1908 September

1st  The month starts with the Giants in 1st in the NL with a 69-45 record, followed by Chicago (70-47) and the Pirates (69-47). New York shakes off its 3 losses to Chicago by beating up on Boston, winning two at South End Grounds. Hooks Wiltse takes the opener, 4–1, and Mathewson coasts home in the 2nd game, 8–0, allowing 3 hits. Dummy Taylor pitches the 9th against the Doves.

The Colts lose to the Cardinals, 5-4, to snap their 9-game winning streak. They’ll bounce back with 3 straight wins over St. Louis, two by shutouts.

2nd  In Philadelphia, Frank Corridon goes all the way to defeat Brooklyn, 2–1, in 17 innings. Corridon does not walk a batter.

Pittsburgh’s Lefty Leifield pitches a complete game victory, 8–2 over the Reds to leave the 2nd place Pirates just percentage points behind New York. The Bucs steal 6 bases including Fred Clarke’s steal of home.

4th  In a game, the significance of which will not be recognized for another 3 weeks, the Pirates and Cubs are tied 0–0 in the last of the 10th at Pittsburgh. With 2 outs and the bases loaded, Pittsburgh’s Owen Wilson singles to CF, scoring Fred Clarke with the winning run. Warren Gill, on 1B, does not get to 2B but stops short, turns, and heads for the dugout, a common practice. The Cubs’ Johnny Evers calls for the ball from Jimmy Slagle, touches 2B, and claims the run does not count as Gill has been forced. The lone umpire, Hank O’Day, has left the field. When queried, he rules that Clarke had already scored, so the run counts. The Cubs protest to league president Pulliam, but are denied. This is the first time the Cubs try this tactic, but not the last.

The Giants sweep two more from the Doves, beating Boston 3–0 and 8–5. Joe McGinnity wins the first game, while 3 pitchers combine for the 2nd win. Red Ames is the victor.

In New York, Walter Johnson opens a series against New York by besting Jack Chesbro, 3–0, allowing 6 hits in the Washington win.

In the nitecap of a twinbill in Boston, Frank Arellanes tosses a one hitter and the Red Sox collect 13 hits to defeat the A’s, 10–1. Light-hitting Simon Nicholls clubs his 4th homer, inside-the-park, to deep center for the only A’s hit. Boston takes the opener as well, 7–1, behind Cy Young. Neither Sox pitcher allows a walk.

5th  Nap Rucker pitches a no-hitter for Brooklyn against the Boston Doves 6–0, striking out 14 and walking none. Three runners reached 1B on errors. The Doves send up 3 righty pinch hitter in the 9th to no avail. The 14 strikeouts tops the previous NL high this season of 12, held by Rucker and Mathewson.

Washington and Walter Johnson top the Highlanders, 6–0, as the New Yorkers manage just 4 hits. It is the 20-year-old’s second shutout of New York in two days.

Ed Reulbach allows just 4 Pittsburgh hits as Chicago romps, 11–0.

The first-place Giants roll over the Phils, 5–1, for their 7th straight win. Mathewson is the winner over George McQuillan.

6th Several thousand are turned away as the Browns lose 6–4 to the visiting Tigers and drop to 3rd place. Ten doubles are hit, including three by Matty McIntyre. Detroit’s Wild Bill Donovan takes the loss. The Tigers stay a game ahead of the White Sox and 1 ½ games ahead of St. Louis. The Browns take 2 out of 3 from the Tigers, and draw crowds of 12,000 (9/4), 20,000 (9/5) and today’s crowd of 26,652. Browns president Hedges announces that today’s Sunday crowd “is the largest crowd ever to witness a ball game,” surpassing the crowd of 21,902 to watch game 2 of the 1905 WS at the Polo Grounds.

At Chicago, the Pirates and Cubs split a Sunday twinbill before 20,000. Pittsburgh takes the opener, 3–0 and the Cubs win game 2 by an 8–7 score. The Pirates stay a game and a half behind the idle first-place Giants, and the Cubs are two back. New York fans are not idle as more than 2,000 enthusiasts crowd the arena at Madison Square Garden to watch the game reproduced on two boards 15 feet high and 20 feet wide. Lightbulbs show the exact positions and players and each pitch and hit is relayed by telegraph.

7th  On Labor Day, Manager Joe Cantillon starts the Big Train in place of one pitcher who is sick, and another who returned to Washington to be with his sick wife. Only 3 Senators’ pitchers made the trip to NY, but one of them is Walter Johnson. Johnson shuts out the New York Highlanders for the 3rd time in 4 days, 4–0, topping Jack Chesbro and allowing just 2 hits and no walks. In the three straight starts, Walter allows 12 hits, walks one, and strikes out 12. Johnson will pitch 130 shutouts during his career, 23 more than runner-up Grover Alexander. This is one of a ML record (tied in 1942, topped in 1972) 7 shutouts tossed today, out of 16 games. Johnson declines to pitch the second game and Hughes wins, 9-3, to give the Nationals four straight.

Brooklyn loses a pair to Boston by 1–0 shutouts. Vive Lindaman and Bill Chappelle are the winning pitchers, while Pastorius and McIntire are the hard-luck losers.

Bob Spade gives Chicago a split by winning game 2, 4–0, over Andy Coakley of the Reds. In game 1, Jean Dubuc pitches a 2-hitter as the Reds beat host Chicago, 6–0. Tinker and Evers have the only singles. In 1919, Dubuc will be banned for life when he fails to report he had prior knowledge of the WS fix.

The Pirates sweep an a.m.-p.m. doubleheader against the Cardinals. Honus Wagner is 5-for-5 in the morning game, a 9–7 win, and 1-for-2 in the afternoon, a 7–1 victory.

8th  The Pirates set a couple of records today against the Cardinals. They set ML fielding record by making only 2 assists, both by 2B Charlie Starr and set a NL record with only 21 at bats in 8 innings. The Bucs win, 2–0, with Wagner driving in both runs.

Mathewson’s 30th win is a gem—an 11-inning 1–0 win over the Superbas, Nap Rucker. A single by Bridwell drives home Cy Seymour with the winning tally. New York stays a half-game ahead of Pittsburgh.

Boston’s Cy Young defeats Washington, 3–1 for his 20th win.

Walter Justis, of Lancaster (Ohio State L), pitches his third no-hitter this season, beating Portsmouth, 6-0. He strikes out 10.

9th  In a 7–3 New York win, the Giants steal 9 bases off Brooklyn’s Billy Maloney, an outfielder pressed into service as a catcher. That’s enough to make him quit the game. Following the game John McGraw makes his stage debut in a show at the Hippodrome. He has a small part in the show “Sporting Days.”

10th Detroit takes its 2nd straight extra-inning game from the White Sox, 6–5 in 11 innings, and the Indians beat the Browns, 5–2. The AL race leaves Detroit 75-52, Chicago 72-57, St. Louis 71-57.

Louie Durham of the Indianapolis Browns pitches and wins both ends of a doubleheader against the Toledo Mud Hens. Historian Fred Schuld notes that this is the 5th doubleheader this season that Durham has accomplished this feat. Previously he beat the Milwaukee Brewers (June 14), Columbus Champs (July 18), St. Paul Saints (July 25), and the Louisville Night Riders (Aug 8).

12th  In the dogfight for the AL pennant, the White Sox play their 4th straight extra-inning game at Detroit, a total of 43 innings. The White Sox win their 2nd straight, 2-1, while the Browns lose their 2nd in a row to Cleveland. The four extra-inning games in a row against the same team sets an AL mark that will be matched in 1943 by the Red Sox and Browns. The NL mark of 3 in a row will be set in August 1917.

A day after beating the A’s Eddie Plank, 2–1, Washington’s Walter Johnson is forced to start again, this time replacing sore-armed Charley Smith. Remarkably, Johnson records his 5th complete game victory in 9 days.

In St. Louis, Johnny Kling hits a 12th-inning grand slam off Johnny Lush to give the Cubs a 7-3 victory of the Cardinals. It is Kling’s second grand slam of the season; only one other NL slam is hit this year. The Cubs are in 3rd place, two games behind the Giants and a half-game in back of Pittsburgh.

New York tops the Superbas, 6–3, for a sweep of the 5-game series with Brooklyn. The Giants score 4 in the 8th, including a long triple by Christy Mathewson, to put the game away.

13th  Browns pitcher Rube Waddell gives up a Detroit run in the first when Ty Cobb triples home Matty McIntyre, but he ties the game when he singles a run home in the 2nd. Waddell allows nothing after that and the Browns win, 2–1, when Syd Smith singles in the winner in the bottom of the 11th. For the Tigers, this is their 5th straight extra-inning game for an AL record total of 54 innings. This will not be topped and in the 20th Century. No NL team will even play five straight extra-inning games.

An error by Pitt’s Charlie Starr accounts for all three Reds’ runs as the Pirates lose 3–2. The loss drops the Pirates to 3rd place.

Lancaster (Ohio State League) P Walt “Smoke” Justis hurls his 4thno-hitter of the season, defeating Marion 3–0. His other gems came on July 19th, August 2nd, and September 8th. Justis had no record in 2 ML appearances with Detroit in 1905.

14th  Former ML outfielder Ike Van Zandt, age 31, commits suicide by shooting himself.

15th  The Cardinals rattle Red Ames for 5 hits in the 8th inning to tie the Giants at 4–4. Cardinal killer Christy Mathewson relieves and when Bridwell scores the go-ahead run, Matty stops the Birds for his ML record 24th consecutive win over St. Louis.

In the Pirates 6-5 win over the Phillies, Honus Wagner steals four bases for the 5th time since 1900.

The Highlanders Pete Wilson makes his major league debut by shutting out Boston, 1–0.

18th  Cleveland’s Bob Rhoads pitches a no-hitter against the Red Sox 2–1, beating Frank Arellanes, the only Mexican-American pitcher in the ML.

The White Sox stay close to the top when Ed Walsh tops Walter Johnson to win 1–0. The Sox manage just 3 hits off the Senators’ ace.

The largest crowd in the history of the NL—35,000—cheer as the Giants shove the Pirates to 5 games off the pace by sweeping a doubleheader. Christy Mathewson shuts out the Bucs in the first game, 7–0, for his 11th shutout and his 33rd win. Then the Giants collect 18 hits to take the nitecap, 12–7, as Wiltse and McGinnity combine for the win. The other hitting occurred in the first game when Mike Donlin tired of a heckler and punched him in the eye. Police quickly moved in.

The Reds tally 11 runs in the 4th inning to beat host Boston, 13–6 for their only double-digit score of the year.

19th Ed Reulbach pitches 10 innings in the 2nd game of a doubleheader against the Phils before the 0–0 game is called on account of darkness.

More than 30,000 fans in New York watch the Pirates snap a 2–2 tie in the 10th by scoring 4 runs. Lefty Leifield picks up the win for Pittsburgh.

20th  in St. Louis, Rube Waddell strikes out 17 Washington Nationals in 10 innings to beat Walter Johnson 2–1.

Frank Smith pitches a no-hitter for the White Sox against the A’s, winning 1–0 and giving up just one walk. It is Smith’s 2nd no-hitter. The winning run scores in the bottom of the 9th when Freddy Parent, whom Eddie Plank is walking intentionally, reaches out and pokes a sacrifice to short RF.

21st  Cleveland takes the AL lead, beating New York, while Detroit takes two at St. Louis. With 2 weeks to go, 3 1⁄2 games separate 4 teams.

In New York, Christy Mathewson allows just 3 hits—all in the 3rdinning—and no walks, but the Pirates win 2–1. Vic Willis goes one better, allowing just 2 New York hits for the victory.

Floyd Kroh, in his first game for the Cubs, pitches 9 innings against the Phils in a 3–1, 10-inning triumph. Orval Overall pitches the last inning for the win.

22nd  The Cubs sweep a doubleheader at New York, 4–3 and 2–1, giving them a 90–53 record versus the Giants’ 87–50.

The Pirates move to 1 ½ games in back of Chicago and New York by edging Brooklyn 3–2 in 11 innings. Al Storke triples home Wagner, then scores on an error. Tom Catterson then follows with a homer.

23rd  Giants P Mathewson and Cubs P Three Fingered Brown battle in the most controversial game ever played. The score is 1–1, with 2 outs in the last of the 9th. The Giants’ Harry McCormick is on 3B, and Fred Merkle (19, and making his first start of the year, is subbing for the sore-legged veteran Fred Tenney), on 1B. Al Bridwell singles, scoring McCormick. Halfway to 2B, Merkle turns and heads for the clubhouse in CF. Johnny Evers secures a ball (Joe McGinnity swears he picked up the ball that was in play and threw it into the stands. Many credit Floyd Kroh with wrenching the ball from a fan’s hands and giving it to Evers) and touches 2B as the crowd overruns the field. Umpire O’Day at 1B claims he didn’t see the play, but that evening he rules the run does not count, and the game ended with a tie score. (Years later, in an interview, Merkle will describe it this way: “When Bridwell shot that long single, I started across the grass for the clubhouse. Matty was near me. When Evers began shouting for the ball, he noticed something was wrong. Matty caught me by the arm and told me to wait a minute. We walked over toward 2B, and Matty spoke to Emslie. ‘How about this, Bob, is there any trouble with the score of the play?’ ‘It’s all right,’ said Emslie. ‘You’ve got the game. I don’t see anything wrong with the play.’ Matty then took me by the arm and we walked to the clubhouse confident that we had won the game.”)

The Pirates win their 7th victory in 10 games by topping Brooklyn 2–1 behind Lefty Leifield. Wilhelm takes the loss. Pittsburgh is now a game in back of first place.

Cleveland wins its 10th straight game, defeating the Yankees and Jack Chesbro, 9–3. The Naps score 5 runs in the 7th, while Rhoades pitches strong ball until the 9th, when he allows 2 runs. Nap Lajoie has no official at bats, getting hit by pitched balls 3 times, tying a AL record, and walking his other time up.

24th  President Pulliam upholds O’Day’s delayed decision and declares the game a tie, a decision nobody likes. The Cubs demand the game be forfeited to them as the crowd prevented play from continuing, although darkness would have soon ended it. Both teams appeal. Pulliam sees no inconsistency with the September 4th incident and claims he has merely upheld his umpire on a question of fact in each case. Meanwhile, the Giants beat the Cubs 5–4, after almost blowing a 5–0 lead. Hooks Wiltse is relieved Mathewson, and the official scorer awards the W to Matty. The L goes to Three Fingered Brown, his first loss to Mathewson since June 13, 1905.

Washington’s Walter Johnson three-hits Cleveland to win, 2–1. The loss stops Cleveland’s win streak at 10.

New York Yankee Joe Lake allows just one hit, a single by Patsy Dougherty, in beating the White Sox, 1-0. Ed Walsh loses for the first time this season to New York.

25th  Detroit’s Ed Summers pitches two complete-game wins over the A’s, winning the opener 7–2 The 2nd game is a 10-inning battle with another rookie Bill Schlitzer that ends 1–0 on a Claude Rossman drive for an inside-the-park home run. Summers allows just 2 hits. With the White Sox idle, the Tigers move to a half-game out of first.

The Senators score 5 runs in the 9th inning off Cleveland righthander Charlie Chech and beat the Naps, 6–1. Former Cleveland owner Frank DeHaas Robison, listening on the telephone to a friend’s play-by-play account of the Washington rally collapses with a heart attack. He dies several hours later.

At the Polo Grounds, Rube Marquard makes his ML debut and the Reds rough up the Giants $18,000 rookie for 7 hits and 5 runs in 5 innings. The Reds win, 7–1.

26th  With the Cubs just a half game in back of New York, Chicago’s Ed Reulbach shoulders a ML record by becoming the only pitcher to throw two shutouts in one day, blanking host Brooklyn 5–0 and 3–0. Big Ed allows 5 hits in the a.m. game, and is even stingier in the afternoon, yielding 3 hits and a walk. He finishes the afternoon contest in 1 hour: 12 minutes. Kaiser Wilhelm and Jim Pastorius are the losing pitchers. It is Brooklyn’s third doubleheader shutout in five weeks as they finish with a NL-worst .213 batting average.

Vic Willis tosses a 6-hit shutout over Boston for a 5–0 Pittsburgh win.

The Giants sweep the Reds, 6-2 and 3–1, behind victories by Mathewson and Red Ames. For Matty, it is his 35th win.

Detroit’s Wild Bill Donovan stops the A’s, 3–2, as Philadelphia pushes across 2 runs in the 9th, after not getting a runner past 1B through the first 8 frames. The A’s scores end their ML-record streak of 48 innings without a run: the Cubs will match this in 1968. Donovan registers 7 strikeouts in the first 3 innings, including 6 in a row.

The White Sox trounce the Highlanders, 12–0. Frank Smith has no trouble with the Yankee hitters, while Yankee pitchers help the score by walking 13, throwing 2 wild pitches and hitting 2 Sox batters. Chicago leaves 11 on base.

Washington’s Walter Johnson loses 5–4 to Cleveland when he makes a throwing error.

27th At Detroit, the Tigers take over first place with a Sunday 5–2 win over the A’s behind righty George Mullin. Ty Cobb swipes home in the 3rd inning with Jack Coombs on the mound and Mike Powers catching. He did in the 1st inning on Thursday to the same pair in a 4–4 tie. All three steals of home this season for Cobb have come on the front end of a double steal.

Ed Walsh blanks the Red Sox, 3–0 for a Chicago win. Only 4 percentage points separate the top three AL teams.

In the 3rd inning of game 1, the Reds’ Hans Lobert steals 2B, 3B, and home against St. Louis. But the Cardinals win 7-4 before losing game 2, 6-1. Lobert will steal 47 bases this year.

28th  Phils C Red Dooin is offered—and rejects—a bribe to lose the final series with the Giants. The incident is not made public until 16 years later. Nothing is proved.

Boston and Chicago play to a 2-2, 10-inning tie.

In near-cyclone conditions, the Tigers wrest a victory from Washington, winning 4-1 behind Killian. The win puts Detroit in the AL lead by a half game ahead of Cleveland and a game ahead of Chicago.

29th Chicago White Sox ace Ed Walsh is the 3rd pitcher within a week to pitch and win both ends of a doubleheader, beating Boston. Walsh gives up just one run and 7 hits, while fanning 15 in winning 5–1 and 2–0. Walsh did the same thing to the Red Sox in 1905. Walsh has now beaten Boston 9 times this season to tie the AL mark. He’s also beaten the Highlanders 9 times (with one loss, on September 24), a mark no other hurler has reached.

The Pirates sweep a doubleheader against the Cardinals at Exhibition Park, 7–0 and 6–5. In the opener, Howie Camnitz loses a no hitter in the 9th inning on a single by Champ Osteen. The Bucs win game 2 leaving them a half-game in back of New York, tied for 2nd with the Cubs. For the Cardinals, this is their ML-record 33rd shutout of the year.

At the Polo Grounds, the Giants split with the Phils, winning 6–2 and losing 7–0. Mathewson wins the opener, despite giving up 9 hits. Philadelphia then operates on Doc Crandall for a 2nd game win.

In Cincinnati, the temporary light towers at the Palace of the Fans contribute to a home run by Chicago’s Joe Tinker (as noted in Redleg Journal). Tinker hits a fly ball that lodges in a tower and he circles the bases before CF Dode Paskert can extricate the ball. Authors Rhodes and Snyder note that the Cincinnati Enquirer speculates that Paskert would have nabbed the fly except for the tower structure. Chicago wins, 6–2.

At St. Louis, the Browns sweep a pair from the fumbling Yankees, winning 6-0 and 2-1. St. Louis has just 4 hits in the opener, but New York makes 6 errors. Howell gets the whitewash. Four straight hits in the 1st inning of game 2 nets the Browns 2 runs. Bill Dinneen wins his 14th with 9 of those coming in a row.

30th The Pirates top the Cards at home, 7–5 as Sam Leever wins in relief of Vic Willis. The win puts the Pirates all alone in 2nd place, .004 points behind the Giants.