More than 3,000 dyed-in-the-wool fans sat out in Boston's new baseball park yesterday afternoon, all shivering with the cold, while snow flurries flew everywhere about, to watch the Boston Red Sox play their annual game with the Harvard Varsity nine.
It was no day for baseball, but rather than disappoint the crowd, Jake Stahl, the new manager, sent his players against the college boys for seven innings, beating them 2 to 0. Stahl, and all his players as well, was accorded a welcome the warmth of which was torrid in comparison with the weather, but the ball game did not amount to a great deal.
All afternoon only four Harvard men reached first base, one on a base hit, this a single, which was made by Capt Potter, being the Cambridge nine's only hit off the delivery of Casey Hageman, the $5,000 beauty from Denver; the other crimson-legged players received a pass to first and the other Cambridge player reached Stahl's corner on a forceout play at another base.
The professionals, however, did not do any hitting to speak of, for they made only four singles, two of them by Hageman himself and each of these producing a Red Sox run.
Sam Felton, Harvard's football player and great kicker, was in the box for Harvard for five innings. He was not hit hard, but he gave no fewer than nine bases on balls and hit a man; this served to slow up the play, and then the Sox, when they did get a ball near the plate, were unable to hit it safely. Thirteen Red Sox were left on base.
Bases full, but no runs
In the first inning a muffed fly by Wigglesworth, Yerkes' hit and a base on balls filled the corners for Boston but Lewis could only roll an easy ball to the pitcher. In the second inning, however, Boston scored a run on the combinations of bases on balls to Krug and Thomas and a hit by Hageman, the latter player producing another single three innings later, which, combined with Gardner's hit and a pass to Krug, developed another run.
Harvard did not see first base until the fifth, when Potter opened with a single, only to be caught off second after he had stolen the base. Then in the sixth Wigglesworth was passed, going to second on a dropped ball by Catener Thomas, taking third on a forceout, and then being nipped at the plate by Jake Stahl when an attempt was made to steal in a run.
The crowd was a great tribute to the Red Sox boys and to their popular manager, Jake Stahl. The Red Sox' new ball park of course served as a magnet to draw out the fans, but what the lovers of the game really came to see was the team itself. The Harvard team also had a lusty-lunged following, which, however, was furnished with no great degree of excitement with which to keep warm.
On the whole, however, the college players did very well in the field, although they were very shy with the hickory. Potter, Clarke and Wingate made one double play that set the professionals thinking, while out in center field Wigglesworth picked out two hard fly balls as they came swooping along through the snowflakes. "Wiggy" dropped one fly, sent to him by Speaker, but it was a remarkably high hit, and besides the ball was covered with mud and it fell into Wigglesworth's hands like so much lead.
Felton fools Jake and Tris
The Boston men were not able to hit Felton very hard. While he was always at odds with the plate and had the short end of the corner decisions that were made by Umpire Jack Stafford, Felton had deceptive change of pace. He caught both Stahl and Speaker for strikes and in the course of the afternoon fanned Lewis, Yerkes and Hageman. Felton has picked up a little on his position play and with control will be of a lot of value to the Harvard nine this season.
Manager Stahl complimented the Harvard team by sending in his regular players, which was not done last year. All the real fellows were in the lineup except the battery and "Heinie" Wagner. The fans, however, had a good look at Krug and must have admired the speed that this young fellow shows in getting about the short field. Hageman did not extend himself very much, although at that he had nine strikeouts to his credit.
The crowd began to come out early to inspect the new ball park, but when the game began the 3,000 were lost in the great concrete and iron structure. Also there were some hundreds of fans in the right field and center field bleachers where they got a lot of action in the outfield.
Had the day been at all propitious for baseball, there surely would have been 30,000 fans inside the new fences. As it was, hundreds who would not for the world miss an opening strolled out to the park for a peek at the boys then to turn homeward after kicking their heels on the seats for a few innings.
The crowd came out early, however, and found as much enjoyment in watching the players practice as it did in the game. The favorites, all of them, had to acknowledge continuous greetings while the new men also were the center of all eyes. But there wasn't much of a chance to size many of them up.
Everything was hustle and bustle about the park yesterday and things in the Fenway surely suggest that all will be in prime readiness for the regular league opening a week from tomorrow. All of the runways are not finished and a few hundred seats remain to be placed; but yesterday Eddie Riley and John Harrison were on deck with many huge tubs of hot coffee, and thus was subscribed one of the great hits of the afternoon.
The field was too soft for much really fast baseball, and the continuous passing of batters to first base by Felton, with the usually one-two-three order of the college men's retirement before the Red Sox pitcher, did not serve to make for much excitement. But it was an opening, and that was something.