1911 World Series
|1911 World Series|
101 - 50 in the AL
|4 - 2
|New York Giants|
99 - 54 in the NL
The 1911 World Series matched two legendary teams led by equally legendary managers, John McGraw's New York Giants and Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics. The two teams had met in the classic 1905 World Series, when Christy Mathewson's superb pitching for the Giants carried the day. In the intervening years, the two teams had fallen back a bit, letting the Chicago Cubs and the Detroit Tigers assume supremacy in their respective leagues, but by 1911, they were back as unchallenged league champions, with the Athletics defending their 1910 World Championship to boost.
A number of familiar names from 1905 were back in action, including both managers and pitchers Mathewson, Chief Bender and Eddie Plank, but the year's biggest star would be Philadelphia's young third baseman, Frank Baker, who would gain legendary status with two decisive home runs leading to Philadelphia's win by four games to two.
The Team with the $100,000 Infield
A young Frank Baker took over as the Athletics's starting third baseman in 1909, replacing Jimmy Collins. Jack Barry replaced Simon Nicholls at shortstop and Eddie Collins took over for Danny Murphy at second base that same year and manager Connie Mack had three of his four famous infielders in place. Baker hit .305 with four home runs, 85 RBI and 20 stolen bases as the Athletics jumped from 68-85 to 96-68 in 1909.
In 1910 the Athletics won 102 games, ended the Detroit Tigers's three-year reign as American League champions and knocked off the Chicago Cubs in five games in the World Series. Baker hit .283 that year with 74 RBI and 21 stolen bases, then hit .409 in the World Series. The Athletics were only getting started and so was Baker.
By 1911, the Athletics were the class of the American League. Jack Coombs led their pitching staff by going 28-12 with a 3.53 ERA, lefthander Eddie Plank was 22-8 with a 2.10 ERA and Albert "Chief" Bender was 17-5 with a 2.17 ERA. First baseman John "Stuffy" McInnis replaced Harry Davis and the $100,000 infield was set. McInnis hit .321, the Athletics hit .296 as a team and, after a slow start, won the American League pennant by 13 1/2 games over the Tigers. Baker, 25, had a breakthrough year, hitting .334 with a league-leading 11 home runs and 115 RBI. He and Collins also stole 38 bases on a team that swiped 226 on the season.
The Running Giants
John McGraw had just finished his 10th season as manager of the New York Giants. He had won pennants in 1904 and 1905 and beaten the Athletics in the 1905 World Series when Christy Mathewson threw three shutouts. But the Giants hadn’t been back since then, unable to get past the Chicago Cubs and their famed infield of Tinker to Evers to Chance. The Cubs won four of five pennants between 1906 and 1910 and the Pittsburgh Pirates won it all in 1909.
Then in 1911 McGraw fielded a lineup that sole 347 bases, the most ever by one team in major league history, and the Giants returned to the top of the National League. Mathewson of course remained their star attraction and went 26-13 with a 1.99 ERA while Rube Marquard was 24-7 with a 2.49 ERA. Doc Crandall (15-5, 2.62), Hooks Wiltse (12-9, 3.27) and Red Ames (11-10, 2.68) also helped give the Giants the best pitching staff in the National League.
But they also led the league with a .279 batting average as seven of their eight starters batted .280 or batter and stole at least 20 bases. Catcher Chief Meyers only stole seven bases but led the team with a .332 average. Second baseman Larry Doyle had the best all-around year, hitting .310 with 102 runs scored, 25 doubles, 25 triples, 13 home runs, 77 RBI and 38 stolen bases and first baseman Fred Merkle hit .283 with 80 runs, 24 doubles, 10 triples, 12 home runs, 84 RBI and 49 stolen bases. Shortstop Art Fletcher hit .319.
There was speed across the outfield as well with Josh Devore (.280, 61 stolen bases), Fred Snodgrass (.294, 51 stolen bases) and Red Murray (.291, 48 stolen bases). Another outfielder, Beals Becker, stole 19 bases. That's 179 stolen bases from the outfield. But in the 1911 World Series, against Philadelphia Athletics catchers Ira Thomas and Jack Lapp, the Giants outfielders would not steal a single base. In fact, the entire team would steal just four in 14 attempts. Said Mathewson in Pitching in a Pinch: "Mack's pitchers cut their motions down to nothing with men on bases, microscopic motions, and they watched the runners like hawks."
McGraw thought there was more working against the Giants than the Philadelphia catchers and pitchers. The Giants had pulled away from the Cubs by winning 18 of 22 games and McGraw thought that had taken a toll on his team. "Our club was pretty well worn out and shot to pieces when we faced the Athletics in the World Series," McGraw wrote in his autobiography, My 32 years in Baseball. "I do not give that as a reason for our defeat but it was a contributing cause."
There would be other causes for the defeat and they would be spelled out by two unlikely sources. In the 1911 World Series, the New York Times hired Marquard to write a first-hand account of each game while Mathewson would do the same in the New York Herald at a fee of $500. Actually Frank Menke would write for Marquard and John Wheeler would do so for Mathewson. There was much to write about, including the weather. The teams had to wait seven days to play Game 4, the longest delay in World Series history. But Marquard, Mathewson and their ghost writers also had to spend time explaining the exploits of the Athletics 25-year-old third baseman from the Eastern Shore of Maryland - John Franklin Baker.
Game 1: October 14
|New York Giants||0||0||0||1||0||0||1||0||x||2||5||0|
|W: Christy Mathewson (1-0) L: Chief Bender (0-1)|
- attendance: 38,281
The Athletics and the Giants had met before in the World Series, six years earlier. That Series was completely and totally dominated by Christy Mathewson, who beat the Athletics with three shutouts in five games. That performance has never been matched and was still on people's minds when Mathewson walked out onto to the field on Saturday October 14, 1911 in front of 38,281 at the rebuilt Polo Grounds on the northern end of Manhattan. A fire had ravaged the famous ballpark on April 14 but the place had been rebuilt and the Giants moved back in August. It was ready for the World Series with an even larger seating capacity to awe the Athletics
John McGraw also tried to intimidate the Athletics by having them wear the same black uniforms with white trimming that they had donned during the 1905 World Series. Rex Beach wrote in the New York Times: "No man with blood in his veins could have watched the hand of the clock creep around toward the hour of 2 without yielding to the intensity of that multitude. It could be felt and caused the pulse to pound.
"When a lion-voiced announcer gave forth the names of the batteries and it became certainty that Bender and Mathewson would twirl, a scream of rapture burst from 40,000 throats. Forty thousand pairs of eyes were upon Matty as he took the box and languidly limbered up."
Mathewson struck out the first two hitters on six pitches and then Rube Oldring flied to left. But his 28 consecutive scoreless inning streak ended in the second inning when Frank Baker singled to right, went to second on a grounder by Danny Murphy (now an outfielder) back to the mound and scored on Harry Davis’ single.
The Giants got that run back in the fourth inning after Chief Bender walked Fred Snodgrass leading off the inning. Red Murray's grounder moved him to second. Bender struck out Fred Merkle but Buck Herzog hit a ground ball that second baseman Eddie Collins booted for an error and Snodgrass, running on the pitch when McGraw called a hit-and-run, came around to score.
The score was still tied in the bottom of the sixth when McGraw tried to use his speed to put the Giants ahead. The Giants had Snodgrass at third and Herzog at first with two outs when McGraw put on the delayed double steal. Herzog broke for second and catcher Ira Thomas threw down. But when Snodgrass broke for home, Collins cut the ball off and threw back home for the out. The Athletic reprieve didn't last long. One inning later, the Giants took the lead after Chief Meyers doubled off Bender. Mathewson struck out, bringing up Josh Devore. Bender had been bantering with the Giants hitters all day and, after the count went 2-2, he hollered at Devore, "I'm going to throw you a curved ball over the outside corner."
"I know it Chief," Devore yelled back.
Bender did throw the curve just where he said and Devore smacked it for a double.
"I knew it would be a curve ball," Devore told Mathewson after the game. "With two and two, he would be crazy to hand me anything else. When he made that crack, I guessed that he was trying to cross me by telling the truth. Before he spoke, I wasn't sure which corner he was going to put it over, but he tipped me."
That made it 2-1 and it stayed that way as Mathewson retired the last 11 hitters he faced. Baker had two of the six hits off Mathewson but the Giants had taken the first game. "One swallow does not make a summer, you know" Mack said after the game. "While we lost the opening game, it does not mean we will lose the Series. My boys played fine ball and a team that plays up to its season standard is in it until the finish.
"Mathewson has no terrors for us like he had in 1905. The lucky breaks of the game were against us today, but wait until next week; the Giants can't get them all. McGraw has a fine ball team, and so have we. If we hadn't, we would not be playing for a world championship for the second time in two years."
In his New York Times commentary Rube Marquard was gracious, praising Mathewson effusively. But his comments were also interesting based on what would happen later: "Matty was at his best, and used his curve ball almost all the time. He had perfect control. The Athletics are what are termed in baseball parlance, first ball hitters, that is, they always strike at the first ball pitched if it is anywhere near them. They are also prone to go after fast ones." Marquard talks about Baker's first at-bat against Mathewson: "When Baker came up in the second, Matty was taken off guard by the first ball tactics and allowed a hit off a fastball." Baker also batted with two on and two out in the third but struck out. Marquard wrote: "Baker, who was so eager to hit he could not wait for a good one, and swung at three balls."
Game 2: October 16
|New York Giants||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||5||3|
|W: Eddie Plank (1-0) L: Rube Marquard (0-1)|
|HR: Frank Baker PHI|
- attendance: 26,286
They didn't play baseball on Sunday in 1911 so the two teams took the day off and traveled to Philadelphia. This time there were 26,286 fans at Philadelphia’s Shibe Park to watch Marquard take on Eddie Plank on a Monday. The Athletics again scored first when Bris Lord led off the first with a single to right and continued on to second when right fielder Red Murray bobbled the ball for an error. Rube Oldring bunted him to third and Lord scored on a wild pitch by Marquard. Wrote Marquard in the Times: "Meyers called for a high fastball for Collins, the next man up, and I got the signal for an in. I tried to change after I had begun my serving, and the result was a passed ball, on which Lord scored. The sun is in the pitcher's eyes at Shibe Park all the time and I was not used to it."
The Giants still tied it up in the top of the second when Herzog doubled and scored on Meyers's single to center. But that was it for them on the afternoon. Plank allowed just three singles to the rest of the way, did not walk a batter and did not allow a runner past first base. The Giants were unable to take advantage of the speed that had served them so well during the regular season.
In the top of sixth, Fred Snodgrass led off with a single but was thrown out by Lord trying to stretch it into a double. Marquard started the bottom of the sixth inning by getting Lord and Oldring to fly out. At that point he had retired 13 in a row since Devore dropped Jack Barry's fly ball for an error in the second. But Collins, with the score still 1-1, brought the streak to an end with a double down the left field line. "When Collins came to bat, I didn’t know exactly what to give him," Marquard wrote. "He is a batter without any decided weakness upon which a pitcher can figure. He may break up a game at any time, owing to his ability to hit at any height. I gave him a slow outcurve, waist high, and he cracked it all the way around to left field and took two bases."
That brought up Baker. Marquard continues the narrative: "Baker is a bad man and I had been warned against him, and I had the right dope too, but at the last moment I switched, because I thought I was working it too hard. I struck him out in the first inning with three deliveries. The first was an incurve. The second was also an incurve and he fouled. For the third strike I gave him the same thing and got him." In other words, Marquard struck him out with three curve balls in the first. In the fourth inning, Baker had grounded out on the first pitch. "So that when he came up in the sixth, I fully intended to follow instructions and give him curved balls," Marquard said. "But when I had one strike on him and he had refused to bite on another outcurve which was a little too wide, I thought to cross him by sending in a fast high straight ball the kind I knew he liked. Meyers had called for a curve, but I could not see it, and signaled for a high fast ball." Marquard threw the pitch and Baker smashed it over the right field fence for a two-run home run to give the Athletics a 3-1 lead. Baker later called it his greatest thrill ever in baseball: "Thousands of fans on their feet, hands waving, hats in the air, and shouting as you round second base is something a man never forgets," Baker said.
Afterward McGraw, furious, said: "A good pitcher isn't supposed to give up a home run in a situation like that." Marquard suspected Baker had stolen the Giants' signs while standing on second and had relayed the information to Baker. But he wrote, "I will never give Baker that kind of ball again, and I expect to strike him out several times more before the Series is over." Marquard admitted he was at fault but Mathewson – or his ghostwriter – ripped him in the next day’s paper. The headline read: "Marquard Makes The Wrong Pitch." Mathewson accused Marquard of not paying attention to the scouting reports and throwing the wrong pitch to Baker. Mathewson said McGraw had gone down the Athletics lineup before the Series and explained how to pitch to each batter. Marquard, Mathewson said, had disregarded McGraw.
Marquard wasn't the only one offended by Mathewson's prose. The Great Matty, perhaps angered by Snodgrass getting thrown out by Lord trying to stretch a single into a double, accused Philadelphia groundskeeper Joe Schroeder of trying to slow the Giants down by wetting down the basepaths. "Mathewson is saying what is not true," Schroeder responded, "and he is doing it to find some excuse for the Giants losing the game. If we had attempted to wet the basepaths more than the rain did they would have been plain mud... The truth of the matter is the Giants think Snodgrass is a faster man than Eddie Collins and they don't like to see their favorite have to take a back seat. When Collins got a hit like Snodgrass he had no trouble in stretching it into a double. Snodgrass had no more trouble on the bases than Eddie, but he got a poor start from home, and that is his own lookout.
The Series was going back to New York for Game 3. Marquard seethed as much as Schroeder but Baker wasn’t done.
Game 3: October 17
|New York Giants||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||2||3||5|
|W: Jack Coombs (1-0) L: Christy Mathewson (1-1)|
|HR: Frank Baker PHI|
- attendance: 37,216
Mathewson was back on the mound for Game 3 against Jack Coombs, who had won three games in the 1910 World Series against the Cubs. There were 37,216 fans at the Polo Grounds to watch two pitchers who had combined to win 54 games during the regular season. But Mack made another decision and went with Jack Lapp as his catcher over Ira Thomas, who had started the first two games. Lapp ended up having one of the greatest days defensively by a catcher in World Series history. On October 17, the Athletics catcher would throw out five baserunners trying to steal.
McGraw would later credit the work of shortstop Jack Barry and second baseman Eddie Collins for stopping the Giants runnning game. "They showed as perfect teamwork between them as I ever saw," McGraw said. "If I signaled for the hit-and-run, expecting Collins to cover second base and leave the space open between first and second, Barry would be at the bag to cover and a throw from the catcher. If Barry looked to be the most likely man to run to the bag, Collins dug over there and Barry would be at shortstop to anticipate the open territory. I had my players try to detect what signs they had between them to denote who was going to cover second on steals but I had to give it up. I came to the conclusion it must have been intuition. I don't think Tinker and Evers in their best days with the Cubs excelled them in teamwork and in guessing out defensive plays." They were part of the $100,000 infield that included the slugging third baseman from Maryland.
The Giants scored first in the third inning as Chief Meyers, with one out, singled off of Baker's glove and went to third on Mathewson's single to right. Devore followed with a hard smash that Baker fumbled and could only get the force at second. Meyers scored and Devore reached first. But the inning ended with Lapp gunning down Devore trying to steal second.
The Giants led 1-0 and that was almost enough for Mathewson. He took a shutout into the eighth before Jack Barry led off with a double and went to third as Lapp beat out a roller to short. Coombs hit a grounder to Doyle who threw out Barry at the plate. Lord hit a grounder to Doyle for a possible inning-ending double play but Art Fletcher dropped the ball for an error. That appeared to be a big break for the Athletics but Lapp, thinking about scoring, overran third base and was thrown out in a rundown.
So it stayed 1-0 into the ninth and Collins grounded out to third base. That brought up Baker, who was 0-for-3 off of Mathewson to that point. "When Baker came up in the ninth, Collins had already been retired and we all figured that the game was all but one," Marquard said in the New York Times. Mathewson got two strikes on him with curve balls and appeared to have struck him out when Baker swung and missed at strike three. But the home plate umpire ruled that Baker foul tipped the ball that got away from Meyers. On the next pitch, Baker smashed a high fastball into the right field seats. The game was tied at 1-1. In the celebration on the Athletics bench, shortstop Jack Barry jumped up and hit his head on the concrete roof. He said he had little black specks in front of his eyes but insisted on continuing.
When the inning was over, Mathewson returned to the bench and Marquard asked him what he threw Baker. "The same thing you did, Rube," Mathewson said. "I gave Baker a high fast one. I have been in the business a long time and I have no excuse." But Marquard apparently also told ghostwriter Frank Menke: "Will the great Mathewson tell us exactly what he pitched to Baker? He was present at the same clubhouse meeting at which Mr. McGraw discussed Baker's weakness. Could it be that Matty too, let go a careless pitch when it meant the ballgame?"
In his book, Pitching in a Pinch, Mathewson compared the home run to a saying that went: "He sure has raised hell with your prospects." Wrote Mathewson: "That's the way I felt when John Franklin Baker popped that home run into the right field stand in the ninth inning of the third game of the 1911 world’s series with one man already out. For eight and one-third innings the Giants had played 'inside ball' and I had carefully nursed along every batter who came to the plate, studying his weakness and pitching to it. It looked as if we were going to win the game and then zing! And also zowie! The ball went into the stands on a line and I looked at my fielders who had the game almost within their grasp a minute before. Instantly I realized that I had been pitching myself out, expecting the end to come in nine innings. My arm felt like so much lead hanging to my side after that hit."
Lost in all this was Jack Coombs was pitching brilliantly for the Athletics. Relying mainly on his curve ball, Coombs had not allowed a hit since the two singles in the second inning. His only trouble was the occasional walk but then there was Lapp.
Mathewson recovered by retiring the side in order in the top of the 10th and Coombs started the bottom of the inning by walking Snodgrass. Murray sacrificed him to second. With Merkle at the plate, a ball got away from Lapp and Snodgrass dashed for third. Lapp recovered and threw to Baker for the out. But Snodgrass came in feet high and slashed Baker, causing another controversy that would hang over the Series. Wrote the New York Times: "This is the second time that Snodgrass has jumped roughly at Baker, and the crowd immediately broke into a chorus of hisses and catcalls. The endangering of Baker by such a move seemed unsportsmanlike and out of place. When Baker's bumps and scratches were mended and he went back into the game, the crowd showed further resentment of Snodgrass' slide by cheering him to the echo." Merkle walked but was thrown out by Lapp trying to steal second and the Times wrote: "The New York players made a kick and loudly argued that Merkle was safe."
The Athletics finally got to Mathewson in the 11th. Collins singled to left and Baker beat out a hit to third. But Herzog also threw wildly to first, his third error of the game, and the runners moved up to second and third. Fletcher then bobbled Murphy's grounder for an error to score one run and Harry Davis singled to drive home another run, giving the Athletics a 3-1 lead.
The Giants managed one run in the 11th after Herzog led off with a double. After Fletcher flied out, he went to third on Meyers's grounder and scored when Beals Becker, batting for Mathewson, hit a grounder that Collins bobbled for an error. Then Becker tried to steal second and Lapp threw him out to end the game.
The Athletics led the World Series 2-1 and Marquard wrote, "It was the hardest game to lose I ever saw." Coombs finished with a three-hitter but Mathewson wrote, "We have been beating better pitchers than Coombs showed all season in the National League."
The Long Rain Delay
The two teams returned to Philiadelphia for Game 4 the next day but rain forced postponement. The World Series would be delayed for a week while the two teams waited for the weather and field to clear.
It may be that this delay, the longest in World Series history, gave the press ample time to reflect further on the exploits of Frank "Home Run" Baker. But it also gave writers time to discuss further Snodgrass' slide into third base, which Hal Chase, first baseman for the American League New York Highlanders, said, "was the most cowardly and dirty piece of ballplaying I ever witness." That was quite a statement from someone who is considered the most despicable man to ever wear a major league uniform. But feelings were running high.
Snodgrass talked about the incident at length in the Glory of Their Times, telling author Lawrence Ritter that problem began in Game 1 when he tried to take third base on a passed ball. "But Baker knew that we had been told he was spike-shy and he just had enough guts enough to try to block me off that base. So he was down on one knee in front of the bag, with the ball, waiting for me to slide. Well, I couldn't hook the bag, in or out, because he'd ride me right off, so all I could do was go hard into him and try to upset him, which I did, and I was safe. In doing so I cut his pants from his knee clear to his hip. They went in and got another pair of pants and a blanket, put the new pants on him right at third base and the game proceeded."
"The same play happened a few days later. I'm on second, a passed ball and I take off for third. This time I was out, but I ripped his pants again, plus a little abrasion on his leg. Not a cut, no blood, nothing like that. Oh, I was the dirtiest player in baseball! Newspaper stories told how I had jumped at Baker waist high, which wasn't true at all, and how I had deliberately spiked him. Was I ever roasted! They built it up until Baker's bone showed from the knee to the hip."
As the two teams waited in Philadelphia for the weather was clear, rumors began to circulate. One suggested that Snodgrass had been shot by an irate Athletics fan and had been taken to the hospital in critical condition. Another rumor suggested that Baker was the one who had to go to the hospital because blood poisoning had set in where Snodgrass had spiked him. Both were false and Snodgrass fended off the attacks. "My goat is not for sale," Snodgrass said. "They say the crowd tomorrow will have it in for me, but there's no danger of my going up in the air."
Shortstop Art Fletcher did get into a confrontation with an Athletics fan outside the Majestic Hotel, where the Giants were staying, but it did not get physical. Many Giants wanted to go back to New York to wait out the weather but McGraw refused to let them go. "No sir, not a man of you puts a foot outside the city," McGraw said. "I'm not going to run the risk of any railroad accidents or any other mistakes that might cripple the team." Only Snodgrass was allowed to go home.
"I'm not beaten by a long shot," McGraw said in the New York Times. "Of course I should feel better if I had collected that last game. Frank Baker made a lot of trouble for us with his home runs, but otherwise we just about proved we held our own and a trifle more. The rain has helped a lot. It gave Matty a rest. If we win this game tomorrow and Matty wins in New York the next day, as he ought, then we will have the Athletics three to two. The Athletics came from behind and overcame a one-game handicap and I don't see why we can not do the same. The series has been close so far, but my team has not been hitting as well as I expected and as well as they are able to. They will start any time to hit the ball and when they do, there is no pitcher that can stop them."
During that first rain day, Wednesday, October 18, McGraw was censured by the league for his language while arguing the Merkle call. Merkle was fined $100. But it did not stop raining.
The rain continued Thursday and Friday and the Philadelphia Inquirer reported: "There is nothing but mud and water at Shibe Park…The field is absolutely flooded now…a good hot sun and strong winds are necessary dryers to sop up the wet spots." But it was October in Pennsylvania and in that day and age, only home plate and the pitcher's mound could be covered by canvas. One suggestion, according to David Jordan in his book The Athletics of Philadelphia, was to cover the field in oil and set it on fire. Connie Mack rejected that plan. Also rejected was the Giants's suggestion that the World Series be moved back to the Polo Grounds.
Game 4: October 24
|New York Giants||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||7||3|
|W: Chief Bender (1-1) L: Christy Mathewson (1-2)|
- attendance: 24,355
On Monday, October 23, the two teams worked out at Shibe Park and the World Series resumed on Tuesday. Mathewson went to the mound for the Giants against Bender for the Athletics.
The Athletics also had Harry Davis, their team captain, playing first base. Harry "Jasper" Davis was born in Philadelphia on July 19, 1873. He made his major league debut for the Giants in 1895 and spent five years with New York, Pittsburgh, Louisville and Washington. After playing 18 games for Washington in 1899, he left baseball and took a position as a clerk in a bank. In 1901, Connie Mack took over the Philadelphia team in the new American League and immediately called Davis, who had played for him in Pittsburgh. He talked Davis out of retirement and he ended up being the Athletics regular first baseman for ten years. He hit 67 home runs in the 1900s, the most by any major league player for the decade.
But in 1911, Davis was 37 years old and showing his age. So Mack took him out of the lineup and replaced him with shortstop John "Stuffy" McInnis, who was 5-foot-9 but would prove to be outstanding both on offense and defense. McInnis was only 20 in 1911 but as the last addition to the $100,000 infield, he hit .321 with 77 RBI and 23 stolen bases. Davis, in a reserve role, hit .197 and coached third base. Then, with three weeks to go in the season, McInnis was hit on the right wrist with a pitch from Detroit’s George Mullin. He would not play in the World Series. Davis took over and batted .208. His five RBI tied him with Baker for the most in the Series. But his contribution may have been greater than what he did at the plate.
The Giants went into the World Series believing the Athletics were stealing opposing teams signs and knew what pitches were coming. Christy Mathewson wrote in Pitching in a Pinch: "It was said a short time ago that the Athletics themselves had a spy located in a house outside their grounds and that he tipped batters by raising and lowering an awning a trifle. When the Giants went to Philadelphia in 1911 for the first game of the World Series in the enemy's camp, I kept watching the windows outside of the park for suspicious movement but could discover none."
At some point the Giants reversed the process because Marquard said in Game 3, Mathewson was giving the signs to Meyers, the Giants catcher. Meyers was still giving signs but they were just decoys. Said Marquard: "The reason for this is we had just discovered how the the Athletics were getting the signals." Marquard said it was a bat boy, a young man with a humpback who was considered good luck by the Athletics. "The little humpback is the white-haired boy. He comes out with the batter to take back the bat that the batter discards, and he is in a position to get a view of Meyers’ bent knee into the glove. He then tips it to the coacher on the third baseline, who gives it to the batter." But Meyers said in The Glory of Their Times that the Giants never solved the problem and Davis really was the guy who was tipping off the hitters. "They had our signs, or could read our pitchers, or something," Meyers told Ritter. "They knew what Marquard was pitching. Matty, too. They're getting our signs from someplace," Meyers told McGraw. "That coach on third base, Harry Davis, is calling our pitches. When he yells, 'It's all right,' it's a fastball."
"He must be getting them off you," McGraw said. But Meyers told Ritter: "They weren't getting them from me. I went to Rube and to Matty and said, "Pitch whatever you want to pitch. I'll catch you without signals. And still the guy was hollering, 'It's all right' for the fastball. He knew something. I never did find out how he did it."
The Giants took a 2-0 lead in Game 4 when Devore led off with a single and scored on Doyle’s triple. Snodgrass followed with a fly ball to left to score Doyle. Mathewson struck out the side around a single by Collins in the first but he still wasn't at his best on Tuesday, October 24 before 24,355 fans at Shibe Park.
Baker came to the plate to lead off the fourth inning and the Athletics fans serenaded him through megaphones.
"What's the matter with Baker?
"He's all right!
"What's the matter with Baker?
"He's out of sight!
"He's the boy with the old home runs.
"He's landed two and there's more to come.
"What's the matter with Baker.
"He's all right."
Baker didn't hit a home run but he got the Athletics started in the fourth inning with a line drive to left-center that Devore, the Giants center fielder, couldn't find against the backdrop of the stands. The ball splashed into a mud puddle and Baker had a double. Danny Murphy brought him home with a double and Davis tied it up with a double down the right-field line. Jack Barry’s grounder moved Davis to third and he scored on a sacrifice fly by Thomas. That gave the Athletics the lead and they made it 4-2 when Baker doubled home Collins in the fifth.
Bender finished with a complete game seven-hitter and the Athletics fans rushed the field after Philadelphia finished with a 4-2 victory to go up 3-1 in the Series.
Marquard wrote of Mathewson: "Matty did not derive as much benefit from the inactivity as McGraw and he himself had hoped. He was feeling well in the morning, but when he got up to the grounds he complained to me that he didn't feel in his best form by any means. He did not show much form when he warmed up either but McGraw was so anxious to get the game and have the advantage of a home game tomorrow that he risked Matty instead of putting in Wiltse or Ames, both of whom showed up well in practice."
Marquard would pitch the next day in New York and wrote: "I promise them a battle from start to finish."
Game 5: October 25
|New York Giants||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||2||1||4||9||2|
|W: Doc Crandall (1-0) L: Eddie Plank (1-1)|
|HR: Rube Oldring PHI|
- attendance: 33,228
There were 33,228 fans at the Polo Grounds on Wednesday, October 25 when the World Series finally returned to New York. Marquard went up against Jack Coombs but did not last long. Philadelphia centerfielder Rube Oldring, after a costly error by second baseman Larry Doyle, blasted a three-run home run off him with two out in the third inning to give the Athletics a 3-0 lead. When Meyers led off the bottom of the third with a single, McGraw pinch-hit for Marquard.
Coombs took his shutout into the seventh but the Giants finally scored when Merkle walked and was safe at second on Herzog's grounder to short when Collins dropped Barry's throw at second. Merkle eventually scored on Meyers' sacrifice fly.
But it was still 3-1 going into the bottom of the ninth and Coombs was three outs away from victory. Herzog grounded to short but Fletcher doubled to left. Meyers grounded out to short and that brought up Doc Crandall, the Giants pitcher who was also a good hitter. Having already used Becker, his best pinch-hitter, McGraw let Crandall bat and he kept the rally alive with a double to center. Devore singled him home and the game was tied. Then Lapp threw out Devore trying to steal and the game went into extra innings.
Coombs was up second in the 10th and beat out a bunt. But he pulled a groin muscle and had to be replaced by pinch-runner Amos Strunk. Crandall retired the next two hitters and Plank came in to pitch for the Athletics. Doyle, atoning for his earlier error, led off with a double. Snodgrass bunted and Plank tried to get Doyle at third but was too late. With runners at the corners, Murray flied to short right but Merkle hit it a little deeper and this time Doyle came home with the winning run.
After the game, home plate umpire Bill Klem said Doyle missed the plate with his slide. But the Athletics never appealed and the game was over. Said Klem to the New York Times afterwards, "When Murphy caught the ball in right field, I set myself to see the plate on Murphy's throw to it. Doyle came in like a streak and made a long wide slide as he came to the plate. He went across with one leg in back of it and the other over it about eight inches or a foot. He never got any nearer to it than that. I saw it plainly and waited. Usually I run to the dressing room when the game is over, but this time I waited at the plate for several seconds, waiting to see if an Athletics player would make an appeal."
They did not. Klem walked off the field and was met by McGraw.
"Did you see it Bill?" McGraw asked.
"I certainly did," Klem replied.
"What would you have done if they had appealed," McGraw asked.
Klem said he would have called Doyle out, even if it meant a riot at the Polo Grounds.
"Well I would have protected you," McGraw said.
Mack said afterward that he had also noticed Doyle had not touched home but declined to appeal, fearing the inevitable riot from Giants fans.
The Giants were feeling good after the victory. Wrote Marquard: "This series is not over yet and the Giants are going to win it. They have just struck their stride and will go to Philadelphia without any handicap except the one game by which Philadelphia is leading and that will be wiped out."
Game 6: October 26
|New York Giants||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||2||4||3|
|W: Chief Bender (2-1) L: Red Ames (0-1)|
- attendance: 20,485
The final game was anti-climatic. To this point the 1911 World Series had been a great affair, marred only by the weather. But Marquard was wrong. Ultimately the Series belonged to the Athletics and their Hall of Fame third baseman.
On October 26, with 20,485 fans at Shibe Park, the Athletics wrapped it all up a 13-2 victory. McGraw did not start Mathewson on one day's rest, going with Red Ames instead against Chief Bender.
The Giants took a 1-0 lead in 1st but the Athletics tied it up in the 3rd on a run-scoring double by Lord. In the 4th, Baker led off with a single and went to third on Murphy's single to left. Davis hit a grounder to Doyle, who threw home but Baker beat the throw to give the Athletics the lead. Then, on a play that would later be called a "Little League homer", Barry bunted and Ames threw to first. But his throw hit Barry in the head and bounced into right field. One run scored and Murray threw wild to third, allowing two more runs to score. It was 5-1.
Murphy's lead-off double in the 6th led to another run and the Athletics then scored seven runs in the 7th off Hooks Wiltse. Baker had another single in the inning to give him five RBI for the Series.
With two outs in the 9th, Mack even let McInnis play, putting him in at first base for Davis. Backup catcher Art Wilson made the final out by hitting a grounder to Baker. "The game was a joke," the New York Times wrote.
Bender finished with a four-hitter and the Athletics had won their second straight World Series. The New York Times, not quite politically correct, wrote afterwards of Bender: "Bender is the biggest man of his tribe tonight, and at some far-off reservation, when they get the news, the aborigines will pass the news from wigwam to wigwam, and the squaws will tell the little papooses that if they grow up and be good Indians, maybe someday they will be like the Great Bender and become heap fine flingers."
After the game, McGraw walked over to the Athletics dugout and shook Mack's hand. "You have a great team," McGraw said. "They must be because you beat a great team." Mack smiled. "That's squaring ourselves for that trimming in 1905," he said.
Wrote Marquard: "The Athletics are the best team in the world. There is no doubt of it."
The Athletics' pitching in the Series was good enough that Mack used only Bender, Coombs and Plank and they combined for a 1.29 ERA and held the Giants to a .175 average, 104 points less than what they hit during the regular season. But the MVP of the World Series was Baker, who hit .375 with two home runs and five RBI.
In his autobiography, My 32 Years in Baseball, McGraw still stewed about the home runs "off pitches that had been delivered against orders. I do not mean to say that we would have won the world's pennant if that had not happened, but we certainly would have had a better chance."
Three days later, 300 Marylanders showed up at a hotel in Philadelphia for a banquet honoring their hero. Mack was there as was Athletics owner Ben Shibe and the mayor of Phildelphia. The mayor of Baltimore and governor of Maryland sent telegrams. Mack paid tribute to Baker, saying, "The newspapers will tell you that managers make players. On the contrary, I will tell you that players make managers."
Baker received a standing ovation when he stood up and thanked the guests.
- Lew Freedman: Connie Mack's First Dynasty: The Philadelphia Athletics, 1910–1914, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2017. ISBN 978-0-7864-9627-3
|Modern Major League Baseball World Series
Pre-1903 Postseason Series