March 25, 2021

Greatest Linescore Of All Time? (Part 2)

Roughly ten years ago, I posted about a remarkable minor league linescore from 1922 (Virginia League):

Richmond - 131 232 0 - 12 Norfolk - 131 232 0 - 12

Last night, looking through issues of The Sporting Life from 1887, I found another linescore that is equally remarkable. It's from a Western League game on May 8:

Lincoln - 450 331 203 - 21 20 4 Omaha - 450 331 200 - 18 20 4

Not only do the teams match each other for eight innings, but they ended the game with the same number of hits, putouts, assists, and errors! (Although I'm curious why they both don't have 27 putouts.) Each catcher also made two errors. Both teams had all nine batters get hits and eight players on each team scored.

Minor league teams in the 1887 scored early and often - 20 runs in a game did not stop traffic (there probably wasn't much traffic in those towns in 1887, anyway). From May 12-16, Memphis swept a four-game Southern League series at home from Mobile 38-8, 31-5, 25-7, and 25-6. In the first game, Memphis scored 16 runs in the fourth inning and 10 in the eighth. They scored in every inning in the second game (212 938 114). In fact, they scored in 29 of the 35 innings.

When I noticed a game in which a team had scored in eight of nine innings, I thought I'd make a note of it, but I quickly saw it was not all that rare. The Sporting Life published box scores from several minor leagues, including the Western League, New England League, Pennsylvania League, Southern League, and Ohio League. It happened in one of those leagues four times in one week (April 16, April 20, April 21, April 23)!

Here's the April 21, 1887 game, from the Western League. The home team batted first.
Denver - 526 911 086 - 37 40 8 Hastings - 220 111 023 - 12 18 16
A full nine innings and only three scoreless half-innings.


Paul Hickman said...

Fascinating thing might be how long it might take to play a 37-12 nowadays & who might be pitching at the end !

Jere said...

That box score, in my opinion, can only be a mistake. All 54 numbers the same except for four?? With an identical linescore except for one half-inning? I think this paper got one side's totals and printed them twice, then maybe changed a few so it wasn't so obvious. The guy with the most putouts is usually the first baseman, which it is for one team--Omaha. Seven putouts, with six assists for the other infielders. That team's stats are correct--the positions in the lineup make sense. The other team has only two putouts for the first baseman, and five assists from the other infielders--because it's just a repeat of the other team's numbers, with the positions in the lineup not showing their real numbers. (It would be crazy enough for the putouts column to match up exactly between two teams, but it's even crazier considering their defensive positions are in completely different orders.) (Also, one of the altered lines--Nelson's--gives him only one hit but FOUR runs scored; and three assists for a LF is pretty rare.)

It also could prove why both teams have 24 putouts, because the team that really did have 24 is the one whose stats were repeated. You said a home team batted first in a different Western League game, so Lincoln could have scored their 3 in the bottom of the 9th with nobody out on a walk-off home run (there were plenty of HRs in that league that year), even if it was one where three runs scored with the ball rolling around but the rules allowed for the unneeded runs to count.

I might not have what really happened right, but either that box is wrong or it's practically the biggest coincidence of all time.

allan said...

Holy shit! How did I miss the identical putouts and assists at each spot in the batting order? Even the numbers for the AB-R-H are nearly identical.

A guy could go 1-for-5 and score 4 runs. A couple of fielder's choices, maybe he reaches on an error. My BRef subscription lapsed, but a partial view of the results of those totals shows it has happened 11 times since 1901.

So okay the player totals are fucked. All I want is for that linescore to be correct.

Jere said...

I just have this whole thing in my head that they were only given the home team's info (and the road team's lineup and positions), and everything else is made up. Or they accidentally got printed in both places and they started correcting it and gave up. Sadly I think it's a similar deal with the linescore. Maybe not though.