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First game in major league history

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The Fort Wayne Kekiongas defeated the Cleveland Forest Citys on May 4, 1871 in the first game of the National Association. Full play-by-play for the game is available from Retrosheet. Some notable firsts in the game:

  • Deacon White led off the game with a double off Bobby Mathews, thus recording the first ever hit and extra base hit.
  • White promptly became the first runner erased on a double play when Tom Carey caught a line drive from Gene Kimball and finished the play unassisted.
  • Art Allison became the first strikeout victim (and Mathews the first pitcher to record a strikeout) leading off the second, but reached first base on the first error by catcher Bill Lennon.
  • Allison then stole second for the majors first stolen base. In the 7th he became the first batter caught stealing.
  • Lennon atoned for his error in the bottom of the inning by scoring the first run, with Joe McDermott getting credit for the first ever run batted in.
  • Cleveland pitcher Al Pratt gave up the first walk to Wally Goldsmith leading off the bottom of the fourth.
  • Goldsmith was forced at second base, giving John Bass credit for the first ever assist.
  • In the 5th, White allowed the first passed ball.
  • Bobby Mathews threw the first ever victory, complete game, and shutout. By the rules of the time, a team leading in the bottom of the ninth was allowed to play the inning. The Kekiongas elected to do so, so Forest City pitcher Al Pratt didn't complete his game until after Mathews did. Although he thus missed a chance at the first complete game, he did become the first losing pitcher.
  • John Boake umpired the game
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