1908: The Series

“Circus” Solly Hofman

Things have been a little goofy around here lately. I’ve been out-of-town and out of sorts for a while, so I’m a little behind on my 110 year later look at the 1908 season. But here’s a quick look at the World Series that season.

Because of the short distance between Detroit and Chicago, the 1908 World Series was played on consecutive days from 10 October through 14 October. The games rotated between cities with Detroit getting the odd-numbered games and Chicago the even numbers.

The Cubs were defending champions led by the celebrated (and probably overrated) trio of Joe Tinker to Johnny Evers to Frank Chance with Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown as the staff ace. The Tigers counted with an all-star outfield of Sam Crawford and Ty Cobb with Matty McIntyre holding down the other spot in the pasture.

After the celebrated National League pennant race and the equally terrific, but less celebrated, American League race, the Series seems something of an afterthought. It went five games with Detroit winning game three only. The Cubs scored 10 and six runs in the first two games, while Detroit managed seven total. The Tigers win in game three was 8-3, then the final two games turned in more common Deadball scores of 3-0 and 2-0. Brown and Orval Overall each picked up two wins with ERA’s of 0.00 (Brown) and 0.98 (Overall) with Jack Pfiester putting up a 7.88 ERA (it shouldn’t surprise you to find out he took the Cubs only loss). For Detroit George Mullen (ERA of 0.00) got the team’s only win while ace “Wild” Bill Donovan took two losses, including game five. Among hitters, Chance hit .421 while Tinker had the only home run (game 2). Outfielder Solly Hofman (of Merkle game fame) led the team with four RBIs. For Detroit Cobb hit .368 with a team leading four RbIs, while no Tiger hit a homer.

It was a fine, if not spectacular end of a famous season. Chicago won its second consecutive World Series and its last until 2016. The Cubs would get one more chance in 1910 (against Connie Mack’s Athletics) then fade. Detroit would be back for another try in 1909. This time they would face the Pittsburgh Pirates, Honus Wagner, and a rookie named Babe Adams.



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3 Responses to “1908: The Series”

  1. glenrussellslater Says:

    I’ve been trying to figure out why so many baseball players are named “Wild Bill”, as in Wild Bill Donovan, Wild Bill Hallahan, and others are called that. I guess they’re wild, but why weren’t pitchers who had terrible control (Like “Wild Nolan” Ryan, at least while he was with the Mets) and others called with the “wild” nickname; just people named “Bill”. I guess it comes from Wild Bill Hickock.

    But what about so many “Sweet Lou’s”? And “Sugar Rays”? That is yet to be determine as far as I’m concerned.

    Do you happen to know, Vee?

    Also, thanks for another informative post.


    • verdun2 Says:

      I checked and apparently Bill Donovan the pitcher was wild in the minors and the name stuck.
      Wild Bill Donovan, the OSS, CIA , and 69th Infantry guy during World War I (George Brent in the old Cagney flick “The Fighting 69th”), on the other hand, apparently got the name because of Wild Bill Hickock. I know a couple of guys named Bill who have the “Wild” nickname and each of them has it because of Hickock.

  2. glenrussellslater Says:

    And Wild Bill Hallahan was wild on the mound, as well. Plus, the Bill Hickock thing helped to earn him his nickname, as well.

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