1908 October

st Ed Reulbach shuts out the Reds for a 6–0 Cubs win, and Reulbach’s 4th straight shutout, tying a mark set by Three Fingered Brown earlier in the year. Big Ed will complete 44 consecutive scoreless innings, an NL record until Carl Hubbell’s 46 in 1933, and the 4 straight shutouts will not be tied until another Cub, Bill Lee, does it in 1938.

With one day’s rest, Mathewson pitches the first of two games, outlasting Frank Corridon, 4–3. Matty is peppered for 10 hits, but allows no runs after the 5th. It is Mathewson’s 37th win of the year. The Phils take the 2nd game 6–2, but New York is still in 1stplace.

2nd  In a great pitching duel, Ed Walsh is almost perfect, giving up 4 hits and striking out 15 in 8 innings, but Cleveland’s Addie Joss is perfect, setting down 27 straight White Sox for a 1–0 victory. The only run scores on a passed ball by Ossee Schreckengost. It is the high point of Joss’s career. He will finish 24–12 with a 1.16 ERA. For Walsh, it is the third straight game he has started. He’ll do that again in 1912, the only pitcher in the 20th century to accomplish the feat.

In Detroit, the Tigers score two runs in the 9th to edge the Browns, 7–6. Cobb scores the winning run, but is practically carried across the plate by Hugh Jennings. Cobb had been held at 3B by the umpire who believed Rossman’s double had gone into the crowd. Cobb argued that it had not, and Jennings later reminded Cobb to, “score first, argue later.” The Tigers remain in first by a half-game.

Otis Clymer hits for the cycle to pace the Washington Nationals to a 12–2 pasting of New York.

In cold Philadelphia, the Giants do all their scoring in the 1stinning as they whip the Phillies, 7-2. Six walks, three singles and two errors net the runs. Only about 300 fans brave the weather.

The Pirates take over first by a half game by sweeping the Cardinals in St. Louis. Lefty Leifield wins the opener, 7–4, and Howie Camnitz wins the nitecap, 2–1, on homers by Honus Wagner and George Gibson. Only 2 points separate New York, Chicago, and Pittsburgh, as each team takes a turn on top during the final week.

3rd  The incident of September 23rd would have become just another odd event in baseball if the Giants had been able to handle the 4th-place Phillies. But rookie lefthander Harry Coveleski, just up from the minor leagues, earns the nickname “Giant Killer” by beating them 3–2, for the 3rd time in 5 days. Mathewson takes the loss.

At a hearing on the September 23rd incident, Pulliam does not call Merkle or any other players as witnesses, saying he was at the game and saw the events himself. He affirms his earlier decision. Two days later, NL directors meet in Cincinnati and order the game replayed on October 8th.

The Tigers roll to their 10th straight win when Wild Bill Donovan shuts out the Browns, 6–0 while Cleveland loses, 3–2, to the White Sox. Detroit leads the AL by 1 ½ games.

In the finale at Philadelphia’s Columbia Park, the A’s split with Boston, losing 8–7, but winning the nitecap, 5–0, in 6 innings. Wood allows just a single to Coombs.

4th  The Cubs and Pirates play their last game of the year before 30,247, the largest crowd ever at Chicago’s West Side Grounds. The Cubs win, 5–2, behind Three Fingered Brown to eliminate the Pirates. Chicago ends the year at 98-55 while the Pirates finish at 98-56. Then they await the results of the 3 Giants games with Boston. Back in Pittsburgh, 50,000 people watch the progress of the Cub’s game on temporary scoreboards. Fans fill New York’s Polo Grounds to watch the action in the same way. Men with megaphones announce each pitch.

On Chicago’s South Side, 22,000 fans jam the grounds for the showdown between the Tigers and the White Sox. The Sox manage to score 3 runs in the 1st inning without a hit, and tally just a lone single, in the 4th inning, off Ed Killian to win, 3–1. Frank Smith is the winning pitcher.

In St. Louis, Cleveland ends up with a frustrating 3–3 tie with the Browns when umpire Jack Egan makes a controversial out call against the Naps at 1B. Most observers thought that Hinchman beat the 9th inning throw, but Egan’s call results in a tie game.

5th  Ed Walsh of the White Sox tops Detroit 6–1 for his 40thvictory and forces the AL pennant race to the final day. Detroit’s 24-game winner Eddie Summers takes the loss. Walsh leads the league in games (66), IP (464), K’s (269), complete games (42), saves (6), shutouts (11), and winning percentage (.727). His ERA is 1.42.

The Browns end the Naps’ pennant hopes with a 3–1 win the opener of two. Cleveland takes the 2nd game, 5–3, to end the season with a 90–64 record. If the Tigers win tomorrow, their 90–63 will top Cleveland, whereas if the White Sox win, their 89-63 record will be 4 points ahead of the Naps.

Boston’s King Brady makes his only AL appearance a good one, shutting out the Highlanders. 4–0. King had fashioned 1–1 records for both the Phillies and Pirates in the NL, and will go back to the NL with Boston over the winter. Today’s shutout comes in Brady’s last ML start.

6th  Having been in 13 of the last 16 games, Ed Walsh does not start the White Sox finale against Detroit. Doc White is hit hard in the 7–0 loss that gives the pennant to the Tigers. Bill Donovan pitches a two hitter.

Detroit OF Sam Crawford leads the AL with 7 HRs. Having led the NL with 16 in 1901, he becomes the first player to lead both leagues in that department. The Cardinals have scored 372 runs, the lowest season’s total ever.

7th  The Giants complete a 3-game sweep in Boston, winning the final, 7–2, with two wins going to Red Ames and a victory to Joe McGinnity. The season ends with New York and the Cubs each 98–55, and Pittsburgh 98–56. The Giants sweep Boston in all three games, New York ends tied with Chicago: a playoff game will be held tomorrow.

The last-place New York Highlanders close out the season losing 1–0 in 11 innings to Walter Johnson and the Senators. Johnson, who missed 10 weeks , ends up at 14–14, with a 1.65 ERA.

8th  According to published reports, nearly 250,000 fans show up at the Polo Grounds to watch the disputed replay of the September 23 game between the Cubs and Giants. The gates were closed at 1:30 for the 3:00 game, but still fans tried to storm the gates. Fireman with high pressure hoses knocked down fans that tried to scale the walls. Nearly 40,000 fans watched from Coogan’s Bluff, telephone poles and other vantage points. Two fans are killed when they fall from a pillar on the elevated subway platform. Later admitting he had nothing on the ball, Mathewson loses, 4–2, to the Cubs, giving way to Hooks Wiltse in the 8th. Three Fingered Brown, relieving Jack Pfiester in the first, gets the win. The Giants played to a record 910,000 in attendance for the year, a figure that will be unmatched until 1920.

10th  In the WS Opener, Ed Reulbach, coasting with a 5–1 lead, tires in the 7th. Brown is unable to stop the Tigers from taking a 6–5 lead in the last of the 8th. But the Cubs jump on reliever Ed Summers, a 24-game winner, for 6 straight hits and 5 runs in the 9th, and Brown gets the win 10–6. For umpire Bill Klem, it is the first of 15 WS he will officiate. Detroit’s Ira Thomas, batting for Charley O’Leary, hits the first WS pinch hit when he singles in the 9th. There had been 12 previous pinch-hit attempts in WS play, including the batter before Thomas.

11th  In Chicago for game 2, Orval Overall doles out 4 hits, and the Cubs break a scoreless deadlock with 6 in the 8th off Bill Donovan for a 6–1 win.

12th  Tiger bats roar for the last time, as Jack Pfiester proves an easy target, 8–3. Ty Cobb is 4-for-5.

13th  In game 4, Three Fingered Brown is in command all the way in a 3–0 four-hit Cub victory.

14th  Before the smallest crowd in WS history—6,210—the host Tigers are tamed on 3 hits by Overall, who fans 10 in a 2–0 win. The Cubs win the series in 5 games.

Upset over seating arrangements at the WS, sports reporters form a professional group that will become the Baseball Writers Association of America.

18th  Four days after the finish of the World Series, the two teams meet again in Chicago for an exhibition game (as noted by historian Al Kermisch). The game outdraws the last series game in Detroit, as 6,864 watch the Tigers win, 7–2. In a pregame field day, Ty Cobb wins all three sprint events: he bunts and runs to 1B in 3.2 seconds, beating Evers, Mordecai Brown, and Del Howard. He circles the bases in 13.8 seconds and, clad in uniform, wins the 100-yard dash in 10.4 seconds, beating Jones and Solly Hofman in the latter. Hofman wins the long throw with a toss of 338 feet, besting Sam Crawford. The teams will play another game in Terre Haute, Indiana.

24th  Singing sensation Billy Murray hits the charts with “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” the second, and most popular, of 3 versions to be released within a five-week period. Ironically, Murray’s 1903 hit, “Tessie,” is quickly adopted by Boston’s Royal Rooters as their official theme song, much to the chagrin of Red Sox’ opponents.