f

For Fans Who Should Know Better

Mudville Crew            Contact Us

Mudville: July 14, 2024 4:46 pm PDT

Fred Toney’s Lengthy Gem

Buried deep in the crevasses of minor league baseball history lie nuggets of excellence in the most remote places. One such game took place on May 10, 1909, when the small town of Winchester, Kentucky hosted neighboring Lexington in a Bluegrass League contest.

Best remembered for his half of the “double no-hitter” of May 2, 1917 as a Cincinnati Red, Fred Toney locked horns with Chicago Cubs lefty Hippo Vaughn – when the pair tossed nine innings
of hitless ball before Vaughn allowed two hits and a run in the 10th inning. Toney, however, had also hurled a legendary no-hitter in the minor leagues.

Prior to his 12-year major league career that saw the right-hander post two 20-win seasons en route to a 139-102, 2.69 mark, Toney twirled a 17-inning no-hitter for the Winchester Hustlers of the short-lived Bluegrass League.

Nestled in the heart of Kentucky, the Bluegrass League was a shooting star in the galaxy of minor league ball, existing just eight seasons, initially playing from 1908 through 1912, while resurfacing in 1922 for three more summers. Despite its short life, the circuit holds the unique distinction of housing the longest no-hitter in the history of professional baseball.

It was a cold and rainy Monday, and 300 fans gathered at Winchester’s Gardner Park to see their “Hustlers” take on the Lexington Colts. Excitement had permeated the town early in the season, as Winchester entered the game in second place with an 8-1 record, following a previous campaign that saw the locals finish in the basement of the upstart league.

Taking the hill of the hometown team was Fred Toney. A native of Nashville, Tennessee, the right-hander joined the Class D club in 1908 after being discovered in an independent league in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

The 21-year-old began the game by fanning Colt left fielder Fieber, the first of his 19 strikeouts for the day. A hard thrower with excellent control, the Winchester hurler dominated, as just seven balls were hit to the outfield. One newspaper account of the game hailed the superb play of Winchester third baseman Goosetree, as the youngster made several brilliant plays on bunt attempts.

Unfortunately, the Hustlers did not swing the bats, either. Colt hurler Baker, making his debut for Lexington, would match goose eggs with Toney through sixteen innings. Winchester came close to plating a run in the sixth inning, but the Hustlers failed to convert three straight singles into a tally, as two baserunners were tagged out in rundowns.

The Winchester News reported the next day that: “As each inning went by Toney grew stronger and steadier, and the fielders behind him more alert and accurate.” Beginning in the 10th inning, Toney would strikeout at least two batters in each of the next four innings, including fanning the side in the eleventh stanza.

In the 17th inning, rightfielder Ellis led off with a single to left-center field. Hustler left fielder Schmidt followed with a sacrifice bunt, but was safe as Baker threw the ball away, placing Winchester runners on second and third. After Goosetree fouled out to first base, Winchester shortstop Ingles executed a perfect squeeze play, giving Winchester a 1-0 victory. The Winchester News captured the moment:

“Baker had thrown two balls to Ingles and as he prepared himself to fling the third, Old Daddy (Winchester manager) gave the signal to Ellis and Ingles for the squeeze play. As quick as the ball left Baker’s hand, Ellis started from third for home. As the sphere came towards the plate with the speed of a rifle bullet, Ingles’ eye accurately gauged it, and quickly shoving his bat against the horsehide, (he) laid down as pretty a bunt as was ever seen.”

1921 Fred Toney card, American Caramel Company

Toney would go on that season to toss a 16-inning, 5-hitter in a July 3, 1-0 victory over Shelbyville. The Hustlers would claim the Bluegrass pennant in 1909 with a 75-44 record, edging Richmond (KY) by half a game.

The next season, Toney topped the Bluegrass League with 23 wins, having his contract purchased by the Chicago Cubs in 1911 for $1,000. While most historians remember Toney for his “double no-hitter,” it was Fred Toney’s lengthy gem of 1909 that lives on in professional baseball history as the longest no-hitter the game has ever seen.

Tucked away in the archives of the Clark County Public Library in Winchester, Kentucky is the scorebook for the 1909 Winchester Hustlers season— which also contains the scoring of Fred Toney’s lengthy gem.

Inside the cover of the Spalding’s Club Base Ball Score Book is the inscription: “It is my wish that this score book be given to Jeff Q. Stewart— May 1, 1947, Geo. S. Brooks.” Brooks was the official scorer for the Hustlers in 1909. The book was then passed from Jeff Stewart’s widow to the Winchester Public Library, preserving a piece of Minor League Baseball and Winchester history.

Here is the box score and play-by-play for the May 10, 1909 Bluegrass League game between the Winchester Hustlers and the visiting Lexington Colts:

Lexington POS AB R H PO A E
Fieber lf 6 0 0 3 0 0
Kimbrough 2b 7 0 0 2 4 0
Hall ss 7 0 0 2 4 0
Kaiser cf 5 0 0 4 1 0
Sheets rf 6 0 0 3 1 1
Coyne c 6 0 0 9 1 0
Stockum 1b 6 0 0 24 0 0
Roddy 3b 6 0 0 3 2 0
Baker p 6 0 0 0 7 2
Totals 55 0 0 49 27 3
Winchester
Barney 2b 5 0 1 2 2 1
Chapman cf 6 0 1 5 0 1
Campbell 1b 7 0 2 19 0 1
Ellis rf 6 1 2 0 0 0
Schmidt lf 6 0 0 1 0 0
Goosetree 3b 6 0 0 1 4 0
Ingles ss 5 0 1 3 1 0
Horn c 6 0 0 20 1 0
Toney p 6 0 0 0 5 1
Totals 53 1 7 51 13 4

Base on balls—Off Baker 6, off Toney 1. Struck out—By Baker 6, by Toney 19. Left on base—Lexington 6, Winchester 11. Double Plays—Baker to Kimbrough to Stockum. First Base on Errors—Lexington 4, Winchester 3, Hit by pitcher—Toney 1. Attendance: 300.

1916 Fred Toney card, The Globe Clothing Co.

Play by Play— May 10, 1909

Lexington 1st Inning
Fieber strikes out
Kimbro strikes out
Hall grounds out third to first

Winchester 1st Inning
Barney walks
Chapman hits into double play, pitcher to second to first
Campbell hits infield single
Ellis fouls out to first base

Lexington 2nd Inning
Kaiser reaches base on error by second baseman Barney
Sheets fouls out to the catcher
Coyne grounds out, pitcher to first
Stockum grounds out, second to first

Winchester 2nd Inning
Schmidt grounds out, short to first
Goosetree walks
Ingles strikes out
Horn flies out to center

Lexington 3rd Inning
Roddy lines out to first
Baker grounds out, third to first
Fieber walks
Kimbro flies out to center

Winchester 3rd Inning
Toney lines out to first
Barney grounds out, short to first
Chapman flies out to left

Lexington 4th Inning
Hall grounds out, third to first
Kaiser strikes out
Sheets lines out to first

Winchester 4th Inning
Campbell grounds out, short to first
Ellis grounds out, second to first
Schmidt flies out to center

Lexington 5th Inning
Coyne pops out to short
Stockum reaches on an error by the pitcher
Roddy flies out to center
Baker fouls out to the catcher

Winchester 5th Inning
Goosetree strikes out
Ingles walks
Horn reaches on a fielders’ choice to center field, Ingles out at second
Toney strikes out

Hippo Vaughn 1915 Cracker Jack card

Lexington 6th Inning
Fieber grounds out, pitcher to first
Kimbro flies out to first
Hall flies out to center

Winchester 6th Inning
Barney flies out to left
Chapman reaches on single to center
Campbell reaches on single to center, Chapman is tagged out in rundown between third and home, pitcher-third-first
Ellis reaches on single, Campbell is out trying to score, catcher to short to catcher as Ellis advances to second

Lexington 7th Inning
Kaiser strikes out
Sheets lines out to first
Coyne strikes out

Winchester 7th Inning
Schmidt walks
Goosetree flies out to third
Schmidt is thrown out stealing, catcher to short
Ingles strikes out

Lexington 8th Inning
Stockum grounds out, third to first
Roddy strikes out
Baker strikes out

Winchester 8th Inning
Horn grounds out, short to first
Toney flies out to right
Barney singles
Chapman flies out to center

Lexington 9th Inning
Fieber grounds out, pitcher to first
Kimbro strikes out
Hall lines out to second

Winchester 9th Inning
Campbell grounds out, short to first
Ellis walks
Schmidt flies out to center
Goosetree lines out to first

Lexington 10th Inning
Kaiser is hit by pitcher
Sheets strikes out
Coyne flies out to center
Stockum strikes out

Winchester 10th Inning
Ingles flies out to short
Horn flies out to left
Toney is out, right fielder to first

1922 Fred Toney card, American Caramel Company

Lexington 11th Inning
Roddy strikes out
Baker strikes out
Fieber strikes out

Winchester 11th Inning
Barney grounds out, second to first
Champman grounds out, pitcher to first
Campbell reaches on an error
Ellis grounds out, pitcher to first

Lexington 12th Inning
Kimbro strikes out
Hall reaches on error by center fielder
Kaiser strikes out
Sheets lines out to first

Winchester 12th Inning
Schmidt strikes out
Goosetree strikes out
Ingles walks
Horn grounds out, third to first

Lexington 13th Inning
Coyne strikes out
Stockum flies out to center
Roddy strikes out

Winchester 13th Inning
Toney reaches on error by center fielder
Barney grounds out, second to first
Chapman grounds out, pitcher to first
Campbell reaches on error by the pitcher
Ellis grounds out, pitcher to first

1961 Fred Toney Fleer

Lexington 14th Inning
Baker strikes out
Fieber grounds out, pitcher to first
Kimbro fouls out to first

Winchester 14th Inning
Ellis grounds out, third to first
Schmidt grounds out, second to first
Goosetree grounds out, pitcher to first

Lexington 15th Inning
Hall flies out to short
Kaiser grounds out, short to first
Sheets flies out to third

Winchester 15th Inning
Ingles fouls out to the catcher
Horn grounds out, short to first
Toney grounds out, short to first

Lexington 16th Inning
Coyne grounds out, second to first
Stockum reaches on an error by the first baseman
Roddy flies out to left
Baker hits a soft liner out to short

Winchester 16th Inning
Barney flies out to right
Chapman grounds out, short to first
Campbell grounds out, short to first

Lexington 17th Inning
Fieber flies out to second
Kimbro strikes out
Hall grounds out, pitcher to first

Winchester 17th Inning
Ellis singles to left-center field
Schmidt sacrificed, and reaches on throwing error by pitcher, Ellis to third
Goosetree fouls out to first
Ingles bunt single, Ellis scores

A special thanks to the staff of the Clark County Library for their hospitable assistance in research.

C.J. Carlson is a freelance baseball writer residing in the Midwest and raised on Chicago Cubs baseball, while collecting cards along the way.

Post a Comment

You don't have permission to register