Herd Chronicles: Ad 'No-hit, No-run' Brennan delivers second gem in 1911 (part 2)

'They were simply stunned and blinded at the scintillating brilliance of the Bison heaver's efforts'

By Buffalo Bisons | August 26, 2017 1:39 PM ET

This article is written by Brian Frank of HerdChronicles.com, a new website dedicated to some of the many great stories from the storied history of the Buffalo Bisons. Frank has done extensive research on the early days of the Bisons and shares tremendous stories about the team and baseball in the Queen City that are must reads for Buffalo sports fans. Follow them on twitter as well, @HerdChronicles


On August 26, 1911, over 8,000 fans filed into Buffalo Baseball Park to watch a rematch of a great pitchers' duel. Just two months earlier, Buffalo southpaw Ad Brennan and Jersey City's Elijah "Bumpus" Jones battled, with Brennan pitching a no-hitter and scoring the only run in Buffalo's 1-0 victory. The two hurlers now squared off in the first game of a doubleheader between the two Eastern League clubs.

Brennan had faced Jersey City since his no-hitter and continued to pitch well against them. After throwing a scoreless ninth inning in Buffalo's win over the Skeeters on August 1, he came back the next day and "whitewashed" them, throwing a complete game, eight-hit shutout. The Buffalo Commercial Advertiser wrote that Brennan "had the Skeeters tied in knots," while Buffalo knocked Jersey City starter Bumpus Jones out of the game after he allowed five runs in 2 1/3 innings.[1] Brennan faced the Skeeters again on August 16 in New Jersey, and although he wasn't as dominant as in his previous two starts against them, he got the win, pitching a complete game, while allowing nine hits and three runs, with six strikeouts.

There were some questions about Brennan's health entering the game on August 26. The Buffalo Enquirer reported that just four days earlier, Brennan had "a very sore arm" in an abbreviated start against Providence.[2] However, he showed no signs of having arm problems in the game with Jersey City. Through the first four innings, the only Skeeters to reach base were Dick Breen in the first and Tony Tonneman in the third, both on errors by Buffalo shortstop Charlie Starr. However, Jersey City starter Bumpus Jones was also up to the task and he matched Brennan pitch for pitch. The only blemish on Jones's record through the first four innings was a first inning walk to Charlie Starr, who was quickly erased on a double play.

The first hit of the game didn't come until the fifth inning, when Art McCabe, Buffalo's cleanup hitter, drove a ball to the right field fence for a double. Bud Sharpe attempted to sacrifice McCabe to third, but Bumpus Jones tripped fielding the ball, and all hands were safe. With runners at the corners, Buffalo catcher Lew McCallister surprised everyone by attempting to squeeze a run home. The Buffalo Express described the play:

Mac, to the consternation of Manager Stallings, and with no pre-arrangement with McCabe at third, bunted for a squeeze play. The opposing infield was playing in and there was little chance for a bunt allowing McCabe to score. Yet McCallister tried this and McCabe died at the plate. As the play occurred Manager Stallings could be seen on the bench and it did not need a second glance to tell that he was greatly surprised…[3]

The next two Buffalo hitters were retired, and the game remained scoreless.

With one out in the sixth, Buffalo center fielder George Schirm tallied the Herd's second hit of the day, but he was immediately picked off first. The base-running miscue cost Buffalo, because the next batter, Charlie Starr, doubled. Starr was left stranded at second when Jack White grounded out to short.

Ad Brennan was the beneficiary of some fine glove work, especially by third baseman Erve Wratten, who made some brilliant plays to help keep the Skeeters hitless. The Buffalo Express wrote that "Wratten had nine hard chances and he accepted them like a champion, making some of the finest stops and most careful and true throws ever seen at that corner."[4]

Both teams were retired in order in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings. Through nine innings, the Bisons only had four hits and the Skeeters were still looking for their first. The Buffalo Express wrote "The hits were as scarce as hen's teeth and the contest was short and brilliantly played."[5] Only two Jersey City players reached first base in the first nine innings, both on errors by shortstop Charlie Starr. The Buffalo Courier described Brennan's masterpiece:

Addie Brennan, the star hurler of the Bison staff, ascended the knoll for the Herd and for ten spasms he pitched the best hand of the national gambol ever dispensed in this neck of the woods. Through nine sessions, in which the Pests doggedly kept at the task of trying to gather a bingle off his bewildering collection, Addison kept the enemy at bay. His fadeaway and mystery ball never worked to better advantage and every time wood hit leather the ball slid into the various grooves which conduct it to the players. To say that the aliens were baffled would be to express the situation mildly, they were simply stunned and blinded at the scintillating brilliance of the Bison heaver's efforts.[6]

Brennan accomplished the incredible achievement of pitching nine no-hit innings against Jersey City for the second time in two months. Only Starr's two errors, and the lack of run support, kept his performance from being perfect. As it was, the scoreless game continued to the tenth.

Jersey City shortstop Dick Breen led off the top of the tenth with a clean single to left, ending Brennan's no-hitter. After Roxey Roach sacrificed Breen to second, Pep Deininger lined out to third baseman Erve Wratten. The Buffalo Courier described the play, writing that as "the difficult corner artist stabbed the ball just as it started to rise and Breen, not for a moment thinking that Wratten could field the ball, started for third. Wratten turned to throw the ball to the midway stop as soon as he felt it in his mailed mitt but the sack was as deserted as a country church yard on the Fourth of July," as second baseman Frank Truesdale failed to cover the bag.[7] The mental error by Truesdale proved costly, as the next batter, Cozy Dolan, hit a "Texas Leaguer" to right field to bring home the first and only run of the day for either team.[8] Brennan then struck out George Wheeler to retire the side.

Things looked promising for Buffalo in their half of the tenth when, with one out, pinch hitter Jimmy Murray launched one off the right field fence, but he tried to stretch a double into a triple and was thrown out at third "by a whisker."[9] Murray's base running miscue was magnified when the next hitter, Frank Truesdale singled to centerfield. After Truesdale stole second, Buffalo's defensive star of the day, Erve Wratten, grounded out to short to end the game.

Brennan was the hard luck loser, after pitching nine no-hit innings. Jersey City's Bumpus Jones picked up the win, allowing only six hits over ten innings, and was the beneficiary of Buffalo's miscues on the base paths and in the field.

Despite losing the game, Ad Brennan secured a place for himself in Buffalo baseball lore, by throwing what the International League Record Book acknowledges as two nine inning no-hitters against Jersey City in 1911. Unfortunately for him, he didn't receive the support he deserved in the second game, and took the loss in the tenth. The Buffalo Courier may have described his second outing best, when it wrote simply that "If ever a pitcher should have won a game it was Brennan."[10]


[1] "Coat of Whitewash for the Skeeters," Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, August 3, 1911.
[2] "J. Murray Stole Home from Third," Buffalo Enquirer, August 23, 1911.
[3] "Took One, Deserved Two," Buffalo Express, August 27, 1911.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ibid.
[6] "Brennan's Great Heaving Feature of First Contest," Buffalo Courier, August 27, 1911.
[7] Ibid.
[8] "Bisons Lose First in Tenth Inning," Buffalo Evening News, August 26, 1911.
[9] "Brennan's Great Heaving Feature of First Contest," Buffalo Courier, August 27, 1911.
[10] Ibid.


This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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