Posts Tagged ‘1911 World Series’

The First American League Dynasty

January 7, 2010

The American League was formed in 1901. For the first six years no team won more than two in a row. Then in 1907 the Tigers with Ty Cobb won the first of three consecutive pennants. Unfortunately for them, they lost all three World Series’, two to the Cubs and one to the Pirates. Somehow going 0-3 does not make you a dynasty. Beginning in 1910 the league gets its first true dynasty, the Philadelphia Athletics.

The Athletics were formed in 1901 by Connie Mack and had won pennants in 1902 and 1905, losing the World Series in ’05 four games to one. By 1910 Mack had rebuilt the A’s into a formidable team that was to win 4 of the next 5 AL pennants and 3 World Series out of 4. They did it with pitching and one heck of a fine infield.

The infield, known for a while as “The $100,000 Infield” (which was what they were supposed to be worth, not what Mack paid them) consisted of first baseman Harry Davis, a former RBI champ (05 and 06) doubles champ (05 and 07), and home run leader (04-07); future Hall of Famer and concensus top three all-time second sacker, Eddie Collins; slick fieldling shortstop Jack Barry; and future Hall of Famer J. Franklin “Home Run” Baker at third (the “Home Run” nickname comes during the five year run. In 1911 Stuffy McInnis, one of the better fielding first basemen of his day, and no slouch with a bat, replaced Davis.

The outfield consisted of  Danny Murphy, Rube Oldring, Topsy Hartsel  in 1910, with Briscoe Lord replacing Hartsel in 1911. Jimmy Walsh replaced Lord in 1913, and Amos Strunk had taken Walsh’s spot in 1914. None were considered superior outfielders but most could hit some. Murphy was a converted infielder (2nd base).

Jack Lapp, Ira Thomas, and Wally Schang split tme as catcher, with Schang being far and away the best of the lot. He’d go on to pick up more World Series experience with the Babe Ruth Yankees of the 1920s.

The pitching staff was considered the strongest of the era with future Hall of Famer Chief Bender as Mack’s favorite. Left-hander Eddie Plank ended up with over 300 wins and a slot in Cooperstown. Maybe the best of the lot was Colby Jack Coombs. He won 31 and 28 games in 1910 and 1911 then got hurt in 1913 and was done as an Athletic. He resurfaced in 1916 with the Brooklyn Dodgers and won their only World Series victory that pennant winning season. Additionally Hall of Famer Herb Pennock made a brief appearance in 1913 and 14  winning 13 games.

So how’d they do? In 1910 they won 102 games finishing first by 14.5 games and defeating the Cubs in five World Series games. In 1911 they won 101 games finishing first by 13.5 games and knocking off the Giants in the World Series in 6 games the series where Baker won his nickname). They lost in 1912 to the Red Sox, finishing 15 games out in third. In 1913 they rebounded winning the pennant by 6.5 games and posting 96 wins. Again they faced the Giants in the World Series and this time took only five games to win the series. They last good year was 1914 when the won 99 games, finishing first by 8.5 games. This time they faced the “Miracle Braves” and lost the World Series in four straight. It was the first World Series sweep (sorta. The Tigers won no games in 1907, but there had been one tie.) In 1915 Mack sold Collins and Barry, and Baker held out. Both Plank and Bender went to the fledgling Federal League. The result was a last place finish for Philadelphia and in 1916 a record of 36-117 (for a long time that was a record for futility in the AL). The dynasty was gone, replaced by the new one in Boston.

Best Possible Game 3

December 11, 2009

Almost exactly 100 years ago the American League produced its first great dynasty, the 1910-14 Philadelphia A’s. In five years they played in 4 World Series, winning 3. The 3rd game of the 1911 Series against the New York Giants was special.

The home team Giants sent 26 game winner and Hall of Fame pitcher Christy Mathewson to the mound against 28 game winner Jack Coombs.  Although the A’s pitcher lacked Hall of Fame credentials, the team was stacked with others: Eddie Plank, Chief Bender, Eddie Collins, and John Franklin Baker. When game 3 started they were already up 2 games to none in the Series.

Both pitchers did well, the Giants picking up one run in the third on two singles and a force play. Then Coombs shut down the Giants through the 8th inning. Mathewson was even better, posting a shutout through 8. In the top of the ninth he induced Collins to ground out. The next batter was Baker. The day before Baker had crushed a home run to win the game and Mathewson had been openly critical of the Giants pitcher (Rube Marquard) for giving Baker a good pitch to hit. After all Frank Baker led the AL in home runs in 1911. Baker promptly homered off Mathewson (Marquard’s reaction is not recorded) to tie the game. Within a week Frank Baker had become Home Run Baker and the nickname stuck.

Both pitchers got through the 10th without damage.In the top of the 11th  with one out Collins singled bringing up Baker who promptly singled also, going to 2nd on an error. Right Fielder Danny Murphy reached on an error scoring Collins, then 1st baseman Harry Davis drove home Baker.

In the bottom of the 11th, the Giants gave it a go. They picked up one run on a double, a ground out, and an error but lost the game on a caught stealing. Up 3 games to none, the A’s dropped games 4 and 5 before blowing the Giants out in game 6.

Honorable mention game 3:

1919-it’s tough to pick any game from 1919, but this is Dickey Kerr’s magnificent shutout which showed what the ChiSox could do when they tried.

1932-not really much of a game, but it’s one of the most famous World Series games ever. In it Babe Ruth hit his “called shot”. Not going to venture into the discussion of whether he did it or not, but will mention that the next batter, Lou Gehrig, also homered.

1935-a 6-5 eleven inning affair won by Detroit on an error.

1963-Don Drysdale’s 1-0 shutout of the Yankees on 3 hits to put the Dodgers up 3 games to none with Sandy Koufax due to pitch game 4.

1964-a 2-1 game won by a Mickey Mantle home run in the bottom of the ninth.

1991-Atlanta wins 5-4 in 12 innings on a Mark Lemke single to put the Braves back in the Series.