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