1916 All-Star Series: National League Takes Two of Three
JUNIORS DOMINATE SENIOR CIRCUIT
IN FIRST BATTLE OF STARS
CHICAGO, July 14.—Never in the history of the game have so many stars gathered on one field to put their talents on display as was seen here today. It was nearly five years ago that several stars invaded Cleveland to play the Indians in a show of support for the bereaved family of Addie Joss, Cleveland’s ace hurler who’d been tragically struck down by a sudden illness with only 31 years of life behind him. The affair was called “the greatest collection of All-Star players who ever appeared on the field in the history of the game.” But that’s clearly no longer the case.
Today’s extravaganza included men who participated in that charity game—Ty Cobb, Frank “Home Run” Baker, Eddie Collins, Hal Chase, Walter Johnson, Tris Speaker and “Shoeless Joe” Jackson—so they’re not strangers to appearing in the same lineup together. But this time they faced a team of National Leaguers who are just as celebrated for their extraordinary exploits on a base ball diamond as their junior counterparts. Based on past world’s series records, the inside “dope” has the American League favored to cop this three-game set, but a lineup that boasts Honus Wagner, Rogers Hornsby and Zack Wheat isn’t just going to lie down and roll over.
Despite reports to the contrary, one man who didn’t or won’t be participating is George Bostic Whitted, the “Possum” who helped the Boston Braves pull a miracle out of their sleeves in 1914. It had been erroneously reported that Whitted was named as a reserve backstop, an unfortunate gaffe considering that’s one of only two positions he’s never played. An official statement was recently released by an anonymous source that explained the boner thusly:
There was an out of order telegraph transmission that an operator drunk on cheap hooch mistranscribed. The operator has been summarily executed by electric chair and replaced with someone of higher competence and 12% less salary. We’ve since determined that the backup should be been Hank Gowdy, as was the original intention.
To his great credit, Whitted took the news in stride. “I was shocked and afraid I’d have to ask Killefer to give me emergency lessons,” he joked. Killefer, of course, being Phillies teammate “Reindeer Bill,” one of the best and most graceful receivers in the game. It’s interesting to note that Gowdy, the actual backup to Cincinnati’s Ivey Wingo, was The Possum’s teammate on the Braves. It’s no doubt they shared a gleeful chortle over the mistake.
But that would be the last chortle the senior circuit would have, at least on this day. Walter Johnson, tabbed by Red Sox skipper Bill Carrigan, toyed with the Nationals’ best just as he’s done against A.L. swatsmiths since he arrived on the scene as a fresh faced 19-year-old almost a decade ago.
Not until Larry Doyle dueled his way to a free pass in the third frame did one of Pat Moran’s lads get a good whiff of the initial station. Wingo poled a lucky hit to deep short to put men at first and second, but Alexander failed miserably at two bunt attempts before grounding into a twin killing that went from Johnson to Johnson to Sisler. “The Big Train” still had the great Wagner to deal with, but made quick work of him and coaxed a ground ball to Baker.
Pete was as inept with his slants as he was with his bat and put his team in a 2-0 hole early on. Branch Rickey’s babe, George Sisler, led off the bottom of the first with a ringing two-bagger down the left field stripe, then came home on a one-out safety to center by the Carolina’s “Candy Kid,” Shoeless Joe Jackson. The Carrigans plated their second run in the next stanza courtesy of a Del Pratt walk, Ernie Johnson single, a steal of third by Pratt and a Walter Johnson ground out to Wagner.
Johnson could have continued but Carrigan turned to his young ace, George Herman “Babe” Ruth, to give the Morans a different angle to contemplate, and they fared no better against the portsider, who surrendered only a Zack Wheat single in the fifth in his three innings of work. Then, as if to rub salt in their wounds, “Rough” sent Guy Morton to the slab for the final three frames and the “Alabama Blossom” expertly mixed his fast boy with his knee-buckling curve and held the Nationals to two hits that barely registered on the ledger. Giants slugger Dave Robertson poled an infield single in the seventh and Wagner did the same in the ninth.
Brooklyn’s Jeff Pfeffer allowed the final two runs of the game, although one came courtesy of a gift when first baseman Hal Chase dropped a throw in the eighth that allowed Cobb to reach safely, who eventually tallied when Jackson doubled and Larry Gardner rose from the bench to drive Cobb home with a long fly to the outer garden in right-center field. The other was plated in the seventh when White Sox teammates Eddie Collins and Ray Schalk choreographed a triple and ground out to push the score to 3-0.
Ruth will get the start tomorrow against Pittsburgh’s Al Mamaux and one thing is certain—if the American League’s slab artists continue on their current route Pat Moran and his boys will have two more sleepless nights before heading home to continue the pennant chase.
NATIONAL LEAGUE EVENS SERIES
WITH CONVINCING VICTORY
Robertson, Hornsby Carry Offense
CHICAGO, July 15.—For five innings it appeared as if the American League’s best would send the senior circuit’s stars to their second straight defeat and establish their superiority in this mid-summer exhibition series. But an unlikely goat kicked the game away and you could make a case that there were two goats at fault in the form of Walter Johnson and Bill Carrigan.
“Babe” Ruth earned the opening mound assignment for the Americans and was brilliant, tossing three hitless innings at the hapless Nationals before coming off the slab in favor of Johnson. The big southpaw started the contest with three straight balls to Honus Wagner before walking him on his fifth pitch. But a double play and strikeout got him out of the inning without further damage. The next six batters looked like amateurs and only one ball left the infield.
The Carrigans didn’t exactly solve Al Mamaux’s slants either but tallied in the bottom of the first thanks to a Larry Doyle error that sent George Sisler to second and a Joe Jackson single to right that sent Sisler plateward. Had Robertson not muffed the ball there might have been a meeting at the plate between ball, Sisler and Wingo, but the former Wolverine scampered home unmolested and the A.L. took a 1-0 lead.
From there the Pennsylvanian was every bit as good as Ruth, mowing down the junior circuit with relative ease. Mamaux issued three free passes in his three frames of work, but only one, “Home Run” Baker, made it as far as the keystone station. The next three innings were left to Pete Alexander and the aforementioned Johnson and they were up to the task. Alex allowed safeties in the fourth, fifth and sixth but was never in trouble as two of them, both by Del Pratt, were of the infield variety and were scattered throughout. The closest any of the Carrigans came to second base during the middle act was in the sixth when Pratt was gunned down on a steal attempt by Wingo.
Johnson, on the other hand, walked a tight rope that saw him put runners on second and third in the fourth before escaping the jam unharmed, then had runners at first and third in the fifth, but buckled down and put extra mustard on his pitches to keep the N.L. from scoring. The Morans finally touched him for a run in the sixth, manufacturing a two-out rally that was almost snuffed before it began. Robertson hit a high chopper between Sisler and Pratt that hung up long enough for the Giant to reach safely.
Cy Williams walked and Rogers Hornsby flared a dying quail down the right field line that dropped dead before anyone could reach it. Robertson raced home with ease and the Nationals knotted the score at 1-1. With Morton and Coveleski at his disposal, Carrigan chose instead to trot Johnson out to the hill for one more frame and the results were disastrous.
Doyle slapped a liner past Ernie Johnson for a single, then went to second on Wingo’s bunt. Moran, perhaps, noodling that a run was all his squad would need, signaled Alexander to bunt as well, and all hands were safe when Doyle beat big Walter’s throw to third.
Wagner skipped a grounder to deep short to score Doyle and was safe with an infield hit. Daubert skied one to Speaker and it looked like Moran would have to settle for his lone tally. But luck was on his side and Robertson slapped a ball to the right of second that Pratt couldn’t reach, giving Alexander enough time to run home with the Nationals’ third run.
With his southpaw, Coveleski, warming up and anxious to get into the fray, Carrigan stubbornly stayed with Johnson and Cy Williams made him pay with a single to right, and was followed by a Hornsby three-bagger down the right field stripe to effectively put the game on ice.
Johnson retired Zack Wheat for the final out, but the hole he dug was so deep “The Big Train” could almost see China. It was an interesting strategy by a pilot who just led his crew to the world’s series title last October, but this writer won’t tell him that to his face. I’m no Moriarty or Crawford. His boys made him proud with a short offensive burst of their own against Boston’s Lefty Tyler that resulted in two runs in the bottom of the seventh, the timely blows coming off the poles of pinch hitter John Henry, a single by Speaker and a run-scoring fly out by Joe Jackson.
But Robins righthander Jeff Pfeffer quelled the uprising and held the Americans scoreless for the rest of the tilt. Coveleski was masterful in his two innings of work and one can’t help but wonder if the outcome would have been different had Carrigan gone to the Detroit southpaw sooner.
Regardless this series is knotted at one game apiece and Chicago will be all abuzz about tomorrow’s climax.
NATIONALS HOLD OFF AMERICANS
TO COP MID-SUMMER SERIES
Morton Outshines Johnson, Ruth
CHICAGO, July 16.—After falling to defeat in the first game of this three-game series, the National League stormed back to take the final two tilts in grand fashion to establish their superiority over the American League, a welcome outcome considering the junior circuit’s dominance in the world’s series over the last six years. Only the Boston Braves have broken through against the Athletics and Red Sox since 1910, so it’s only fitting that Braves hurler Lefty Tyler was credited with the win in the Nationals’ 4-2 victory today.
Guy Morton continued to show why he’s called the “Alabama Blossom” by hurling three fragrant innings marred only by a Honus Wagner single in the first inning and a Zack Wheat double in the second. But neither came around to score thanks in part to Ray Schalk who cut down Wheat at third with a perfect peg on a steal attempt. “Buck” should have known better than to test the “Cracker’s” wing, but he’d seen Morton fan Jake Daubert and Cy Williams in the first and was trying to make something happen before Morton could strike again.
Jeff Pfeffer got the starting nod from Pat Moran and did a dandy job until the third inning when St. Louis Browns flycatcher came off the pine and delivered a triple in his only trip to the plate in the series. Morton was due up and anyone who has seen him swing the lumber knows that Carrigan’s only move was to call on a replacement slugger. “Barney” won’t remind of “Home Run” Baker but he’s a capable swatsmith and surprised the gathered throng with a jolt to the farthest part of the yard, which just missed clearing the center field wall. By the time the orb was recovered Shotton was standing on third with a triple.
George Sisler grounded to second and Shotton plated the game’s first run. Following his typical pattern of holding his twirlers to three innings, Carrigan called on Walter Johnson to start the fourth, and Johnson relinquished the lead on doubles by Dave Robertson and Wheat that tied the score at 1-1. It was Robertson’s fifth hit of the series, but wouldn’t be his last. Moran called on Grover Cleveland Alexander in relief of Pfeffer and Pete went three frames without allowing a run. In fact, he retired the first six batters he faced before surrendering consecutive safeties to Eddie Collins and Sisler in the bottom of the sixth. A double play deftly turned by “Laughing Larry” Doyle and a ground out by Joe Jackson saved Alexander The Great’s bacon, however, and he left to a rousing ovation.
That left the game in the hands of two southpaws—Lefty Tyler on the National side and “Babe” Ruth for the Americans. Ruth made short work of Gavvy Cravath, Honus Wagner and Hal Chase in the top of the seventh, then became the beneficiary of a game-tying run in the bottom of the stanza when Baker was hit by a Tyler offering, Amos Strunk poled a hit to right that sent Baker to third, and pinch hitter Bill Wambsganss knocked a drive to center that scored the Carrigan’s second run of the contest.
They barely had time to celebrate, though, before Robertson collected his third hit of the game, a single to right to lead off the eighth, followed by another Rogers Hornsby triple that almost left the park on the fly, followed by a Wheat ground out that plated Hornsby for the final run of the game.
The bottom of the ninth could have been a real nail-biter with Baker, pinch hitter Ty Cobb and Ruth due up, but Tyler was as cool as a cucumber and dispatched all three with minimal effort, fanning the last two on only eight pitches. One could argue that Carrigan could have sent Larry Gardner or “Bull” Henry to the plate to bat for Ruth, but the big lefty packs more wallop than those two combined and the strikeout made for some great theater. Had he got a hold of one, however, the bugs would have gone home with permanent smiles.
Dave Robertson, who batted .583 and scored four runs in the series, was named the series’ outstanding player.