May 10, 2011

Game 18 - The Big Train Strikes Again

May 6, 1911
Philadelphia 6, Washington 7

[Yeah, I know I've been bad about keeping up the last couple of days, but it's not easy living in the past]

Tell me if this sounds familiar: The A's are on the verge of a sweep of Washington and setting up a legitimate winning streak when Walter Johnson steps in to rain on their parade. The shame of it was that Johnson hit a few rough patches, but the A's couldn't take advantage, as 20-year old Lefty Russell pitched poorly (this was the first time the Nats had scored 7 runs all season). So after a brief flirtation with a winning record, the A's chug out of Washington with a .500 record.

A few notes:
  • Eddie Collins, who leads the league in BA, hit his first home run of the year, an inside-the-parker off a Big Train fastball. Here's how the Washington Herald called it:
    Eddie Collins home run poke was a pretty piece of knitting. It happened in the eighth when the little infielder met wone of Johnson's fast ones and sent it smoking on a line toward George McBride. "Mac" stuck out one hand, but missed, and before Milan and Wid Conroy could line up, the ball had bumped up against the center field fence. Collins tore around the sacks like a mad man, and slid triumphantly home amid a cloud of dust. A slower man would never have gotten past third.
  • Why was 20-year-old Lefty Russell facing Johnson, who was already becoming known as one of the greats? It seems that Connie Mack in planning for a long season, was planning to lean on young pitching early on so his more experienced hurlers would have plenty of energy for the stretch. And how did that strategy work out? We already know Collamore has pitched his last inning, and Russell has only one more ineffective start to come.

  • Harry Davis continued to serve as manager while Connie Mack remained in Philadelphia recovering from pleurisy. Davis was struggling at the plate though. Sporting Life printed a rumor that he would be replaced as the regular first baseman by Claud Derrick after "Harry Davis Day" at Shibe Park. There were also rumors that Davis would take the freshly vacated managing job for the Cleveland Naps, to which Davis replied "not a chance"for this season. This saga will continue to play itself out over the next few weeks.

  • According to the box score, the teams combined for 7 errors. This is also the first box score to list earned runs, and there were remarkably only 3 combined in a 13-run game. We can't necessarily call that reliable, as earned runs were a relatively new concept, and there was much disagreement at the time over which runs would count as such.

  • A while back I wondered if the term "sweep" had been invented yet as none of the accounts I read used it when the A's suffered one in their opening series. Well it had, as Francis Richter mentioned it in his account in Sporting Life.

  • The A's will now play against the league's western teams for the first time, starting with a 3-game set against the St. Louis Browns. But first, Mack had arranged for an exhibition game against the Baltimore Orioles (of the Eastern League - the modern Orioles are the former Browns). This was a fairly common way to make extra money for the team in this era. The Orioles won 7-6.
[Today's sources: and]

No comments:

Post a Comment