1887 St. Louis Browns season

The 1887 St. Louis Browns season was the team's sixth season in St. Louis, Missouri, and the sixth season in the American Association. The Browns went 95–40 during the season and finished first in the American Association, winning their third pennant in a row. The team amassed 581 stolen bases, the most for any team whose records are recognized by Major League Baseball (MLB).[1] In a postseason series (now referred to as the 1887 World Series), the Browns played the National League champion Detroit Wolverines, losing the series 10 games to 5.

1887 St. Louis Browns
1887 American Association Champions
Major League affiliations
Location
Results
Record95–40 (.704)
League place1st
Other information
Owner(s)Chris von der Ahe
Manager(s)Charlie Comiskey
StatsESPN.com
BB-reference
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Regular season

Drawing the color line in baseball

Racial segregation started to become a custom in baseball about the time that eight members of the Browns withdrew from playing exhibition game in September against the Cuban Giants, a prominent 'colored' team. During this time, it was a popular practice to refer to teams of African American players as Cuban, Hispanic, or Arabian to deflect the racial stigma of the time, even though many were predominantly none of the three. News accounts reported that "for the first time in the history of base ball the color line has been drawn, and that by the St. Louis Browns, who have established the precedent that white players must not play with colored men."[2]

The Browns were in Philadelphia with plans to travel to New York City to play the Cuban Giants in an exhibition game. Scheduled long in advance with a "big guarantee", a crowd was anticipated in excess of 15,000 spectators. However, the night before departure to New York, eight Browns players signed a letter addressed to owner Chris von der Ahe and delivered it in person. The letter read:

We, the undersigned, members of the St. Louis Baseball Club, do not agree to play against negroes to-morrow. We will cheerfully play against white people at any time, and think, by refusing to play, we are only doing what is right, taking everything into consideration and the shape the team is in at present.[2]

The letter was signed by eight players: Arlie Latham, Jack Boyle, Tip O'Neill, Bob Caruthers, Bill Gleason, Yank Robinson, Silver King, and Curt Welch.[2] Manager and first baseman Charlie Comiskey was reportedly unaware of the letter and Ed Knouff refused to sign it.[2] The Cuban Giants had previously played numerous exhibition games against other 'white' teams including Chicago, Indianapolis, Detroit, Louisville, Philadelphia.[2] This was the first reported account that any club refused to play them because of their race.[2]

The cancellation of the game with the Cuban Giants was merely symptomatic of a larger trend occurring in professional baseball. The boycott occurred during the same season in which Cap Anson of the Chicago White Stockings threatened not to play any 'white' professional teams who hired black players and just months after the International League prohibited further signing of black players. Clearly the tide was moving toward segregation in baseball, so the St. Louis Browns' withdrawal brought wider attention to what was to become a norm in the United States. Ironically, it would be by an act 60 years later by then-former Cardinals executive in Branch Rickey that broke the color barrier in MLB when he débuted Jackie Robinson in 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Season standings

American Association W L Pct. GB Home Road
St. Louis Browns 9540 0.704 58–15 37–25
Cincinnati Red Stockings 8154 0.600 14 46–27 35–27
Baltimore Orioles 7758 0.570 18 42–21 35–37
Louisville Colonels 7660 0.559 19½ 45–23 31–37
Philadelphia Athletics 6469 0.481 30 41–28 23–41
Brooklyn Grays 6074 0.448 34½ 36–37 24–37
New York Metropolitans 4489 0.331 50 26–33 18–56
Cleveland Blues 3992 0.298 54 22–36 17–56

Record vs. opponents


Sources:
Team BAL BRO CIN CLE LOU NYP PHI STL
Baltimore 10–9–111–917–37–11–115–4–214–63–16–2
Brooklyn 9–10–17–1313–6–18–129–910–8–24–16
Cincinnati 9–1113–711–68–1217–3–111–912–6
Cleveland 3–176–13–16–118–11–111–84–141–18
Louisville 11–7–112–812–811–8–112–811–8–17–13
New York 4–15–29–93–17–18–118–127–11–15–14–1
Philadelphia 6–148–10–29–1114–48–11–111–7–18–12
St. Louis 16–3–216–46–1218–113–714–5–112–8

Roster

1887 St. Louis Browns
Roster
Pitchers

Catchers

  • Jack Boyle
  • Doc Bushong
  • Mike Goodfellow
Infielders Outfielders Manager

Player stats

Starters by position

Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
CJack Boyle8835066.189241
1BCharlie Comiskey125538180.3354103
2BYank Robinson125430131.305174
SSBill Gleason135598172.288076
3BArlie Latham136627198.316283
OFTip O'Neill124517225.43514123
OFCurt Welch131544151.2783108
OFBob Caruthers98364130.357873

Other batters

Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
Dave Foutz102423151.3574108
Doc Bushong5320151.254026
Lou Sylvester2911225.223118
Ed Knouff155610.17906
Harry Lyons281.12501
Mike Goodfellow140.00000

Starting pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Silver King46390.032123.78128
Bob Caruthers39341.02993.3074
Dave Foutz40339.125123.8794
Nat Hudson967.0444.9715
Ed Knouff650.0424.5018
Joe Murphy19.0105.005

Relief pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G W L SV ERA SO
Yank Robinson10003.000

References

  1. "Team Stolen Base Records & Team Caught Stealing Records". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved April 17, 2022.
  2. "Sports of the Season". The Critic. Washington, D.C. September 12, 1887. p. 4. Retrieved April 17, 2022 via newspapers.com.
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