Shoeless Joe Jackson’s Post-White Sox Life and Death

This is from the New York Times in the middle of 1922, describing a pr campaign to rehabilitate Jackson and Buck Weaver:

This is from an Associated Press story in January 1934, when Jackson asked Kenesaw Mountain Landis for reinstatement:

And:

Finally, here are some comments from Ty Cobb and a brief summary of Jackson on his death in December 1951:

With an AP picture of Jackson in 1935:

Published in: on August 30, 2012 at 5:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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The Boston Braves’ World Series Title in 1914

This championship is a potential dual antidote for the depression Red Sox and Braves fans face in the aftermath of their teams’ collapses and abandonment of wild-card berths in the 2011 playoffs. The pictures below come from the Boston Globe covering the Braves wrapping up a four-game sweep of the World Series on October 13, 1914, by beating the Philadelphia A’s, 3-1, at Fenway Park. The Braves played at Fenway to take advantage of its 27,000 seats, greater capacity than their home park, South End Grounds. (In 1915, after the Braves opened their Braves Field, the Red Sox played the World Series there, because it held about 40,000 vs. Fenway’s 27,000.)

The lead headline and cartoon:

A rundown of the attendance and receipts for both teams, with more cartoons too:

(An aside that this level of attention to the gate and money shows up in coverage of the 1917 World Series as well.) The box score for game 4:

And finally, a gallery of pictures of all the members of the 1914 Braves:

The Globe’s description of game 4 is not especially memorable. It wrote that the performance “closed a remarkable series of games, in which men practically unknown to fame a couple of months ago have become heroes, and in which high-class and high-priced stars failed to show the skill and nerve that made them famous in former series.” Words that apply very adequately to Tampa Bay and Boston in 2011.

Nonetheless, the 1914 Braves team is probably the most anonymous to make a great comeback, with no all-time greats, and from a time so far removed just about no one has even secondhand memories of its accomplishment. In summary, the 1914 Braves were 12-28, in 8th (last) place in the N.L. as of June 8, and remained in last for all but one day up until July 19. In fact, from April 25 through July 19, they were out of last on only two days. The Braves were 12 games out of first on July 25, at 40-45, tied for first on August 25, at 60-49, and wound up at 94-59, in first place by 10.5 games. In the interval from July 15 to season’s end, they had 6 winning streaks of at least 5 games, going from 33-43 to 94-59, or 61-16.

Published in: on September 30, 2011 at 5:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The End of the 1918 Cubs-Red Sox World Series

With the Cubs and Red Sox playing in Boston this weekend for the first time since the 1918 World Series, and some recent hoopla over the possibility that the 1918 series was thrown, I went through the Chicago Tribune archives, looking to see how they covered the last game of that series, on September 11, 1918.

The coverage was hidden far inside the front of the Tribune, with no picture or cartoon of the Cubs or Red Sox, only a short game story, a few sidebars, the box score, and the cumulative series stats. Why? Well, Joseph McCormick had just won election as the Republican nominee to be the next junior Senator from Illinois: the Tribune’s huge headline was “McCORMICK WINS”
Look at the cropped front page, which supplies ample proof of Chicago’s love for local politics:

McCormick had been a publisher and owner of the Tribune (the McCormicks ran the Tribune for decades), so you can almost understand why the paper spent so much time on him winning the primary.

But much more importantly, the first World War was going on. Here is a page from the Tribune of Sept. 12 listing the American war dead and wounded:

This was a single day’s worth of casualties: it’s been decades since the U.S. had to grapple with anything near that volume of death in combat. Because of the war, the 1918 season was shortened and the World Series was being played in early September, not early October. Here’s the Tribune’s page on the conclusion of the series:

A few excerpts from the page show how deeply the war was overwhelming the World Series. The start and end of the game account:
“For the duration of the war Boston’s Red Sox made themselves world’s champions today by defeating the Cubs, 2 to 1, in the sixth game of a series which has been remarkable for its closeness. . . . The Cubs were inoffensive in the ninth, and professional baseball made its curtain bow until the end of the war.”

And three sidebars:
“Another delegation of wounded soldiers and sailors invalided home saw the game, and their entrance on crutches supported by their comrades evoked louder cheers than anything the athletes did on the diamond.”

“Among Chicago’s throngs of busy people, the news from Boston yesterday afternoon telling of the Cubs’ defeat for the world’s championship passed as an incident of little consequence. Where a year ago crowds gathered to get news bulletins from the annual combat, only a few were found, and those few took the result passively.

“The general feeling for the last six weeks that playing ball was not helping much in winning the war practically killed interest even in the annual series for the world’s title. Then, to cap the climax, the players had to engage in a row with the national commission over the division of the spoils during the series, which brought disgust to the season’s windup.” [That is, the players had threatened to go on strike before game 5 because they weren't getting a large enough share of the World Series revenue.]

“One feature of the finale of professional baseball was the parting of the baseball writers, many of whom have been reporting world’s series for nearly twenty years, and whose parting phrase has always been, “See you next year.” Today it was different, for there is no “next year” for professional baseball, and many of the writers assigned to this world’s series will be in the trenches next spring if their plans are not thwarted by physical disabilities or the end of the war.”

Published in: on May 21, 2011 at 1:15 pm  Comments (2)  
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The First Game at Fenway Park: April 20, 1912

Here’s how the Boston Globe of April 21, 1912 described the game:

Boston’s beautiful new ball park in the Fenway was yesterday opened before a crowd of 24,000 spectators.

There was no time wasted in childish parades. Mayor Fitzgerald dignified the occasion by tossing out the new ball and the Speed Boys and Highlanders were soon at it, starting the game at 1:10 and closing the entertainment at 4:20, when Tristram Speaker, the Texas sharpshooter, with two down in the 11th inning and Steve Yerkes, on third, smashed the ball too fast for the shortstop to handle and the winning run came over the plate, making the score 7 to 6, and the immense crowd leaving for home for a cold supper, but wreathed in smiles to see the Speed Boys come from behind and by dint of staying prowess land the victory.

The day was ideal. The bright sun brought out the bright colors of the flags and bunting that decorated the big grandstand, and gave the new uniforms of the players a natty look. Before the game started, the crowd broke into the outfield and remained behind the ropes, forcing the teams to make ground rules, all hits going for two bases.

This ruling was a big disadvantage to the home team, for the Highland laddies never hit for more than a single, while three of Boston’s hits went into the crowd, whereas with a clear field they would have gone for three-base drives and possibly home runs, and would have landed the home team a winner before the ninth inning.

While the grounds were in fair condition, there were spots where the earth was soft and lumpy, and this caused fumbling that would never have occurred on a dry field.

The visitors piled up five runs in short order through the misplays around the infield and unlooked-for wildness by “Buck” O’Brien. The Red Sox made it very plain at the start that they were out to make a game fight to a finish, for they scored one run in the first on spanking doubles by Yerkes and Speaker.

There was also the fumble, Yerkes making no fewer than three of them, but he was forgiven, for he was stinging the ball in a phenomenal way, turning in five hits in succession, all of them pretty drives, and two doubles in the bunch. There was some grand outfielding by Lewis, Hooper, Daniels and young Zinn. . .

The game was full of interest, the crowd holding its seats to the end, figuring that the Red Sox would eventually nose out the Broadway swells. . . .

The Boston Braves were represented by “Duke” Farrell, “Cy” Young and C. James Connolly.

The park was crowded with veteran ball players and fans, and everyone praised the new park, which is a model in every way. . . .

[In the bottom of the first] Yerkes doubled to the bank in left for two bases and scored on Speaker’s drive into the crowd at center for two bases. . . .

[In the bottom of the 11th] Hall opened for Boston with a strikeout, and Hooper sent up a foul fly for Street. Yerkes rolled a slow one that Dolan gathered in on the run and threw over Chase’s head, Yerkes landing on second. He made third on a passed ball. At first Vaughn intended to pass Tris Speaker, then changed his mind and tried to sneak one over. But the Texas boy smashed the ball past short, and Yerkes scored the winning run.

The Globe’s box score:

And the headline:

Published in: on April 18, 2011 at 3:50 am  Comments (2)  
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Ernie Shore’s “Perfect” Game and Babe Ruth’s Ejection in 1917

The Boston Globe covered this game with as much attention to the fracas that got Babe Ruth ejected after walking the first batter as to Ernie Shore’s feat of retiring the 26 batters he faced in relief, which, with the first batter being thrown out stealing, made 27 straight outs, if not quite an absolute perfect game. It happened at Fenway Park on June 23, 1917, in the first game of a doubleheader vs. the Washington Senators. Here’s most of the Globe’s account:

FAME FOR SHORE, SOX IN TWIN WIN
No-Hit, No-Run and No-Man-to-First Performance
Modest Ernie Shore took a place in the Hall of Fame as a no-hit, no-run, no man-reached-first base pitcher in the curtain-raiser of the twin bill with the Griffmen at Fenway Park yesterday. It was the best pitching seen in this city since 1904 when Cy Young put over a similar feat, the only difference being that Uncle Cyrus pitched to every batter, while the Carolina professor did not get into the exercises until after Ruth, who had walked Morgan, the first batter, had been removed from the pastime for striking Umpire Brick Owns. . .

While Shore covered himself with glory. . . Baltimore Babe with his temper beyond control went to the dugout under a cloud and undoubtedly will be severely punished by Pres Johnson.

His suspension will cripple the Red Sox badly as they need the big portsider very much.
Babe pitched four balls to Morgan and accused Owens of missing two of them. “Get in there and pitch,” ordered Owens.

“Open your eyes and keep them open,” chirped Babe.

“Get in and pitch or I will run you out of there,” was the comeback of the arbiter.
“You run me out and I will come in and bust you on the nose,” Ruth threatened.

“Get out of there now,” said Brick.

Then in rushed Ruth. Chester Thomas tried to prevent him from reaching Owens, who had not removed his mask, but Babe started swinging both hands. The left missed the arbiter, but the right struck him behind the left ear.

Manager Barry and several policemen had to drag Ruth off the field. All season Babe has been fussing a lot. Nothing has seemed to satisfy him.

Prof Shore stepped to the hill and, after Sam Agnew had taken care of Morgan when he endeavored to annex second, Ernie just breezed along calmly. He fielded his position well and was ready for any of those cantankerous bunts that the opponents might try to lay down. But strange to say the Griffmen were off that stuff, relying mostly on the slam-bang system.

The Carolinian is indebted to Scotty [shortstop Everett Scott] and Duffy Lewis for making his record. The Bluffton Kid robbed Jamieson of a hit in the fifth when a hard hit ball was deflected by Shore, Scotty being obliged to travel fast. However, he made a one hand pick-up and tossed out the runner. In the seventh “Duff” went back to his own little cliff for a bang from Morgan and in the final frame came in like lightning and speared one that Henry had planted in short left.

Shore fanned only two and it did not seem as if he was working hard. He made a number of nifty plays himself. Barry closed the game with a grand play on a swinging bunt by pinch hitter Menoskey.

Here’s the Globe’s box score:

And the headline:

Published in: on March 28, 2011 at 2:32 pm  Comments (5)  
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Celebrating Baseball Old-Timer Lena Blackburne

In February I started a project on this blog of asking people to name their favorite obscure baseball figure: it can be a player, manager, umpire, or anyone else employed by pro baseball. My choice is Lena Blackburne, for several reasons. His rubbing mud is the industry standard; his endearing nickname (his real name was Russell Aubrey Blackburne); him getting the White Sox’s first two hits at the real, original Comiskey Park, him pitching for the first and only time in the majors at age 42: that was his last game, in 1929. He hit a single to win a 1927 game when he was 40 and the temporary White Sox manager in place of an ejected Ray Schalk; he died on Leap Day 1968 at 81; he was a baseball lifer, who worked for the Philadelphia and Kansas City A’s, into his 70s, as a scout for the A’s. Lena covered practically the full spectrum of baseball jobs: infielder, pitcher, coach, manager, scout, entrepreneur. He was a baseball man, one of the old-timers who help keep MLB together, and he was also apparently a strong-minded, proud, tough man, which is a nice contradiction of his feminine nickname.

Here’s what Jim Bintliff, who now runs the Baseball Rubbing Mud enterprise Lena started in about 1939, had to say about his character:

“Having only met Lena as a young boy I don’t know a lot of his history. I do know he was a hard nosed German man. Proud and fair, and could be as gentle as he could be tough.

“I was told a story about him walking in a snowstorm one night to get medicine for a sick player on his minor league roster while he was a manager. But I also heard that he sent one player packing for not reacting to every pitch while playing left field. He was a die hard American Leaguer, not even offering to let the National League have his mud until the late 40′s early 50′s. I know he had the first official hit in Cominsky Park.”

How the Chicago Cubs Came to Play at Wrigley Field

Back in 1986, the Chicago Tribune’s David Ibata described the history of the Cubs’ journey around Chicago, playing in a variety of ballparks before settling on Wrigley Field. He wrote about how the one-time site of the Chicago Lutheran Theological Seminary became Weeghman Park and then Wrigley Field:

The Federal [League]s’ Chicago franchise went to Charles Weeghman, known as the “Lunchroom King” for his chain of low-cost eateries. Weeghman named his team the Whales and selected a site in the North Side neighborhood of Lakeview for his new ballpark. The site, at 1060 W. Addison St. on the northeast corner of Addison and Clark Streets, one day would be “Beautiful Wrigley Field.”

When Weeghman leased the land from a certain Edmund J. Archambault, though, it was anything but beautiful.

The Chicago Lutheran Theological Seminary occupied the land from 1891 until 1910, giving Seminary Avenue west of the ballpark its name. Then the school moved to Maywood. It came back to the city, to 1100 E. 55th St., in 1967. Today it’s the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.

The school produced this letter from its archives to explain the move from Lakeview:

The writer, Marjory R. Wing, says the seminarians were escaping “the smoke, dust, grime, soot, dirt (and) foul gases; railroading by night and day; whistles, ding-donging of bells late and early and in between times, and the ceaselessness of undesirable traffic incidental thereto that is growing more unbearable every week.”

Wing referred to a rail line that skirted the west side of Wrigley Field and ran up the middle of Seminary Avenue to a private right-of-way north of Irving Park Road. It was built in the late 19th Century by the Chicago & Evanston, a steam-powered freight and commuter railroad. The Milwaukee Road acquired the C&E around the turn-of-the-century. By 1910, Addison Street had become a key way station on the line.

Wing wrote of “coal yards, gravel yards, sand yards, ice stations and milk stations” that received freight trains and wagon teams “with the unsanctified men in charge sending the unsterilized particles, odors and speech into the homes, eyes and ears of the seminary habitants.”

The late Bill Veeck, whose father was president of the Cubs, was born in 1914, the year Weegham built his stadium; and attended his first baseball game there in 1920, when he was 6 years old. In an interview before he died, Veeck said Weeghman built the stadium where he did “to get away from the White Sox and the Cubs. He was opening up new territory on the North Side.

“I also have to think (Weeghman) was able to get a piece of land he could afford,” Veeck said. “Bear in mind, one wouldn’t put a ballpark next to a coal yard by choice.

“The requirements for a ballpark in those days were quite different than now,” Veeck said. “You wanted public transportation, because there weren’t any automobiles to speak of. You had to get people there, and they wouldn’t all be from the neighborhood. Clark and Addison was an ideal location because the streetcar and elevated lines were nearby.”

Weeghman Park was designed by architect Zachary Taylor Davis, who four years earlier had designed Comiskey Park on the South Side for the White Sox. The North Side stadium had a single-level grandstand and left and right field bleachers totaling 14,000 seats. To build it required 500 tradesmen, 4,000 yards of earth, four acres of bluegrass and $250,000.
Led by Joe Tinker–of “Tinkers to Ever to Chance” fame–the Whales captured the Federal League pennant in 1915. Then the league folded.

With the National League’s blessing, Weeghman put together a 10-man syndicate to buy the Cubs from the Tafts and move the team to his North Side park. One of those investors was the Chicago chewing gum magnate, William Wrigley Jr.

The deal was closed on Jan. 20, 1916, and the team played its first game at Weeghman Park on April 20.

Published in: on February 26, 2011 at 4:28 am  Leave a Comment  
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Fred Snodgrass’s Muffed Fly Ball in the 1912 World Series

SABR’s biography of Snodgrass does a good job of explaining what happened in the eighth and final game of this series:

With the Giants leading 2-1 in the bottom of the 10th of the deciding game, Fred dropped an easy fly ball by leadoff batter Clyde Engle for a two-base error. The ball was hit more toward right fielder Red Murray, but on the Giants the center fielder was supposed to call for everything he could reach. Snodgrass made the call, Murray stepped aside, and, as Snodgrass explained in later years, “because of over-eagerness, or over-confidence, or carelessness, I dropped it.” He was forever blamed for the winning rally that ensued, but two other events also contributed to the downfall of the Giants. The next batter, Harry Hooper, drilled a long shot that Snodgrass speared for a spectacular catch. In a just world, he would’ve caught the first ball and the second would’ve gone for a double, yielding the same outcome. The key to the inning was a high foul pop by Tris Speaker on which Christy Mathewson made the mistake of calling for Chief Meyers to make the catch. Meyers couldn’t reach the ball, while Merkle, who could have caught it easily, stood still as directed by Mathewson. Given a reprieve, Speaker singled to score the tying run and set up the Series-winner.

In its account of the game, the Boston Globe wasted no time in blaming Snodgrass:

Write in the pages of world’s series baseball history the name of Snodgrass. Write it large and black. Not as a hero; truly not. Put him rather with Merkle, who was in such a hurry that he gave away a National League championship. Snodgrass was in such a hurry that he gave away a world championship.

All that Engle can do with the elusive drop served up is to hoist it high between centre and right fields. Snodgrass and Murray are both within reach of it, with time to spare. Snodgrass yells, “I’ve got it,” and sets himself to take it with ease, as he has taken hundreds of the sort . . .

While the ball is soaring its leisurely way let us pause for a moment to think what hangs upon that fly.

It is not the 2,000 Giant rooters who are gayly waving their blue and white flags and yelling exultantly over the certain downfall of the foe. It is not the 15,000 Boston fans who have groaned and sat silent, as though at a funeral. A President is forgetting the bitter assaults that have been made upon him. A former President is being eased of his pain by his interest in it. A campaign which may mean a change in the whole structure of the Nation’s Government has been put into the background. What happens will be flashed by telegraph the length and breadth of the land, and thereby carried over and under the sea, and millions will be uplifted or downcast.

And now the ball settles. It is full and fair in the pouch of the padded glove of Snodgrass. But he is too eager to toss it to Murray and it dribbles to the ground. Before Snodgrass can hurl the ball to second Engle is perching there.

Years later, Snodgrass said Engle “hit a great big, lazy, high fly ball halfway between Red Murray in left field and me. Murray called for it first, but as center fielder I had precedence over left and right, so there’d never be a collision. I yelled that I’d take it and waved Murray off, and –well–I dropped the darn thing.”

In 1940, Snodgrass reflected: “Hardly a day in my life, hardly an hour, that in some manner or other the dropping of that fly doesn’t come up, even after 30 years. On the street, in my store, at my home . . . it’s all the same. They might choke up before they ask me and they hesitate–but they always ask.”

Given the persistent image of Snodgrass choking away the series, it’s important to add what Harry Hooper said in The Glory of Their Times:

The famous Snodgrass muff. It could happen to anybody. I was up next and I tried to bunt, but I fouled it off. On the next pitch I hit a line drive into left center that looked like a sure triple. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred no outfielder could possibly have come close to that ball. But in some way, I don’t know how, Snodgrass ran like the wind, and dang if he didn’t catch it. I think he outran the ball. Robbed me of a sure triple.

I saw Snodgrass a couple of years ago at a function in Los Angeles, and I reminded him of that catch.

“Well, thank you,” he said, “nobody ever mentions that catch to me. All they talk about is the muff.”

I don’t know about anybody else. But I remember that catch all right. I’m the one guy who’ll never forget it. After that, Steve Yerkes got a base on balls, and that brought up Tris Speaker. We’re still behind, 2-1, and there’s one out. Well, Spoke hit a little pop foul over near first base, and old Chief Meyers took off after it. He didn’t have a chance, but Matty kept calling for him to take it.

If he’d called for Merkle, it would have been an easy out. Or Matty could have taken it himself. But he kept hollering for the Chief to take it, and poor Chief–he never was too fast to begin with–he lumbered down that line after it as fast as his big legs would carry him, stuck out his big catcher’s mitt–and just missed it.

Spoke went back to the batters box and yelled to Mathewson, “Well, you just called for the wrong man. It’s gonna cost you this ball game.”

And on the next pitch he hit a clean single that tied the game, and a couple of minutes later Larry Gardner drove in Yerkes with the run that won it.

There’s a further note about this World Series, and in it, evidence that gambling on baseball’s greatest stage was pervasive years before the Black Sox series of 1919. After the final game, the Globe wrote: “Boston will suffer in a baseball sense from the suspicion attached to the series. This suspicion is entirely unjustified, of course, as such a series could not be fixed, but a large proportion of the fans believe it was staged for theatric effects. That word was passed all over town today . . . Merkle’s failure to go after Speaker’s foul fly netted the Boston players and cost the New York players about $1,283 each.”

And one final item, on Snodgrass’s life away from the ball field: he was a prominent figure–rancher, banker, city councilman-in Oxnard, California for decades, even serving as its mayor from 1937 to 1938.

Published in: on October 14, 2010 at 6:50 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Duel Between Smoky Joe Wood and Walter Johnson at Fenway Park in September 1912

This was perhaps the first memorable game at Fenway Park, which had opened with its first game just a few months earlier, and maybe the most memorable regular season baseball game of the 1910s.

In The Glory of Their Times, Wood recalled:

That was my greatest season, 1912: 34 wins, 16 in a row, 3 more in the World Series, and, of course, beating Walter Johnson in that big game at Fenway Park on September 6, 1912. My regular pitching turn was scheduled to come on Saturday, and they moved it up a day so that Walter and I could face each other. Walter had already won 16 in a row and his streak had ended. I had won 13 in a row and they challenged our manager, Jake Stahl, to pitch me against Walter, so Walter could stop my streak himself. Jake agreed, and to match us against each other he moved me up in the rotation from Saturday to Friday.

The newspapers publicized us like prizefighters: giving statistics comparing our height, weight, biceps, triceps, arm span, and whatnot: The Champion, Walter Johnson, versus the Challenger, Joe Wood. That was the only game I ever remember in Fenway Park, or anywhere else for that matter, where the fans were sitting practically along the first and third-base lines. Instead of sitting back where the bench usually is, we were sitting on chairs right up against the foul lines, and the fans were right behind us. The overflow had been packed between the grandstand and the foul lines, as well as out in the outfield behind ropes. Fenway Park must have contained twice as many people as its seating capacity that day. I never saw so many people in one place in my life.

In fact, the fans were put on the field an hour before the game started, and it was so crowded down there I hardly had room to warm up.

Well, I won, 1-0, but don’t let that fool you. In my opinion the greatest pitcher who ever lived was Walter Johnson.

And in that same book, Harry Hooper called it “probably the most exciting game I ever played in or saw.”

A SABR article by Emil Rothe called THE WAR OF 1912 – The Wood-Johnson Duel, argued:

No single such confrontation was ever played in a more dramatic and emotional atmosphere than the game of September 6, 1912, in Boston’s Fenway Park, with Walter Johnson taking the bill for the visiting Washington Senators, opposing the Red Sox pitching ace, Smoky Joe Wood.

Earlier that season Walter Johnson had fashioned a personal win streak that had reached 16, a new American League record . . . Joe Wood, starting a consecutive string of wins of his own on July 8, was threatening Johnson’s newly acquired A.L. record as a series between Washington and Boston approached.

Recognizing the drama of a head-to-head meeting between these two great pitchers, baseball fans and writers, everywhere, clamored for the opportunity for Johnson, himself, to put an end to Wood’s threat to his record 16 consecutive wins acquired less than two weeks before. Walter’s regular turn was to be Friday, September 6, but Wood was not scheduled to take the mound again until Saturday.

Jake Stahl, Boston manager, aware of the sporting nature of the proposal, agreed to start Wood a day earlier. The fans responded over 30,000 strong far more than Fenway Park could accommodate in those days. On the day of the game, fans who could not be seated overflowed onto the playing field. Standing room was established behind ropes in front of the outfield walls and bleachers. Other spectators crowded along the foul lines. The teams were not even able to use their own dugouts, but were obliged to use chairs set up in front of the multitudes ranged along the foul lines.

As expected, the game developed into a bona fide pitching battle. Boston put together two singles in the second but Walter escaped that threat as Heinie Wagner raced into the outfield to grab a pop fly in spectacular fashion for the third out. Washington filled the bases in the third, two on walks, but Smoky Joe fanned Danny Moeller for the third out.

The lone tally of this memorable game came in the sixth after Walter had disposed of the first two batters of the inning. Tris Speaker hit into the crowd in left for a ground-rule double. Duffy Lewis, next up, drove a hard liner along the right field foul line which Moeller, the Senator right fielder, almost caught, the ball just ticked his glove as Speaker scored and Lewis reached second.

The Senators had men in scoring position, at second, in the sixth, eighth, and ninth but Wood was tough when he had to be. In two of those innings he got the final out via a strike out. In all, he fanned nine Senators, and the shutout was one of 10 he registered in 1912.

Here are two pictures from the Boston Globe covering the game:

A sidebar item on the game said: “No one who saw it will ever forget it, and may never expect to see such another.

“A review of the accompanying data will give one an idea of how evenly the two men worked. Wood threw the ball just 121 times in nine innings, serving it to the batsmen 108 times and throwing it to bases 13 times. Johnson, on account of Boston not going to bat in the ninth, threw the ball but 103 times in eight innings, serving it to the batsmen 98 times and throwing it to the bases five times.”

Here’s the Globe’s “record of all throws made by Wood and Johnson yesterday”:

A Very Brief Historical Tour of Fenway Park

I went to Fenway last month on a trip to Boston. I did not try to hunt down where Ted Williams hit his last homer, Smoky Joe Wood and Babe Ruth pitched, or Wade Boggs ate his pre-game chicken dinners, but I did wander around the park before the night’s game and take some pictures of landmarks. Here is a picture of the plaque commemorating the Pesky Pole:

And here is a picture of the logos for the seven Red Sox World Series titles:

A couple days after my Fenway visit, I went to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, about a half-mile south of the park. There’s no obvious link between a boutique art collection in a city mansion and major league baseball, but Gardner was a big sports fan, including baseball and the Red Sox, despite being in her 60s when the American League began. In the men’s bathroom (and I guess the women’s too) were some interesting mottos of Ms. Gardner’s, etched on tiles in the walls. One said, “Win as though you were used to it and lose as if you liked it,” which would be a good motto to put in the restrooms at Fenway Park, Boston Garden, or any other sports stadium. Also, a good piece of unheeded advice for Kendry Morales, Gus Frerotte, Bill Gramatica, Tagg Bozied, Pauolo Diogo, and however many other celebrating athletes.

Published in: on June 11, 2010 at 6:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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