1883 Boston Beaneaters

From BR Bullpen

1883 Boston Beaneaters / Franchise: Atlanta Braves / BR Team Page[edit]

Record: 63-35; Finished 1st in National League (1883 NL)

History, Comments, Contributions[edit]

The 1883 Boston Beaneaters was the team's thirteenth season won their eighth pennant, but third National League pennant, and their first since 1878. The name Beaneaters was not official, and they were also known as the Red Stockings, or simply as the Boston Baseball Club or Bostons.

December of 1882 saw the election of Abraham G. Mills a director with the Chicago White Stockings, as league president. This meant that acting president Arthur Soden was able to resume his regularly scheduled duties with Boston. During the off-season, various committees were set up. One of these committees was to determine team uniforms. Boston ended up woth two sets of uniforms, both including the familiar and favorite red style and stockings.

The 1883 season was Boston's thirteenth season overall, and eighth in the National League. Second baseman Jack Burdock was named team captain. It has been reported that he was also named team manager. His SABR biography states that he managed the team for the home games, while Morrill was the manager for road games. Author Harold Kaese makes no mention of this in his book on the Boston Braves, while contemporary information confirming this is scarce. Most likely with Burdock as team captain, it was probably his responsibility to step in for Morrill whenever the team manager was absent.

In the meantime, Morrill was busy replacing players: Pat Deasley left for the St. Louis Brown Stockings and was replaced by Mike Hines; Outfielders Edward Smith and Paul Radford were signed to replace Pete Hotaling, who left for the Cleveland Forest Citys, and Ed Rowen, who left for the Philadelphia Athletics. Former infielder Lew Brown made a return to the team but only played in 14 games before leaving for the Louisville Eclipse.

Boston opened the season on May 1st with a 7-5 road loss against the expansion New York Gothams. The Red Stockings did not play their first home game until May 30th. During that time, Boston posted a 5-12-1 record, putting them in 6th place. It was during this time that a new team nickname would appear. In an article dated from May 14th a sportswriter for the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, in writing about a May 12th game between the Red Stockings and Buffalo Bisons, referred to the visiting Boston club as the Boston Beaneaters: "The heavy batting of the Beaneaters and the provoking errors of the Bisons were the conspicuous features of the game."

For the second straight year, the Red Stockings played a doubleheader as part of their home opener. This year's took place on Decoration Day (now commonly known as Memorial Day). However, this year was different since the Bostons played two different clubs. The first game, which took place in the morning, was against Cleveland. The second game was an afternoon game against the Buffalo Bisons. The Red Stockings won both games by a combined score of 5-2. Another Buffalo newspaper, the Buffalo Evening Telegraph, would make another reference to the Boston club as the Beaneaters in its report of May 31st on the game between Boston and Buffalo: “The bean eaters managed to get in two runs before the Buffalos fairly had the cinders out of their eyes.”

The Red Stockings reached .500 on June 12th with a 20-9 blowout home win over the Detroit Wolverines. The team moved a game over .500 on June 14th with a 4-1 win over Chicago. The win also put the club in the first half of the league, where they would remain for the rest of the season. This marked improvement resulted in more fans showing up at the South End Grounds to watch Boston play. On July 10th, Boston was 3-1/2 games back of first place Cleveland with a 29-19 record. However, Boston had a setback by winning only 4 of its next 12 games, dropping the club 8-1/2 games back and in fourth place with a 32-28 record.

The Red Stockings ended the month of July by defeating Cleveland, 8-4, starting a seven-game winning streak, and even though that reduced the deficit to 3 1/2 games back, they were still in fourth place. On August 5th, the Chicago Tribune became the first newspaper outside of Buffalo to refer to the Bostons as the Beaneaters in a recounting of a game between Boston and Cleveland: "The bean-eaters outplayed [Cleveland] at all points." Again, the name was not regularly used by newspapers. By September, Boston was a half-game behind Cleveland. They moved into first place on September 4th, a status that lasted until a 6-1 loss to the Providence Grays on September 6th dropped the club to second. They did not return to first until September 11th, with a 3-2 win over Chicago. The Red Stockings clinched their seventh pennant (counting their years in the National Association, on September 27th with a 4-1 win over Cleveland. Author Harold Kaese titles his chapter on the 1883 season as “Morrill Steals a Pennant”. This was because there were those who felt that Boston that year was not the best team. That may have been the case, but when the dust settled on September 29th, Boston was in first place, and they did it with hitting, and their pitchers Charlie Buffinton and Jim Whitney.

The Association had its annual meeting on December 19th. However, unlike past meetings, this one was of a rather different kind. When it came time for the annual financial report to be submitted, there was none to be given by Chase, who, it was reported, was a very ill man at the time. The New York Clipper wrote that "four gentlemen control the stock, and it is their desire to keep the financial condition secret." The members renewed their congratulations with each other on the club winning the pennant. Most of the old directors were re-elected, the only individual who was not was Eliot Mayo turning the board from a five-man board into a four-man board.



Stat Team League Rank
Batting .276 .262 2nd
On Base Percentage .300 .290 t-2nd
Slugging .408 .360 1st
Home Run 34 16 1st
ERA 2.55 3.13 3rd
Fielding .901 .891 3rd

Further Reading[edit]

  • Charlie Bevis: "James Billings" SABR Billings
  • Charlie Bevis: "William Conant" SABR Conant
  • Harold Kaese: Boston Braves: 1871-1953, Northeastern University Press, Boston, MA 2004. ISBN 978-1555536176. Originally published in 1948.
  • Bob LeMoine: “Boston Braves team ownership history”, SABR
  • [Albert Spalding]: "Spalding’s Official Baseball Guide", A.G. Spalding & Bros., Chicago, Ill., 1883, pg. 104
  • Kathy Torres “Jack Burdock” SABR


  • Sporting Life December 26, 1883, pg. 2