First Game of the Houston Babies: 1888

Fair Grounds Base Ball Park
Site of Houston’s 1st organized professional baseball game.
March 6, 1888

Houston Daily Post

Wednesday Morning

March 7, 1888:



Cincinnati Giants Cross Bats With Houston

But Fail to Shut Out the Babies.

How the Locals Showed Up in Their First Game.

A large crowd was at the Base Ball Park yesterday afternoon to witness the maiden game of the Houston club as pitied the Giant Reds, of Cincinnati. The grounds were in a miserable condition which will account for the large score. The players occasionally had to look around in the little lakes which dotted the grounds, to find the ball. The game was commenced at 3:30 o’clock with the visitors at the bat, and Flood in the box for the locals. He was held by Lohbeck. Flood’s speed surprised the Giants, but owing to a sore finger he could not control his balls or get in any of his deceptive curves. Lohbeck showed up rather weak behind the bat. He appeared to be too stiff to handle Flood’s uncertain delivery, but he worked hard and won the favor of the crowd by his honest industry; and when he limbers up in legs and arms so that he can reach second from home plate he will doubtless prove a strong back stop. Craig covered first in brilliant style, and the throwing of Horan from short to first was admirable. He also made some pretty stops. Dougherty (Flaherty in left is correct) and Dauthett (in center) made some brilliant catches. Howard held down second very well. But, like every other man in the team, (all) appeared to be stiff. All of them were off on pick-up. Vogel covered right very well.

In Detail

First Inning – Nicol hit safe for first and went to third on (a) wild pitch of Flood to first/ McThee’s two-bagger over center brought in Nicol. Fennelly struck out and McThee scored on Lohbeck’s pass ball. Riley bruised the air three times and retired. Kappel hit to Horan and was thrown at first, retiring the side. Howard hit to McThee and was thrown out at first. Dougherty (Dauthett is correct here) and Flaherty both struck out and retired the side.

Second Inning – Horan made a brilliant stop at short and threw out Keenan at first. Tebeau couldn’t find Flood’s ball and so retired. Carpenter was struck by the ball and took his base, and advanced to third on Lohbeck’s pass ball. Sirad hit safe and brought in Carpenter. Nice hit to Horan and was thrown out at first. Side retired.

Murphy went out on (a) fly tap to Riley. Vogel hit to Sirad and was thrown out at first. Flood waited to see where the ball was going and was thrown out at first by Carpenter, thus retiring the side.

Third Inning – McThee hit to Howard and was thrown out at first. Fennelly fell a victim to Horan’s unerring throw to first. Riley was given his base on being struck with the ball, went to third on a pass ball and scored on Murphy’s fumble of Kaflle’s easy tap. Keenan’s safe hit brought in Kaflle, and Tebeau retired, the side trying to find Flood’s balls. Craig took his base on balls; stole second. Lohbeck flied out to Nicol. Howard sent a corker over short and scored on Douthett’s two-bagger to left. Flaherty was thrown out at first and retired the side.

Fourth – Carpenter hit safe, stole second. Seran flied out to Dauthett. Nicol hit safe and brought in Carpenter, took second on Flood’s wild throw to first stole third and scored on (a) pass ball. Fennelly hit to Flood and was thrown out on first. Murphy flied out to Tebeau Vogel hit safe. Flood was thrown out at first and Craig followed suit.

Fifth – Riley reached first on Howard’s error, and stole second. Kappel took two bases on Dauthett’s misjudgment of his pretty fly. Carpenter was thrown out at first by Craig, who left his base to field the ball. Serad flied out to Vogel. Lohbeck was given base on being hit, but was caught trying to steal second. Horan struck out and Dauthett flied out to Kappel.

In the sixth inning the locals indulged in a series of errors, and the reporter closed his book. At the close of the ninth inning the score stood 22 to 3 in favor of the visitors. This tabular score will show who did the work:

(First Game Box Score for the Original Houston Babies

From the Game They Lost to Cincinnati on March 6, 1888

by the score of 22-3 and as it was reported in the Houston

Daily Post the following day, March 7, 1888.

Here’s the previously described ‘Tabular Score’)

Howard, 2b 4 1 1 1 1 2
Dauthett, cf 4 0 3 3 0 1
Flaherty, lf 4 0 0 1 0 0
Murphy, 3b 4 0 0 2 0 2
Vogel, rf 4 0 1 1 0 0
Flood, p 4 0 0 1 10 6
Craig, 1b 3 1 0 11 1 0
Lohbeck, c 3 0 0 7 4 2
Horan, ss 2 1 1 0 1 1
TOTALS 32 3 6 27 16 14
Nicol, rf 7 4 3 1 0 0
McThee, 2b 7 4 4 2 4 0
Fennelly, ss 6 1 1 0 0 1
Riley, 1b 6 3 1 13 0 0
Kappel, cf 6 3 1 1 0 0
Keenan, c 6 2 4 8 2 0
Tebeau, lf 5 1 1 1 0 0
Carpenter, 3b 6 3 3 1 1 0
Serad, p 6 1 2 0 9 2
TOTALS 55 22 20 27 16 3


 Runs Earned – Cincinnati 8 – Houston 2

Base on Balls – Cincinnati 4 – Houston 2

Struck Out – Flood 7 – Serad 5

Left on Base – Cincinnati 7 – Houston 4

Two Base Hits – McThee 2, 4 players (Kappel, Serad, Dauthett, Horan), 1 each

Three Base Hit – Fennelly

Pass Balls – Lohbeck 6, Keenan 1

Wild Pitches – Flood 3

Stolen Bases – Howard, Dauthett, Craig (1 each), Cincinnati 8

Umpire – Kid Baldwin

Time of Game: 1 hour and 45 minutes


Eagle Notes

Thanks again to Darrell Pittman for sending this material to us. I haven’t seen this game report in years. Back then we didn’t even know that the ball park involved was the one that came to be known by several identifiers, including “The Travis Street Ball Park” as depicted in the wonderful Patrick Lopez watercolor shown today as our lead in print. The park site today is all commercial, but an historical plaque marks its site at Travis and McGowan, south of downtown, where it is officially remembered as the Fair Grounds Base Ball Park. Mike Vance deserves all the credit in the world for the discovery and confirmation of this site’s significance and for all the progress that’s been made in plaque-marking our city’s important baseball history sites.

Thanks, Mike.

I hope you were not too confused by my attempts to clarify that the original Post writer who did this story twice used the name “Dougherty” when his attentions turned toward two actual players in this first game. Apparently the names “Dauthett” and “Flaherty” – the two actual first game players effected – were sufficiently close enough in sound or sight to ignite a 19th century neurological association slip in the writer’s brain that was strong enough to confuse his account over time – beyond the turning of two additional new centuries.

I don’t know who Dougherty was. Maybe he was another player that had nothing to do with this game – or even the 1888 season. Or maybe he was a landlord or a bill collector in the Daily Post writer’s daily life at the time Houston played this humble start to its first season and also as a charter member of the original Texas League. The Cincinnati Red Stockings, not Giants, were a big league club, passing through town and looking for some practice games against minor league foes. And the Houston Babies were easy pickings on March 6, 1888 against a club like Cincy.

Note too. The “Babies” nickname was not used in this first Texas League pre-season game story. The Babies had to be nursed into its acceptance over time.


Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle


One Response to “First Game of the Houston Babies: 1888”

  1. bhick6 Says:

    A couple of those original Houston Babies would go on to play briefly in the major leagues. Flaherty was Pat Flaherty, who played in 39 games for the 1894 Louisville Colonels National League team. Murphy was Danny Murphy, who played in 8 games for the 1892 New York Giants.

    Bill Hickman

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