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From A No-Hitter To Nowhere:

 BUMPUS JONES

         

The 1892 season for the Cincinnati Reds is one of the most interesting in the club's pages of history, especially when Bumpus Jones pitched a no-hitter on the final day of the season.

 

Charles Comiskey, who later would found the American League and own the Chicago White Sox franchise, was the Cincinnati manager. He had the club playing well in the early season. The Reds had a 44-31 record and were in fourth place in the 12-team National League.

 

Among the games in the first half of the season was one on June 20 between the Reds and the Chicago Cubs. Pitchers Tony Mullane of the Reds and Addision Gumbert of the Cubs were on the mound. Each pitched all 20 innings of the game, called at 7-7, when the Cubs had to catch a train. When the two clubs started play in the 19th inning, the game became the longest marathon in baseball history, exceeding an 18-inning game between Providence and Detroit.

During the second half of the season the Reds began to struggle. One afternoon in Cincinnati the home club was beaten, 26-6, by Philadelphia. It was such a pitiful game that the Reds played before mostly empty stands the remainder of the season.

 

Few fans were on hand when the Reds and Pittsburgh's team were set to end the season on October 15. The game was meaningless to the standings. It was one of those "let's get the game over with and get out of here" kind of days that arrive when two teams are wallowing around in the standings during the final stage of the season.

 

Before the game, a country boy from Xenia, a town in central Ohio, swaggered into the Cincinnati clubhouse and told the Reds that he was a pitcher.

 

The rules were loose 90 years ago, so Comiskey told this 22-year-old right-hander named Jones to prove it. Comiskey told the youngster that he would be the starting pitcher against Pittsburgh in order to prove his statement. Jones didn't even sign a contract. He was given a uniform, warmed up and took the mound against the Pirates.

 

Inning after inning Jones amazed the few onlookers. Ending the seventh inning, he hadn't allowed a hit. In the eighth, the Pirates again went hitless. Then came the ninth. Jones again held the Pirates without a base hit, completing one of the most unbelievable no-hit games in baseball history.

 

After that performance, the Reds immediately gave him a contract and there were great expectations for the next season. But the expectations weren't answered by performance.

 

Bumpus Jones was a flash in the pan. He pitched only four games for Cincinnati in 1893. He won one and was driven hard from the mound in the others. The Reds released him and the New York club picked him up. He pitched one game, lost it, and never again was heard from in major league baseball history.

 

Bumpus Jones' baseball career ended just as quickly as it began. But the sound was different: it ended with a whimper, not a boast.

 

 

         
       

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