Year In Review : 1888 National League
Off the Field…
Serial killer "Jack the Ripper" mutilated a number of prostitutes in the East End of London in 1888, setting off a mass hysteria throughout the city. The name "Jack the Ripper" originated from a letter apparently written by someone claiming to be the killer at the time of the murders. All five women were brutally slain within a one-mile area radius of each other in the districts of Whitechapel, Spitalfields, Aldgate, and the City of London proper. Despite one of the most intensive manhunts ever conducted by Scotland Yard detectives, "The Ripper" was never actually caught, although there were several suspects.
In the National League…
Charles Ferguson, a standout pitcher with the Philadelphia Phillies died on April 29th twelve days after his twenty-fifth birthday. Ferguson had been a thirty-game winner in 1886 and a twenty-game winner in each of his three other Major League seasons.
On July 13th, Harry Staley and Pud Galvin of the Pittsburgh Alleghenys became the first pitchers ever to combine for a double-header shutout after blanking Boston 4-0 and 6-0.
The National League champion New York Giants defeated the American Association’s St. Louis Browns (four-time pennant winners) in an eight-game Championship series. Each player earned a $200 bonus plus an additional $128 from to following benefit games. St. Louis owner Chris Von Der Ahe kept the Browns $1,200 pennant purse while referring to his players as "chumps" in the papers. As a result, the team had now played in twenty-seven post-season games (over two seasons) without ever receiving a dime.
In the American Association…
American Association umpire John Gaffney changed the system for game calling after moving out from behind the plate – to behind the pitcher when a runner was on base.
Cincinnati Red Stocking fans were able to follow the game using the first ever baseball scorecard.
Perhaps the most famous baseball poem ever written "Casey at the Bat" was published in the San Francisco Examiner. Twenty-five year-old author Ernest L. Thayer was paid $5 for his efforts and was simply credited as "Phin".