Year In Review : 1884 American Association
Off the Field…
Amusement Park promoter La Marcus Thompson built America's first modern roller coaster at Coney Island; Brooklyn, New York called "The Gravity Pleasure Switchback Railway". The groundbreaking ride incorporated a flat steel track nailed onto several layers of wooden planks. Two forty-five foot towers were then connected with ramp that allowed the ride to reach a top speed of six miles per hour. The train cars had to be manually towed to the top of the hills at the beginning of both tracks and the patrons were required to get out at the end of the first track and climb stairs to the second hill to board the train again for a return trip. Despite the inconveniences, at only five cents per ride, the ticket profits repaid Thompson's original investment in less than three weeks.
In the National League…
The National League expanded its schedule to one-hundred twelve games.
A rivalry was born in the "Big Apple" as the New York Giants and Brooklyn Trolley-Dodgers met for the first time in an exhibition game on April 18th.
On June 27th, Larry Corcoran of the Chicago White Stockings became the first pitcher in Major League history with three career no-hitters after blanking the Providence Grays 6-0.
In the American Association…
Decades before Jackie Robinson "officially" broke baseball’s color barrier, Moses Fleetwood Walker played forty-six Major League games for the American Association's Toledo Blue Stockings.
Despite hitting .263, Walker tallied thirty-seven errors, which led to his early release.
Thirty-one year-old rookie Sam Kimber (Brooklyn Trolley-Dodgers) tossed an eleven-inning, no-hitter against the Toledo Blue Stockings on October 4th. Unfortunately, darkness came before someone could score and the game was called at a 0-0 tie.
In the Union Association…
Outfielder Harry Wheeler became the only player ever to appear with five separate teams during the same season. Wheelers 1884 resume included five games with the St. Louis Browns (in the American Association) then on to the Union Association’s Kansas City Unions (twenty games), Chicago Browns (seventeen games), Pittsburgh Stoogies (seventeen games) and Baltimore Monumentals (seventeen games).
Philadelphia Keystones catcher Jack Clements became the first player ever to wear a chest protector in a Major League game. Roger Bresnahan would later popularize the device.