Whether it be in the National League or American Association, St. Louis always had a colorful baseball history. That was certainly true in 1886, when the Browns once again won the American Association title. The Chicago White Stockings, who played the Browns in the 1885 World Series, again won the National League, but an argument between the two teams that caused the 1885 World Series to be halted after six games made an 1886 World Series seem unlikely.
Dave Foutz and Bobby Caruthers continued their remarkable careers with the Browns. Foutz went 41-16 with 2.11 ERA in 1886, while Caruthers went 30-14. Foutz reportedly became the first pitcher in major league history to pick off a base runner without making a throw, when he beat Pete Browning of Louisville to first base when Browning was dancing between first and second with his eye on Browns first baseman/manager Charley Comiskey, who was playing way out in right field, well off the bag.
Browns owner Chris Von der Ahe was not going to let a moneymaking opportunity slide by without a fight, so he sent Comiskey to Chicago to discuss a potential World Series with the White Stockings. Hoping to sink the entire idea, the White Stockings offered to play under the stipulation that the winner of the series would collect all gate receipts for the entire series. Owner Al Spalding and popular star player Cap Anson did not believe the Browns would accept the offer, but Comiskey agreed to it without consulting Van der Ahe.
The Browns owner, believing he had the best club in the country, did agree, and the Browns won the series four games to two. The final game was won when outfielder Curt Welch stole home in the ninth inning to give the Browns a 4-3 win.
This was the only time in six years that the AA team defeated the NL representative in the World Series.
Von der Ahe ended up with a profit of $15,000, which he shared with his own players. He also paid the White Stockings some money for playing in the series since their own club did not have any receipts from the series.
The Maroons, who had joined the National League after their one year in the Union Association, folded after the 1886 season, leaving the Browns the only game in town. The Maroons were 43-79 in the National League, proving to be little competition for
the far more competitive Browns.
By Kent McDill
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- Al Spalding, Cap Anson, Charlie Comiskey, Chicago White Stockings, Chris von der Ahe, Dave Foutz, Pete Browning