1920 October

1st In the first of 2 games the Indians blow a 4–0 lead over the Tigers and Jim Bagby, in a rare relief appearance replacing Duster Mails, loses in the 10th, 5–4. Sewell’s 2-base error put the winning run on base. Cleveland rebounds in the 2nd game and has a 10–3 lead in the 8th when the game is called because of darkness. Ray Caldwell wins his 20th game, a decision that assures the Indians of at least a tie for the pennant.

With the White Sox makeshift lineup, they take a 3–0 lead, but the St. Louis Browns knock out Red Faber in the 3rd and wins, 8–6. The Tribe leads by 2 games with 2 remaining.

Grover Alexander outlasts Jesse Haines as both go 17 innings in the Cubs, 3–2, win over St. Louis. For Haines, it is his 20th loss of the year. It is Alexander’s 27th win of the year, tops in the NL.

2nd Jim Bagby wins his 31st game, clinching the pennant for the Indians with a 10–1 win over the Tigers. Tris Speaker contributes 3 hits to finish the year at .388, 2nd to George Sisler’s .407. The Sox 10–7 victory over the Browns is not needed by the Indians. The Indians’ victory is due primarily to a .303 team BA (the Browns lead the league at .308) and the pitching of Jim Bagby, 31-12, Stan Coveleski, 24-14, and Ray Caldwell, 20-10. A big boost came from Duster Mails, brought up from the Pacific Coast League at the end of August, who won 7 without a loss on a 1.85 ERA. Despite the heavy hitting in the AL, there are ten 20-game winners; the White Sox have 4 of them—Red Faber, Eddie Cicotte, Dickie Kerr, and Lefty Williams.

With the last two games rained out, fans get their money’s worth in Pittsburgh as the Pirates and Reds, battling to determine 3rd place, play the century’s only tripleheader. Starting at noon, the Reds win the first, 13–4, to clinch 3rd place. The Reds win game 2 as well, 7–3, with a number of players at odd positions: Reds put catcher Ivey Wingo at 2B, with pitchers Bressler, Ruether, Coumbe, and Eller at field positions. The Pirates take the finale 6–0, called after 6 innings because of darkness. The only “tribill” played this century is played in 5 hours. Clyde Barnhart, who made his major league debut ten days earlier, doubles in the first two games, and singles in the 3rd, the only player to hit in all three games.

Shaken by the possible effects of the scandal surrounding baseball, club owners begin a series of meetings to reform the game. Albert D. Lasker, a Chicago advertising man and minority stockholder, of the Cubs, proposes a 3-man board of non baseball men, with the chairman to be paid $25,000 year. Among the names mentioned: Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, former President William Howard Taft, General George Pershing, Senator Hiram Johnson, General Leonard Wood, and ex–treasury secretary William McAdoo.

3rd  In the Browns’ 16–7 win over Chicago, George Sisler has 3 hits and gets his 257th hit of the season to set a ML record. His 4 total bases today gives him a ML record 399 for the year. Sisler throws in 3 stolen bases and, acceding to the demands of the fans, also hurls a scoreless 9th inning in relief, striking out 2.

At Cincinnati, Reds recruit Dazzy Swartz makes his big-league debut, hurling a 12-inning complete game, scattering 17 hits, and losing to the Cards, 6–3. He adds a 2-for-4 at-bat, but never plays another game in the ML.

5th  Before the start of the WS, Brooklyn owner Charles Ebbets gives his approval for the addition of rookie Joe Sewell to the Indians’ roster. Sewell joined the team after September 1st and was not eligible for the series. The tradition of low-scoring WS games continues when the Indians manage to collect only 5 hits off Brooklyn’s Rube Marquard (10-7) and 2 relievers. Stan Coveleski’s (24-14) 5-hitter gives the Indians a 3–1 opening win.

In Philadelphia, an exhibition team called the Philadelphia Nationals and led by Casey Stengel beats Ed Bolden’s Negro League Hilldales, 5-2, despite being outhit, 10-9. With yesterday’s win in Parkersburg, WV, and a 5-2 win tomorrow, Casey’s team is 4-0 against the Hillies. The Nationals will win a pair against the Kansas City Monarchs and end up in California with two losses against the White Sox of the California Winter League (as noted by historian Thomas Barthel).

6th  When Wheeler Johnston pinch-hits for Cleveland in the 9th inning of game 2, his brother Jimmy is playing 3B for Brooklyn. They become the first brothers to take opposite sides in a WS. Spitballer Burleigh Grimes (23-11) strands 10 Indians while the Robins chip away at Jim Bagby (31-12) for 3 single tallies and a 3–0 Series evener.

Hal Chase and Heinie Zimmerman are indicted on bribery charges as an aftermath of the investigation into the 1919 World Series. John McGraw testified that he dropped the two after the 1919 season for throwing games and trying to entice Fred Toney, Rube Benton and Benny Kauff to join them. Zimmerman denies the charges, Chase ignores them, but the duo will be banned for life from baseball by Judge Landis.

7th  Two Brooklyn runs in the first lead to a quick exit for Cleveland starter Ray Caldwell (20-10). John “Duster” Mails and George Uhle shut down the Robins, but southpaw Sherry Smith (11-9) gives up 3 hits; the visitors’ only run results from an error by Zack Wheat on Tris Speaker’s double. It’s a 2–1 win, and 2–1 Series lead for Brooklyn.

9th  Several hours before the start of game 4, Brooklyn’s Rube Marquard, a Cleveland native, is arrested when he tries to sell a WS ticket to an undercover cop for $350. He will be found guilty and fined a dollar and court costs ($3.80). For their first WS game on the lakefront, 25,734 Indians fans watch their home team score 2 in the first and 2 in the 3rdoff Leon Cadore (15-14) and Al Mamaux. Cleveland wins game 4, 5–1.

10th  In the bottom of the first of an event-laden game, Brooklyn’s Burleigh Grimes gives up hits to Charlie Jamieson, Bill Wambsganss, and Speaker. OF Elmer Smith then hits the first grand slam in WS history, jumping on a Grimes spitter in the opening inning. In the 3rd, P Jim Bagby comes up with 2 on and crashes another Grimes delivery for a 3-run HR, the first ever by a pitcher in WS play. Bagby is roughed for 13 hits, but he gets out of jams with the aid of 3 DPs and an unassisted triple play. In the 5th with Pete Kilduff on 2B and Otto Miller on 1B, relief pitcher Clarence Mitchell hits a line drive at SS Wambsganss, who steps on 2B and tags the off-and-running Miller before he can retreat. Cleveland dominates, 8–1.

11th  In game 6, Brooklyn’s P Sherry Smith gives up a 6th-inning single to Tris Speaker and double to George Burns. That’s all the scoring for the day, as Brooklyn reject Duster Mails yields 3 hits for a 1–0 win and 4–2 lead for Cleveland in the best-of-9 series.

12th  Stan Coveleski wins his 3rd complete game of the Series, and the Indians wrap it up, as Dodger bats are silent again. Burleigh Grimes is nicked for single scores in the 4th, 5th, and 7th, for a 3–0 loss. Utility IF Jack Sheehan plays 3B for Brooklyn and gets his 2nd hit of the Series, the same number of hits he had during the season. These 4 are his only ML hits. Brooklyn manager Robinson, upset with Marquard’s arrest, keeps Rube on the bench: the Dodgers have already made the decision to unload the pitcher. Rube’s wife, “Blossom Seeley” —her vaudeville name, comes to the same conclusion and files for divorce next week.

18th  NL directors meet in New York, joined by Jacob Ruppert, Cap Huston, Charles Comiskey, and Harry Frazee of the AL. They name a committee to draw up an agreement along the lines of Albert Lasker’s proposal, and give the 5 AL clubs still backing Ban Johnson an ultimatum: come in by November 1st or the Yankees, White Sox, and Red Sox will pull out of the AL and join a 12-team NL (with a team in Detroit to complete the roster). The AL 5 turns it down, and bluff and counterbluff blow through the autumn air.

23rd  The Chicago grand jury indictment adds the names of former featherweight boxing champ Abe Attell, Hal Chase, and Bill Burns as go-betweens in the WS scandal. Confessions, later repudiated, are signed by Ed Cicotte, Joe Jackson, Lefty Williams, and Happy Felsch.

29th  The Yankees sign Red Sox manager Ed Barrow as business manager, completing the front office team that will build the game’s most successful record. Hugh Duffy replaces Barrow in Boston.