Saturday, June 27, 2020

Early Baseball at Princeton University

My Zoom presentation on early baseball at Princeton sponsored by the Historical Society of Princeton is now available at:
https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/5ZQyAJSt2n5LX5Xt1krmQKsDMoHXX6a80CNL8_oLnh2IF0eN1qLyGmqAxlt_rdbD

Access Password: 7r=$7ja&

Please note the link expires in 30 days.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Perhaps Not So Unusual After All

Most of those who read the last post probably thought the practice of starting pitchers trying to win both ends of a doubleheader went the way of all things a century or more ago.  Even though I should have known better that was pretty much my feeling as well.  While researching the topic, however, I realized that not only had it happened more recently, I actually saw, through the miracle of television, what I believe is the last attempt at this remarkable feat.  It happened on July 19, 1973 and the pitcher was Wilbur Wood of the Chicago White Sox, a noted knuckle ball pitcher of the 1970's.  Wood originally tried to make the major leagues as a more conventional pitcher, but failed on five separate occasions.  Fortunately for him, his career was saved when Hall of Famer Hoyt Wilhelm taught him to throw the knuckle ball.  Wood first enjoyed success as a relief pitcher and then went on try his hand at starting.  Over four seasons beginning in 1971, the left handed knuckle baller averaged 22 wins a season while throwing 1390 innings an average of 348 a season.  Pitching for weak White Sox teams, Wood lost almost as often as he won and in 1973 became the first pitcher since Walter Johnson to win and lose 20 games in the same season.


As early as 1971, Wood claimed he could pitch both games of a doubleheader a feat last accomplished in the American League by Emil Levsen of Cleveland in 1926.  Wood got his chance two years later under unusual circumstances.  Just before the All Star break, Chicago was scheduled to play a twi-night double header at Yankee Stadium.  It was not a good match up for the Yankees who had lost eight straight times to Wood.  According to Richard Dozer of the Chicago Daily Tribune, Wood was to start the first game and then take a flight to Boston to visit his son who was recovering from surgery.  Regardless of how much  Wood had dominated the Yankees in the past, it did him little good this time. He was knocked out of the game in the first inning without recording an out and New York went on to a 12-2 rout.  Supposedly Wood couldn't believe his knuckle ball was that bad and asked to start the second game.  He may have regretted the decision when after he warmed up, there was a 47 minute rain delay.  Wood stuck with it though and didn't allow a hit for the first three innings.  In the fourth, however, poor defense gave the Yankees two runs and Roy White later put the game out of reach with a grand slam home run.  Wood's attempt to repeat history was in Dozer's words nothing short of "a total disaster."


While this relatively recent attempt at two wins in a day was largely dependent on Wood's being knocked out so early in the first game, I was surprised to learn of another modern attempt (modern being defined as my lifetime) which, as in 1916, took place during the heat of a winner take-all pennant race.  Once again the Philadelphia Phillies were part of the story, but this time they were the hunted rather than the hunter.  After the Brooklyn Dodgers lost to the Giants on September 6, 1950 they trailed the "Whiz Kids," by 7 1/2 games, prompting Harold C. Burr of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle to remark that the Dodger slogan was no longer "Wait Till Next Year," but rather "You can't win every year."  The following day, the Dodgers would take on the Phillies in Philadelphia for a twi-night doubleheader and Burr wrote that Brooklyn manager Burt Shotton would pitch Don Newcombe in the first game, but wasn't sure of his second game starter.


Philadelphia Inquirer - September 7, 1950

After Newcombe dispatched the Phils on just three hits in a 2-0 victory in the first game, however, Shotton must have realized the answer was staring him in the face.  According to Burr, between games Newcombe was playing gin rummy on a property trunk in the visiting clubhouse when Shotton supposedly "a little fearful and a little apologetic" came up behind him.  Supposedly Shotton told Newcombe if he pitched the second game, he could have the next day off to go fishing prompting this deathless dialogue:

Newcombe - "That right. Boss?"

Shotton - "Want to take me up?'

Newcombe - "Uh-huh."

At that point the Brooklyn right hander "laconically" picked up his glove and went out to try to do something no National League pitcher had done since Herman Bell for the Cards in 1924  Reportedly the announcement was greeted by a big roar from the almost capacity crowd of over 32,000.




Newcombe didn't disappoint, allowing just two runs before being removed after seven innings for a pinch hitter.  The problem, however, was that his teammates had no success against Curt Simmons who held them to just one hit through eight innings.  With one out in the ninth, however, a walk and a hit put Brooklyn runners on first and second.  At that point, Phillies manager Eddie Sawyer removed Simmons for Jim Konstanty, making his 62nd appearance of the season.  According to Stan Baumgartner of the Philadelphia Inquirer both Brooklyn and Philadelphia fans cheered Simmons "to the echo."  Jackie Robinson then loaded the bases with an infield hit, but Konstanty appeared to be in control after striking out Carl Furillo, leaving the Dodgers down to their final out.  Brooklyn was not done however, Gil Hodges singled, sending home the tying run.  Hodges tried to go to second and when the Phils got him in a run down, Robinson went home.  In his legendary style, Robinson "squirmed back and forth" until a Phillies' error allowed him to score.  Dan Bankhead retired Philadelphia in the bottom of the ninth and just like that the Dodgers were back in the race.  In the end, of course, the Phillies prevailed, but that doesn't take anything away from a herculean effort by Newcombe that is little remembered today. 



Thursday, June 18, 2020

The Brooklyn Players League Ownership

A look at the owners of the 1890 Brooklyn Players League franchise at the new SABR web site - https://sabr.org/bioproj/topic/brooklyn-players-league-team-ownership-history/

This group never should have invested in baseball in the first place - readers draw modern parallels at their own risk.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Double Your Pleasure (Squared)

While there is no question getting old beats the alternative, there are still things from the past, now gone forever, that we miss.  For me, from a baseball standpoint, the most obvious is the Dodgers leaving Brooklyn which as an 11 year old in a more limited, somewhat sheltered media environment, I was a little too young to fully understand.  Another thing I miss that might be somewhat surprising is winner take-all pennant races - no divisions, no wild cards, none of that stuff that began over 50 years ago.  I understand all the logic of how more post season opportunities facilitates a broader base of interest, but there is something about the excitement of those last days of a season, sometimes the last day itself, with so much at stake.  I had actually forgotten how much I enjoyed such late season drama until Paul Zinn and I wrote our book about the 1916 season which had multiple teams in both leagues in contention right up until the final week.   So high was the intensity of the National League race in Brooklyn, Philadelphia and Boston, the contemporary media described it as:

"The Apoplexy-Breeding National League Pennant Race" - New York Times

"The nerve shattering strife for the baseball supremacy of the National League" - Philadelphia Inquirer

"The most maddening baseball melee in history" - Boston Herald

One characteristic of  such close pennant races is teams and players give it everything they have, holding nothing back. Perhaps the best illustration of that spirit in 1916 is how six times National League starting pitchers took the mound trying to win both ends of a doubleheader of which there was no shortage that season.  Two of those efforts were not only by the same team, the Philadelphia Phillies, but also took place in the space of just four days.   On Wednesday, September 20, the Phillies who trailed first place Brooklyn by two games, hosted the Pirates for a doubleheader at Baker Bowl before a crowd estimated between 12-15,000.  Thanks to an excessive number of rain outs early in the season, it was Philadelphia's eighth doubleheader in just under three weeks.  On the mound for the home team was right handed pitcher Al Demaree, opposed by Wilbur Cooper of the Pirates.  The two hurlers matched zeros until the Phillies erupted for seven runs with two out in the bottom of the sixth allowing Demaree to coast to a shutout victory.  Perhaps remembering how his team had been beaten twice on the same day by Pol Perritt of the Giants just two weeks earlier, Phils manager Pat Moran quickly accepted Demaree's offer to start the second contest.



Al Demaree clearly had help in his first game shutout of the Pirates - Philadelphia Press - September 21, 1916

Demaree got a big hand when he took the mound, but it initially looked like his appearance would be brief and ineffective.  The Pirates put runners on first and second with just one out, but fortunately for Phils, Max Carey, the lead runner, was thrown out an attempted double steal. Demaree's problems weren't over however.  Playing in his next to last season, the great Honus Wagner doubled to right, but once again aggressive base running hurt the Pirates as Bill Hinchman was thrown out at the plate.  Having escaped that threat, the Phils wasted little time getting on the board themselves, scoring twice in the bottom of the inning.  Pittsburgh finally got a run off Demaree in the third, but still trailed 2-1 heading to the top of the ninth.  The Pirates were not done, however, with one out Wagner and Fred Schulte singled bringing Doc Johnston to the plate as a pinch hitter.  By this point, Moran had his ace Grover Cleveland Alexander warming up, but elected to stay with Demaree who struck out Johnston.  On the pitch, however, in classic Deadball Era style, Doug Baird (running for Wagner) and Schulte successfully executed a double steal, putting the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position. 


Al Demaree

Only Bill Wagner stood between Demaree and two complete game victories on the same day, but Wagner singled driving in Baird to tie the game.  Once again, however, Demaree was bailed out by his defense when center fielder Dode Paskert threw Schulte out at home on what was either a "perfect throw" or a "herculean heave."  With one out in the bottom of the ninth, George Whitted hit one to center field which "refused to bound" into the bleachers.  Under the rules of the day had the ball gone into the stands on a bounce, it would have been a game winning home run.  Instead Whitted was at second, but not for long, stealing third to put the winning run only 90 feet.  After walking the next two batters and then getting the second out on a foul out, Pirate pitcher, Al Mamaux faced pinch hitter Claude Cooper.  Reportedly Mamaux tried to intimidate Cooper by attempting to dust him off with the first pitch.  If so, seldom was a poor strategy, executed even more poorly as the pitch went all the way to the backstop allowing Whitted to score the winning run.  Although he had just pitched two complete games, Demaree still had enough energy to outrun his adoring fans on the way to the center field club house where team owner, William Baker was waiting with a $100 check.  It was no wonder the fans were excited not only had they seen a pitcher earn two complete game victories in a single day, the ninth inning was worth the price of admission alone.


Philadelphia Inquirer - September 21, 1916

Perhaps somewhat lost in the excitement was that the Phillies had picked up a half-game on the Dodgers who won their game, putting Philadelphia 1 1/2 games back with 15 to play.  Unfortunately, over the next two days, Brooklyn added another game to its lead, leaving the Phillies further back as they prepared to host Cincinnati for a double header on September 23rd.  Although the Reds were in last place, they had just won three straight in Boston, effectively knocking the Braves out of the pennant race.  Fortunately for the Phils, they had their ace, Grover Cleveland Alexander on the mound for the first game.  Already a 29 game winner, Alexander got off to a rough start when three Red hits and a Dave Bancroft error gave the Reds an early l-0 lead.  Just two innings later, Alexander was bailed out by his defense when Milt Stock's "sensational one-hand stop" got him out of a bases loaded jam.  Things began to turn around for the home team in the bottom of the inning when the Phillies tied the score without the benefit of a hit.  Philadelphia then broke things open in the sixth largely due to a three run home run by Bert Niehoff because this time the ball did bounce into the bleachers.


Grover Cleveland Alexander

Alexander's performance was hardly a work of art since he allowed 12 Reds hits while coasting to a 7-3 win.  Remembering Demaree's feat of just two days earlier, there were probably few in the capacity crowd who were surprised when Alexander began warming up for the second game.  The fans greeted him with "thunderous applause which grew to a roar" as he took the mound.  The Reds continued to get hits against the Phils right hander, five in the first four innings, but instead of growing tired, Alexander gradually became "absolutely invincible." He allowed just three hits over the last three innings and only one base runner reached third in the entire game.  The Phils offense produced four runs and at game's end, Alexander had not only his 31st victory, but a record setting 15th shutout.  He would add one more whitewash before the season ended, a record of 16 that still stands.  Alexander was not as quick to the clubhouse as Demaree so that the fans carried him the last 30 yards on their shoulders where owner Baker was again waiting with a $100 check.   Alexander had wasted in little time in the second game which lasted only one hour and seven minutes, just 16 minutes shy of the major league record.  Incredibly, though the teams had played two full games, it was only 4:20, giving the fans not only plenty of time to get home for dinner, but to celebrate over a few beers at their local tavern.


Brooklyn Daily Eagle - September 24, 1916

Of course, the obvious question is how did Demaree and Alexander pitch two complete games on the same day.  Unfortunately box scores from that era don't give as much statistical detail as today, but Jim Gantz of the Philadelphia Press helpfully published Alexander's second game pitch count - just 78 pitches, including only four in the first and five in the second.  All told the future Hall of Famer gave up eight hits while striking out four and walking just one.  Obviously the low number of strike outs and walks kept the pitch count down while the number of hits doesn't have that much impact since a hit is only one pitch.  Clearly an extremely low pitch count helped, but a more likely explanation is that pitchers didn't throw as hard on every pitch compared to today.  In an era of few home runs, one bad pitch was unlikely to do that much damage so that a pitcher could literally pick his spots to throw hard.  Dodger pitcher, Leon Cadore, may have alluded to this a few days after his 1920, 26 inning performance when he said the toughest part of the extra innings was having to concentrate so much because one pitch could lose the game, suggesting that such focus was not the norm.


Despite Demaree and Alexander's efforts, cartoonist Jim Nasium's (Edgar Forrest Wolfe) dream of a pennant for the Phils did not come true - Philadelphia Inquirer - September 24, 1916

No matter how they managed to accomplish this feat, it's still an impressive performance, especially considering the extra pressure of the close pennant race.  But in the end, Alexander and Demaree's feats did the Phillies little good.  Just a week after Alexander's twin win, he took the mound for the second game of another double header at Ebbets Field.  Philadelphia had moved into first place by one-half game after winning the opener and with their ace on the mound for the second game, all the probabilities seemed to be in their favor.  Baseball, however, doesn't always work that way and on that cold September afternoon, the Dodgers, led by Casey Stengel's home run over the right field fence on to Bedford Avenue, knocked Alexander out of the box and the Phillies out of first.  While it still wasn't over, the Dodgers kept winning while the Phils couldn't keep pace even though Alexander did win his 33rd game and 16th shutout in his last start of the season.  Even though Philadelphia failed to win the pennant, they certainly gave it everything they had - just one example of the memorable things that can happen in a winner take-all pennant race.  




Sunday, May 31, 2020

And a Child Shall Lead Them

Tom "Thumbs" Hoepfner of the Flemington Neshanock shared with me the below email exchange with the Baseball Hall of Fame.  It's clearly a story worthy of a far greater audience and Tom kindly agreed to share it on this blog.  It just goes to show you can't start them too young!


Charlie Hoepfner

To the Baseball Hall of Fame

My 7 year old son Charlie is a baseball fanatic.  He is sad there is no baseball going on.  He is missing playing on his Little League team.  We were planning on taking him to his sixth stadium, Yankee Stadium, this summer.  No Phillies Baseball Camp where he goes and I work.  No trip to Williamsport this year and my 19th century baseball team will not be playing at the Ommegang Brewery this year so no return trip to Cooperstown.

To help offset some of this we recently purchased the 2020 Hall of Fame Almanac which he is obsessed with.  I don't know how many other 7 years old's are having dinner conversations about Earl Averill and Kiki Cuyler.  He has calculated almost every statistical thing he can think of in that book.

Today he said, "Derek Jeter's batting average doesn't make sense."  I asked him to show me and he said he divided the hits by at bats and the numbers didn't match. I tried it too and he was right.  In the book, it lists Jeter as 3,465 for 12,602 which rounded up to .275.  He added the at bats per season and said it should be 11,195.  I asked him what do you think happened and he said, "They probably did plate appearances."  So we looked that up and sure enough he was right.

Does the Hall of Fame have Summer Internships for 7 year olds?

Thanks for taking the time to read and for having the virtual hours and Starting 9 exhibits and keeping baseball alive for those of us missing it so badly.

Tom Hoepfner




Hi Tom!

Thanks for your note!  We apologize for this error but we are so impressed with your son's keen eye!

We will make this correction in the 2021 Almanac.

We hope you and your son can come visit us in Cooperstown soon!  We'd love to show you around our Library.

Sincerely,

Craig Muder
Director of Communications
National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Memorial Days Past (Long Past)

Looking backward it's hard to appreciate how much holiday baseball games meant to major league club owners.  Today, or at least in the pre-pandemic today, night baseball allows anyone who can afford it, to attend almost any local home game.  Back in the nineteenth century, however, Sunday baseball was largely prohibited and day games the rest of the week were not an option for the average working person.  No wonder holiday dates became known as "plums" which were often the cause of long and acrimonious debates among club owners.  Of the three summer holidays, Memorial Day, or Decoration Day as it was first known, is the one that "grew up" with major league baseball.  Originally held on May 30th, the first Decoration Day took place in 1868 when grateful citizens placed flowers on the graves of the Union dead.  In Brooklyn that first day of remembrance started out in "drizzling rain and cold mists," but "patriotic hearts were not dampened."  Representatives of various Grand Army of the Republic posts visited the then independent city's cemeteries with the main observation at the Cypress Hills cemetery.  The only national cemetery in New York City, Cypress Hills, according to an 1870 report, was then the final resting place of 3170 Union soldiers and 461 Confederate Prisoners of War.


 Cypress Hills National Cemetery, Brooklyn 

Base ball was also on tap that same afternoon at the Capitoline Grounds, although not as part of the day's observations.  Trying to get some game experience for Rynie Wolters, their new pitching acquisition, the Mutual Club scheduled a "social game" with the Star Club of Brooklyn.  The Brooklyn Daily Union took a dim view of the game, claiming that the "social" characterization was simply a ploy to circumvent the rule requiring Wolters to complete a 30 day waiting period before playing for the Mutuals in a match game. The paper believed that some of the Star Club members demonstrated their own disagreement with the idea by not showing up, leaving their team two short when the game got underway.  The contest did give the Mutuals some experience with Wolters although not the kind they anticipated because he didn't show up, a not uncommon occurrence with the difficult pitcher.  However his absence allowed the two clubs to abandon the pretense of a "social" game and play a true match game.  While the Star Club quickly filled the vacancies in their lineup, their weakened team was no match for the Mutuals and the Brooklyn team was probably fortunate to lose by only a 28-6 margin.


Brooklyn Daily Union - June 1, 1868

When the National Association, baseball's first professional league, got underway just three years later, in 1871, one game was played on Decoration day, a contrast in opponents that illustrated one of the new league's major weaknesses.  Hosting the game were the Boston Red Stockings, who, while they didn't win the first Association pennant, dominated the rest of the league's brief existence winning all four remaining flags.  The opposition was provided by the short lived Rockford Forest City's who lasted only one year, compiling a forgettable 4-21 record.  On that day however, the Rockford team more than held their own even though they were up against future Hall of Fame pitcher Albert Spalding.  The game at Boston's South End Grounds was tied 10-10 going to the ninth when Boston, batting first on this occasion, pushed across one run and kept Rockford off the board to avoid an embarrassing defeat.  Fortunate on this occasion, Boston apparently didn't learn anything about not taking such teams for granted.  Two years later, this time on July 4th, in professional baseball's first doubleheader, they lost to the Elizabeth Resolutes in what has to be the biggest upset in the Association's five year history.


Chicago's National League 1876 Championship team included Ross Barnes, Cal McVey and Hall of Fame members Deacon White and Albert Spalding all of whom were recruited from the Boston Red Stockings

While the National Association was probably doomed anyway, its demise was hastened when William Hulbert lured the core of the Boston team to Chicago and then helped create the National League.  Whoever made up the schedule for the league's inaugural 1876 season knew what they were doing, scheduling the first return visit of the former Boston stars for the Decoration Day holiday.  The game attracted a crowd of 10-12,000, which the Boston Globe claimed was the largest ever in Boston and perhaps in any city in the country.  Nor was it a passive audience as the "interest and anxiety" in the park was "as if the fate of the nation had depended upon it."  So large was the turnout that the crowd quickly filled the seats and spilled on to the field delaying the game for about a half an hour.  And the huge throng was not there to verbally assault their former heroes as the four were greeted with "shouts of welcome."  Although Chicago prevailed 5-1, the Globe felt there was no disgrace in what it called "a plucky and brilliant losing game."  Anticipating cartoonist Walt Kelly's classic line in his Pogo comic strip almost a century later ("We have met the enemy and he is us"), the paper ran the below headline:




Boston Daily Globe - May 31, 1876

As major league baseball developed in the 1870's and 1880's it wasn't long before someone decided to copy Harry Wright's 1873 idea of a morning-afternoon, separate admission, holiday doubleheader.  In 1884, the Brooklyn and New York clubs in the American Association gave the idea a different twist.  In the morning, the Brooklyn team, called "the Brooklyn's" by the local media, played the Indianapolis club at Washington Park while in East Harlem, the Metropolitans, or Mets, hosted St. Louis at Metropolitan Park (aka - "The Dump").  Then instead of repeating the match ups in the afternoon, the visiting teams switched cities (Brooklyn was an independent city at the time) so St. Louis played in Brooklyn while Indianapolis moved over to New York.  After a year's lapse, the practice was resumed in 1886 for what was apparently the last time giving those who attended both games in either city a unique experience.  It's not that difficult to see four major league teams play in person on the same day, Paul Zinn and I did it in 2000. Those nineteenth century fans, however, have the distinction of seeing three different major league teams play on the same day in the same ball park.  Sadly, this Memorial Day, we will have a different distinction, the dubious one of being the first fans since 1880 to experience Memorial Day without baseball. 


Thursday, May 7, 2020

Record Setting Frustration

Little information survives about the players reaction to the legalization of Sunday baseball in New York City, but it's not hard to imagine how the Dodger players felt on the all night train ride from Boston after Saturday's twenty-six inning marathon.  Speaking for everyone, Tom Rice of the Eagle said the players and writers "would gladly have welcomed a week of fishing" instead, but such was not the case.  Playing on the one day most people were off from work was an obvious advantage for Charles Ebbets, but the benefits went beyond the obvious.  Unlike the Giants and Yankees who shared the Polo Grounds, Ebbets Field was available to the Dodgers every Sunday.  As a result, Brooklyn hosted 20 Sunday home games in 1920 compared to 13 for the Giants and 12 for the Yankees.  Equally important was the fact that Sunday baseball was only permissible in five of the eight National League cities.  With each team playing 11 games in Brooklyn, it made financial sense to move a weekday game to Sunday by bringing visiting teams from places like Boston, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia to Brooklyn for just one game.  In this case the Dodgers would play in Brooklyn on Sunday in between games in Boston on Saturday and Monday.


Boston Herald - May 4, 1920

Since the Saturday game lasted until 7:00, probably about two hours later than usual, the Dodgers must have been on a late train from Boston, the equivalent of today's red-eye plane flight.  By Sunday morning they were at Ebbets Field for a 3:00 game with the Phillies who had made a similar, but shorter  journey from Philadelphia.  Proving that Sunday baseball was a draw some 15-17,000 fans "shivered" through the contest which featured Burleigh Grimes for the Dodgers and George Smith for Philadelphia.  Even though his team had effectively played a triple-header the day before, Dodger manager Wilbert Robinson made only one lineup change, Otto Miller as catcher.  Once again the Dodger offense couldn't get started and Brooklyn trailed 3-0 heading to the bottom of the seventh.  Suddenly, however, the Brooklyn bats woke up and hits by Hi Myers and Ed Konetchy plated two runs (Brooklyn's first in 27 innings) but the Dodgers still trailed 3-2 heading to the ninth.  Wonderfully lapsing into nineteenth century baseball terminology, Rice wrote that with "one hand out," Zack Wheat came to plate.  The count went full when the future Hall of Famer deposited the next pitch over the right field fence to send the game to extra innings.


Casey Stengel in front of Ebbets Field's legendary right field wall.  Stengel's experience playing the wall as a Dodger helped him as a visiting player, but on May 2, 1920 there was a new challenge.

One wonders if there wasn't at least one Dodger player who wanted no part of extra innings regardless of who won.  For the next four innings, not only were there no runs, neither side managed a base hit. In the top of the thirteenth however, Philadelphia used a single, double and a sacrifice fly to score the go ahead run.  The Phillies might have had more, but former Dodger Casey Stengel came up short in an attempted steal of home.  Stengel was not done trying to hurt his former teammates however.  With one out in the bottom of the inning, Robinson sent pitcher Clarence Mitchell up to pinch hit for Grimes.  Mitchell hit a long fly ball to the right field where Stengel who had plenty of experience playing the difficult right field wall was waiting.  On this day, however, a new challenge had been added.  The prior Sunday, temporary seats had been erected in right field for an expected overflow crowd against the Giants.  Afterwards the seats were stacked against the right field wall, giving Stengel a new obstacle to deal with.  Casey was up to the challenge and made a "splendid catch."  The hard luck on Mitchell's part anticipated his experience in the 1920 World Series where he became the only player in World Series history to hit into an unassisted triple play - again on a hard hit ball.


Brooklyn Daily Eagle - May 4, 1920

Once the Phillies recorded the last out, the Dodger headed back for the train station after another thirteen innings  (2 hours and 6 minutes) of frustration.  Wisely, Dodger manager Robinson had left Sherry Smith, Monday's starting pitcher (along with Cadore) behind in Boston.  The next afternoon saw the Dodgers back at Braves Field once again in "threatening weather" before a crowd of about 3,000.  Dana Fillington was on the mound for the Braves and once again a classic pitcher's duel developed.  Brooklyn scored  in the fifth, but Boston matched it in the sixth and for the third consecutive day in two cities, the Dodgers were headed for extra innings.  Little happened in the extra frames until the seventeenth when the Braves Rabbit Maranville tried to end the proceedings by stealing home, but was thrown out.  Finally Boston mercifully put the Dodgers out of their misery with three straight singles in the nineteenth for a 2-1 victory.


Boston Globe - May 4, 1920

The game lasted a little over three hours so the Dodgers had played 58 innings in three days in just over 9 hours or about 10 minutes an inning.  Unsurprisingly, the three consecutive marathons set a record for innings played in three days, breaking the old record (45) perhaps also unsurprisingly set by Brooklyn in 1917.  Interestingly, just four years later, in 1924, Brooklyn would come close to breaking their own record, playing 51 innings in three days.  That came about because Brooklyn played, and won, three straight doubleheaders in Philadelphia with one extra inning game and one game going less than nine.  At the moment, however, the concern in Brooklyn was the team's offensive woes.  All told, Dodger batters went 27 for 187 in the three games, a .144 batting average.  Worst of all were Konetchy and Bernie Neis who hit just .095.  The Dodgers, in winning the 1920 National League pennant, would go on to hit .277 for the season, making a prophet of Maxwell who said that in the early season batters would hit about 50% of their normal averages. At least the Dodgers didn't have to deal with extra innings the next day. The weather gods took pity and the game was rained out!