December 16, 2019

The Ultimate Seven-Game Fall Classic: Game Two

November 4, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

In part one of my Ultimate Seven-Game Fall Classic series, I featured Game One of the 1988 World Series between the Oakland A’s and Los Angeles Dodgers.  This time around, I’m traveling back to the Deadball Era when pitchers still dominated the game and runs were hard to come by.  It wasn’t until the “Roaring Twenties” that teams consistently scored more than four runs a game and sometimes averaged as many as five, thanks in large part to a new era ushered in by sluggers like Babe Ruth.  So, it’s a bit ironic that the man who dominated the twenties from the batter’s box is celebrated in part two of this series for his mound heroics.

October 9, 1916—Brooklyn Robins at Boston Red Sox: Heading into the 1916 World Series, the Boston Red Sox were one of the two premier teams in the brief history of the American League.  They boasted the league’s best overall record since beginning play in 1901; copped five pennants and three championships in 16 years (and may have had another title had the New York Giants not refused to play them in 1904); and were the defending world champions after easily defeating the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1915 Fall Classic.  If they could defeat Brooklyn, they’d have their fourth championship and would supplant the Philadelphia Athletics as the A.L.’s top team.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Robins, nee Dodgers, had copped their first N.L. pennant of the modern era on the strength of a 94-60 record, and led their respective league in wins for the first time since 1900.  The Dodgers had averaged only 67 wins a year since 1901 and finished in the second division 12 times in 14 seasons before finishing third in 1915 and copping their first flag a year later.

It wasn’t surprising then that most figured Boston would win with relative ease.  On paper, though, the Dodgers were much more formidable than they were getting credit for.  They averaged 3.75 runs per game on offense, good for third in the N.L. and .30 runs better than league average; allowed 2.99 runs per game, second best in the N.L.; sported the league’s best ERA at 2.12, which was almost half-a-run better than average; and boasted the league’s most efficient defense.

The Red Sox, on the other hand, had only the sixth best offense in the A.L., scoring 3.51 runs per game, which was .17 runs worse than league average; allowed a league-best 3.08 runs per game; sported the second best ERA in the junior circuit at 2.48, about a third of a run better than average; and boasted the league’s best defense, in both efficiency and fielding percentage.

After dealing Tris Speaker to the Indians in the offseason, Boston had few real stars on offense.  Third baseman Larry Gardner batted .308 with a team-leading 62 RBIs; right fielder Harry Hooper paced the team with 75 runs, 27 steals, and 11 triples; center fielder Tilly Walker smacked 29 doubles, 11 triples, and three homers, tying for first place in all three categories.  Only two other players, Del Gainer and Babe Ruth, hit as many as three home runs, and the team hit only 14 round-trippers all year.

The Dodgers boasted more power and speed than Boston, hitting twice as many homers as the Sox and stealing 58 more bases.  Most of Brooklyn’s production came from their corner outfielders, left fielder Zack Wheat, who batted .312 with nine homers and 73 RBIs, and paced the team in just about every offensive category, and right fielder Casey Stengel, who belted eight homers and drove in 53 runs.  First baseman Jake Daubert batted a team-high .316 and stole 21 bases; and second baseman George Cutshaw led the team with 27 steals.

Most experts gave the Red Sox an edge in pitching.  Twenty-one-year-old southpaw Babe Ruth was the ace of the Red Sox staff after going 23-12 with a 1.75 ERA and nine shutouts, and leading the American League in the latter two categories.  He also finished third in wins, winning percentage, innings, and strikeouts.  Another southpaw, 24-year-old Dutch Leonard, went 18-12 with a 2.36 ERA and was only two years removed from his record-setting 0.96 earned run average in 1914.  Submariner Carl Mays also won 18 games and posted a 2.39 ERA while bouncing around between the rotation and bullpen.  Ernie Shore went 16-10 with a 2.63 ERA, and Rube Foster was 14-7 with a 3.06.

The Dodgers had a strong staff of their own that boasted better depth than Boston’s mound corps.  Right-hander Jeff Pfeffer went 25-11 with a 1.92 ERA and finished among the top five in wins, winning percentage, complete games, innings, and ERA.  He also paced the senior circuit in hit batsmen with 17.  Larry Cheney, a spitball artist, went 18-12 with a 1.92 ERA and finished second in the N.L. in strikeouts with 166, only one behind league leader Grover Cleveland Alexander.  Southpaw Sherry Smith won 14 games and boasted a 2.34 ERA; lefty Rube Marquard won only 13 games, but posted a 1.58 ERA, second in the league only to Alexander; 33-year-old veteran Jack Coombs went 13-8 with a 2.66 ERA; and Wheezer Dell posted a 2.26 ERA in 32 appearances, half of which came as a starter.

Still, most experts were higher on Boston’s staff.  “I think [Red Sox manager] Bill Carrigan has one of the finest pitching staffs ever carried in the big leagues,” wrote Giants manager John McGraw, “and there is no more competent handler of the talent…Carrigan will win the series on his pitchers if he wins at all.”  Tim Murnane of the Boston Globe agreed.  “Looking over the Red Sox pitchers…and knowing they will have a good rest and be on edge, I like them much better than the men who will be called on to oppose them after the strenuous work of this week.  I look for Shore, Leonard and Ruth to show real class in the series starting next Saturday.”

Hugh Fullerton was also convinced of Boston’s mound superiority.  “In pitchers, the Red Sox pile up a huge majority in the figures,” he wrote, “and the dope shows clearly how they win and keep on winning…They outclass their National League rivals by a tremendous percentage.”  A few days later, Fullerton came up with a formula that gave Boston the edge in every position except first base where Daubert was superior to Dick Hoblitzel.  Not surprisingly the biggest edge was in pitching.

Christy Mathewson called the Red Sox a “money club” because they always came through when the chips were down and said of the pitching, “I appreciate the fact that Boston possesses the greatest wealth of pitching talent that ever went into a World’s Series, perhaps Carrigan has five stars, any one of whom is likely to pitch shutout ball any time he starts.”  But Matty held out hope for Brooklyn too.  “Brooklyn is a better club than most people are willing to concede.  Like the Red Sox, Robinson’s men have always risen to occasions this season.  I cannot see why the National League fans should despair.”

Grantland Rice named Boston “overwhelming favorites,” declaring “Once keyed up [Ruth, Leonard, and Shore] will be almost unhittable…the Brooklyn staff doesn’t stand up to that trio by a number of spans.”  He predicted the Sox would win in six games.

Even the Pacific Coast League weighed in, its owners, managers, and former major league players unanimously picking the Red Sox.  Oddsmakers also had Boston favored to win the Series, with odds shifting daily.  Some had them at 5 to 3 and 7 to 5; others had them at 10 to 7 or 10 to 6.

When the Red Sox held a 6-1 lead over Brooklyn going into the top of the ninth in Game 1 at Braves Field in Boston, it looked like the experts were right.  Shore had allowed only two runs, one of which was unearned, on seven hits and a walk, while striking out five in eight innings.  Marquard had lasted seven innings, allowing five runs, three earned, on seven hits and four walks, while fanning six.  Pfeffer relieved in the eighth and surrendered an unearned run on a hit and two walks.  Shore went into the ninth to close the door on Boston’s victory, but ran into trouble and allowed four runs before Mays entered the game with two outs and the bases loaded and worked out of the jam to preserve the 6-5 win.  A sensational play by shortstop Everett Scott, who went far to his right to stop Daubert’s hard grounder, then threw him out at first by an eyelash saved the game.

The Dodgers outhit the Red Sox, 10-8, but only two of them went for extra-bases, triples by Chief Meyers and Wheat, while Boston pounded out five extra-base hits, three doubles and two triples, all off Marquard.  Brooklyn also committed four errors to Boston’s one.  The loss didn’t diminish the Dodgers’ confidence, however.  “Every one of the breaks were in favor of Boston,” declared Brooklyn manager Wilbert Robinson.  “I am sure that if we can only get anything like an equal share of the fortunes of the game we will win beyond a shadow of a doubt…One game don’t make a series, and we have more games coming.  We certainly will win the championship!”

To a man, the Dodgers thought the Red Sox were lucky to win the first game.  Carrigan disagreed and insisted the Series was over.  “Judged simply by the showing today, I should say that the flag was as good as won.”  Bookies shifted the odds again, making the Red Sox 2 to 1 favorites to win the Series.  Tensions ran high and one altercation after Game 1 ended in tragedy when Max Hubert became enraged at a postal carrier named William Sickles during a debate about the World Series while the two drank at a Brooklyn saloon. Hubert punched Sickles in the jaw, knocking him to the floor, and fracturing his skull when his head hit the ground. Twenty minutes later Sickles was dead.

A second altercation occurred in the lobby of the Brunswick Hotel in Boston where Dodgers owner Charles Ebbets accosted Red Sox owner Joe Lannin and read him the riot act for the way his family, friends, and wives of his players were treated.  Apparently the Brooklyn party was seated in the grandstand’s second to last row and some were stuck behind posts and had an obstructed view of the field.  “Don’t expect to receive any courtesy from us,” Ebbets raged.  “You will get just what you gave us.  The idea of you sticking our party away back in the rear of that stand!  I’ll see to it that you won’t get any better…our party was stuck in behind posts.  There are plenty of posts in Ebbets Field.”  Lannin tried to apologize but just infuriated Ebbets further, so the Red Sox magnate simply shrugged his shoulders and walked away.

After playing Game 1 on Saturday, there was no game on Sunday, and the Series commenced on Monday at Braves Field.  Lannin had rented the stadium for the World Series for $1,000 a day because it had a larger capacity than Fenway Park and could accommodate more fans.  Typically the National Commission would flip a coin to decide where the first game of the World Series would be played, but Lannin appealed to the Commission and suggested that starting the Series in Boston on Saturday and playing Game 2 on Monday would give the Dodgers more time to sell tickets to their fans for the first game at Ebbets Field on October 10.

That suggestion made a lot of sense to the Commission; the Dodgers had waged a heated battle with the Phillies that came down to the wire and neither team knew which was going to the World Series until the season’s final days, and therefore hadn’t bothered selling World Series tickets.  The Commission agreed to begin the Series in Boston and the move to Braves Field paid off when 36,117 fans came to see Game 1, and 47,373 patrons packed the grounds for Game 2.

Prior to the game, there was much confusion about who would start for the Dodgers, leaving prognosticators with no choice but to speculate and guess at the outcome.  Ruth was scheduled to pitch for Boston, but newspapers listed Cheney, Smith, or Coombs as Brooklyn’s expected hurler.  Fullerton thought it would be a mistake to throw Cheney against batters who were used to facing spitballs on a regular basis.  “[Robinson] plans to shoot Cheney at the Red Sox tomorrow, which is much the same as shooting him at sunrise,” the writer joked.

Rice thought Coombs was the correct choice because of his World Series experience, having won three games against the Cubs in 1910, then beating the Giants in 1911, allowing only 13 earned runs in 47 combined innings.  “Jack knows the highway by long travelling and many journeys and all the errors in the game will not be enough to shatter his nerve or break his spirit,” wrote Rice.  “And nothing but great pitching will ever stop Babe Ruth in this second carnival, for the Babe is loaded to the gunwale with the stuff that very few can hit.”

After watching from the sidelines in 1915 as Shore, Foster, and Leonard took care of the Phillies single-handedly, needing no assistance from the bullpen while racking up five complete games, Ruth would be making his first World Series start.  It would be a memorable one.

After all the speculation and guessing, Robinson tabbed Smith to take the hill for Brooklyn.  Smith began his career with two cups of coffee with the Pirates in 1911-1912 before joining the Dodgers in 1915, and going 28-18 with a 2.45 ERA in 43 starts and 22 relief appearances in his first two seasons.  He featured a curve, fastball, changeup, and knuckler, and was said to have the best pickoff move of his time.  “You know they say of some pitchers that they can look over at first base and if the runner happens to be tapping his foot on the bag, the pitcher will get him between taps,” wrote former umpire Jocko Conlan in 1967.  “They used to say about Sherry Smith that if the base runner was only thinking about taking a lead Sherry would throw over and get him between thoughts.”

But Hugh Fullerton was less than impressed with Robinson’s selection, calling Smith “a joke” and a “second-rate pitcher in a third-rate league.”  And Charles Van Loan called the Dodgers lefty “just one of the Smiths of the Smith family, a cousin of the Smiths and related to the other Smiths.”  Other writers figured that Robinson went with Smith because his fastball would be hard to pick up in the dark and rain-filled skies above Boston.

The Dodgers struck first and they wasted little time putting a run on the board.  Jimmy Johnston led off with a fly out to center and Daubert grounded out to third, but center fielder Hi Myers belted a Ruth offering between Tilly Walker and Harry Hooper that rolled all the way to the center field fence, allowing Myers to circle the bases with an inside-the-park home run.  “Ruth started out like a winner, disposing of the first two men,” wrote Murnane.  “Then came Myers with a line drive between right and center.  Hooper dove madly at the bounding ball, but failed to touch it.  Walker was tearing across the field, backing up, and as he tried to get the ball coming back from the short center fence he stumbled.  Recovering the ball, he sent it to [Hal] Janvrin, who pegged it home just too late to kill off a home run.”

“Myers alone found the one system to foil this foe,” wrote Grantland Rice, “and this was to launch a line drive beyond any human or inhuman reach—a drive that no man could stop who was not accompanied by a taxicab or a 60-foot net.”  Ring Lardner also had a comical take on Myers’ home run.  “I don’t know why they call him Hi because the ball he hit never went more than three feet above terra and firma and everything.”

Smith retired the side in order with no trouble in the bottom of the first, then Ruth returned the favor on the top of the second.  Duffy Lewis earned Boston’s first hit of the game with a one-out single to center in the bottom of the second, but was forced at second on a Gardner groundout to third.  Gardner was picked off first by Smith, but umpire Ernie Quigley allegedly missed it and called Gardner safe.  Catcher Otto Miller picked Gardner off soon after to end the frame.  “When Miller propelled the sphere down to Daubert, Quigley was on the alert and Larry was out so that everybody could notice it,” wrote Edward Martin of the Boston Globe.

Boston’s defense saved Ruth in the top of the third when shortstop Everett Scott made a nice play on a Miller grounder for the first out, and Hooper, Walker and Scott followed with a brilliant play, in which Hooper retrieved Smith’s long drive to right and threw to Walker, who relayed the ball to Scott covering third.  Smith had an easy double but attempted to stretch the hit into a triple and was tagged out by Scott.  Johnston followed with a single to center that would have surely plated Smith with Brooklyn’s second run, then was gunned down at second by catcher Pinch Thomas on a steal attempt to end the inning.

The Red Sox tied the score in the bottom of the third when Scott tripled, then came home on Ruth’s one-out grounder to Cutshaw at second.  The Brooklyn infield had been drawn in to cut the run off at the plate, but Cutshaw bobbled Ruth’s grounder and had no choice but to retire him at first while Scott scored the tying run.  Cutshaw also misplayed Hooper’s grounder for an error, but Smith retired Janvrin to end the threat.

After that, both hurlers settled down and went to work.  Ruth walked Daubert to lead off the fourth, which forced Carrigan to begin warming up Foster, but Scott, Janvrin, and Hoblitzel turned a nifty 6-4-3 double play, and Ruth coaxed Wheat to ground back to the box to end the inning.  “After Ruth started the fourth inning by passing Daubert, Foster was seen warming up, but his exercises ceased very quickly, as ‘Scotty,’ ‘Janny’ and ‘Hobby’ put over a double play that was a screech,” wrote Martin.  “Myers rammed the leather down toward left field, but Scott got in the way of it and shot it to Janvrin, who eased it over to first, sending both Capt. Jake and Home Run Hi back to the dugout.”

The Dodgers turned a double play of their own in the bottom of the fourth and Martin was just as impressed.  “The Robins put over a double play themselves in the fourth, and it was very slick and appreciated by the fans and fannies,” he wrote.  “Smith and Capt. Jake had disposed of ‘Tillie’ [sic] when Smith slipped the first of four free tickets to Dr. Hoblitzel.  ‘Duffy’ Lewis drove a scorcher to Mowrey, and Mike, Cutshaw and Daubert got the dentist as well as the California classic.”

Ruth surrendered a two-out single to shortstop Ivy Olson in the top of the fifth, but Miller flied out to Hooper to end the inning.  Then the bottom of the fifth got a little hairy.  With two outs, Thomas slammed a shot to left off Smith and took off around the bases.  As he rounded second, he was tripped by Olson, who was charged with interference, and was given third base by Quigley.  Olson began to argue with Quigley, then turned his attention to Red Sox player-coach Heinie Wagner, who had a few choice words for Olson.  The men were separated by home plate umpire and former Red Sox World Series hero Bill Dineen and order was restored.  “…it looked like one of them would kill the other and make a good story,” wrote Lardner, “but no such luck and when I say that I don’t mean that either one of them deserves to die because they are both nice fellows…”

Thomas was stranded on third when Ruth whiffed on three straight pitches.  “Thomas might just as well have been out on the Franklin Park golf course as on third base, as Ruth failed to hit,” wrote Martin.

In the top of the sixth, Ruth walked Johnston with one out, and he was thrown out at second base by Thomas for the second time in the game on an apparent botched hit-and-run with Daubert at the plate.  Daubert grounded to third to end the inning.  Then Myers made his presence felt a second time when he snared Hooper’s low liner with a shoestring catch, and somersaulted to his feet with the ball in his glove.  Those who saw it swore that had Myers missed, the ball would have rolled forever and Hooper would have had an easy home run.  Charles Ebbets was particularly impressed witht he play of his center fielder.  “I wish to state that I have seen many wonderful catches made in baseball, but none more wonderful than his capture of Hooper’s fly in the sixth.”  Janvrin and Walker were retired easily and the game went into the seventh still tied at 1-1 and neither team giving an inch.

Ruth retired the Dodgers in order in the top of the seventh, but not without a second round of arguing, as Myers was called out on a close play at first, prompting half of Brooklyn’s dugout to spill onto the field in protest.  “The game went on, as Quigley absolutely refused to change a decision on a Monday afternoon between 3 and 4, and it was 3:17 when this play happened,” joked Martin.  Smith walked Hoblitzel to start the bottom of the seventh, but retired the next three men in order and the game remained knotted.

Brooklyn threatened to break the tie in the top of the eighth when Mowrey singled to left to lead off the frame, then advanced to second on an Olson sacrifice bunt to the catcher.  Miller singled to center to move Mowrey to third, where he stayed despite a poor throw from Tilly Walker.  “Walker’s throw was bad, and Mowrey could have easily scored,” wrote Stanley T. Milliken in the Washington Post.  “This was the time to have taken the chance.”  Miller moved up to second on the throw to put runners on second and third.  Then Ruth turned to his horseshoes and four-leaf clovers, as Martin put it, and coaxed Smith to ground to Scott, who fired to Thomas at home.  Mowrey was caught in a rundown and finally retired by Ruth, who put the tag on him.  Johnston grounded back to the mound and was thrown out at first to end Brooklyn’s strongest threat since the first.

If Smith was disappointed by his team’s failure to score in the previous half-inning, he didn’t show it, retiring the Sox in order again in the bottom of the eighth.  Ruth did the same to the Dodgers, setting up a chance for the Red Sox to win the game in the bottom of the ninth.  Janvrin gave the hometown throng something to cheer about when he doubled to lead off the inning, but Carrigan made a surprising move when he sent light-hitting, lefty swinging Jimmy Walsh to the plate instead of the right-handed Walker.  Walsh laid down a bunt and the Dodgers had a chance to retire Janvrin at third, but Mowrey couldn’t handle the throw and everyone was safe.  “Jimmy Walsh came up instead of [Walker] and bunted one straight at Smith and Smith threw it to Mowrey and Janvrin ought to have been out as far as from here to Amsterdam,” explained Lardner, “but Mowrey dropped the ball.”

With runners on first and third and no outs, it looked like the Red Sox would go up two games to none in the Series, but Myers came to the fore once again and made a spectacular play, snaring Hoblitzel’s fly ball, then throwing a perfect strike to the plate to nab Janvrin by two feet.  Walsh took second on the throw, but Lewis was intentionally walked and Gardner popped up to Miller to end the inning and send the game into extra frames.

Ruth sandwiched three groundouts around a two-out walk to Olson and handed the game back over to his teammates, who almost scored the winning run again in the bottom of the 10th but fell short for the second straight stanza.  Everett Scott opened with a single to lead off the bottom of the inning, and was sacrificed to second on a bunt by Thomas.  Ruth could have won his own game, but fanned for the second straight time.  “This guy Ruth with Boston is a sucker ever to pitch a ball.  He is a natural hitter, especially against southpaws, and should be in there every day,” American League players had told Christy Mathewson. But Mathewson was unimpressed.  “He didn’t look like much of a hitter to me…”

With Scott at second and two outs, Hooper topped a slow dribbler to third, hit, according to Lardner, “as hard as last summers ice cream.”  Mowrey came in and fielded it cleanly, but knew he had no chance to throw out the runner at first, so he bluffed a throw, then spun and fired the ball to Olson, who had followed Scott to third.  Scott rounded the bag too far and upon seeing Mowrey throw the ball in his direction, tried to scramble back to the bag, but slipped and fell, allowing Olson to apply the tag for the third out.  “They probably will erect statues to Sherrod Smith and Ruth…and forget all about Mike Mowrey,” wrote Fullerton, “but it was Mike who made the best and the smartest play of the game.”

Ruth came out strong and retired the side in order in the 11th, fanning Daubert to end the inning, then Smith sandwiched two popups and a groundout around a two-out walk to Hoblitzel, the third free pass Smith issued to “Hobby” in the contest.  After the base on balls, Robinson complained to the umpires that the band’s constant playing of the song “Tessie” was distracting his players and making it impossible for them to hear his instructions.  “Tessie” was adopted by the Royal Rooters, a gang of loyal fans who had rooted for the Red Sox since their inception in 1901, that included among them Michael “Nuf Ced” McGreevy, owner of Boston’s Third Base Saloon, and politician John F. “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald, John F. Kennedy’s grandfather.  During previous Series, the Rooters sang “Tessie” incessantly, aggitating Red Sox opponents.  Ebbets warned that if the practice didn’t stop, the Royal Rooters would be banned from Ebbets Field for subsequent games.

Ruth continued to dominate the Dodgers, retiring the side in order in the 12th with a strikeout of Myers, a pop fly by Wheat, and a groundout to short by Cutshaw.  Through 12 innings, Ruth had allowed only six hits and three walks, while fanning three, and hadn’t allowed a hit since the eighth.  Smith issued a one-out walk to Scott in the bottom of the inning, the hurler’s fifth free pass of the game, but neither Thomas or Ruth could bring him home, the latter grounding out weakly to the pitcher.  In five trips to the plate, the Bambino managed to get only one ball past the infield, but also had the team’s only RBI.

Brooklyn managed to get a runner to second base in the 13th when Gardner made a throwing error on Mowrey’s grounder to third, and he was sacrificed to second on a bunt by Olson.  But Otto Miller popped out to Pinch Thomas and Duffy Lewis made a sensational catch on a drive by Smith to end the inning.  “Here Lewis saved the day,” wrote Martin.  “He came in pell mell, rushing over toward left center and plucking from his shoe-tops a smash by Sherrod Smith, which was on its way to the fence in center.  This was just about one of the niftiest little things seen at the home of big things.”  Phillies manager Pat Moran agreed, calling Lewis’ catch “one of the greatest I’ve ever seen in such an important moment.”

Smith continued to match Ruth pitch for pitch and set the Sox down in order in the bottom of the 13th, retiring Hooper on an easy grounder back to the box, and Janvrin and Walsh on lazy pop ups to Mowrey.  But the Boston southpaw was getting stronger with each extra frame and set the Dodgers down in order again, getting two groundouts to Scott and a fly out to Walsh in center.  By the time the Red Sox went to bat in the bottom of the 14th darkness began to set in.  The Los Angeles Times described the setting best.  “Thus it came about that, with gray shadows creeping down over the stands to the field, the Boston players made their last stand at the plate.”

Hoblitzel drew his fourth walk of the game to lead off the inning.  “In the fourteenth there came one of the undopeable events that go to make baseball,” wrote Fullerton.  “Hoblitzel has been carried on the Boston team for years because he can hit.  It is tradition that he cannot hit left-handed pitching.  Yet Smith, a smart left-hander, passed Hobby…for the fourth time in the game.”  Lewis laid down a sacrifice bunt that moved Hoblitzel to second, then Carrigan made two moves that resulted in the game-winning tally, sending in Del Gainer to hit for Gardner, then, with one strike on the batter, putting in Mike McNally to pinch run for Hoblitzel.

“The smash came in the 14th inning, when Carrigan won by generalship,” wrote Van Loan.  “He guessed from the approaching storm and the darkening skies that the umps would call it a draw at the end of the inning.  When Hoblitzel had drawn his fourth pass and reached second on a sacrifice, he sent McNally, his fastest man, to run for Hobby and called Gainor [sic] to bat for Gardner.”

“When they put Mike on second they practically announced publicly they are going to win the ball game,” wrote Martin.  “Out of the second hassock the Minooka speed king was all set to bring in the big run.”  With a 1-1 count on him, Gainer slashed Smith’s third offering just past the outstretched glove of Mowrey and into left field. “‘Ducky’ slammed one and Minooka Mike was off like a flash,” Martin continued.  “The hit went out to Zacharia, but McNally had rounded third and was tearing for the counting station before Zack let his throw go.  Minooka Mike beat it, scoring the run that won the old ball game…”

“It wasn’t a bad throw by any means,” wrote Milliken, “but McNally was just across in time.  A slower man, like Hobby, would never have scored on the blow.  Thus was brought to a close probably the greatest game ever staged in the history of either the American or National Leagues.”  Fullerton called it “the greatest world’s series game ever played, before perhaps the greatest crowd that ever saw one.”  The Los Angeles Times called it “a struggle that surpassed in situations any ever evolved in the fertile mind of a baseball fiction writer.”  Mathewson called the affair “the best battle I ever saw in a World’s Series.”  American League president Ban Johnson hailed it as “the best game I have ever seen in a post-season series.”

Grantland Rice was especially poetic in his description of the game, giving most of the credit to Boston’s glove men.  “For 14 innings the Brooklyn attack, led by Hi Myers, stormed and hammered Boston’s inpregnable defense in a vain effort to cut a way through to the Promised Land.  But for 14 innings this Boston defense formed a long, wide wall of steel and stone back of Babe Ruth…It was a wall of human flesh that shifted and swerved to meet every point of Brooklyn’s blind, but game, aggressive attack.”

Although Ruth allowed only six hits, one earned run, and three walks, while fanning four in 14 innings, most writers applauded Smith for pitching a better game than his opponent, crediting Boston’s defense for the victory.  But Ruth didn’t seem to care.  After the game, he embraced Carrigan in a hug and roared, “I told you I could take care of those National League sons of bitches!”

The Red Sox would go on to win the 1916 World Series in five games.

On Deck—The Ultimate Seven-Game Fall Classic: Game Three

Comments

One Response to “The Ultimate Seven-Game Fall Classic: Game Two”
  1. Paul says:

    Mike, thanks for this series of write-ups. I’m loving it and game 2 especially was entertaining for me to read as I love the old-time style of ball and hearing about them via old newspaper quotes of the day.

    Great website and great articles. Keep up the great work Mike!

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