Saturday, June 9, 2012

On this date in Reds history: A rowdy home crowd forces Reds to forfeit

The following is an excerpt taken from Redleg Journal, which is co-authored by John Snyder and current Reds historian Greg Rhodes. I highly reccommend this historical piece of literature to any Reds fan out there.

"June 9, 1901 - An overflow crowd at a Reds-Giants matchup at League Park intrudes on the field and leads to a farcial game the the umpires call in the bottom of the ninth inning as a forfeit in favor of New York. The Giants led, 25-13.

The grandstand at League Park was unable to handle the large crowd that assembled that Sunday afternoon. Part of the overflow crowd stood on the field along the foul line and inside the outfield fence. The Giants led from the start and piled up a 15-4 lead after six innings. The fans lost interest due to the one-sided score and during the final three innings, those in the stands and the crowd on the field amused themselves by throwing cushions at each other. The assemblage in the outfield began to edge closer and closer to the infield. Nearly a dozen ground-rule doubles were hit into the crowd, which was inching closer to the diamond by the minute. By the ninth inning, routine fly balls were sailing over the crowd. Unable to gain control, the umpires declared a forfeit.

The fans were attracted to a match-up between the first and second place teams in the league. At game time, the Giants were in first place with an 18-12 record, and the Reds were only percentage points behind at 20-14. By the end of the season, the two teams were competing for a spot in the National League basement. There were 20 players who made their major-league debuts with the talent deficient Reds in 1901."

Just for the record, the Redlegs finished the year in last place in the eight-team National League with a measly record of 52-87 -- 38 games off the pace of the first place Pirates.

However, the team did feature some bright spots. Noodles Hahn won 22 games and posted a 2.71 ERA, all the while leading the league in innings pitched (375.1), complete games (41) and strikeouts (239). Those numbers are simply unheard of for pitchers in modern day.

The bright spot offensively was none other than Sam Crawford. He led the league with 16 homers and batted .330 with a team-leading 104 RBI.

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