Philadelphia White Stockings

From BR Bullpen

Ballparks: Jefferson Street Grounds (May 1, 1873-October 25, 1875), Star Baseball Park, Covington, KY (September 21, 1875), Ludlow Baseball Park (September 22, 1875)

The mighty Athletics Baseball Team was joined by a second professional team in 1873. The team was officially Philadelphia Base Ball Club, but was popularly known as the White Stockings. It has been suggested that the team was also known as the Quakers, but there is not any official record of this. Five of the members of the team were part of the Athletics’ regular nine: Fergy Malone, Ned Cuthbert, Fred Treacey, Levi Meyerle, and Denny Mack. The team would also include a sixth, George Bechtel, who had played with the Athletics back in 1871. In addition to acquiring players from the Philadelphia Athletics, the White Stockings managed to gain access to the Athletics home ballpark, where the two clubs would share for that season.

The team would open the season against the Athletics, winning by a score of 11-3. The White Stockings would win 8 of its first 10 games, before manager Fergy Malone was replaced by former Chicago White Stockings’ manager Jimmy Wood. The team would remain in first place for much of the season, until a 6 game losing streak in late September, dropped the team to second place, behind the Boston Red Stockings, with a 36-17 record. The Red Stockings were the only opponent the White Stockings had a losing season to. Against their fellow city rivals, the White Stockings enjoyed an 8-1 record.

Prior to the start of the 1874 season, the Chicago White Stockings rejoined the National Association after a three year absence. Team manager Jimmy Wood rejoined the White Stockings. He was replaced by 2nd baseman Bill Craver. The team would change its nickname to the Pearls, but the team was still commonly referred to as the Philadelphias or the Phillies. Only three players would remain from the previous season: Mack, Bechtel and Chick Fulmer. The Pearls would once again open the season against the Athletics, this time losing 14-5. Unfortunately it was not to be a repeat of the previous season. The team spent most of the season either in 5th or 4th place. When the season ended on Oct. 30th the Pearls were in 4th place with a 29-29 record. Manager Craver led the team with a .343 Batting Average, while 3rd baseman Jim Holdsworth led the team with 97 hits. Team pitcher Candy Cummings posted a 28-26 record and a 1.96 ERA, which was second best to Bechtel’s 1.62, but he only pitched in 6 games, 4 of them starts and had 1-3 record. Against the three teams that finished ahead of them, the Pearls had a winning record against the New York Mutuals.

The 1875 season saw more changes to the team. Craver left to manage the Philadelphia Centennials, and was replaced by Mike McGeary. Fulmer was now the lone player to have played all three seasons with the team. He would be joined by teammates Fergy Malone, Levi Meyerle, Fred Treacey and George Zettlein. This year instead of opening against the Athletics, the Pearls would open against the Centennials. As with the previous season, the Pearls were never in contention for the league pennant, even though the team would win more games than last season. Much of the season was spent in 5th or 6th place. The Pearls would end the season in 5th with a 37-31-2 record. Against the 5 teams head of the Pearls, the team managed only a .500 record against the St. Louis Brown Stockings, and Hartford Dark Blues. Against their fellow city rivals, the Pearls went 2-8 against the Athletics and 3-0 against the Centennials. After the season ended the team closed up shop. Which may have been a good thing as the team may not have been able to do better than the Athletics one year stint in the National League.

Source:

  • Peter Filichia: Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebrations of All 273 Major League and Negro League Ballparks Past and Present, Addison Wesley Publishing Company (March 1993)
  • John Shiffert: ‘Base Ball in Philadelphia: A History of the Early Game, 1831-1900’ McFarland, Oct 11, 2006
  • Philadelphia Baseball