs and took the lead. Joe Quinn led off with a single, and Emmett Seery drew a base on balls. Dunlap, who had doubled in the first inning, lined a pitch into right field for a single. Quinn scored easily, and Seery followed him home when Welch could not catch the relay from right fielder Mike Dorgan. Dunlap also advanced on Welch’s error and then scored on a single by Jerry Denny, putting St. Louis ahead, 3-1.

The Giants drew even in the fourth. Patrick Gillespie singled, took second on a passed ball, and crossed the plate on Dorgan’s single. Dude Esterbrook’s single put runners on the corners. With Danny Richardson at the plate, Esterbrook broke for second. St. Louis backstop George Myers threw to Dunlap, who caught the ball and threw it right back to Myers as Dorgan raced home. The throw was in time and Dorgan “perished at the plate.”7 Still, Richardson grounded a ball past shortstop Quinn, and Esterbrook scored the tying run.

Dunlap’s homer in the top of the fifth gave the home team a 4-3 lead, but it was short-lived. New York surged ahead in the bottom half. O’Rourke walked and Connor doubled into left field. Monte Ward’s single brought O’Rourke home to tie the game.

One out later, Ward tallied on a triple by Dorgan, who overran third and was tagged out. Esterbrook continued the hit parade with a double; Richardson singled him home. Myers then allowed two passed balls, enabling Richardson to get to third base. Welch grounded a ball to Quinn, but the shortstop’s wild throw to first allowed Richardson to score the fifth run of the inning. New York now led, 8-4.   

It was the Maroons’ turn for a comeback, and St. Louis “made spurts in the seventh and eighth innings.”8 Back-to-back triples by Seery and Dunlap, followed by an Alex McKinnon single, gave the Maroons a pair of runs in the seventh. Dunlap’s three-bagger meant that he had just hit for the cycle.9

An inning later, singles by Quinn and Seery and a walk to Dunlap loaded the bases. A grounder to shortstop resulted in a two-run error by Ward, and the game was once again tied.

The momentum seemed to have shifted in the Maroons’ favor, but the Giants “batted Boyle’s curves freely in the eighth inning.”10 Consecutive singles by Welch, Joe Gerhardt, and O’Rourke started the action. New York added a double and St. Louis catcher Myers was charged with his fifth passed ball of the game, as New York scored three times, giving them the decisive advantage.

When it was all over, the Gothamites had won their third consecutive contest against the Maroons, 11-8. The spectators were treated to “a very spirited game”11 which featured 19 total runs. The two teams combined for 29 hits.

Both teams boarded trains, and after two offdays, played another three-game series against each other, this time in New York City.12

In addition to a fine day at the plate, Dunlap shined in the field, “accepting 15 of 16 chances presented to him.”13 According to Baseball-Almanac, Dunlap had set the record for most chances taken by a second baseman when he handled 18 chances as member of the NL’s Cleveland Blues in July 1882.14 The New York Times noted that Dunlap “played a remarkably fine game at second base.”15 In the sixth inning, Connor popped a fly ball behind first base. Dunlap raced back and caught it “with his hands back of his head while running.”16 The St. Louis Globe-Democrat called the catch “one of the most brilliant ever seen made upon a ball field.”17 But other St. Louis players were not so efficient. Myers’ passed balls, combined with untimely errors by Dunlap and Quinn, resulted in only three of the Giants’ 11 runs being earned.18

In 1884 Dunlap had led the Union Association in several offensive categories: runs (160), hits (185), home runs (13), batting average (.412), and OPS (1.067). Two seasons later, he batted just .267, with only 3 home runs, 2 triples, and 15 doubles. Three of his 20 extra-base hits for the season came in this game.

Dunlap was the first of four major-league players to hit for the cycle in 1886. His feat was followed by Pete Browning (Louisville Colonels, August 8), Jack Rowe (Detroit Wolverines, August 21), and Chippy McGarr (Philadelphia Athletics, September 23).19 Dunlap’s accomplishment was the only cycle in the three-year franchise history of the St. Louis Maroons.

The Globe-Democrat’s box score and write-up gives Dunlap credit for four hits – a single, double, triple, and home run.20 The game write-up in the Globe-Democrat explicitly discusses the homer (fifth inning), the triple (seventh inning), and only one single (third inning), as well as an eighth-inning walk, leading to the conclusion that the double occurred in the first inning, as Dunlap batted second in the Maroons’ lineup, and he did not make an out in this game.

The Giants had won all three games in St. Louis. They swept the ensuing series in New York as well, giving them six straight victories, all over the Maroons. For the season, the Giants won 15 of 18 games played against St. Louis. They finished the season with a .630 winning percentage but were still 12½ games behind the White Stockings.

After an 11-game losing streak in July, tensions between Maroons owner Henry Lucas and Dunlap heightened, and on August 6, 1886, Dunlap was dealt to Detroit for $4,700. After finishing 1886 in sixth place in the NL at 43-79-4, the Maroons withdrew their membership in the National League before the start of the 1887 season. Lucas sold his team to Indianapolis on March 8, 1887, where they became the National League Hoosiers. (The following year, the ballpark built by Lucas was “torn down to make room for a homeopathic college.”21) Dunlap played for Detroit in 1887 before being sold to the Pittsburgh Alleghenys. His offensive numbers were never as good as in 1886.

Author’s Note

One more discrepancy (in addition to Dunlap’s four hit types): Both the New York Times and the St. Louis Globe-Democrat agree that St. Louis pitcher Boyle struck out one batter in the game (since so many of the Giants players grounded the ball to Dunlap at second). However, readers in New York might have noted that Welch, the Giants’ hurler, made eight strikeouts, while those reading the box score in St. Louis the next day learned that Welch had struck out 18 batters.22



This article was fact-checked by Kevin Larkin and copy-edited by Len Levin.



In addition to the sources mentioned in the Notes, the author consulted,,, and Box scores and play-by-play are not available from either Retrosheet or Baseball-Reference.



1 See According to the SABR history of the ballpark, “Although some sources refer to it as the Palace Park of America, almost all news reports during its life as a major league park refer to it simply as the Union Grounds, or the Union Base Ball Park. Occasionally it was called Lucas Park, for the Maroons’ first owner.”

2 Dunlap was player-manager of the Maroons for parts of 1884 and 1885, in a total of 147 games. He had been player-manager of the Cleveland Blues in 1882.

3 “The Giants Win Again,” New York Times, May 25, 1886: 2.

4 His 44 victories gave him a winning percentage of .800.

5 Interestingly, neither pitcher was at the bottom of his team’s respective batting order. Welch batted eighth for New York, collecting a single, while St. Louis’ Boyle batted seventh.

6 “The Giants Win Again.”

7 “Sporting,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, May 25, 1886: 8.

8 “The Giants Win Again.”

9 According to the New York Times, Dunlap’s four hits consisted of a home run, a triple, and two singles. However, the St. Louis Globe-Democrat credited Dunlap with a single, double, triple, and home run.

10 “The Giants Win Again.”

11 “The Giants Win Again.”

12 The Giants swept the Maroons in both series, outscoring St. Louis 40-21 in the six games.

13 “The Giants Win Again.” Dunlap was given credit for eight putouts, seven assists, and one error. The St. Louis Globe-Democrat credited Dunlap with only four assists.

14 See, accessed August 2022. While playing for the National League’s St. Louis Maroons, Dunlap established the major-league record for most chances by a second baseman in a game, with 18. Terry Harmon (Philadelphia Phillies) tied the National League record on June 12, 1971. Jimmy Dykes (Philadelphia Athletics) set the American League record with 17 chances on August 28, 1921. Chicago White Sox star Nellie Fox tied Dykes’ AL record on June 12, 1952. In the American Association, Cupid Childs (Syracuse Stars) set the AA record on June 1, 1890, with 18 chances (tying Dunlap’s NL mark).

15 “The Giants Win Again.”

16 “Sporting.”

17 “Sporting.”

18 The Globe-Democrat gave New York three earned runs, but the New York Times gave them six. Regardless, at least five of the Giants’ runs were unearned.

19 Like Dunlap, Rowe played in the National League, while Browning and McGarr played in the American Association.

20 As the game was in St. Louis, this account is likely more credible than that from the New York Times, which credited Dunlap with “making a home run, a three-base hit, and two singles.” “The Giants Win Again.” As of this article’s publication in 2022, no or box score or play-by-play existed.

21 See Joan M. Thomas, “Henry V. Lucas,” SABR Biography Project,

22 The New York Sun also credited Welch with just eight strikeouts. In addition, the Sun did not credit Dunlap with a double but two singles instead. See “The National Game,” New York Sun, May 25, 1886: 3.

Additional Stats

New York Giants 11
St. Louis Maroons 6

Union Grounds
St. Louis, MO

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