1905 World Series
From BR Bullpen
|1905 World Series|
|New York Giants
105 - 48 in the NL
|4 - 1
92 - 56 in the AL
The 1905 World Series was the second World Series held in the modern era, and the first to be won by the National League's representative, in this case the New York Giants. The team which had refused to play a post-season series in 1904 made the most of its first opportunity to play against an American League team, defeating the Philadelphia Athletics by four games to one, all of the games being shutouts.
The 1903 World Series had been a resounding success, both on the field and at the gate, but the Giants' principals, owner John Brush and manager John McGraw had played the role of sourpusses, denigrating the whole event as below the dignity of their long-established franchise, and even threatening to sue to prevent the series from taking place. When the 1904 season was winding down, the Giants were in first place, but were faced with the prospect of facing their newly-established crosstown rivals, the New York Highlanders, who were to become the famed New York Yankees a few years later and were leading the American League as the season was drawing to a close. This was a prospect too horrible to contemplate for the two proud men, and they indicated in no uncertain words that they were not ready to soil their status of NL Pennant winners by facing a team that was not of their level. The first World Series had come as a result of a direct arrangement between the owners of the Pittsburgh and Boston clubs and not through an agreement between the leagues, so Brush's unwillingness to participate in a sequel doomed the whole enterprise. As it turned out, the Boston Americans ended up squeezing past the Highlanders to win the AL Pennant in the season's final days, but by then it was too late to arrange a Series, even if Brush and McGraw had been willing to climb down.
The result of that fiasco was quite unexpected, however. There was a general movement from the fans and the media to blame the New York owner for his intransigence and for depriving them of a highly-anticipated contest. Worse, New York's own players felt cheated out of what would have been sizeable bonusses for playing the series, and made no qualms about expressing their dismay in public. Sensing a public relations disaster brewing, Brush turned around after the season and agreed to negociate a set of conditions under which the World Series would be played in following years. They would be contested under a best of seven format (the 1903 Series had been best of nine); they would be run by a three-man National Commission composed of chairman Garry Herrmann, owner of the Cincinnati Reds, and the two League Presidents, Harry Pulliam for the NL and Ban Johnson for the AL; 60% of the receipts from the first four games would go the players, with 70% going to the winners and 30% to the losers (this was changed to 60-40 after the 1905 Series), 10% of the revenues for the entire Series would go to the Commission, and the rest of the pot was to be divided equally between the two team owners. Everyone would benefit from the arrangement, and in addition, the players had no financial interest in drawing out the Series beyond what was strictly necessary (something that had seemed to happen when similar post-season matches had been organized in the 19th Century). With these conditions set, participation in the World Series was now mandatory for the two pennant winners.
The stage was set for the 1905 World Series when the New York Giants repeated as NL pennant winners, beating the second place Pirates by nine games while winning 105 ball games (against a mere 48 losses). Their opponents would be the Philadelphia Athletics, led by owner and manager Connie Mack, who had won their first AL pennant even though they had finished tied with the Chicago White Sox with 92 wins apiece; the Athletics had lost four fewer games, however, and under the rules of the time, it meant that they were crowned league champions.
 The Teams
 The New York Giants
The 1905 New York Giants romped over the rest of the National League, finishing the year with a 105-48 record, 9 games ahead of the second-place Pittsburgh Pirates. Led by John McGraw, who was just starting to establish his reputation as one of the greatest managers of all time, it was their second consecutive pennant, as they had posted an outstanding record of 106-47 the previous year.
The team is now mostly remembered for its formidable pitching staff, a reputation that would be reinforced by their dominance from the mound in the World Series, but in fact their hitting was also excellent. The pitching staff included two future members of the Hall of Fame, Christy Mathewson (31-8, 1.27) and Joe McGinnity (21-15, 2.87). Those two have cast a shadow over the rest of the staff, especially since they would pitch all but one inning in the World Series without allowing a single earned run, but their teammates Red Ames (22-8, 2.74), Dummy Taylor (15-9, 2.66) and Hooks Wiltse (15-6, 2.47) were just as solid as McGinnity (Mathewson was really in a class of his own). Their numbers speak for themselves.
However, because the Giants played in the heart of the Deadball Era, one of the worst offensive contexts of all time, the quality of their hitters tends to be overlooked, even though they led the National League by a wide margin in most hitting categories. For example, the Giants hit .273 as a team (the next best team was at .269), slugged .368 (next best .354), scored 780 runs (next best 736) hit 39 home runs (next best 29) and stole 291 bases (one of only three teams over 200). The team's best hitter was CF Mike Donlin, who hit .356 and led the league with 124 runs scored, but he had a lot of help. LF Sam Mertes only batted .275 but was second in the NL in RBI with 108 and triples with 17, and fourth in stolen bases with 52. 3B Art Devlin was tied for the league lead with 59 stolen bases while C Roger Bresnahan hit .302 while usually serving as the team's lead-off hitter and 1B Dan McGann hit .299 with 75 RBI. RF George Browne was another contributor, with a .293 average from the second spot in the line-up. The left side of the infield was more in line with the low-average standards of the times, with Devlin batting .246, 2B Billy Gilbert at .247 and SS Bill Dahlen at .242 (but with 7 home runs and 81 RBI). The Giants even had a couple of other good hitters on the bench - although they would see almost no playing time in the Series - C Frank Bowerman who hit .269 with 41 RBI in 297 at bats, and 2B-OF Sammy Strang who hit .259 and was the league's best pinch hitter, going 8 for 14 in the role.
 The Philadelphia Athletics
The Philadelphia Athletics won the second pennant of their history in 1905, having won their first title in 1902, by losing four fewer games than their nearest rivals, the Chicago White Sox, while tying them with 92 wins. Like their NL opponents, the Athletics were led by a manager who was starting to build his legend, Connie Mack, and were characterized by spectacular pitching backed by solid - if underrated - hitting.
Philadelphia boasted two 20-game winners who would end up in the Hall of Fame, in Eddie Plank (24-12, 2.26) and Rube Waddell (27-10, 1.48). They were complemented by Andy Coakley (18-8, 1.84), Chief Bender, who posted an 18-11 record with a 2.83 ERA, and Weldon Henley who must have pitched in some of the worst luck of all time to finish the year with a 4-11 record in spite of a 2.60 ERA. Waddell was the most electrifying of the group, with his league-leading ERA coupled with 287 strikeouts (77 more than Plank, who finished second in the AL). Unfortunately, he was also an immature man with a bad drinking problem, and in early September, he hurt his pitching shoulder by falling on it while horsing around with teammates on a train station platform, and hardly pitched after that. At least, that was the official story; there has been a lot of speculation since about what actually happened, and especially whether some gamblers paid him to fake an injury in order not to pitch in the Series.
The Athletics' offense was based on power (in this case, hitting doubles), and decent averages - they hit .255 as a team, while the AL average was .241. The offense was very well balanced. Their best hitter was 1B Harry Davis, who hit .284 with a league-leading 8 home runs, 83 RBI and 92 runs scored, in addition to 36 stolen bases. The other big batters were 2B Danny Murphy (.278, 6, 71), 3B Lave Cross (.266 and 77 RBI) and RF Socks Seybold (.270, 6, 59). None of the four would do much of anything against the Giants' pitching, however, which explains why the Athletics were unable to put any runs on the board. One hitter who did manage to create a few sparks was lead-off hitter LF Topsy Hartsel: in the regular season, he hit .276 with 121 bases on balls - almost twice as many as his nearest rival in the league - and 36 stolen bases, then hit .294 in the World Series, by far the best performance on the team. CF Danny Hoffman led the league with 46 stolen bases, but he was injured and would only be used once in the World Series, as a pinch hitter; he was replaced by 21-year old rookie Bris Lord, a .239 hitter with no power who took over the second spot of the batting order. SS was shared by two glove men, 19-year old rookie Joe Knight, who hit .203, and Monte Cross, who hit .270 in part-time play after hitting below .200 as a regular the previous season; Monte Cross would start all of the World Series' games. Catching duties were split between Ossee Schreckengost, a .272 hitter with some defensive challenges, and Mike "Doc" Powers an outstanding fielder who only hit .156 during the season.
 Series summary
|1||October 9||New York Giants||3||Philadelphia Athletics||0||1-0||17,955|
|2||October 10||Philadelphia Athletics||3||New York Giants||0||1-1||24,992|
|3||October 12||New York Giants||9||Philadelphia Athletics||0||2-1||10,991|
|4||October 13||Philadelphia Athletics||0||New York Giants||1||3-1||13,598|
|5||October 14||Philadelphia Athletics||0||New York Giants||2||4-1||24,187|
 The Games
 Game One: October 9
|New York Giants||0||0||0||0||2||0||0||0||1||3||10||1|
|Win: Christy Mathewson (1-0) Loss: Eddie Plank (0-1)|
- attendance: 17,955
The opening game of the 1905 World Series took place at Columbia Park in Philadelphia before a huge crowd of almost 18,000, proving that the one year interruption had not dampened the fans' interest in the contests between the two league champions. The game pitted two future Hall of Famers on the mound, Christy Mathewson for the Giants and Eddie Plank for the Athletics. Another future enshrinee of Cooperstown would likely have started the game for Philadelphia, but ace fastball pitcher Rube Waddell had injured his shoulder by falling on it while horsing around with teammates at a train station a few days earlier and would as a result miss the whole Series.
The two starting pitchers dominated the game, with each pitching a complete game. Mathewson only allowed four meager hits to the Athletics, although three of them were doubles, and did not walk a single opponent. Plank was not quite as sharp, and the Giants got to him in the fifth inning. Mathewson led off with a single but was forced out by Roger Bresnahan who immediately made up for this by stealing second base. After a second out, Mike Donlin singled him home and took second on the relay home. Sam Mertes hit a double for a two-nothing New York lead. The Athletics had their best scoring chance of the game in the sixth when Ossee Schreckengost led off with a double; he made it to third on a wild pitch, but when Topsy Hartsel tried to bring him home with a squeeze bunt, Mathewson made a nice play to throw Shreckengost out at the plate. The Giants added an insurance run in the top of the ninth when Bresnahan drove Billy Gilbert home from second base with a single, but Mathewson did not need the extra help as he disposed of the hometown team in the bottom of the inning to complete the shutout. He was setting the tone for a series where good pitching would beat good hitting hands down.
 Game Two: October 10
|New York Giants||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||4||2|
|Win: Chief Bender (1-0) Loss: Joe McGinnity (0-1)|
- attendance: 24,992
The first World Series game played in New York drew a record crowd to the Polo Grounds; almost 25,000 people were present to witness Game Two, almost 7,000 more than had attended Game Three of the 1903 Series in Boston. For the second consecutive day, two future Hall of Famers were facing each other on the mound, this time "Iron Man" Joe McGinnity for the hometown Giants, and "Chief" Bender for the visiting Athletics. Today, it was Bender who pitched a gem, shutting out the Giants on four hits while striking out nine batters. His opponent McGinnity gave up three unearned runs in eight innings of work to take the loss. Leon "Red" Ames pitched the ninth inning for the Giants, the only time a relief pitcher would be used during the entire Series.
The Athletics took advantage of Giants' fielding miscues to score all their runs, as McGinnity proved to be almost as stingy on the mound as his teammate Christy Mathewson had been the day before. Ossee Schreckengost led off the third inning by hitting a routine ground ball to Billy Gilbert at second base, but first baseman Dan McGann dropped the throw, allowing Schreck - as he was usually called by newspapermen who counted the letters they had to insert in their copy - to be safe at first. Pitcher Bender bunted him over to second base and Topsy Hartsel grounded out, moving him over another base. Bris Lord stroked a single to drive in Philadelphia's first run of the series at a point when the inning should have been over. The score remained at 1-0 for the Athletics until the eighth inning when McGinnity was again let down by his defense. Schreckengost had singled with one out, and after Bender had fouled out, Hartsel hit a double to left field. Sam Mertes relayed the ball to third baseman Art Devlin, acting as the cut-off man, who in turn threw home in time to retire the slow-moving Athletics' catcher, but Roger Bresnahan dropped the throw, allowing the run to score. Lord followed with another RBI single to put the Athletics up 3-0. The Giants had their best chance to reply in their half of the inning when Devlin led off with a single, but Gilbert flied out and Sammy Strang, pinch hitting for McGinnity, struck out. Shortstop Monte Cross booted Bresnahan's ground ball to place a second runner on, but Bender got out of the inning by inducing another ground ball from George Browne. The Giants threatened again in the ninth, placing their first two hitters on base thanks to an error and a walk, but the next three batters were unable to hit the ball out of the infield and the Series was tied at one game apiece.
 Game Three: October 12
|New York Giants||2||0||0||0||5||0||0||0||2||9||9||1|
|Win: Christy Mathewson (2-0) Loss: Andy Coakley (0-1)|
- attendance: 10,991
The Series returned to Philadelphia's Columbia Park two days later, and Christy Mathewson returned to the mound for the Giants not having lost a step since his opening game performance. He blanked the Athletics once again on four hits, while the Giants' bats finally came alive, taking advantage of four Philadelphia errors to put nine runs on the scoreboard. Andy Coakley was the victim of that offensive barrage, and while only three of the runs that were charged to him were earned, he has to take a good share of the blame for the lopsided outcome of the game.
Coakley opened things in a most ominous fashion by plucking the first batter he faced, New York catcher Roger Bresnahan. After one out, Mike Donlin and Dan McGann hit consecutive singles that scored a run, then Sam Mertes reached on an error by second baseman Danny Murphy that allowed a second run to score. An inning-ending double play prevented further damage, but a two-run lead was a comfortable cushion for a Mathewson at the top of his game. While the Athletics were struggling to get any offense going against the Giants' ace pitcher, New York struck a killer blow in the fifth inning by putting five more runs on the scoreboard. Once again, Murphy played a key role by committing an error on Dan McGann's bases-loaded grounder, allowing Bresnahan to score the game's third run. However, Murphy was not the sole culprit, since the Giants strung together three hits, two walks and two stolen bases to obtain their five runs, in addition to what would now be counted a steal of home on the back-end of a double steal by Bill Dahlen. It seems that Athletics' catcher Ossee Schreckengost took some of the blame for the Giants' successful running game, since he was replaced by Mike "Doc" Powers after his next at bat and never played again in the Series, in spite of having been one of his team's few offensive threats up to that point.
With a 7-0 lead, Mathewson had nothing to fear, but he still continued to pitch lights out, finishing the game with eight strikeouts while walking only one batter. Philadelphia manager Connie Mack left his pitcher Coakley in the game as well, in spite of the beating he was taking, and he did manage to hold the Giants scoreless over the next two innings. With two outs in the top of the ninth, however, George Browne singled, stole second, and after Donlin walked, stole third base as well. Did someone say that in the old days you would not show up your opponent by stealing bases with a huge lead ? When McGann followed with a double, the Giants had themselves two more runs, for a convincing 9-0 victory. For his part, McGann had driven in four runs on three hits in addition to scoring one himself.
 Game Four: October 13
|New York Giants||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||5||0|
|Win: Joe McGinnity (1-1) Loss: Eddie Plank (0-2)|
- attendance: 13,598
The World Series changed cities for the fourth conscutive game, returning to New York's Polo Grounds for Game Four, played on October 13. It was a classic pitchers' duel, the first 1-0 game in the history of the World Series. Both future Hall of Fame pitchers, Joe McGinnity for the Giants and Eddie Plank for the Athletics, gave a great performance, each giving up only five hits, while McGinnity walked three batters and Plank only two. It was Deadball Era baseball at its best, where every run had to be scrounged together using whatever means was available. It was the Giants who were able to break the deadlock in their half of the fourth inning, when Sam Mertes led off by reaching first base on shortstop Monte Cross's error. After an out, he moved to second base on Art Devlin's ground ball, then beat left fielder Topsy Hartsel's throw home on Billy Gilbert's single to score the only run of the game, an unearned one at that.
The Athletics had their only real threat in the eighth inning, when Hartsel led off with a walk and, after two outs, moved to third on Lave Cross's single. However, McGinnity struck out Socks Seybold to end the inning, and the Athletics went down in order in the ninth, giving New York a three games to one lead.
 Game Five: October 14
|New York Giants||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||1||X||2||5||2|
|Win: Christy Mathewson (3-0) Loss: Chief Bender (1-1)|
- attendance: 24,187
The New York Giants continued their absolute dominance on the mound in Game Five played, for the second consecutive day, at the Polo Grounds. In Christy Mathewson's third trip to the pitcher's mound, he threw his third consecutive complete game shutout, a performance unlikely to ever be duplicated in a future World Series. But, as had been the case the previous day, the Athletics' pitcher, Chief Bender, who had himself pitched a shutout in his previous start in Game Two, also gave the Giants' hitters all sorts of trouble. Both pitchers limited their opponents to five hits, but Bender walked three batters, while Mathewson walked none - and both of the Giants' runs were scored by batters who had reached base via the base on balls. Another great crowd was on hand that day, over 24,000 people, bringing the five game total to a little over 90,000 for an average of 18,000 fans a game. This was almost 6,000 more per game, on average, than had been present for the 1903 World Series, and that Series had been considered a huge success at the gate. There was little doubt now that, in only their second edition, the World Series were the premier sports event in the United States.
The game itself proceeded much as the previous day's had, with neither team being able to mount a threat against the other team's pitcher in the early innings. The Giants opened the score in the bottom of the fifth inning after Bender walked the first two batters, Sam Mertes and Bill Dahlen. Art Devlin advanced both by one base with a sacrifice bunt. Billy Gilbert then hit a fly ball to left field which Hartsel caught. Mertes managed to beat Hartsel's throw to home plate, even if Dahlen was thrown out at third to end the inning while trying to advance a base as well. In the top of the sixth, Philadelphia's first batter, Hartsel, reached first base on Mathewson's error. The strategy of the time would normally have called for the next hitter, Bris Lord, to lay down a bunt, but he failed to do that, instead hitting a ball to second base that forced out Hartsel. Then Lord was picked off first base, meaning that the bases were empty when Harry Davis followed with a single. The Athletics had just wasted their best scoring chance of the game, and in the bottom of the eighth inning, New York added an insurance run when Mathewson drew a one-out walk, moved to third on Roger Bresnahan's double and scored on George Browne's grounder to second. Mathewson induced the Athletics' hitters to hit three ground balls in the top of the ninth, and the New York Giants were World Champions.
More than any other World Series ever played, the 1905 World Series were dominated by pitching. During the entire Series, the Giants' pitching staff did not allow a single earned run. The Philadelphia Athletics hit .161 as a team, and the heart of its batting order, comprising Harry Davis, Lave Cross and Socks Seybold, was a combined 8 for 55 (.145) with a single extra base hit. Not only did Christy Mathewson pitch three shutouts, but he also struck out 18 opponents while walking only one ! There was no World Series Most Valuable Player Trophy awarded in those early days, but there is no doubt that, had there been one, Christy Mathewson would have been the winner, and an exceptionally worthwhile one at that. Philadelphia's pitching staff put up a great fight as well, particularly Eddie Plank and Chief Bender who gave up 0, 1, 2 and 3 runs in their four starts, but ended up a combined 1-3. One must wonder what would have happened if Rube Waddell had been available: Andy Coakley would not have been used in the pivotal Game Three, and things could have turned out differently (although, if Mathewson was going to insist on pitching scoreless ball forever, there was nothing the Athletics could have possibly done to win !).
With the 1905 World Series, the fall classic would be played every year without interruption, even during the darkest days of World War I and World War II, until brought to a temporary halt by the 1994 strike. The 1905 Series was a classic and contributed greatly to making the Series the focus of enormous media attention and fan interest in future years, well beyond the cities from which the participating teams were issued.
 New York Giants
Note: G = Games played; AB = At Bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting Average; HR = Home Runs; RBI = Runs Batted In
Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts
 Philadelphia Athletics
Note: G = Games played; AB = At Bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting Average; HR = Home Runs; RBI = Runs Batted In
Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts
 Further Reading
- Joseph L. Reichler: "How It All Began", in The World Series: A 75th Anniversary, Simon & Schuster, New York, NY, 1978, pp. 14-17.
|Modern Major League Baseball World Series
Pre-1903 Postseason Series