1908: 4 July

Hooks Wiltse

I know I’m a day late, but I was busy yesterday. The fourth of July in 1908 saw one of the strangest games played in the season. It was the no-hitter that was almost a perfect game.

On 4 July 1908 the New York Giants were home against the Philadelphia Phillies for a Sunday double-header. In game one the Giants starter George “Hooks” Wiltse matched zeroes with Phillies hurler George McQuillan. Both were doing well. McQuillan was pitching a shutout through eight innings. He’d given up a handful of hits, walked none, and struck out one. But Wiltse was great that day. Through eight innings he’d struck out one, walked none, and allowed no hits, not a single one. He had a perfect game going into the top of the ninth.

He got shortstop Ernie Courtney (Courtney had replaced starter Mickey Doolin earlier in the game) to start the inning, then retired catcher Red Dooin (note it’s Dooin, not Doolin, as in Mickey) for the second out. That brought up pitcher McQuillan. The Phils apparently left McQuillan in to bat because the game was still scoreless. Wiltse threw a pitch, then another and another running the count to 2-2. The next pitch, one pitch from a perfect game plunked McQuillan to end the perfect game. One batter later Wiltse retired third baseman Eddie Grant to keep the no-hitter intact.

The Giants failed to score in the bottom of the ninth, necessitating extra innings. With the no-hitter still operative, Wiltse set down Philadelphia in order. In the bottom of the tenth, Art Devlin singled and a Spike Shannon single moved him along. Shortstop Al Bridwell then singled to plate Devlin with the winning run. For the game Wiltse (who moved his record to 10-8) gave up no hits, no walks, no runs, and one hit batsman. McQuillan gave up 1 run on 10 hits and no walks. The win put New York a game an a half behind National League leading Chicago and a half game behind second place Pittsburgh in the standings. Chicago played Pittsburgh that day and won 9-3. They held Honus Wagner to a walk in five trips to the plate.

Wiltse would go on to post a 23-14 record in 1908 with an ERA of 2.24 (ERA+108) with 118 strikeouts, 6.8 WAR, and nine hit batsmen. None of the nine was as significant as McQuillan on 4 July.


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3 Responses to “1908: 4 July”

  1. Miller Says:

    Could you explain “Dooin” rather than “Doolin”? For all of my baseball understanding life, I’ve “known” it to be Doolin. And then I checked out BBREF, which confirms what I previously thought. Having read your stuff for years, I assume you’re right though.

    BBREF writes, “Name Note: born Michael Joseph Doolittle, adopted surname sometimes spelled Doolan”.

    What are we missing?

    I write this, v, assuming I am wrong. Might you explain?

    Great story. Happy to wait the extra day!

  2. verdun2 Says:

    There are 2 players involved here: Mickey Doolin and Red Dooin. They were both part of the Phils for a handful of years in the 1905-1912 period. Doolin was primarily a shortstop and Dooin a catcher (he also managed the Phillies for a few years around 1912). Just wanted to make sure that people understood that Doolin and Dooin weren’t the same guy. Apparently for a while they batted back-to-back (7th and 8th) which must have been a real problem for scoring.

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