Cobb Says Rain Delay Favors Giants

(October 21, 1911) PHILADELPHIA– Writing yesterday for the Toronto World, Ty Cobb said that the rains that have rendered Shibe Park unplayable are a positive for the Giants. Cobb thought the Series was over after the Athletics won Game 3, but says that the Giants have been handed a reprieve by the rains. Says Cobb:

McGraw has Mathewson, who has been rested four full days, and should be in even better condition than he was when the Mack men defeated him. Marquard has rested five days, and should be fit…The big point is that McGraw can send Matty or Marquard in…feeling certain that they have been rested sufficiently to be physically strong.

The opportunity to use Mathewson in two straight games undoubtedly works to the Giants advantage. This is definitely a team with two great pitchers and then three guys who are second tier. Had the game been played as scheduled, they would have had no choice but to use Red Ames, Hooks Wiltse, or Doc Crandall. None of them duds, but none of them Matty either. Now Mathewson, who went 3-0 in the 1905 World Series against these A’s, can aim for his 2nd win of this Series, and if he does so, tie this Series at 2.

As for Cobb? Well, the 24 year old center fielder is coming off a season for the ages. He hit .420, knocked in 127 runs, and stole 83 bases.

A’s-Giants a Rematch of 1905 World Series

This is not the first time these two teams have met in the Series. In 1905, they went head to head, and the Series helped establish Christy Mathewson as a star. Mathewson won three games in the Series, as the Giants walloped the Athletics, 4 games to 1. Incredibly,  all 5 games ended in shutouts. Mathewson pitched 27 innings, didn’t give up a single run, and in fact only allowed one runner to reach third base the entire Series. It has been to this point the most dominant performance by a pitcher in World Series history. Of course, he wasn’t the only Giants pitcher with success in that Series. Joe McGinnity (who retired in ’08) pitched 17 innings without giving up an earned run either! The 3 runs the A’s scored in Game 2 were all unearned, and they were the only runs they would score all Series. It was a dominant performance by the NL champs.

Some thought that the Giants performance in that Series was proof that they were the better team, and would win again in 1911. However, a quick look at the lineup cards indicated that this was an entirely different A’s team than in 1905. There were only 3 A’s position players starting who had started in that 1905 World Series, and they had added stars in Home Run Baker and Eddie Collins. As far as pitching, the A’s still had Chief Bender and Eddie Plank, but had added the great Jack Coombs. Today’s Chief Bender vs. Mathewson tilt is a rematch of Game 5 of the 1905 Series, won by Matty, 2-0. Will history repeat itself? We’ll find out this afternoon.

You can read more about the 1905 World Series here.

John McGraw and the White Elephants

When the A’s joined the American League in its first year of existence in 1901, team owner Benjamin Shibe wasted little time in offering exorbitant contracts to star National Leaguers, in effect raiding them of their talent. John McGraw, who had managed the Orioles in the AL but flipped over to the Giants of the National League, was disgusted by Shibe’s actions, but thought that spending so much money was going to tank the team. And so, while speaking to a reporter in 1902, McGraw stated that Shibe had a “big white elephant” on his hands. The term, popular back then, described something that looked nice but whose upkeep made it impossible to take care of. Connie Mack heard what McGraw had said and showing that he had an outstanding sense of humor, ordered all Athletic’s gear to carry a white elephant on it. (You can see it below on Chief Bender’s sweater. He’s talking to the Giants Chief Meyer earlier in the 1911 Series.)

By the time the 1905 World Series came around, it was obvious that the A’s were a profitable franchise. And so, in playing a practical joke on McGraw, before Game 1 of the Series, McGraw was given a statue of a white elephant (above) at Columbia Park in Philadelphia (The Park was located at 29th and Cecil B. Moore). According to the book John McGraw, the surly manager hammed it up this time, as he “doffed his cap and made a deep bow to the hooting spectators.”

Welcome to Game 4 of the 1911 World Series

Welcome to Shibe Park, where after a 6-day rain delay, we are finally ready for some baseball! Today it will be Christy Mathewson on the hill for the Giants and Chief Bender pitching for the hometown Athletics. The A’s will try to take a 3-1 Series lead, while the Giants try to knot it at 2 apiece. There are over 33,000 in attendance here at Shibe. You can follow the action live by clicking here, then clicking “View Game”. I will be back with a full report on today’s game Tuesday morning. If you have missed the first three games, game recaps complete with photos can be found below. Enjoy!

Game 1.

Game 2.

Game 3.


Bender, Baker Lead Mackmen to Victory in Game 4; Now Stand One Away From Championship!

(October 25) PHILADELPHIA– Last year, after Chief Bender (left, in color!) knocked off Chicago in Game 1 of the 1910 World Series, Cubs manager Frank Chance quipped, “That Indian was almost inhuman. The greater the tension, the better he pitched. He fairly reveled in the tumult of the stands and often laughed like a pleased boy.” Yesterday, the most beloved Redskin in Philadelphia got the last laugh once again, as after a shaky start he gathered his wits and hurled a gem.

Mathewson held a 2-0 career record against Bender, and in the first inning it looked like he was ready to make it a trifecta. Bender was clearly rattled in the first, as he gave up a lead off single to Devore followed by a triple to second bagger Larry Doyle. Snodgrass entered to catcalls as a result of his infamous slide last week, but hit a sacrifice fly to knock in Doyle, and though the game was only a few minutes old, the score was already 2-0. But Bender settled down, and over the next hour and 40 some minutes the Giants would not cross home plate again.

The A’s fans did not sell out the ballpark, but they were plenty raucous. In the bottom of the first, when Home Run Baker came to the plate, they let out a hearty song through megaphones:

“What’s the matter with Baker?

“He’s all right!

“What’s the matter with Baker?

“He’s out of sight!

“He’s the boy with the old home runs.

“He’s landed two and there’s more to come.

“What’s the matter with Baker.

“He’s all right.”

Baker would add no home runs to his totals on this day, but he would do nothing to dim his star either. In the bottom of the 4th, with the A’s trailing 2-0, he blasted a double into left-centerfield. Baker’s continued domination of him obviously flustered Mathewson, as he then gave up a double to Danny Murphy to almost the exact same spot, and the A’s merely trailed by 2-1. Up to the plate came first baseman Harry Davis. A former bank teller, the 37-year old Davis was only in the lineup because Stuffy McInnis was injured. But he paid Mack back for the time in 1901 when Mack convinced him to leave the bank and come to the diamond, as he hit a double past Fred Merkle and down the right field line. The game was tied at 2, and the Shibe faithful were in a frenzy. A few batters later, Ira Thomas hit a sac fly to score Davis. The A’s had a lead they would not relinquish, adding a run in the 7th when (guess who?) Home Run Baker hit another double to score Eddie Collins. Bender had long since settled down, and his fastball was sizzling. “Who can hit a pea when it goes by with the speed of lightning?” lamented Giants left fielder Josh Devore after the game.

The Athletics now take a 3-1 lead into the Polo Grounds today for the Game 5 tilt, which will be between Plank and Marquard. If there is a game 6, it will be held at Shibe Park on Thursday.

Game 5 Has Now Begun! Watch it on Our Playograph


If you’d like to follow Game 5, live from the Polo Grounds (above), just click here and then hit “View Game”. Rube Marquard will pitch for the Giants. You can read his scouting report here. Marquard pitched a gem in Game 2, allowing only 4 hits in 8 innings, but gave up the first of Baker’s two daggers. On the hill for the A’s is Jack Coombs. Coombs was victorious in Game 3, completely manhandling the Giants with a complete game 3-hitter. Most are expecting the A’s to close the Series down today, as yesterday’s loss is said to have really taken it out of the NL champs. Nonetheless, both the Polo Grounds and the Herald Square (below) are packed, as Giants fans are still hoping for a miracle. There are over 33,000 at the Polo Grounds and thousands more in the street watching the Playograph. A’s fans are watching a playograph at City Hall, hoping to celebrate a World Championship today.



And Now a Word From Some of Our Sponsors

Without their generous support, this coverage of the 1911 World Series would not be possible.

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As stated above, Absorbo is different from all the others that claim they’re going to make you look less disgustingly obese. And best of all, you don’t need to do a thing except rub it on and let its new principle go to work on your fatty accumulations.

Finally, an opportunity to be your own dentist! Why pay a dentist to give you fillings when you can just do it yourself? Just go to Germantown, to the Galbraith Chemical Company, and get your hands on some Dento. In the future, everyone will do their own dental work. Why not get ahead of the curve?

*all of these ads taken from Philadelphia Inquirer during 1911 World Series.

Giants Come From Behind in 9th to Win Thriller; Did Doyle Touch Home Plate?

(October 26th, 1911) NEW YORK– It looked like this Series was shaping up to have a real Broadway ending. Rube Oldring (left, looking at camera), whose sister died a week ago, was one out away from being Philadelphia’s newest hero. In the 3rd inning of yesterday’s game, he blasted a 3-run shot deep into the left field bleachers off of Giants pitcher Rube Marquard, and the A’s had a 3-0 lead and Jack Coombs on the hill. It looked like the Series was over, and Philadelphia prepared for a celebration. But these Giants proved that their hearts were still beating, and they’ve got as much grit as any team in baseball. They scratched out a run in the 7th, and the 9th inning began with the Athletics up by a score of 3-1.

Coombs got Buck Herzog to ground out to short. The Athletics were now 2 outs away from victory. Art Fletcher came to bat with none but the 5,000 A’s fans in attendance cheering. Fletcher brought the other 28,000 kranks back to life with a double. But Chief Meyer grounded out to short. The A’s were now one out away from the championship trophy. Up came Giants pitcher Doc Crandall. Doc, the first pitcher that I’m aware of being used solely as a relief pitcher, had come in in the 8th inning and shut the A’s down. Of course, he’s also known for swinging a fair piece of lumber, and McGraw regularly uses him as a pinch hitter. Jim Nasium over at the Inquirer remarked on the feeling amongst Philadelphia fans as Crandall (pictured below, right) stepped to the plate with 2 outs.

Those persons in the audience who are in the habit of grabbing their lunch in the shadow of the Bill Penn statue could already hear the old cheese cloth rustling down the brown October trail, and it just wanted one more man to be retired…we weren’t particular about the form of retirement that might be chosen by the principals in the cast, and then the accumulation of red fire could be touched off and we could spend the balance of the evening laying in an assortment of headaches as a grand wind-up to the national frolic for the season of 1911. Came then the Crandall episode, and the fireworks and the headaches adjourned to meet again tomorrow evening. 

The “Crandall episode” my colleague refers to was a scorching double to center field (“One of the hardest hits of the Series” said Mathewson afterward) off a visibly tired Coombs. That brought home Fletcher. The score was now 3-2. The A’s were still one out from victory, though it was obvious that Coombs was spent and perhaps even injured. Mack had sent Chief Bender out to the hill in the 8th to try to convince Coombs to come out of the game, but Coombs refused (Mack, or course, is not allowed on the field during a game because he refuses to wear a uniform).

After the Crandall hit, Mack sent Ira Thomas out to try to talk Coombs into taking a rest. Josh Devore was coming up to the plate. He had struck out four times against Coombs in Game 2 and had done nothing in this game. Coombs wanted to finish the game and end the Series. Mack left him in and Plank watched from the bullpen.

Coombs delivered his first pitch to leadoff man Devore, who cracked a single to left field, and Doc beat Bris Lord’s throw to the plate to tie the game at 3. We were going to extra innings.

Mack was determined to allow Coombs to finish what he had started, letting him bat in the top of the 10th. He beat out a bunt to first, but pulled a groin doing so and had to be replaced by Eddie Plank when the two teams went to the bottom the tenth still tied at 3. Plank had been a hero in Game 2, but not on this day. Larry Doyle led off the inning with his 4th hit of the game, a double that landed in the left field corner. Fred Snodgrass bunted Doyle over to third. Plank tried to get the runner at third, but Doyle was too quick, and now there was a runner on third and no outs. The New York bugs were buzzing. Red Murray flied out weakly to short right field, and held Doyle at third. Up stepped Fred Merkle. The goat of that famous game against the Cubs in 1908, he now played the hero, sending a fly ball into right field, deeper than Murray’s. Danny Murphy ran up to make the catch and hurled the ball home. Doyle slid. The throw to catcher Jack Lapp was high. The New York crowd went wild. The A’s shuffled off the field. But wait…there had been no call from the umpire.

Home plate ump Bill Klem remarked after the game that Doyle never touched home, and had Lapp tagged him or if the A’s had made an appeal, he would have called him out. Thousands of delirious New York fans began to pour onto the field. A’s captain Harry Davis looked at McGraw to see if he should protest. McGraw made no move. No protest was made, and Klem walked away. The Giants had completed the come from behind victory, and cut the Series lead to 3-2. Game 6 is scheduled for today in Philadelphia. We’ll have live coverage at 2 p.m. In the meantime, we’ll also have more on this controversial play at home that ended the game.

Why Didn’t the Athletics Appeal the Final Play? Because Mack’s a Gentleman

Yesterday’s occurence was eerily similar to a play that occurred three years ago. On September 23rd, 1908, the Giants and Cubs were locked in a tight pennant race. Fred Merkle (left) stood on first and teammate Moose McCormick stood on 3rd. With two outs, Al Bridwell hit a single to drive in McCormick. The jubilant New York fans rushed the field, thinking their Giants had won. But Cubs 2nd baseman Johnny Evers noticed that Merkle had never touched 2nd base. He ran out, grabbed the ball, and running between Giants fans, went and touched 2nd base for the force out. He then told umpire Hank O’Day that Merkle had never touched second and that he was out, nullifying the run. O’Day agreed, and the game ended in a 1-1 tie. The two teams ended the season tied, and the Cubs won a one-game playoff that never would have happened in Merkle had touched 2nd. Of course, he had left the field for his safety, and O’Day enforced a rule that had never been enforced before.

Yesterday, Merkle was again in the thick of it, lofting a fly ball near the right field line. Danny Murphy made the catch, then threw home to try to catch Doyle, who had tagged up on the play. The throw was off, but when he slid, Doyle missed home plate, sliding with one leg behind it and one leg over it by a foot. As umpire Bill Klem said after the game, “Usually I run to the dressing room when a game is over, but this time I stood at home plate for several seconds, waiting to see if the Athletic players would appeal…None of the the Athletics made the appeal, and as I was about to move away McGraw, in passing from the third base coacher’s box to the players bench, said to me, “Did you see it, Bill?'”

“I certainly did,” I said.

“What would you have done about it if they had appealed,” McGraw asked.

“I would have declared Doyle out if they appeal had been made, but none was made.”

Why had no appeal been made, when several members of the A’s, including Connie Mack, had seen the play? For one thing, there was basic safety to worry about. Giants fans would have torn the place to pieces had such a ruling been made. For another, first baseman Harry Davis, who saw that Doyle didn’t touch, couldn’t make it to Klem through the throng of fans rushing onto the field. But perhaps the best explanation is that Connie Mack is far more of a gentleman than Johnny Evers is. As he said yesterday evening on the train:

It was the most pleasing moment of my life when not one of them tried to take advantage of a cheap technicality. Lapp looked around at the bench to see if I had noticed. I could see him from the corner of my eyes. I did not give him a tumble and he rushed off the field with teh rest. Now, i couldn’t swear that Doyle missed the palte, but if he did, what difference did it make? He had plenty of time to scuttle along and in my mind the Giants were fully entitled to it. I’m glad that none of my men forced Klem to make a ruling that would have been a rank injustice to New York, probably precipitating a riot and taking a hard-earned victory from the true winners and perhaps given baseball a black eye. I’m mighty pleased that my team showed themselves true sportsmen.

And so, Larry Doyle will not earn the nickname “Bonehead” in the fashion of Merkle, not because he didn’t make a mistake, but because Connie Mack is a fine gentleman. Hoorah to a team with such a caballero for a manager!

*Once again, Mack’s long quote comes to us via the excellent Norman L. Macht book “Connie Mack and the Early Years of Baseball.” The other quotes come from the October 26th, 1911 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Welcome to Shibe Park for Game 6 of the 1911 World Series!

A crowd of over 20,000 is on hand at today’s Game 6 between the A’s and the Giants, with thousands more on nearby rooftops (below). The Athletics have brought out the Chief on merely one day’s rest, while the Giants must be saving Matty for a potential Game 7. They are tossing Red Ames. Ames was solid if not spectacular for the G-Men this year, going 11-10 with a 2.68 ERA. He entered yesterday’s game in the 4th inning and shut the Athletics down, allowing 2 hits and no runs in 4 innings of work. He is known for having a dramatic curve ball, which causes him to throw a lot of wild pitches. We’ll see if his wildness helps or hurts him this afternoon. To see the starting lineups and to watch the game, click here and then hit “View Game”.