AN ARTICLE FROM THE BASEBALL MAGAZINE: MARCH
There are some people who engrave themselves into our minds and their moment in the sun is fragmentary, a small dot in the history of time. They are there and then are quickly gone. The deed has been done, nothing more is required of them, and so theyre discarded.
Charles Leander BUMPUS Jones was born in January 1, 1870. He died in June 25, 1938 at the age of 68. We know so very little about him. His baseball career in the Majors consisted of a total of 6 games over a two year period. He won 2 & lost 4 and thats not much to build a leg- legend on. Except maybe it is.
In 1891 the National League reigned supreme. The American Association had folded. Four teams from the AA had been absorbed into the NL and they as well as the other teams in the league had to compete against the mighty Boston Beantowners. With the great Kid Nichols showing the way, Boston won the Pennant in 92 and 93. Other great players of the time were Jake Beckley, Charles Comiskey, Tommy Burns, Cap Anson, Roger Connor, King Kelly, John Clarkson, Pud Galvin, Timothy Keefe, Old Hoss Radbourn, and Mickey Welch.
On October 15, 1892 Bumpus Jones pitched his first game in the Majors. Prior to that many innovations had entered baseball. Only since 1883 did pitchers start throwing overhand. From 1887 on, the practice of allowing batters to tell pitchers to throw high or low had stopped. Two years prior to Jones first game, getting a walk had gone from 5 balls to 4 balls. At one time it had been 9 balls. 3 strikes did not constitute a strikeout until 1888. Up until 1887 a base on balls counted as a hit. You had things then that we take for granted now. You hardly ever substituted, (if at all), there was no infield fly rule, foul bunts did not count as strikes, and home plate was not pentagon shaped. Some players had no gloves, and catchers did not have chest protectors or face masks. Most ball parks were made of wood and were susceptible to fires, which were plentiful. Most of all baseball was played with a ferocity and hard-nosed abandonment that would leave most of us gasping nowadays. Rough and tumble tactics were the order of the day. Ballplayers did not have long careers then. Teams streesed bunting, stealing, sacrificing and the hit and run. This was baseball as it was played on the day Bumpus stepped out on the mound for his debut effort in the Major Leagues.
Two months prior to this game in Aug. of 92, both Jack Stivetts and then Ben Sanders had pitched no hitters. Today, Jones, who was pitching for Cinn, was facing Monk Baldwin, a veteran pitcher who was the mainstay on the Pittsburgh pitching staff. For some reason in those days, no hitters were not given the kind of attention theyre accorded nowadays. If they were mentioned in the newspapers, it was usually as an aside, or in a very brief passage as part of the overall description of the game. Maybe the concept of giving up no hits during a game had not reached the consciousness of the baseball world. Its not until the early 1900s that reports would start stressing the uniqueness of a no hit effort. Well, on this day Bumpus Jones pitched a no hitter and in two respects it ended up as a unique effort.
Umpire McQuaid started the game at three oclock and at 3:28 in the second inning Cinn. scored its first run. Three innings later they scored two more and in the eighth they added four runs. Baldwin had nothing that day. He surrendered 10 hits to Cinn. with Comiskey, Walter Latham, and Mike Joyce ONeill getting two apiece. On the other hand Jones was doing well. The Pirates had a good hitting team. Jake Beckley and Tommy Burns (two future Hall of Famers) were doing nothing against Bumpus. The rest of the team was following in their footsteps. In the third inning, Pitts. scored a run on a Cinn. error and some sacrifice outs. In the seventh, Frank Shugarts sent a bullet down the third base line that Latham snared and in the eighth Holliday brought down a towering fly ball by Jake Beckley just short of the fence. At the end of nine innings Cinn. had defeated the Pirates by a score of 7-1 and Charles Leander Bum-pus Jones had pitched a no hitter. It was the third of that year.
Many pitchers had pitched no hitters before Jones. Why was his memorable? Two reasons. His was the first time anyone had had ever pitched one in their first effort in the Majors. His was also the last to be pitched from a distance of 50 feet. The next year in 1893 the distance was changed to 60 6.
Bumpus Jones is now a footnote in history and long forgotten.