The Boston Red Sox’s First Home Game, in 1901 at Huntington Avenue Grounds

The Red Sox began life in Boston at Huntington Avenue Grounds, the predecessor to Fenway Park, on May 8, 1901. The next day’s Boston Globe wrote of the 12-4 win over Philadelphia, which gave the Sox a 6-5 record:

It was the birth of a major league baseball club for Boston.

Eleven thousand five hundred persons went to dedicate the new grounds on Huntington av and cheer for the members of Capt Collins’ team.

The day was an ideal one for sport and the large crowd were the essence of good nature. It was a regular holiday attendance, and the peanut man was in high glee, as he sailed his paper bags among the joyous throngs on the bleachers.

With new grounds, and practically new teams, the lovers of the sport were not too particular about the style of ball played, so long as the home team came out victorious.

The members of the new club who had gained honors in the National league were early recognized and applauded. The welcome to Napoleon Lajoie, the captain of the Athletics, and to Capt James Collins, was the most cordial.

In the crowd were clergymen, business men, professional people, ex-ballplayers, old-time fans and an army of fresh recruits and many who had not seen a game for years.

People were there from Bangor, Me, Newport, R I, and about every city between those points, including Col Osgood of Lewiston, the sincere friend of the game for 20 years, and as warm a supporter as ever.

The large crowd was handled in an admirable manner by manager Jos. Gavin.

To tally-ho coaches drove in through the center-field gate and across the field. The first contained Col Thomas F. McCarthy, the famous old ballplayer, and a party of live sports, and the second carried Charley Kelley, Dan Daley and their friends.

The crowd gathered early at the grounds, where the Boston cadet band gave an excellent concert. Small flags were distributed by Prof Chas. Green among the crowd, and the stars and stripes gave a pretty effect.

A new feature in baseball was the megaphone man, who announced the change of players and other interesting facts that the crowd were anxious to learn.

At the close of a waltz melody three Boston players in a white uniform emerged from the players’ dressing rooms and spread out for a little triangle practice. They were the first players to appear, but were not recognized by the crowd and were given but a weak sendoff.

The tallest one was slugger McLean, the six-foot-four catcher, and the others were Shreckengost and Jones. These boys will be treated with more warmth when they show their real mettle, as the Boston fan is rather slow to warm up to a new man. . . .

The game was one of the poorest ever played in this city by the visiting team. The home team hammered the weak pitching all over the field until the crowd cried to have Bernard taken out. The home team put up a good all-round article of ball.

The work of the Quakers was worth about 3 cents on the dollar. Even Lave Cross made a bad mess of things. In the outfield Geler and Hayden couldn’t judge a fly or stop a grounder.

Cy Young was in the points for the locals and held the visitors down to a few scattered hits for seven innings, when he found the game was a walkover and threw over straight ones to save that good right wing.

In the early part of the game he was serving up curves that made the ball look as small as butterfly eggs to the Quakers. Criger was doing some nice work behind the stick, and the crowd thought of that old Cleveland leader, brave Pat Tebeau.

Chick Stahl was given a round of applause when he first went up to the plate. Chick wrenched his side and retired from the game in favor of Jones in the fifth inning. The outfield was soft, and the players often lost their footing.

Hayden opened the game with a slow grounder to Collins and was thrown out at first, Geler fanned and Fultz chipped off the first safe hit. A fine throw by Criger nipped Fultz, while headed for second.

Tommy Dowd opened for Boston with a fine single to left. Hemphill bunted to Cross and the ball was fumbled. Stahl sacrificed. Then came Capt Collins with a single and Dowd scored.

Freeman drove a liner to center and thanks to Geler got in a home run. Prent was thrown out by Cross. Criger sent out up to right field, where it was muffed. As Lewis tried for second, he was thrown out.

After the first inning, the description of the game action gets a little muddled, hard to follow, so let’s just proceed to the box score, in two parts:

And the headline and artwork for the debut home game, again in two parts:

The blog has already looked at the first game at Fenway and some other notable early Red Sox games, including “The Duel Between Smoky Joe Wood and Walter Johnson at Fenway Park in September 1912.”

Published in: on October 10, 2012 at 1:29 pm  Comments (2)  
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The Yankees First Game in New York, as the 1903 Highlanders

Here is the New York Times’ box score for the New York Highlanders’ first game, on April 22, 1903, played vs. the Washington Senators/Nationals in D.C.:

The game account, in two parts:

A couple things to note: the Highlanders started play in New York at Hilltop Park in north Manhattan. Willie Keeler, Jack Chesbro, and Clark Griffith were the team’s three players (Griffith also managed) who people might recognize now. In 1901 and 1902, they were the Baltimore Orioles.

Also, as a coda, here is a December 1902 story confirming that the Orioles were going to move to New York City for the 1903 season-note the nice “Little Actual Business Done” part of the headline:

Published in: on July 12, 2012 at 6:39 pm  Comments (1)  
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The Life and 1903 Death of Ed Delahanty

On July 2, 1995, the Cleveland Plain Dealer looked back on the life and death of Ed Delahanty, and along the way told a bit of the story of Cleveland, the city he came from. Here’s the article:

Ninety-two years ago, Cleveland-born Ed Delahanty, playing for the Washington Senators of the American League, plunged to his death from the International Bridge connecting Buffalo, N.Y., and Bridgeburg, Ontario. Swept away in the Niagara River, Delahanty’s body was found one week later after going over Niagara Falls.

The only man to win batting titles in both leagues and one of five brothers to play at the game’s top level was dead at 35. With a lifetime batting average of .345, fourth-highest all-time, Delahanty’s skills were slipping somewhat, but he was still considered “King of the Swatters” when he died.

There used to be a baseball diamond on St. Clair Ave., just down the street from the Delahanty house on Phelps St. (later E. 34th St. between Superior and St. Clair). It was next to a firehouse and firemen took care of the field, which provided the venue for the Delahanty boys to learn the game.

After attending Cleveland Central High School, the first public high school west of the Alleghenies, Delahanty went to St. Joseph’s College on Woodland Ave. Despite protests from his mother, the 6-0, 200-pound Delahanty – nicknamed “Big Ed” – quit school to play ball in a newly formed state league.

“I’m goin’ to quit you and play ball in Mansfield,” Delahanty told his mother in 1887.

“Drat baseball,” was her reply. “It’s ruinin’ the family.”

One year later, Delahanty was playing outfield for the Philadelphia Phillies of the National League. In 1890, Delahanty pulled the “dinky dink” when he “jumped” the Phillies to play for the Cleveland Infants in the new Players League for $3,500, twice what he had been making.

If baseball seems a mess now, the 1890 season was filled with all sorts of team- and league-jumping as the American Association, National League and Players League fought for supremacy.

Del, as he was also known, was back with the Phillies in 1891 after the Players League and American Association folded. He spent 11 seasons with the Phillies, winning the batting crown in 1899 with a .408 average.

Slow horses and tight-fisted owners had left Delahanty desperately seeking the best deal in 1902, and he wound up playing for the Washington Senators of the new American League. He won the batting title with a .376 average and .590 slugging percentage in the AL’s second season.

But there were skeletons in Delahanty’s closet that he could no longer hide. A liking for the ponies and a penchant for getting drunk began to take their toll.

“Next to a base hit,” said a sportswriter of the player’s horse-betting ways, “Dell likes a straight tip, with a big killing as a chaser.” Another called him “the ranking chief” of the “horsey boys.”

Down on his racing luck after the 1902 season, Delahanty never seemed himself in 1903. Rumors had Delahanty secretly agreeing to jump leagues again, this time to join friend John McGraw on his National League’s New York Giants.

On June 25, 1903, the Senators lost to the Cleveland Naps, 4-0, in League Park. Delahanty singled in the fourth inning, the 2,597th and last hit of his career.

Delahanty went on a drinking binge after that, missing the rest of the Cleveland series. His teammates got him to Detroit, where Delahanty composed himself enough to sign the “pledge” in the presence of his mother and a Catholic priest.

Still not fit to play, a despondent Delahanty began drinking again. He had $200 and wore $1,500 in diamonds, or “sparklers,” when he boarded a New York-bound train the afternoon of July 2.

Instead of going home to Washington with his teammates, it is presumed Delahanty was intent on joining McGraw’s Giants to change his fortunes.

Fueled by whiskey, Delahanty began bothering passengers. When he tried to pull a woman out of her sleeping berth by the ankles, he was put off the train near the Canadian border at 10:45 p.m.

A night guard encountered an argumentative Delahanty and later reported seeing a man thrashing in the water. When his body was found, with one leg nearly severed, there was no money or jewelry on him.

The [Delahanty] family wanted $20,000 from the Michigan Central Railway Co. [in the lawsuit they filed over his death]. A Canadian jury in 1904 awarded Delahanty’s widow, Norine, $3,000 and his daughter $2,000.

On Saturday morning, July 11, 1903, services were held for Delahanty in a packed Immaculate Conception Church at E. 45th and Superior Ave. McGraw journeyed here to help bury his friend in Calvary Cemetery.

For what it’s worth, I first heard about the story of Delahanty’s death from Bill James, who summarized it as a drunken ballplayer falling from the Niagara River railroad bridge and dying “of damned foolishness.”

Published in: on December 27, 2011 at 11:48 am  Leave a Comment  

Some Details on Franklin Pierce Adams and His Tinker to Evers to Chance Poem

The text of the poem:
These are the saddest of possible words:
“Tinker to Evers to Chance.”
Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds,
Tinker and Evers and Chance.
Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble,
Making a Giant hit into a double –
Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:
“Tinker to Evers to Chance.”

Number of words: 50
Number of letters: 230
Number of lines: 8
Number of unique lines: basically 6
Line-by-line number of syllables:

The meaning of gonfalon: pennant or flag, or, to quote an official source:

1. a banner hanging from a crossbar, used esp by certain medieval Italian republics or in ecclesiastical processions
2. a battle flag suspended crosswise on a staff, usually having a serrated edge to give the appearance of streamers
[C16: from Old Italian gonfalone, from Old French gonfalon, of Germanic origin; compare Old English gūthfana war banner, Old Norse gunnfani ]

Notes on the man who wrote the poem:
A Dallas Morning News review of FPA: The Life and Times of Franklin Pierce Adams, by Sally Ashley, in 1987, said:

During the heyday of New York City’s big, competing newspapers in the 1920s and 1930s, no columnist was better known than Franklin P. Adams. Born in Chicago, he came to New York as a 22-year-old and virtually invented the personal column. In “The Conning Tower,” which ran for 37 years in various New York papers, Adams helped shove off the careers of many fledgling writers, such as Ring Lardner, Dorothy Parker, Edna Ferber, James Thurber. Adams died in 1960, a forgotten man. This small book happily recalls him.

Some notes from this website:

It was not until he was thirteen years old, when he was confirmed at Sinai Temple, that Frank Adams changed his middle name to Pierce, after the 14th United States president, Franklin Pierce.

He boasted of Dorothy Parker that he had “raised her from a couplet,” and other up-and-coming literary stars promoted by FPA included Robert Benchley, James Thurber, Eugene O’Neill, and E.B. White.

FPA was married twice, to showgirl Minna Schwartze (from 1904 to 1924) and to socialite Esther Root (from 1925 to about 1950). Both marriages ended in divorce.

FPA had no children by his first marriage, but his second marriage produced four — Anthony (“Tat”), Timothy (“Tim”), Persephone (“Puff”), and Jonathan (“Jack”).

Despite some tender poems written about his children, FPA was by all reports a distant, aloof father. One of his children later said, “If you read the Tower, you knew him as well as we did.”

Beginning in the late 1940s, FPA was increasingly troubled by loss of memory and outbursts of temper, probably the result of Alzheimer’s disease. After his second divorce, he lived for a time in an apartment at the Players Club (facing Gramercy Park). Unable to care for himself, he was placed in the Lynwood nursing home on West 102nd Street, where he died on March 23, 1960.

A few quotes from Adams via this website:

“I find that a great part of the information I have was acquired by looking up something and finding something else on the way.”

“The trouble with this country is that there are too many politicians who believe, with a conviction based on experience, that you can fool all of the people all of the time.”

“The true republic: men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less.”

Some more notes from an article last year written by Jack Bales in the Free Lance-Star of Fredericksburg, Virginia:

One of the Cubs’ admirers was Franklin P. Adams, a popular newspaper columnist for the New York Evening Mail. According to his biographer, Sally Ashley, “baseball was a passion” for Adams, and he often sat in the press box at the Polo Grounds to watch the New York Giants play.

As he recalled in 1946, the foreman of the newspaper’s composing room told him one July 1910 afternoon that eight more lines were needed for his regular column, “Always in Good Humor.”

Anxious to get to the ballpark, Adams sat down and hastily scrawled [the] verse, which he titled “That Double Play Again.”

The “Tinker to Evers to Chance” refrain in quotation marks is not merely lyrical; it is exactly the way that the double plays executed by the three infielders were noted in box scores of that era. . . .

[Martin Gallas of Illinois College] carefully pored over the [New York] Evening Mail for the entire months of June, July and August. He turned up not only “Baseball’s Sad Lexicon” in the issue for July 18, but also the original publication of Adams’ poem, which appeared on July 12 under the title “That Double Play Again.” (Not surprisingly, on July 11, Cubs players Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers and Frank Chance turned a double play against the Giants in a 4-2 win for the Chicago team.)

Further study has uncovered variations of the poem as well as a few parodies contributed by other authors. The whole process has lent credence to what I often tell students at the University of Mary Washington’s Simpson Library: One, read everything with a critical eye, and two, when doing research, there is nothing like the thrill-and effectiveness-of using original source materials to shed new light on old stories.

Jack Bales is the University of Mary Washington’s longtime reference and humanities librarian. Like Adams (who was born 11/15/1881 in Chicago), he’s a Cubs fan, and is researching a book on the Cubs and their pennant-winning decade of the 1930s. In closing, here’s a second baseball poem from FPA, as Adams signed his columns:

A Ballad of Baseball Burdens

The burden of hard hitting. Slug away
Like Honus Wagner or like Tyrus Cobb.
Else fandom shouteth: “Who said you could play?
Back to the jasper league, you minor slob!”
Swat, hit, connect, line out, get on the job.
Else you shall feel the brunt of fandom’s ire
Biff, bang it, clout it, hit it on the knob—
This is the end of every fan’s desire.

The burden of good pitching. Curved or straight.
Or in or out, or haply up or down,
To puzzle him that standeth by the plate,
To lessen, so to speak, his bat-renoun:
Like Christy Mathewson or Miner Brown,
So pitch that every man can but admire
And offer you the freedom of the town—
This is the end of every fan’s desire.

The burden of loud cheering. O the sounds!
The tumult and the shouting from the throats
Of forty thousand at the Polo Grounds
Sitting, ay, standing sans their hats and coats.
A mighty cheer that possibly denotes
That Cub or Pirate fat is in the fire;
Or, as H. James would say, We’ve got their goats—
This is the end of every fan’s desire.

The burden of a pennant. O the hope,
The tenuous hope, the hope that’s half a fear,
The lengthy season and the boundless dope,
And the bromidic; “Wait until next year.”
O dread disgrace of trailing in the rear,
O Piece of Bunting, flying high and higher
That next October it shall flutter here:
This is the end of every fan’s desire.


Ah, Fans, let not the Quarry but the Chase
Be that to which most fondly we aspire!
For us not Stake, but Game; not Goal, but Race—
THIS is the end of every fan’s desire.

Miner Brown is Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown; I assume you recognize the other names in the poem.

The Addie Joss Perfect Game in 1908

At the start of the 2001 season, Bob Dolgan of the Cleveland Plain Dealer took a look back at this game:

The duel between Hall of Famers Addie Joss and Ed Walsh on Oct. 2, 1908, the most remarkable two-man pitching performance under pressure in the history of the American League, lasted either one hour and 29 minutes or 1:40, depending on which paper you read.

A crowd of 10,598 in League Park saw Cleveland’s Joss throw a perfect game for a 1-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox in the heat and fury of a great pennant race. . . .
Joss had kept the Naps a half-game behind Detroit, with four to play. The White Sox fell 2½ back.

Joss said: “Around the seventh inning, I began to realize none of the Sox had reached first. No one on the bench dared breathe a word to that effect. [Anyone doing so] would have been chased to the clubhouse. Even I rapped on wood when I thought about it. All I was trying to do was beat Chicago, for Walsh was pitching the game of his life.”

Walsh said: “I pitched a fairly good game, but Joss pitched better. Maybe I did strike out 15, but they got four hits off me and we got none off him. I walked a man and he passed none.

“It is something to be proud of, keeping a team like Chicago from reaching first base.”

Going into the crucial two-game series, the White Sox were confident. Chicago team owner Charles Comiskey boasted, “I think we’ll sweep the series and win all five of our remaining games.”

There was speculation that spitballer Walsh, who had pitched and won a doubleheader in Boston three days earlier, might work both games for Chicago. The big-shouldered former Pennsylvania coal miner worked 464 innings that season, still the record.

By noon, thousands lined up for the 3 p.m. game at East 66th and Lexington. Tickets cost 25 cents, 75 cents and $1.

The Rooters Club, 250 strong, marched in behind a drum corps, wearing badges and carrying song sheets. Fans sang “Hail, hail, the gang’s all here.” Parades and music were a big part of baseball then. Naps coach Jimmy McGuire, brandishing a horseshoe for luck, pirouetted around the diamond.

The Naps, named after their stellar second baseman-manager Larry “Napoleon” Lajoie, scored the only run in the third inning after Joe Birmingham singled. Walsh threw to first to pick him off and Birmingham dashed for second. He went to third when first baseman Frank Isbell’s wild throw hit him and bounced into the outfield. Birmingham scored when catcher Ossie Schreckengost couldn’t handle a violent breaking ball by Walsh, which was scored as a wild pitch.

Joss, who was taller and thinner than Walsh, struck out three and retired 16 batters on ground balls, with Lajoie making several fine plays. The closest call came when pinch-hitter John Anderson, the last batter in the game, lined a ball down the left-field line that was foul by three feet. Anderson then hit a hot grounder to third baseman Bill Bradley, who made a low throw. But first baseman George Stovall dug it out, juggled the ball and gained control just in time to nip Anderson. Joss, 24-11 that year, had the third perfect game in history.

“The boys played grandly behind me,” Joss said. “Larry killed three drives that would have been hits for ordinary second basemen.”

Walsh said: “I’m sorry we lost, but way down deep in my heart I’m glad Anderson was called out at first. It would have made no difference anyway.”

A SABR biography of Joss added that he “needed only 74 pitches to out-duel Walsh and retire all 27 White Sox batters. It was only the second perfect game in American League history.”

Published in: on August 10, 2011 at 4:13 am  Comments (2)  
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The Hitless Wonder White Sox Beating the Cubs in the 1906 World Series

Here are a few cartoons, pictures, and coverage from the Chicago Tribune of how the White Sox beat the Cubs in the 1906 World Series, the only one to feature the two Chicago teams in a struggle for the title. The Cubs had gone 116-36 in the regular season: 23 more wins than the White Sox, who went 93-58. The images are pretty fuzzy, but after all, they come from microfilm of a 100+ year-old newspaper. Here are some bear pelts strewn about the floor of victorious White Sox owner Charles Comiskey:

Continuing the theme: Comiskey with a big bear pelt tacked on the side of his house, as a World’s Championship banner and a handful of white stockings dangle:

Here, head shots of some of the White Sox in the “champion line of hosiery” put on the field by Comiskey:

Here is the box score from the Series-winning game:

And here is the play-by-play account, split into two pictures to make it easier to read:

And the end of the game:

Published in: on May 11, 2011 at 4:39 am  Comments (1)  
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Walter Johnson in Idaho

A book called “Boise Baseball: the First 125 Years,” by Arthur A. Hart, talks about Walter Johnson’s time spent playing in the semi-pro Idaho State League in 1907. Johnson was on the Weiser Kids. As you might expect, he was too much for the Idaho ballplayers. The Big Train threw either 77 or 85 straight scoreless innings over May and June and struck out an average of 16 hitters per game. He signed with the Washington Senators at the end of June, then threw his last two scoreless games in the streak back-to-back, 19 innings worth, in two straight days. The streak ended on an 11th inning error that got Johnson beat, 1-0, on June 30. The season’s end was highlighted by a 5000-person crowd in Boise on July 4th to see Johnson duel against a Boise Seantor pitcher named Campbell, triple off Campbell, and win 2-1.

Then, on July 7, Johnson was a “picked” player for Payette, which signed him on to pitch a single game against Caldwell that had heavy betting on it. In his book, Hart explains that Payette “loaded up” for the game by signing several other Weiser stars as well. It worked: Payette beat Caldwell 4-2.

Weiser wound up winning the Idaho State League crown, but the Mountain Home team challenged it to a three-game postseason series. Weiser and Mountain Home put up $2500 each of winner take all stakes, and Johnson won the last two games of a Weiser sweep to win the $5000 for Weiser. Walter then went straight to the Senators. At the end of the 1907 season, with its greatest player gone, the Idaho State League reorganized by halving its eight teams to four and banning the  borrowing of players and teams “loading up” for individual games. The next famous player to call Boise his baseball home, however briefly, was Rickey Henderson in 1976.

When Johnson was pitching for the Weiser Kids, one local wrote this letter to Pongo Joe Cantillon, Washington Senators manager: “You better come out here and get this pitcher. He throws a ball so fast nobody can see it and he strikes out everybody. His control is so good that the catcher just holds up his glove and shuts his eyes, then picks the ball, which comes to him looking like a little white bullet, out of the pocket. He’s a big, 19-year-old fellow like I told you before, and if you don’t hurry up someone will sign him and he will be the best pitcher that ever lived. He throws faster than Addie Jones [Joss] or Amos Rusie ever did, and his control is better than Christy Mathewson’s. He knows where he’s throwing because if he didn’t there would be dead bodies strewn all over Idaho.”

On June 30 of ’07, the Boise Daily Statesman noted that Johnson had signed with the Senators. At the time, Walter had “pitched 75 innings without a run having been made against him,” breaking the former world’s record of 54 scoreless innings. The Statesman noted: “The complete record of Johnson for the entire season is as follows: He has struck out 166 batters; is credited with 18 base hits out of 37 times at bat, assisted 26 times and has 8 putouts to his credit. He has not made an error and only five runs have been made by his opponents. Twenty-five base hits have been made off his pitching during the season to date. [That is, Johnson’s 18 hits were close to the total of everyone who’d hit against him.]

“Walter Johnson was born at lola, Kan., and is 19 years of age. He is six feet and two-fifths of an inch in height in his stocking feet and weighs 180 pounds. His home is at Fullerton, Cal., where he attends school. His first ball playing away from home was with the Weiser team last season.”

You can read much more about the Big Train in Idaho here.

Published in: on December 3, 2009 at 11:16 pm  Comments (1)  
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The Official Decision on Merkle’s Boner

In early October 1908, the National League board of directors took two days to reach a decision on what Fred Merkle of the New York Giants did at the end of the game vs. the Chicago Cubs on Sept. 22, 1908. It came to a decision that made the game a tie and ordered it played again at the Polo Grounds to decide if the Cubs or Giants would win the pennant. Here’s what it said:

“Merkle should have had only one thing on his mind–viz: to reach second base in safety, by a hit, error, or in any other way. The evidence clearly shows the following:

After Bridwell hit the ball safely he ran to and over first base; McCormick started for home and crossed the plate: Merkle started for second, and when about half way to the base, turned and ran in the direction of the clubhouse, without having reached second base. [Robert] Emslie was officiating as umpire, back of the pitcher, [Henry] O’Day back of the catcher. When the hit was made Emslie fell to the ground to escape being hit by the ball; he got up and watched the play at first base and saw that the batter had run out his hit. In the meantime, the ball was fielded in by Hofman and eventually fielded to second base to Evers for a putout on Merkles. Tinker notified Emslie that Merkle did not run to second base. Emslie stated he did not see the play, and then went to his colleague, O’Day, and asked him whether he had seen the play. O’Day answered in the affirmative, and then Emslie asked him whether Merkle had run to second, and being informed that he had not, Emslie declared Merkle out, which, under the rule quoted above, he not only had a right to do, but was required to do.”

The N.L. directors added: “While [the rule requiring a baserunner to touch the next base to avoid a putout] may not have been complied with in many other games; while other clubs may not have taken advantage of the provisions in the past under other circumstances; yet it did not deprive the Chicago club of the right to do so if they so desired, notwithstanding that it might be termed as taking advantage of winning or losing a game upon a technicality.”

The Cubs had petitioned for the game to be forfeited to them, but their owner, Charles W. Murphy, was very confident of victory in the replayed game: “We will play them on Thursday, and we’ll lick them, too. We’ll make it so decisive this time that no boneheaded base running can cast a shadow of doubt on the contest. . . . Manager Chance and his players are all in good condition and will have no excuse if we fail to bring the third successive National league pennant to Chicago. . . . I feel sure that the Cubs again will prove that they are the greatest team of ball players in the world.”

1908: the Cubs Win the World Series

Here’s some of the Chicago Tribune’s coverage of the Cubs winning their second World Series, on October 14, 1908.

A picture of the cub mascot at a time when the Chicago faithful were still building up their stockpile of pennants and world titles:

And a picture of the box score:


The headline read “CUBS SUPREME IN BASEBALL WORLD: Final Victory Over Detroit Gives Chicago Team Greatest Record in History of the Game,” but the Tribune’s story wasn’t that memorable. It said that Cubs pitcher Orval Overall “was extremely right. This was shown in the first inning, when he struck out four men, thereby establishing a new strikeout record for the majors.” It gave high praise for the Cubs’ defense: the Tinkers-Evers-Chance trio and other fielders. But it also said that “undoubtedly today’s final crowd of the year was the smallest that has watched a world’s series battle under modern conditions, the official count showing only a little over 6,000 fans despite ideal conditions.”

On the inside pages, a sidebar feature called “In the Wake of the Final Blow” and written by Hugh E. Keogh featured a poem based on Longfellow’s Excelsior and making fun of the Tigers’ manager, Hughie Jennings:

The shades of night were falling fast,
As through this subdued village passed
A Kike who bore mid snow and ice,
A banner with this strange device,

He pleaded with the passing throng
To help the goodly cause along;
He pleaded long and pleaded loud
Unto that dazed and saddened crowd.

But no one seemed to heed his call,
And no one care a thing at all,
And none would pay a nickel for
The emblem of a losing war.

“I’m long upon my stock,” he cried.
What time his losing trade he plied.
“Now I deserve some recompense;
Here, take the bunch for thirty cents.”

Cubs’ Manager Frank Chance: “Manager Jennings has a great team, but I think the Chicago team is greater. Our team is the greatest that I ever saw on a baseball field.”

The Tigers’ Jennings said: “There was not the old time Detroit dash and ginger to our work and we did not measure our full ability either at the plate or in the field.”

Other sidebar items:
“They are talking here tonight about the cheapness of the American league as compared with the National. The subject is too deep for these parts, but if our health holds out we shall have all winter to think about it.

“Gracious, how cheap we south siders look when we take the count from something that looks like a spoiled deuce when stacked up against a machine like this Frank Chance fell heir to! [Keogh meant the White Sox should be embarrassed to have lost the pennant to the Tigers when the Cubs beat Detroit so easily.]

“Those who hold reservations for tomorrow’s game in Chicago can retain them for the 1909 series. They will need them.

“After the terrible battles for the two major league pennants the world’s series was only a gentle skirmish by comparison, and probably will be known in history as the anti-climax series.”

Here’s a link to the Series stats, and coverage of the game 5 action.

In other Chicago Tribune front page news that day, “Rev. A.W. Griffin, rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal church, was exonerated yesterday of the charges preferred against him by choir boys.”
The investigation found 1. “The accused is charged with immoral but not criminal acts.”
2. “We consider that the accusation has not been proven by preponderance of the evidence with respect to any single immoral act.”
3. “Therefore, in our judgment, we are not warranted to present the said Rev. A.W. Griffin for trial.”

Also, in Wilkesbarre, Pa., the headline “TRAMP THRASHED BY A WOMAN Knight of Road Insults 275 Pound Amazon and Soon Becomes a Badly Whipped Person” introduced this story:
“Mrs. John Snyder of Riverside, who weighs 275 pounds, dusted the roadside with a tramp who had insulted her. . . . The tramp went to the Snyder farmhouse and after being given something to eat discovered Mrs. Snyder was alone and insulted her. Mrs. Snyder knocked him down, picked him up again, ran him to the road, held him wih one hand, and beat him with the other.”

Cy Young’s Perfect Game

In 1998, the Boston’s Globe’s Bob Ryan took a look back at Cy Young’s perfect game in 1904:
“On Thursday, May 5, 1904, the prospect of a classic pitcher’s duel between Boston’s already legendary Cy Young and Philadelphia ace Rube Waddell – a man who could have given eccentricity lessons to Dennis Rodman – lured 10,267 baseball fans to the Huntington Avenue grounds.”

The Globe’s original account said Patsy Dougherty, Chick Stahl, and Freddy Parent all made some nice plays to protect Young’s perfect game. Waddell, the game’s last batter, “drove a long fly to Stahl, and, waiting for the catch, the crowd held back. The ball was held by the Boston fielder, and the crowd let loose.

Ten thousand voices, keyed to the highest pitch, went off as if by electric shock as the last man went out on a fly to Chick Stahl, clinching the greatest game ever pitched by mortal man.

It was a game that all who attended will long remember and hand down the story of to generations to come; for record breakers come now seldom and are never advertised ahead.”

Cy Young said it like this: “Things broke beautifully for me. My curves broke well, and my speed seemed a little faster than usual. (Rube, the opposing pitcher) Waddell is eccentric and erratic. I feared him more than any other. When he hit that ball to center, I sighed. As it dropped into (Chick) Stahl’s glove, I felt like a colt, and when I gained possession of that ball, I was overjoyed.”

The nine perfect innings were part of a hitless innings streak (24 straight and still a record) and a scoreless innings streak (45 straight).

Published in: on May 13, 2009 at 6:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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