On Sunday, the first day of October, nine Neshanock players, one slightly disabled club president, a rapidly aging score keeper and the always supportive group of spouses, parents, significant others and children traveled to Garret Mountain Reservation in Woodland Park as the club continues its pursuit of an unprecedented 30 win season. The opposition was provided by a Picked Nine, consisting primarily of Gothams with a Hoboken, a Resolute and assorted muffins mixed in for good measure. Last week in Monroe Township, the second was the big inning for the Neshanock, but this time it was the third when Flemington tallied ten times for the most part with two out. The Neshanock lead expanded to 16-3 at one point, but the Picked Nine scored five in the sixth and four in the seventh in a seven inning game as Flemington held on for a 17-12 win. Three innings of the second game was played before the depleted ranks of the Picked Nine made it impossible to continue, the Nine were ahead at the time, but three innings did not qualify for an official game.
In the first game, the Flemington offense was led by Dan "Lefty" Gallagher, Dave "Illinois" Harris and Jeff "Duke" Schneider with four hits apiece. "Illinois" and "Duke" would have earned clear scores but for being put out on the bases. Danny "Lunch Time" Shaw and Tom "Thumbs" Hoepfner added three hits each and everyone in the Neshanock line up had at least one hit. The defensive play of the game came in the top of the first when a runner from the Picked Nine tried to score on what would have been a sacrifice fly only to be cut down by a remarkable throw from "Lefty" which even more remarkably, Ken "Tumbles" Mandel snagged on the fly. The victory left Flemington's record at 29-11 for the season, but more importantly still one victory shy of the coveted 30 win mark. The Neshanock's final chance at reaching the big 30, will take place on Sunday, October 15th at Fort Dupont Delaware when Flemington will play two of the following fine clubs - the Diamond State of Delaware, Lewes, Delaware and Kennett Square. No matter the opposition, it will be a big challenge. Stay tuned or better still join the Neshanock as we bring down the curtain on the 2017 season.
As part of working on the book about early New Jersey base ball which will accompany the 2018 exhibit at the Morven Museum in Princeton, I've been going through multiple years of articles in the sporting papers of the day. Recently I found the below article in the September 30, 1876 issue of the New York Clipper describing an unusual game where the New Haven nine played two other nines, the Star and Gerard Clubs simultaneously. In other words, the combined team batted 18 players and also had the same number in the field. A quick search didn't provide any further information about this game, but batting more than nine is similar to vintage base ball where in respect for those who give their time everyone gets to hit. It doesn't usually reach 18, but I can remember at least one occasion when the Neshanock had a line up of that number which needless to say didn't work very well as the best hitters get less chances at the striker's line. That may explain the Star and Gerard Club's limited offensive output of three tallies, but it's hard to understand how New Haven managed to get nine runs even with restricted roles for the multiple fielders. Maybe the fielders got in each others way!
New York Clipper - September 30, 1876