Bernard A. Drew|Our Berkshires:Extra! Extra! You're out!

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GREAT BARRINGTON — There are several reasons a newspaper will print an Extra. War. Natural disaster. Huge fire. Terrible flood. And baseball.

The Berkshire News, a Saturday morning weekly with a Democratic slant published by the Douglas brothers, Malcolm and Harry, put out two Friday Extra editions during the 5 1/2-years it published, 1889-1895. They covered two baseball games.

An intense rivalry between the Hope nine of Great Barrington and a Lee mill team was big news. Morning and afternoon matchups were scheduled, one in each town.

The first Extra, circulated at 1 p.m. on May 30, 1890, trumpeted: "The Hopes Win! The Morning Game on Fair Ground. A Large Attendance. Some Sharp Work by Both Teams. Score, 9 to 6."

The game started at 10:20 a.m. In his haste to get out the news, the unidentified reporter wrote in shorthand.

Hope fielded Almbach, c; Garry, p; Penders, 1st; Jordan, 2nd; R. Ambach, 3rd; Cronin, ss; Kastner, rf; Thompson, cf; and Broderick, lf.

Lee players were Street, c; Meehan, p; Wild, 1st; Murphy, 2nd; Owen, 3rd; Howk, ss; Seacord, rf; Vigeant, cf; and Markham, lf.

Most of the Great Barrington players, veterans of the Hope Fire Company squad, worked for Edward F. Searles, and when he took over sponsorship, changed the team name to Kellogg Terrace Club.

Hope's James Garry was the star of the group; within the decade he would have a contract to play for the Milwaukee American League team. Edward Ambach had played for a while with a semi-pro team in Watertown, N.Y.

Lee's Ralph H. Street was a machinist. James H. Meehan was a machine tender. Their baseball credentials are elusive.

Play got off to a quick first inning, with Hope's Broderick out at first, Garry base on balls but out at second, Jordan out at first. Lee's Murphy struck out, likewise Street, same for Meehan when that team came to bat.

By the eighth inning, scores had accumulated.

Lee batter Seacord made a safe hit then stole second, Wild was out at first, Van Huyck was caught out on a foul and Vigeant struck out.

E. Ambach hit to right field for a double, Jordan hit safely, Cronin struck out, Penders hit to left field for a double, Jordan and E. Ambach scoring. Kaster's fly to right was caught.

Lee in its last at bat: Markham struck out, Murphy hit to center for two, Street hit a double and Murphy scored. Meehan reached first, Street reached second on a wild throw, Owens struck out, Seacord hit safely, Meehan scored, Wilde hit to third, Howe hit a fly to center but was put out trying to steal second. Game over.

Everyone hustled to Lee for the 3:30 rematch. These were in the days before the Berkshire Street Railway, so it was either a roundabout ride on the NewYork, New Haven & Hartford train, or horses, buggies and wagons up Monument Mountain.

The newspaper replaced its front-page, fourth column, with "The Lees Win! Afternoon Game, Pleasure Park, A Large Attendance, Some Sharp Work by Both Teams."

The reporter tried to be neutral. But, "Score 15 to 7" showed a more lopsided game.

No team roster is given, and some new names show up. The typesetter copied the reporter's scribbled writing; many names are spelled differently than in the first account. There was a rush to meet an 8 p.m. deadline to get out the Extra.

If you can make sense of this first-inning report, you're one up on me. How many outs did Great Barrington have? (This excerpt is with its original typos.)

"First man ta bat was White who went out on a fly, Street went out at first, Howk hit to the pitcher and was retired at first, Garry got first on a hit, Broderick hit to hort, and went out at first, Amback got first on a hit, Jourdan got first, Cronan struck out, Pendres took his first on balls, Kastner got first on a hit, Powers struck out, Garry scored."

We'll skip to the last at-bat. "Wild base on balls, Murphy hit to right got second, Seccord hit to center got first, Street scored, Owens struck out. Murphy scored on passed ball, Vigeant made hit, White made a two bagger, Vigeant scoring, Street hit to second safe on first, Howk put out on a grounder, Thompson struck out, Garry fired to Murphy, Broderick hit one to first and was retired. Score 7 to 15."

Does it get any more exciting than that?

While one might expect a more measured report in the News' regular issue of Saturday morning, 31 May, "Odds Are Even, Hopes Win the Morning Game, The Lees Victorious in the Afternoon" mostly repeated the previous accounts from the Extras.     

In case readers were interested in other things going on that Memorial Day weekend, the News told readers that contractor John Viola was laying a new plank floor in the Great Barrington roundhouse; Joseph Houle of Pittsfield had become an assistant at Lillie & Simons' drugstore in town; and a large leak was discovered when Great Barrington Water Co. lowered the level at its reservoir, drawing yelps of protests as it was wash day at most households in the village. "In three hours Walter Jones turned on the Mansfield Pond supply, so that waterbacks were kept from the danger of exploding and the water famine was averted."

Bernard A. Drew is a regular Eagle contributor.


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