Monday, August 16, 2010

An Interesting Game at Bovina Center

On Saturday, August 21, the Bovina Dairymen will be playing 'matches' in the birthplace of baseball - Cooperstown (go to the Delaware County Vintage Base Ball site at for more information). So this seemed an appropriate time to bring up the story of matches over 100 years ago between teams from Bovina and Margaretville.

The Historical Society of the Town of Middletown has arranged the scanning of the Catskill Mountain News from 1902 to 1937 and put them on the web. Go to to see these for yourself. You can search the content, which is how I found this article. Thanks to the historical society for this great resource!

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The May 29, 1903 of the Catskill Mountain News had a front page article about "an interesting game at Bovina Centre." Though the Margaretville Team came out on top, the paper reported that "Good Playing Shown by Both Teams."

"That Margaretville has baseball 'timber' 'goes without saying.' Saturday our aggregation of ball tossers went over the hills to Bovina Centre, and to the tune of 11 to 9 took into camp the locals of that burg, a team which has practically played together for seasons past, and which has had the benefit of several games already this spring. Of course the game from start to finish was closely contested, but a succession of hits in the eighth and ninth, combined with Pitcher Jenkins' exceptionally good work, also in those innings, conclusively settled the question in favor of the visitors.

"First inning - Margaretville went to the bat and it looked like a bombardment. The first ball over the plate Jenkins lined far out in left field, which had all the earmarks of being a safe one, but proved to the contrary; Gladstone reached first on error and scored on Lasher's three-bagger, Allaben hit safe and the former scored, Countryman sacrificed, Allaben went to third and scored on Kelly's single, Reed filed out. Three scores.

"For Bovina W. Thomson reached first, scoring on A. Thomson's long drive; McPherson, Alexander and Hastings went out in one, two, three order. One Score."

The second inning was scoreless. Margaretville did not score in the third, but Bovina was different:

"H. Thompson was safe on first bag, McPherson was put out, Alexander singled, Hastings' hit cleared the bases, Phinney was the second victim, Myers got a life but was left at first by L. Thomson's out. Two scores.

"Fourth inning - Reed singled, Shand and Brophy out, Jenkins' hit scored Reed, and Gladstone closed the inning. One score.

"Jackson, W. Thompson and A. Thompson could not deliver the goods and Bovina again took to the field. No scores.

"Fifth inning - Lasher did not make safe connections and was out at first, Allaben made first easy, Countryman sacrificed, Kelly hit hard, which looked good for at least two bases, but Bovina's second bag tender on a hair-raising play pulled it down. No scores.

"McPherson went to first, was advanced by Alexander's hit, Hastings' hit filled the corners, Phinney first out, Myers singled, L. Thompson second out, Jackson scored Alexander, W. Thomson third out. Two scores."

Bovina scored one run in the sixth inning. The seventh inning was the most active, with Margaretville scoring four runs and Bovina three. In the eighth inning, Margaretville scored two more runs. Unfortunately, Bovina began to falter: "Hastings' and Phinney's club had holes in it...and L. Thomson, like Phinney, unfortunately used Hastings bat." Bovina did not score again, while Margaretville scored one run in the 9th. The article concluded that "Frank Kittle umpired the game most satisfactorily and was highly complimented by the Bovina team."

In a game the following June, Bovina came to Margaretville and came out on top, beating Margaretville 15-13. The Catskill Mountain News noted that "The home team followed error by error - the whole game was full of them - though interspersed with sudden flashes of brilliancy in the field by both teams." The game started off with a shut out for Bovina while Margaretville scored four runs. But Bovina recovered to score three runs in the second inning and six of its runs in the fourth inning. "In the seventh Margaretville furnished some excitement by tieing the score but it was no use and Bovina returned home victorious."

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