Apr 26, 2011

Game 10 - The Haughty Sons of Mack

April 26, 1911
Washington 2, Philadelphia 7

Wins have eluded the Athletics for most of April so far, so it's nice to see them get their third straight. Let's once again turn the proceedings over to "Senator" of the Washington Times (you can, and should, read the whole account here):
"The haughty sons of Connie Mack, all bedecked with the laurels of the past year and filled with the memories of their triumph over the young bruins, got busy once more and carved the Nationals into choice morsels.
Until that fifth inning, nary a man had scored, and it didn't look as if they were going to reach that four-cornered bit of cement, either. For three inning not a hit had been registered off the perpendicular person*. He was a world beater. But that fifth, Murphy opened it with a screaming base hit to right and advanced when Kid Elberfeld booted McInnis' firecracker. Bobby swayed in the gentle breeze, and Ira Thomas received a donation of one bag. Chief Bender whiffed questionably, the last ball being wide, but Amos Strunk, a peculiar looking chap, drew a pass, and Murphy just had to come in.

Rube Oldring was the candy infant** with his fine young two-bagger to left center, clearing the sacks. Bobby was much peeved about then, and didn't feel any better when Collins singled to center, scoring Oldring. Street took Baker's foul, and Zeb Milan ran nineteen miles out to the fence for Davis' clout. Five large man's sized tallies had trickled into the game and counted for the Athletics. It was really painful. Even Mrs. Bender, sitting in the upper tier of the grandstand, could not see the sense of it.
Chief Bender had his second start of the year and it was his second good one, though he took the loss on opening day. He gave up six hits and struck out a dozen Nationals***. Twelve Ks is a good total today, when MLB teams average over 7 per 9 innings. But it was even more impressive for 100 years ago, when hitters were more likely to put the ball in play and AL teams averaged 4.2 per 9. So if you want to do a currency conversion-type calculation, you could say that Bender's total would be worth 20 strikeouts today (this is meaningless, I know, but still fun)

After ten games, the A's are 4-6 and in 7th place in the 8-team AL. But the good news is they're only a half game out of fourth place, so there's hope for them to escape the lower division relatively soon. They're still 5 and 1/2 games out of first, and the Tigers are showing no signs of slowing down. They have two more games against the Senators before their big road trip. It's possible that they can get out of Philly with a .500 record****.

* Bob Groom, who twice led the American League in losses. He is, however, the owner of a no-hitter. And not only that, but one of his teammates no-hit those same White Sox the day before. It's the only time in MLB history that a team has been no-hit on consecutive days (though not consecutive games, as Groom's no-no came on the back end of a double-header). I like that Groom's granddaughter sponsors his baseball-reference.com page. Also, I have no idea where this turn of phrase, "perpendicular person" comes from.

** No clue on this one either.

*** Officially the Senators, this team was nicknamed the Nationals. This is despite the fact that they played in the American League, as it was common to nickname teams by the league they were in, especially in cities with two teams (hence the New York Americans or the Boston Americans for the Highlanders/Yankees and Red Sox, respectively).

**** Will they though? You'll have to wait and see, assuming you don't go off and look up the game results. Please don't, I'm trying to build a little suspense here with these 100-year-old events. I can tell you though that the Big Train himself, Walter Johnson, will have something to say for it, as he's scheduled to pitch for the Senators on the 28th as indicated in the cartoon by that fly-looking mascot (I believe it's a gnat for "Nationals")carrying the medicine bottle labeled "Dr. Walter Johnson, Reviving Drops".

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