Welcome to the 1911 World Series!

The Phillies are out of it, but I’ve still got World Series fever. Therefore, I thought we’d relive the World Series of 100 years ago. I’ll be writing everyday as Hap Jackson, sports reporter for the Philadelphia Bulletin. I got the idea from this site, which started with a┬ábang but shut down a few months ago. I thought it was a noble pursuit and thought I’d keep it going here for the Series. So expect plenty of photos, facts and bios of the 1911 A’s here in the next couple of weeks, written as if the Series were taking place now.

(October 14th, 1911) NEW YORK– Hello, sports fans and welcome to the 1911 World Series, which begins at 2 p.m. today between the Philadelphia A’s and the New York Giants. This is a highly anticipated matchup, as the two teams took their pennants with little drama. The Giants won by 7 1/2 games, and the A’s looked like a Model T among horse and buggies on the junior circuit, winning by 13 games. There is no question that we are witnessing the two finest battalions in baseball. Let’s look at their starting lineups and see if we can find who has the upper hand. We’ll start with managers.

MANAGER: Very different styles in manager here, the quiet gentleman Connie Mack of the Athletics (in suit) and the tempestuous firebrand John McGraw (in jersey), aka “The Little Napoleon”. Both are effective in their own styles, and quite popular with their men. Mack takes a laid back approach, while McGraw is known for tripping baserunners when the umpire isn’t looking and barking at opposing players to throw off their concentration. Each man will surely send their troops into battle well-prepared.

ADVANTAGE: None. These are two of the finest managers in the game. Despite contrasting styles, they have the full and complete respect of their players and are both expert tacticians.

For A’s and Giants pitching matchups, click here.

For Infield comparisons between the two teams, click here.

For Outfield comparisons, click here.

 


Frank Baker the Hero in Game 2; Plank is Unhittable

(October 17th, 1911) PHILADELPHIA –The two best teams in baseball went head to head again on Sunday afternoon in front of a packed house at Shibe Park, and when it was over, baseball’s titans were tied at one game apiece. The A’s got off to a quick start, leadoff hitter Bris Lord tagging one to right field that right fielder Red Miller mishandled, allowing Lord to get to second. Oldring moved him along to third with a bunt, and then Lord scored on a passed ball. The Giants quickly countered, scoring in the top of the 2nd on a Herzog double followed by a Chief Meyers single off of Athletics starter Eddie Plank (left). The 6th inning is where the drama truly began. In the top of the 6th, Fred Snodgrass lined a ball right down the left field line. The speedy Snodgrass thought he had a sure double. But he seemed to get slowed by the mud around first base, and was gunned down at second. Christy Mathewson, writing in the Times, blamed the out on the Philly grounds crew.

“They resorted to a trick in preparing their field that reminded me of the bushes. They’d evidently wet down the baselines within a radium of about 20 feet of all the bags so as to slow our men up…The doctoring of the field did us little damage, except when Snodgrass made a hit to left field in the sixth inning and tried to get two bases on it. He slipped in the wet turf making the turn around first base and was caught easily at second.”

The grounds crew was not pleased with Matty’s assesment.

“Mathewson is saying what is not true,” said groundskeeper Joe Schroeder, “and he is doing it to find some excuse for the Giants losing the game.”

The rivalry seems to be heating up a bit. Just a few minutes later, Eddie Collins came up for the A’s with two outs and nobody on. He doubled to almost the same spot that Snodgrass had hit the ball moments earlier, down the left field line. He didn’t have any problems rounding first, and made it cleanly into second base. That brought up Frank Baker. Giants pitcher Rube Marquard spoke after the game about what he was thinking when Baker came to the plate.

“Baker is a bad man and I had been warned against him, and I had the right dope too, but at the last moment I switched, because I thought I was working it too hard. I struck him out in the first inning with three deliveries. The first was an incurve. The second was also an incurve and he fouled. For the third strike I gave him the same thing and got him. So that when he came up in the sixth, I fully intended to follow instructions and give him curved balls. But when I had one strike on him and he had refused to bite on another outcurve which was a little too wide, I thought to cross him by sending in a fast high straight ball the kind I knew he liked. Meyers had called for a curve, but I could not see it, and signaled for a high fast ball.”

Baker (right) took that fastball for a ride, sending it over the deep rightfield wall at Shibe (you can see a picture of Shibe here to imagine how far the ball went. Right center is a pretty good ways from home, when you consider that dead center is 505 feet.) The crowd went wild, the people cheering from the rooftops screamed so loudly they would have been heard at City Hall, had there not been thousands more people screaming wildly after watching the homer on a Playograph. The crowd howled, whistled, cheered, and even banged on the roof of the visitors tin dugout with their canes and feet. The Athletics took a 3-1, and that was all Eddie Plank would need. He gave up a mere two hits after the 3rd inning, with one of those being the one Snodgrass got thrown out on.

The other pitcher, however, was taking plenty of grief. Marquard had pitched a gem, allowing only 4 hits in 7 innings, but he had made the mistake of giving Baker a fastball, and his coach was not pleased. “A good pitcher isn’t supposed to give up a home run like that,” barked McGraw after the game. Mathewson ripped Marquard in today’s Times, as the headline of his column reads, “Marquard makes the wrong pitch”. There is little doubt that the great Matty will make no such mistake against Baker at the Polo Grounds today.

PREVIOUSLY: Mathewson leads Giants to victory in Game 1.