Providence Grays: Wikis


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1884 World Series Champion Providence Grays

The Providence Grays was a team name used by several major and minor league baseball teams based in Providence, Rhode Island .


Major league Grays

In 1884, Providence was a major league baseball city. The Providence Grays played at the long-gone Messer Field in the Olneyville neighborhood, as one of the eight teams in the National League.

They were led by ace pitcher Charles "Old Hoss" Radbourn, who is still remembered for winning a record 60 games that year and leading the Grays to the pennant. When the team's other pitcher defected to a rival league in July, it looked like the Grays' season was over, but "Old Hoss" offered to pitch the rest of the team's games. The Grays went on a twenty-game winning streak and blew past their hated rivals, the Boston Red Stockings.

When the season was over, the Grays had won the league title by five games. They then played the New York Metropolitans, champions of the rival American Association, in a three-game championship series, and won all three games. It wasn't officially called the "World Series", but the Grays became undisputed world champions.

The Providence Grays disbanded after the 1885 season. A minor-league team by the same name played in Providence from 1891 to 1929; at one time its roster included a promising young pitcher, Babe Ruth.

The team played at the Messer Street Grounds in the Olneyville neighborhood. One of the leading players from that 1879 pennant winner was Hall of Famer John Montgomery Ward, while the 1884 team was led by fellow Hall of Famer Charley Radbourn. "Old Hoss" Radbourn who won a record 60 games in a single season.

The team may have been the first Major League Baseball team to field an African-American baseball player, William Edward White, a Brown University player who played one game for the Grays on June 21, 1879. Evidence is strong but not conclusive: Peter Morris of the Society for American Baseball Research has researched this issue, as reported by the Wall Street Journal on January 30, 2004.

Other memorable highlights of the Grays' short existence include a no-hitter by Radbourn on July 25, 1883, the second perfect game in MLB history, pitched by John Montgomery Ward on June 17, 1880, and pitcher Charlie Sweeney struck out 19 batters in a nine-inning game on June 7, 1884, a record that would stand until broken by Roger Clemens 102 years later.

Season Records

1878 - 33-27
1879 - 59-25 *
1880 - 52-32
1881 - 47-37
1882 - 52-32
1883 - 58-40
1884 - 84-28 *
1885 - 53-57

  • Won National League Pennant

Minor league and amateur Grays

The minor league Providence Grays were members of the Eastern League from 1891 to 1929. Babe Ruth played for the Grays in 1914. During the early 1900s, the team was also sometimes known as the Providence Clamdiggers.

The amateur Providence Grays Vintage Base Ball Club has played in East Providence, Rhode Island, since 1998 while traveling around the Northeast for road games. The modern Grays were founded by Tim Norton and the team is strongly devoted to absolute authenticity in demonstrating the 19th Century game. The Bristol Blues, The Cornish Game Hens of Providence and the Coventry Citizens formed after the Grays and there are well over 200 vintage teams in the United States.

See also

External links



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