The sixth game of the series between the St. Louis Brown Stockings and the strong professional base ball team from Akron, Ohio, was played yesterday afternoon and the visitors proved successful. The spectators in attendance did not fail to impress the Akrons and the umpire with the fact that they were of the opinion the home team was playing ten men instead of nine. The umpire, Mr. John Peters, late of the Buffalo club, was accorded a reception at the hands of the crowd that he is not likely to forget for a long time. So numerous were his decisions against the home team and in favor of their opponents throughout the contest that those in attendance could not restrain their manifestations of disgust. Of course there is not the slightest doubt that Peters’ intentions were honest, but the crowd could not be prevailed on to regard them in that light. The Browns were minus the services of their reliable catcher, Baker, who was injured the day previous, the younger Gleason’s arm was still very lame, and McGinnis was also suffering from a similar ailment, yet they made a gallant fight, and through deprived of a victory gained many new friends by their exhibition of nerve under a series of disasters. Cuthbert was substituted for Baker, and played with all his old-time skill, both at the bat and in the field.
The game opened with the Browns at the bat. Jack Gleason was given first on balls and went to third while Gleason and McCaffrey were being retired. A base hit by Seward brought Jack’s run in. Cuthbert, who was out of practice, came next and retired on strikes. Swartwood, for the Akrons, was also given first on balls and came in on hist by Wise and Kemmler. In the second inning the Browns were blanked, while the Akrons, in their half, secured another single. In the fourth the Akrons increased their lead on a bad muff by McGinness and a couple of hits. In the sixth inning, after two of the Browns had been retired, the score stood: Akrons 5, Browns 3. McGinnis then led off with a safe hit to cinter. Magner followed with a pretty one to right. Morgan kept the ball rolling, making a two-base hit to right on which both McGinnis and Magner scored. Levis could not weaken at this stage and corked the ball hard to left, bringing Morgan home with the third earned run of the inning. Jack Gleason failed to get on to the ball and hit a high one which Kemmler gathered. It was in the last half of the seventh inning that the trouble commenced. Arundel led off for the Akrons with a safe one to right. It was easy to bat McGinnis at this time, for his arm was so sore he did nothing but toss the ball in. Swartwood hit a grounder which McCaffrey let by him and Arundel went to third. While the ball was being handled Swartwood tried to steal second. The ball was thrown in by Levis to Morgan, and Dan touched the runner when he was three feet off the base, but Peters said, “Not out.” Wise then pounded the sphere to McCaffrey. The latter threw home, and Seward undoubtedly nipped the runner at the home-plate, but Peters said, “Not out.” Then the spectators, who had not been very demonstrative at the first erroneous decision, hooted the umpire with all their might. The Browns lost heart, and before anyone knew it eight runs, two earned, were scored. This long lead apparently placed the game in the hands of the Akron men, but the Browns went in, and before they were retired they had pounded the sphere all over for four runs, three of them earned. This left the score at 13 to 10 in favor of Akron, and there was hope left. In the eighth inning Morgan went in to pitch, and McGinnis proceeded to right field, while Levis took his position at first, W. Gleason going to second. In these positions the Browns easily blanked the visitors. Three to tie was how the game stood when McCaffrey went to the bat for the Browns in their half of the last inning. He was anxious to do a good piece of work. Perhaps this was the reason he got too far under the ball and sent it sky high. When it fell it rested in Kemmler’s hands. Seward said he was going to make a hit, and he drove a beauty past Morton. Cuthbert followed with a liner to left. Maskrey fumbled the ball, and Seward, who had been getting around the bases in lively style, started for home. Maskrey threw the ball to Wise and it got by him and across the foul line. He ran out, recovered the ball and threw to Kemmler. The latter stood inside the foul line and received the ball there. Seward, who saw the position of the Akrons’ catcher, swung around him and touched the plate. It was plain to every one that Kemmler had not touched him, but Peters said “out,” and the crowd yelled its disapprobation again. A moment later McGinnis made a base-hit, which sent Cuthbert to third. About this time all was excitement. McGinnis, who was leading off his base, was caught between first and second, and went dodging up and down between the Akrons’ first and second basemen. Before McPhee had touched him out Cuthbert had scored his run. This ended as hard a fought game as the Browns had ever played. The Akrons left for home last night.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, September 20, 1881
There are also a couple of other possibilities. There is a story about him asking for more money in 1881 and that dispute may have led to his departure from the club. I don't really think that's what happened but it may have played into it. Brian McKenna, in his SABR bio of Ed Swartwood, has a more likely suggestion. He writes that, in August of 1881, one of Peters' children died and it seems that he left the club to deal with that.
In the end, I think we can combine all of this. Peters' play had declined substantially, he was unhappy about the amount of money he was making, and one of his children died during the season, making it necessary for him to go home. I haven't looked into the record but I would figure that Peters didn't play another game for Buffalo after his child died in August. I'm not certain that he was officially released but I'm pretty certain his time in Buffalo was over at that point. In fact, if the AA didn't come along in 1882, it's very probable that Peters major league career would have ended with his departure from the Buffalos. His skills had just eroded, by 1881, to the point that he brought no value to a major league club. John Paul Peters was one hell of a ballplayer - and a much better player than umpire - but he was washed up by this time.