May 28, 2022

Southern League Shutouts: How Cannon Balls, Rubber Tax, Pelicans, and Hurricanes Made 1910 New Orleans The Shutout Capital of the World

January 4, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

Shutouts are so 1975, aren’t they? Well they’ve been on the steady decline since. Today, we see one every 150 games. But back in the day you could catch one every eight or nine games… some years even better. The 1908 National League holds the record: 160 shutouts. It is the only major league season with shutouts in over 25 percent of all games. The final two World Series clinching victories by the Cubs over the Tigers that Fall were shutouts. The final World Series game in 2020 was lost when a manager pulled a pitcher out of his own shutout because of a pitch count.

Starting in 1906, pitchers from one minor league, the Southern League, produced shutouts in 26%, 29%, 29%, 28%, and, in 1910, 32%, of all games. That year it produced 183 shutouts in 134 fewer scheduled games than the majors. What in the wide, wide, world of sports was going on?

1914 Scores

On August 5, 1914, all four scheduled games in the National League were shutouts. (Public domain image: Xerox of text.)

To understand, you have to go back to 1900. The Southern was formed (yet again) that October 20th, when Reed Kent, a smooth-talking “baseball expert” from Omaha, got the big Southern League personalities to sit at one table: Charley Frank, Abner Powell, Newt Fisher, and newcomer Mickey Finn. This was during a minor league boom, but unlike all the other new loops that blossomed coast to coast, the Southern was already deep in structure, fan base, management, sponsorship, and talent. As early as 1866, teams from New York, and star players themselves, wintered in the Crescent City for the booze, sunshine, and gambling. They brought with them modern styles of play, practice, and groundskeeping.

Professional Southern Leagues dated back 15 years, but were on-again/off-again, lacking a strong central authority. Regional passions and rivalries ran so high that owners often refused to play games and/or pulled their teams out of the league in spite. In 1899, Montgomery moved the franchise to Dallas a few weeks into the season, and season ticket holders and a distillery that bought the ballpark liquor privilege sued. Emotions from this particular move carried into 1900 and shut down the entire year. Its a surprising notion, but this might be the biggest reason the 1910 Southern League set that shutout record.

You see, in 1900 the National League contracted from 12 teams to eight, releasing a pool of players which included nearly 80 major league regulars. While all minor leagues benefitted, the Southern reboot that Fall allowed them to scoop up the lion’s share of available major league talent. Over 50 ex-major leaguers had significant roles in the Southern League’s inaugural season of 1901. Hard-hitting Tom Parrott, Lew Whistler, and Sam LaRocque were star batters. John Dolan and Con Lucid were the best known of about a dozen ex-MLB pitchers, nevertheless, 1901 was still error filled and ugly, with scores like 16-13 and 18-14.

It looked like a publicity stunt, but Charlie Frank of Memphis signed big name NL stars for his 1902 pitching rotation. Gus Weyhing, Red Ehret, Jouett Meekin, and Ted Breitenstein, were four pitchers under 35 years old with over 700 major league wins. Overweight Meekin, the only non-German in the bunch, was bothered by the Southern heat and humidity and begged off the team in July. Memphis won back-to-back pennants and other teams began doing the same. Zeke Wilson, Bill Dammann, Whitey Guese, and King Bailey were other old National Leaguers who won big. Southern League scores started coming down.

1910 Pelicans

The 1910 New Orleans Pelicans. 1) Hank Butcher, 2) Bert Maxwell, 3) Otto Hess, 4) Scotty Barr, 5) George Rohe, 6) Jim Lafitte, 7) John Mitchell, 8) John Weimer, 9) Oscar Dugey, 10) Ted Breitenstein, 11) Pat Paige, 12) Joe Jackson, 13) Bill Linday, and 14) Frank Manush. (Public domain image.)

By 1904, Frank Killen, Jim Hughey, Wiley Piatt, and Otis Stocksdale, signed up. Then the “four Bills” came: Bill Phillips, Bill Hart, Bill Bernhard, and Bill Duggleby with 345 MLB wins between them. Unlike any other minor league in history, the Southern became a repository of major-league pitching experience. As you’d expect, a conveyor belt of talented rookie pitchers poured into the majors each year from below the Mason-Dixon line. The names are impressive: Nap Rucker, Kaiser Wilhelm, Bob Rhoades, Weldon Henley, George Suggs, Ed Siever, Al Demaree, Slim Sallee, Otto Hess, Charlie Smith, Harry McIntire, Tom Hughes, Frank Allen, Russell Ford, Harry Coveleskie, and Bugs Raymond, to name a few. 25% of all NL starts in 1908 were by Southern League developed pitchers.

A cluster of reasons pushed baseball into its low-scoring “deadball era” around that time. Balls were hand-assembled, batters choked up with 40 ounce bats, pitchers (and catchers) damaged balls, and glove technology was making desperate baserunning tactics obsolete. Most importantly, an evolution of pitching mechanics took place which maxxed out fastball speeds and led to the invention of pitches like the forkball, knuckleballs, and the shared knowledge of the slider. Inefficient cuddy-thumb curveballs, prevalent in 1900, all but vanished by 1920, along with a forgotten class of “slow ball” pitchers.

Shutouts hit 100 in 1904 in three leagues: the American League, the National League, and the Southern League. The AL blasted across that milestone, July 7th; and the Southern hit their 100th shutout, September 6th. The National League finally joined the club in the last week of the season, when 30 year old Brooklyn rookie Frank Reisling shutout Cincy’s Noodles Hahn on the current site of the New York Presbyterian Hospital’s Park Slope campus.

In 1905 New Orleans’ veteran pitchers Bill Phillips and Ted Breitenstein were in a rotation with future stars Moxie Manuel and Jimmy Dygert. New Orleans won the pennant with a 20-game lead and 26 shutouts. With Breitenstein – the Cy Young of the Southern League – anchoring the staff, New Orleans averaged 28 shutouts a season, from 1905-1910, culminating with the Southern League record of 35 in 1910. Only four major league teams have pitched as many as 30 individual shutouts a season: Frank Chance’s Cubs of 1906, 1907, and 1909, and Comiskey’s “Hitless Wonders” in 1906.

Albion Hotel

On September 18, 1909, the Chattanooga team took refuge in the Albion Hotel after being chased from the ballpark by 400 Augusta fans. The Albion was located near the Richmond Confederate Monument and burned to the ground in 1921. (Public domain image.)

1905 deserves special comment. In June, New Orleans suffered an outbreak of Yellow Fever, a mosquito borne disease with a mortality rate equal to COVID-19. By late July about 20,000 Crescent City citizens were sick: shops closed, and dead bodies lay in empty streets. The New Orleans team abandoned their ballpark and transferred games to Meridian, MS; later to Atlanta where they shared Ponce de Leon park with the Crackers. The municipal authorities got busy enacting Yellow Fever protocols designed by US Army doctor Walter Reed – the namesake of the hospital that saved Donald Trump in October. Residents covered all open water cisterns, ponds, and above-ground wooden water supply channels. Even the church of New Orleans followed the science and covered the holy water receptacles. 452 citizens passed away, but to this day, there’s never been another Yellow Fever outbreak.

In 1906 Birmingham won their first pennant, breaking away from Shreveport and New Orleans after the Fourth of July. The Southern produced 141 shutouts, one less than the two-year old AL record, but better than that year’s NL (139) and AL (138). In 1907 the Southern upped it to 157, outpacing the NL’s 152. Kaiser Wilhelm led the league with 11 shutouts, and New Orleans became the first Southern team to get 30. The Southern hit 155 shutouts in 1908. Nashville won 8 of their last 9 that season to beat New Orleans by percentage points. Hosting the Pelicans on the final day, September 19, Nashville won 1-0 when Vedder Sitton pitched the game of his life.

Sitton and speedster Harry Bay got back-to-back bunt hits off old Ted Breitenstein in the 7th inning to set up Julius Wiseman’s season-winning single. Wiseman was the only Nashville regular never to get a MLB call-up preferring, instead, to remain a Nashville area doctor with a practice. The NL season finished a few days later with 160 shutouts. Ed Reulbach pitched four shutouts in twelve days to help, including two 9-inning gems at Brooklyn, both games of a double header, September 26, the only time that’s ever happened in the majors.

In 1909 the Southern came up just shy of the 160 shutout record, finishing with 159. Atlanta broke open that pennant race with a .700 second half. Their hands-on team president, John Heisman, is better known for his football contributions and has a trophy named after him. In baseball he liked natty uniforms and sweaters, team honor codes, and argued for the creation of a “disabled list”. The creator of the hurry-up offense also liked fast baseball games, and Atlanta’s final game of the season was usually played in under one hour. Heisman also was adept at sports marketing – something historians have not given him credit for. His Georgia Tech football contract had an attendance clause, and may have been the impetus for all of his playmaking innovation. As Atlanta clinched, Heisman announced a post-season series between his team and the smaller South Atlantic League champs. There also was this rumor that the Sally winner would become a Southern League franchise in the season of 1910. These were remarkable stakes.

Since the Sally League used a split-season, Johnny Dobbs’ Chatanoogas, the first half champs, had to play a rough-and-tumble, best-of-seven, with Louie Castro’s second half winners, Augusta. This was a classic and featured forfeits, games thrown out, illegal players, “pop bottle showers”, and hammer-and-tong fights that included umpires. During game #5 visiting Chattanooga was given a poisoned water bucket and half the team collapsed. After game #6, Augusta fans chased the Chattanooga players to the Albion Hotel. During this melee, a pistol clicked against Dobb’s ribs, and Chattanooga’s President, W.A. Jones, menaced his revolver to get to a taxi. 400 fans jammed the hotel lobby looking for players to beat up as police secreted the visitors out the back.

Southern League

Dropping Little Rock and adding Chattanooga moved the geographic center of the Southern League 400 miles to the East, and made travel difficult.

Led by plucky left-hander Al Demaree, who won three games, Chattanooga was victorious. Then Chattanooga beat Atlanta, 3 games to 2. Jim Baskette clinched the series with a 2-hit shutout over the Crackers, September 25. With pitching and defense, Chattanooga became a proud Southern League franchise in 1910, replacing Little Rock, a sloppy hitting club in a bandbox. Little Rock had been last in league shutouts in ‘09 with 11; Chattanooga would double that. Before a 1910 pitch was thrown, The Southern League had positioned itself to leapfrog the MLB record of 160 shutouts in a season. But wait, there’s more.

Southern League pennant races in the first decade of the twentieth century were terrific; a world of difference from the 1890’s. 1905 and 1906 were blowouts, for New Orleans and Birmingham, respectively, but even in those seasons there were no big leads until August. Five different franchises won championships, with four pennant races coming down to the wire. When the new Chatanooga team opened 1910 with a 21-8 record, it was the best start to late May for any Southern League team in a decade, and their 3 1/2 game lead tied the record for May. Brilliant Al Demaree once again led the way, opening the year 6-0 with a no-hitter in his second start. Chatanooga did lose the lead, June 3rd, but for the following two weeks, six teams grouped within 3 1/2 games of the top spot. It was quite the rumble.

Montgomery, a team developing Del Pratt, pushed past Chatanooga June 12 on the backs of ex-major league pitchers Bill Duggleby, Whitey Guese, and Frosty Thomas. Days later Montgomery fell into a 2-20 tailspin on their way to last place. Atlanta stepped up and led for a day, June 17, after ex-Phillie Patsy Flaherty and ex-Boston Brave “Red Tom” Fisher threw back-to-back shutouts. Flaherty’s appearance was his minor league debut, just having been waived out of the bigs. Fisher’s gem was his league leading 4th of the year.

Florence Hotel

The Florence Hotel, 200 19th Street North, Birmingham, where judge William Kavanaugh and Thomas Hickey saved the Southern League, December 15, 1902. Currently, it is the site of the McWane Science Center. (Birmingham Age photo, public domain.)

Fisher’s shutout was also the Southern League’s 50th of the year in game number 227, a season shutout pace of 127. While that is good, it looked like the magic of ‘07, ‘08’ and ‘09 was gone. To get to 183, three improbable occurences came together: bad weather, rotton train schedules, and seven inning games. “Seven innings by agreement” was a rarely used option for games starting late in the day, most often, second games of double-headers later in the year. In 1907 three National League teams dabbled in seven inning agreement games. But on July 25, 1908, 7th place Montgomery hosted Memphis for two games “both games advertised for seven innings” – a unique twist on the practice. It allowed Montgomery a later start and a greater gate. Birmingham and Atlanta also tried it that year. In 1909, everybody used it, and used it a little more. Nobody complained. You can see where this was heading.

Rainouts nearly doubled from 41 in 1908 to 71 in 1909. In 1910, rainouts bumped up another 10 percent with a corresponding rise in double-headers. Compounding these conditions was newcomer Chattanooga. Chattanooga, with the departure of Little Rock, moved the geographic center of the Southern League 400 miles East. Instead of two neat loops, East and West, the Southern League of 1910 presented two trapezoids, North and South, with increased city-to-city travel times that encroached on game times. During periods of intersectional scheduling, all
teams had to travel to Birmingham first. From 1907 to 1910, the number of seven inning games in the Southern League rose from 11 to 130.

And then the real reason Chattanooga was allowed a franchise came up. It was William Marmaduke Kavanaugh, one of 15 children born to a reverend’s family near Eutaw, Alabama, in 1866. At 19 Kavanaugh graduated from the Kentucky Military Academy with honors; 20 when he clerked at a bank in Clarkesville, TN; 21 when he began writing for the Arkansas Gazette; 25 when he became that newspaper’s business manager; 29 when he became sheriff of Pulaski County; 34 when he became a county judge; 38 when he created his own bank, the Southern Trust Company; helped found the Little Rock electric company; and became a director in the American Cities Holding Company, which owned properties leased to railways. Kavanaugh was 45 when he became a Democratic National Committeeman; 46 when he became US Senator from Arkansas, also becoming a director in the Lakes to Gulf Waterways Association. There’s no telling how far Kavanaugh could have gone, but he died of indigestion after lunch one Sunday, days before his 49th birthday.

In between all that, Kavanaugh invested in the Little Rock team in 1900. He rose to vice-president of the Southern League in 1901 when Kent, the founder, was kicked out for embezzlement. Kavanaugh became president, August 11, 1902, when Kent’s successor, John Nicklin, quit. Memphis’ pitcher, Jimmy St. Vrain, was under contract with the North West League, and Memphis’ Charles Frank ignored Nicklin’s orders to return that player. All games that St Vrain appeared in were thrown out, and multiple teams refused to play Memphis, but Memphis got injunctions to prevent them from refusing to play. Frank was then blacklisted by the National Association, and Kent, the exiled ex-president, started a whisper campaign to form a second Southern League. It was like the 1890’s all over again.

Billy Hart

Billy Hart, pitching opening day in Chicago, 1896. (Chicago Tribune, May 1, 1896, Cartoonist J. Evering.)

Kavanaugh had his hands full. American Association president Thomas Hickey rushed down from Louisville to help Kavanaugh save the Southern at a raucous meeting at the Florence Hotel, Birmingham, December 15, 1902. Kavanaugh became celebrated for this success, and doted on his baseball celebrity. However, in 1909, when Boston Brave owner George Dovey died suddenly of a heart attack, Kavanaugh asked all Southern League clubs not to play during the funeral, but they did. Then Little Rock manager Michael Finn put out feelers to challenge Kavanaugh for the league presidency in ‘09. So it was likely Kavanaugh, and not Heisman, who opened the door for Chatanooga. Little Rock was jettisoned fast, train schedules were turned upside down, and 130 seven-inning games were the result. Seven innings of shutout ball is a lot easier than nine.

With Atlanta leading the race, New Orleans manager/owner Charlie Frank fired himself and asked his veteran second baseman Gene Demontreville to lead the club. This lowered the monthly salary of the team, freeing up cash for Frank to sign another player, but it was also a tribute to the 37 year old, a lifetime major league .303 hitter struggling at .150. To everyone’s surprise, the move provided immediate results. In Demontreville’s first month he batted .320 and the team went 22-8. But he also had help from everybody’s favorite, Billy Hart, Chattanooga’s 44-year old pitcher, who knocked Atlanta out of the top spot in the last game he ever pitched. Hart’s not exactly remembered well these days, and doesn’t even have his own SABR BioProject essay.

In 1885, William F. Hart was the slim 19-year old star pitcher on the Cincinnati YMCA. With cash and a bible, Hart went South to play pro. He joined Chattanooga and became one of the team’s best pitchers. He signed with the major league Philadelphia Athletics the next year, where he alternated with pitching legend Bobby Mathews. Hart was a high kicking, mixed speed, right-hander; on each delivery he awkwardly used his left hand to cover the ball from the batter’s eyes for as long as he could. Over 25 years, Hart would win 306 games across three major and six minor leagues. In the off-season he was a typesetter and compositor for the Cincinnati Enquirer. When he spoke, he spoke eloquently, and probably had the best vocabulary for any baseball player until Moe Berg. The Sage of Bond Hill, as he was called later, said “I’ve pitched in all leagues except the 20,000 under the sea.”

1904 Box Score

Boxscore of St Paul at Kansas City, September 20, 1904. Billy Hart became the only umpire to get a hit in a professional game. He tripled. (St Paul Globe, 9/21/1904.)

Hart’s aspiration, surprisingly, was to be an umpire. The NL used him as a back-up during the 1890’s, and in 1901 Hart switched from pitching to full-time man-in-blue work after Hugh Duffy broke ump Al Manassau’s jaw with a
mid-Summer punch. Ignoring offers to pitch, Hart fulfilled his dream and umped the whole 1904 American Association year. When a broken nose sidelined him after Memorial Day, the AA hired a rookie college umpire from New York named Bill Klem. In the final inning of the final day of that season, Kansas City players and management insisted that Hart take off his mask and chest protector, and enjoy an at-bat. Hart did. He tripled and became the only umpire to get a hit in a ball game.

Every six days after Memorial Day 1910, Hart pitched games for Chattanooga thinking each game would be his last. He could have walked off the squad to retire, but he stuck around to get an honorable discharge from manager Dobbs. He kept limber by throwing his collection of small cannon balls with reluctant teammates. Finally, on June 18, in a duel with Brownie Rogers of first place Atlanta, Billy Hart won when his 245 lb. catcher,Harry Meeks, flared a rare double late in the game. It turned out to be his curtain call. Dobbs kept Hart pitching until a Southern League umpire position opened up.

Southern league runs per game in July and August dropped below 2.50, and “10 shutouts in 5 days” became the norm. The Sporting Life called a 6-3 win by Birmingham over Memphis a “swat fest”, and another 6-4 win was a “slugging match on both sides.” Two batters on New Orleans joined Demontreville to give the Pelicans’ real offense when offense was a rare commodity: Frank Manush was the older brother of future Hall-of-Famer Heinie, who at that time was a nine-year old fan. Frank batted .393 for Demontreville. Shoeless Joe Jackson was a homesick hayseed sent down by Connie Mack. Jackson became that year’s Southern bat champ. Just how valuable a .354 average was in a league with 183 shutouts, I will leave to your imagination, but Jackson won a game that year, July 15, by hitting into a triple play.

The Pelicans would finish with 35 shutouts for the season, which is likely the record. I haven’t checked all Southern League seasons, but runs per game in all future seasons exceed, and sometimes double, the runs scored of 1910. The major-league team record for shutouts in a season is 32, held by three teams; the ‘07 and ‘09 Cubs, and the 1906 “Hitless Wonders”, all in 154 game schedules.

Shutout frequency by the Pelicans raised some eyebrows during their July road trip: one shutout in each city and 10 in the month’s 26 games. In the dog days of August shutout frequency hit the Twilight Zone: New Orleans reeled off 10 in 13 days after August 10, including all three games of a series in Montgomery, 6-0, 3-0, and 5-0; each nine innings. Pat Paige’s 3-0 win in the middle would prove to be his third shutout of five straight. His 41.0 consecutive scoreless innings shied by one the Southern League record of 42.0 set by Rudy Schwenck the previous year. Schwenk’s record earned him a cup of coffee in the bigs. On the final day of ‘09 he was the victor in the Cubs 104th win.

Judge William Kavanaugh

Judge William Kavanaugh saved the Southern League in 1902, but kicked out Little Rock in 1909 when Mike Finn eyed his job. Kavanaugh also served with Jefferson Davis Jr in the Democratic Party and liked charity games for the Daughters of the Confederacy. (Library of Congress image: public domain.)

Swiss born curve-ball artist Otto Hess took the baton next (Charlie Frank just could not help himself when it came to signing German speaking players.) Hess reeled off 5 shutouts in six starts, allowing 25 hits in 48 innings. His shutout August 24 was the team’s 30th; his shutout August 29 was the league’s 152nd. When Hess threw another shutout in his next start, it was the league’s 166th. The Southern was producing 10 shutouts every five days. The record-breaking 161st shutout, which put the Southern one better than the NL’s 1908 total, was pitched by “Red Tom” Fisher, September 1st. Shutouts were so common that we have to talk about the elephant in the room: the balls.

1910 was one of the worst years imaginable for baseballs. The ball was lumpy, inconsistent in weight, and made a different crack off the bat. The rumblings started in Spring training. After early season home games in Boston and
Washington, players and umps cut open the “Reach” balls to see what was inside. What they found was a cheap yarn and, for the first time ever, a cork center. June 30, after a 13-9 Cardinal win hosting the Cubs that featured six pitchers and 21 walks, NL players chopped open the “Spalding” ball and also found cork. Spalding, which owned the “Reach” trademark, had changed the official baseballs without permission. Hugh Fullerton, one of the most respected baseball writers of the day, measured 60 balls and found 20 were regulation size, and 17 were regulation weight.

On Thursday, September 16, 1909, President William Taft attended the Giants-Cubs game in Chicago, he stood up to stretch his legs in the middle of the seventh inning and the “seventh inning stretch” was born. I wonder if he was able to see his upcoming 435-8 electoral college defeat to Woodrow Wilson in 1912. A third party, the Bull Moose party, got more votes than Taft. The mistake Taft made was trusting the biggest name in Republican politics since Lincoln: Nelson W. Aldrich, the Senate leader from Rhode Island. Aldrich’s daughter founded New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, and his grandson, Vice-President Nelson Rockefeller, was named after him. Aldrich was a staunch protectionist when 90% of America’s revenue was from tariffs. His “masterstroke” was the Payne-Aldrich Act, signed into law by President William Taft, three weeks before his Cubs game. Payne-Aldrich was a massive ledgerbook of tariffs on virtually every imported good. To help with the law’s passage, Aldrich promised Democrats the 16th Amendment – the right of Federal taxation – the only way the Supreme Court’s 1894 ruling on the matter could be overturned.

Rubber was on Aldrich’s list, and one ounce of rubber was in each baseball. In 1910 each major league ordered 10,000 balls, and estimates for the 53 minor leagues were one-half that amount. That’s 285,000 balls. If you include balls produced for amatuer teams and the general population, conservatively, three times the professional production schedule, we’re at 1.5 million baseballs. Rubber was in high demand by shoe makers and car companies. Harvey Firestone said tire production was doubling every year and that 1910 was the first year he produced one million tires. Without the tariff, rubber was $2.15 a pound shipped from the Para region, Brazil. How expensive was that? Try three times the cost of rubber today.

Carlton Molesworth

Carlton Molesworth. Steady Southern League outfielder and, by 1910, all-time hit leader. Molesworth managed the Barons to a great second half and second place finish in 1910 after Rickwood Field opened. (Image clipped from the Atlanta Georgian, 1910.)

Atlanta finally snapped. Carlton Molesworth’s Birminghams swept them to gain second place, 9 1/2 games behind New Orleans with 22 remaining. It was a final rush and the Barons played .800 ball for almost five weeks. In the middle of that burst, on August 18, Birmingham debuted the beautiful $75,000 concrete and wood Rickwood Field – currently the oldest professional baseball ballpark still in use. It was one of the heartwarming moments of the season until Montgomery jumped up 2-1 in the top of the ninth when left fielder Bobby Messenger dropped Del Pratt’s fly. In the dugout, Birmingham starting pitcher Harry Coveleskie accused Messenger of poor playing and the two christened the park with a hockey-style fist-fight. Ten cops broke it up. In the bottom of the ninth, Birmingham wowed 12,000 fans with back-to-back suicide squeezes off 36-year old Bill Duggleby.

Coveleskie, in the middle of a ten game win streak, was on his way back to the big leagues. In 1908 he famously beat the New York Giants three times in five days to help force New York’s one game playoff with the Cubs – the “Merkle Game” – which New York lost. But in subsequent starts he was unnerved when opposing teams yelled “rat a-tat!” at him, a reminder that he lost a girlfriend because he couldn’t play a snare drum in a band. Coveleskie added two straight shutouts in September to bring the league total to 168. He and Tully Sparks were the only hurlers that added shutouts to the Southern League’s record in 1910, and the National League’s record in 1908.

New Orleans clinched, September 11th, when Otto Hess tossed his 11th shutout of the year, tying Memphis’ Frank D. Allen for the league lead and the Southern League record. That was New Orlean’s 34th, Pat Paige tossed number 35 two days later, his ninth of the year. Over the next three days, Southern League pitchers threw eight more shutouts to jump the total to 183, including a no-hitter by no-name John Fisher that would have been perfect if not for two errors. Ex-major leaguer Ed Siever threw shutouts in both ends of a double-header, September 12, and Moxie Manuel threw the league’s final 183rd shutout, September 13.

Southern teams were in the northern loop for the final three scheduled days of the season. There were no shutouts. But Heisman perfected his quick game and the Crackers played nine innings in 32 minutes on the season’s final day, still the record for all leagues above D-ball.

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