Season Recap: 1883
League Champion: Boston Beaneaters
1883 – At a meeting between the American Association and the National League, the Tripartite Agreement (or “National Agreement”) is drafted. In it the two leagues, along with the Northwestern League, agree to respect each other’s contracts, ending a brief period of player raids. Also, the reserve rule is amended to allow each team to reserve 11 players, an increase of 6. The National Agreement will usher in a period of peaceful coexistence, lasting until the Players League war of 1890.
“Good ballplayers make good citizens.” – Chester A. Arthur, 21st President of the United States.Chester A. Arthur brings the Forest Cities ball club, a recently defunct franchise of the National Association, to the White House, making it the first professional team to visit with a president in Washington, D.C. Later in the season, the country’s Commander-in-Chief will also host the new National League’s New York Gothams, who will become better known as the Giants in 1885.
The Giants, then known as the Gothams, play their first game in franchise history, defeating Boston, 7 to 5, at the Southeast Diamond at the Polo Grounds in New York. The newcomer in the National League will finish the season with a record of 46-50, sixteen games behind today’s opponent, the league-leading Beaneaters.
The Phillies, known as the Quakers at the time, win their first game in franchise history when they rout the White Stockings, later to be known as the Cubs, at Chicago’s Lake Front Park. Philadelphia had lost their first eight games of the season before today’s 12-0 victory, and will finish the season in last place in the eight-team National League with a dismal 17-81 (.173) record.
7/10/1883 – The Buffalo Bisons hosted the New York Gothams, whose official line up had Frank Hankinson hitting 7th and Tip O’Neill, the pitcher hitting 8th. In the second inning, they batted in the opposite order and both made outs, so Buffalo did not protest. O’Neill again batted out of order in the 4th when he made the third out. As Hankinson came up to lead off the 5th Buffalo protested. The umpire, Stewart Decker, sent Hankinson off the field and had O’Neill, who was a weaker hitter, bat again without anyone being called out. Under current rules, the number nine hitter, Dasher Troy, would have been allowed to bat without penalty.
8/1/1883: Chick Fulmer of the Cincinnati Red Stockings of the American Association lost a home run in the first inning. Fulmer failed to touch 3B while running out his four-bagger against the Columbus Buckeyes and was out on appeal. In the fourth inning, Fulmer successfully completed a circuit for an inside-the-park homer. The game was played in Cincinnati.
In an American Association contest, John Reilly hits for the cycle, collecting three singles, a double, triple, and home run in the Red Stockings’ 27-5 rout of the visiting Pittsburgh Alleghenys at the Bank Street Grounds. Next week, the 24 year-old Cincinnati first baseman will accomplish the feat for the second time at the same ballpark when the team beats the first-place Philadelphia Athletics, 12-3.
1883 – New York Gothams owner John B. Day proposes a resolution to prohibit a team from signing a player who has broken the reserve clause of his contract. This resolution, eventually adopted by both the American Association and National League, effectively changes the reserve clause from a device to protect owners from their own greediness to a vindictive weapon to be used against uncooperative players.
1883 – In Louisville a “first-class colored team” is formed. The team, later known as the Falls Cities, becomes one of the nation’s best black teams. It will join the National Colored Base Ball League (NCBBL) in 1887, but will apparently disband shortly after the collapse of the NCBBL in the first week of its season.