Tuesday, July 17, 2012

On This Date: Fargo Pounded, Protested Game Settled

July 17, 1897 - Fargo failed to capture a series win against Grand Forks, surrendering 14 runs to the Senators in the finale of a four game home stand. Oscar Peterson was on the mound for Fargo, and struggled mightily, allowing eleven to score while recording only nine outs. The knockout punch for Peterson was a mammoth three-run home run smashed by Sid Adams to begin the fourth inning. The young southpaw Gus Munch came in to relieve Peterson and pitched well, striking out seven in six innings of work. Fargo had to settle for a 2-2 series split with the Senators.

Some bad blood between first baseman Peaceful Valley Brown and Umpire Arthur Lyons came to the surface in the eighth inning. Presumably a rift had developed between the two while Lyons was playing for Fargo early in the season. With Brown at-bat, Lyons made a strike call that Brown clearly disagreed with. Later in the at-bat, Brown slashed a ball down the third-base line that got by Grand Forks third baseman Joe Marshall. The problem for Brown was that the ball had failed to stay fair, and the general consensus was that Lyons had made the correct call in ruling the hit foul. Nonetheless, Brown was angered by the call and barked at Lyons for some time before being ejected. Some fans who had a bad angle on the play also gave ol' "Tige" an earful, and one crank was rowdy enough for a policeman to be summoned. The Divorcees could not afford to lose Brown, since Deacon Phillippe had just returned to Minneapolis, Fred Steele was playing in Sheldon, and Catcher Hayes hadn't yet arrived from Omaha. Luckily for Fargo, team captain George Keas was able to convince Lyons to let Brown remain in the game. It wasn't much help for Fargo, though, who already trailed by double digits at the time of the ejection, and they lost 14-3.

The game wasn't a total loss for the Divorcees. Fargo's nomad second baseman, Josh Reilly, apparently had made quite an impression on the local fans by mid-July. Before one of Reilly's at-bats, a female admirer gave him a bouquet of flowers as a sign of appreciation. Reilly doubled in the at-bat.

Also on July 17, RRVL officials and managers met to discuss the matter of several protested games. While two decisions regarding protests were referred to National League President Nick Young for further review, the league board did rule on one game. The result of the June 26 Fargo vs. Moorhead match up featuring Umpire Tupper's egregious missed call was thrown out by the board, and the game was set to be replayed at a later date (see "It Was Larceny" for more details on the June 26 contest). 

Sunday Argus July 18, 1897 p. 8 "It Was Awful" 
Fargo Forum and Daily Republican July 19, 1897 p.4 "We Were Easy"

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