Posts Tagged ‘Ed Reulbach’

1908: “Iron Man” Reulbach

September 26, 2018

Ed Reulbach (foreground)

On the 26th of September 1908 the Cubs faced Brooklyn in a late season double-header. Fighting for a pennant, Chicago needed the wins to maintain pace with the Giants. For the Superbas (Now Dodgers), the wins would help keep them out of the National League cellar. What fans got by the end of the day was one of those things that only happened in Deadball Baseball.

In the early game, the Cubs triumphed 5-0. With a couple of doubles, four stolen bases, and a walk, Chicago tallied runs in the fifth, seventh, eighth, and ninth innings. The team picked up 11 hits and had no errors.

In the late game the Cubs won again, this time 3-0. On five hits, all singles, they managed a single run in the third and two in the eighth. Again, they went through without an error. At the end of the day, Chicago led the Giants by a half game.

So why, in the midst of all the late season games that might count, pick out these two? The answer lies in the Chicago Cubs pitcher. Ed Reulbach began game one. He shut out Brooklyn on five singles and a walk. Then he got the call for game two. He responded by again shutting out Brooklyn, this time on four singles and another walk. Along the way he struck out 11 Superbas, seven in game one and four in game two. At the beginning of the day his record was 20-7, by the end he was 22-7. He would end the season 23-7 with seven shutouts, two of them on one day. It is, in the long history of Major League Baseball, the only time that a pitcher has thrown two shutouts on the same day. Let’s hear it for Big Ed.

1910: Cubs Postmortem

October 5, 2010

This marks the beginning of the final three posts about the 1910 season (Is that cheering I hear?). The other two will sum up the Athletics season and explain why I think 1910 matters. I’m not going to do a blow-by-blow of the World Series. You can go to Retrosheet and see for yourself  how and why Philadelphia won. Or you can wait a few weeks and Kevin at DMB will run the 1910 World Series for you and you get pick up a taste of it then (and maybe root for an upset).

The year 1910 saw the end of the Chicago dynasty that had dominated the National League since 1906. They participated in four of the five World Series’ (missing 1909) during the period, winning two (1907 and 1908). But the run ended with the loss in the 1910 Series. If you look at the team at the end of 1910, you might figure that Chicago will compete for a long time. It turns out that the next time the Cubs made the Series was 1918. So what went wrong?

To start with, three-fourths of the infield and the starting catcher went by the way in 1911. Frank Chance was effectively done as a player. For the entire rest of his career, he managed to play exactly 46 games.  Johnny Evers played only 46 games in 1911 (talk about statistical coincidences). He did come back in 1912 and 1913, but was sent to Boston in 1914. Boston promptly won the World Series and Evers won the Chalmers Award, an early version of the MVP award. In 1911, third baseman Harry Steinfeldt went to Boston, got into 19 games and was through. By 1914 he was dead. Finally, catcher Johnny Kling started slowly, was traded, and finished his career in 1913. In short, half the everyday players of 1910 were unavailable for 1911, three of them permanently. That’s half the starting lineup that has to be replaced. Doing it with quality players is unusual, and Chicago didn’t have those quality players. The following people replaced the 1910 starters: Vic Saier, Heinie Zimmerman, Jim Doyle, and Jim Archer. Ever hear of any of them? If you’re lucky you may know Zimmerman who won a home run and batting title in 1912 an RBI title in both 1916 and 1917, and was banned for throwing games in 1920. The drop off is both stunning and quick.  

The pitching was aging. Three Finger Brown was 34 in 1911. It was his last good year in the NL (he did OK in the Federal League). Harry McIntire was 33. Orval Overall retired with a bad arm. That left King Cole (who ended up dying in 1916) and third starter (or fourth, depending on your viewpoint) Ed Reulbach. It’s kind of difficult to rely on your third starter.

Having said all that, Chicago still finished second in 1911. But in 1912 they fell to third, stayed there in 1913, then dropped to fourth and finally fifth by 1917. I doubt anyone saw this coming at the end of the 1910 World Series. So Chicago maintained high hopes at the end of 1910. Those hopes were a mirage.

College Men

September 7, 2010

As something of a followup to the post on Orval Overall, I decided to look up the number of players on the 1910 Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Athletics who attended college. Here’s the list I found. I don’t guarantee it’s complete:
Chicago:

Overall, Ginger Beaumont, Ed Reulbach, Frank Chance. There is some dispute as to whether Chance ever actually attended college or not.

Philadelphia:

Harry Davis, Jack Barry, Eddie Collins, Morrie Rath, Heinie Heitmuller, Eddie Plank, Chief Bender, Jack Coombs

Not all these players graduated. There is some dispute about Plank. He apparently attended the prep school that went with Gettysburg College and played on the college baseball team, but sources vary on whether he ever actually took classes at the college. Heitmuller had left the team prior to the World series.

So it’s not that long a list, but longer than I expected.

Opening Day, 1910: Chicago (NL)

April 7, 2010

King Cole

The 1909 Cubs were three time defending National League champion and two time World Champion when the season began. With basicially the same team, they finished 6.5 games behind Pittsburgh. Injured manager-first baseman Frank Chance played only 93 games in ’09 and catcher Johnny Kling, considered the finest defensive catcher of the era, left the team and it plummeted. By 1910 Chance was healthy again. Kling was also back. He had won the world pocket billards championship in 1908 and used the season to earn money at pool (no idea if he played in River City), but lost the title in the following tournament. So he was back with the Cubs, although minus a $700 fine for leaving the team.

The team that finished first, first, first, and second in the previous four seasons made, as you would expect, few changes. Chance stayed on as manager, first baseman, and clean up hitter. Johnny Evers still led off and held down second base. Joe Tinker was at short and hit seventh. Third base was Harry Steinfeldt country. He hit fifth. The outfield was the same as the previous season; Jimmy Sheckard in left and hitting second, Solly Hofman in center and moved to third in the order, and Wildfire Schulte in right and dropped from third to Hofman’s old sixth spot. Kling was back catching and hitting eighth. The bench saw Heinie Zimmerman as the backup infielder. Jimmy Archer, last year’s starting catcher, was now the backup, replacing Pat Moran (now with the Phillies. Ginger Beaumont came over from Boston to take the backup outfield slot. As it turned out, it was Beaumont’s final season.

There were some changes on the mound. Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown was still the ace, coming off a 27-9 season, and Orvai Overall was back after leading the NL in strikeouts with 205. Ed Reulbach and Jack Pfiester were still there, but  two new pitchers were added to the mix. King Cole was a 24 year old rookie who had pitched one game for the Cubs the previous year and Harry McIntire had been acquired from Brooklyn. The addition of these two was to prove fortuitous.

For the Cubs things looked good when 1910 started. Their three time pennant winning team was intact, with all major components healthy. Age again should have been a bit of a concern. The hitters were tied with Philadelphia as the oldest team in average age at 29, and the pitching staff was the second oldest (to Pittsburgh) in the league. But everyone was healthy, Kling was back after a year off, Cole was only 24, and they knew how to win.

Tomorrow: McGraw’s Giants