Tag Archives: Lee Tannehill

“Everyone seemed to be trying to pull off the Greatest Stunts of his Life”

28 Mar

Great plays are in the eye of the beholder.

Jack Lelivelt said the greatest play he ever saw came in the greatest game he ever witnessed; the first game of a doubleheader played during the dog days of August by fourth and seventh place clubs hopelessly out of the American League pennant race.

Jack Lelivelt

Jack Lelivelt

Lelivelt watched from the bench on August 4, 1911, as his Washington Senators played the  Chicago White Sox.  Months later, he told Hugh Fullerton of The Chicago Examiner the game included “(S)ix plays in it that might any one be called the greatest according to the way a man looks at it.”

The game was a 1-0, 11-inning victory for the Senators; Walter Johnson getting the complete game victory over Doc White.  And Lelivelt was not alone in his assessment.

One Star Pitcher

Walter Johnson

William Peet of The Washington Herald said:

“An old-time fan in the grandstand correctly described the curtain raiser when he slapped his neighbor on the back and cried: ‘That was the best game of ball I ever saw in my life.”

Joe S. Jackson of The Washington Post said:

“No more freakish game than the opener has ever been played at the Florida Avenue field (Griffith Stadium).”

Lelivelt told Fullerton:

“First, (Ping) Bodie caught a home run while running straight out nearly to the center field fence; then (Clarence “Tillie”) Walker caught a fly off one ear while turning a back somersault.”

Bodie’s play robbed Walter Johnson of at least extra bases, with a runner on first in the third inning—and Walker robbed Ambrose “Amby” McConnell of the White Sox in the eighth; The Herald said he “spared it with his bare hand.”

Ping Bodie

Ping Bodie

Lelivelt continued:

(Harry) Lord made two stops on the line back of third, and (Lee) Tannehill grabbed two line drives and started double plays.”

While noting Lord’s “two stops,” Lelivelt failed to mention his most notable play during the game; when he fell into the Chicago dugout to catch a George McBride foul pop out, a play The Herald called “one of the best catches ever seen here.”

Lelivelt said:

“Everyone seemed to be trying to pull off the greatest stunts of his life in that game…with White and Johnson pitching magnificent ball.  It is as if you took a dozen great games of ball and crowded the most sensational parts of each into 11 innings.”

As for the best play, Lelivelt said it came in the third inning after Johnson walked McConnell and Lord sacrificed him to second:

(Jimmy “Nixey”) Callahan whipped a fast hit right down between third and short, a hit that seemed certain to go through to left field without being touched.  The ball was hit hard and was bounding rapidly when McBride went back and out as hard as he could, shoved down his glove hand, scooped the ball and snapped it straight into (William Wid) Conroy’s hands on top of third base.  The play was so quickly made that McConnell saw he was out, and by a quick stop tried to delay being touched and jockeyed around between the bases to let Callahan reach second. He played it beautifully, but he never had a chance.  McBride jumped back into the line and before McConnell could even get a good start back Conroy whipped the ball to McBride and McConnell was touched out before he had moved five feet.

Wid Conroy

Wid Conroy

“So rapidly was the play made that as soon as McBride touched McConnell he shot down to second so far ahead of Callahan that Cal was able to turn and get back to first…If Callahan had reached second on the play Chicago would have won, as (Matty) McIntyre followed up with a base hit that would have scored the runner from second easily.”

Curiously, the play Lelivelt said was the greatest in a game of great plays, the greatest play he said he ever saw, received no notice the next day’s coverage of the game in either Washington or Chicago.

The Herald ran a column listing fourteen key plays in the game but failed to mention Lelivelt’s “greatest play” at all. The Post said only that McConnell was out “McBride to Conroy, on Callahan’s grounder.”  It received no mention in the Chicago papers.

The Box Score

The Box Score

Lost Advertisements–“Big Ed” Walsh No-Hitter, Old Underoof Whiskey

7 Mar

walshnohitter

A 1911 advertisement for Old Underoof Whiskey which appeared in Chicago News papers the day after Edward Augustine “Big Ed” Walsh threw his first nine-inning no-hitter (Walsh gave up no hits in a 5-inning 8 to 1 victory over the New York Highlanders on May 26, 1907).  Walsh had also thrown five one-hitters, including one two weeks earlier against the Detroit Tigers.

Old Underoof commemorated that effort as well:

walshonehitter

The Chicago Inter Ocean said of the no-hitter:

“Never in His long and brilliant career in the box has Big Ed shone as he did on the hill in yesterday’s game.”

Walsh faced only 27 Boston Red Sox batters, but gave up a fourth inning walk to Clyde Engle.  The Inter Ocean said umpire Billy Evans’ call that led to the walk was “questionable.”  And that two plays helped preserve the  spitballer’s no-hitter:

“(T)here were two times when the monarch of all he expectorated nearly lost his charm.  Once the ball was driven out right over the second sack.  Lee Tannehill rushed back, scooped it up and threw out the runner easily.  Lee must have had a margin of at least three-eighths of an inch in his favor.  Another time Ping Bodie saved Ed’s dinner dishes by rushing in with the greatest burst of speed at his command and licking up the ball a little above his ankles.”

The other incident of note in the game took place in the third inning when Tannehill hit a line drive to right center field in the third inning, The Chicago Tribune said Red Sox center fielder Tris Speaker and right fielder Olaf  Henriksen came together “in a terrific collision” which knocked both unconscious and out of the game.  Henriksen got the worst of it, and was briefly hospitalized with a broken rib and injured ankle.  Speaker “was first to recover and emerged from the accident with a severe shaking up and a lame shoulder.”

The box score

The box score

Walsh came one batter away from joining Cy Young and Addie Joss as the only two modern era pitchers to that point to throw a perfect game–Joss’ perfect game was against the White Sox in 1908, Walsh was pitching for Chicago and only gave up one hit and struck out 15 in the loss.

Ed Walsh circa 1904

Ed Walsh,  circa 1904

Walsh was 27-18 with a 2.22 ERA in 1911, leading the league with 255 strikeouts, in a league-leading  368 and two-thirds innings.  The Hall of Famer pitched until 1917 compiling a 195-126 record and 1.82 ERA.

He supported making the spitball legal again after the pitch was banned after the 1920 season.  The Associated Press quoted him in his 1959 obituary:

“Everything else favors the hitters.  Ball Parks are smaller and baseballs are livelier.  They’ve practically got the pitchers working in straitjackets.  Bah!  They still allow the knuckle ball and that is three times as hard to control.”

Lost Team Photos–1904 Chicago White Sox

31 Dec

1904cws

 

A rare photo of 1904 Chicago White Sox.  Standing left to right:  George Davis (SS), Guy “Doc” White (P), Roy Patterson (P), Gus Dundon (2B), Lee Tannehill (3B), Jimmy “Nixey” Callahan (MGR and LF), Frank Isbell (INF), John “Jiggs” Donahue (1B), Danny Green (RF), Nick Altrock (P), and Ed McFarland (C).  Kneeling: Fielder Jones (CF), Billy Sullivan (C) and James “Ducky” Holmes (OF).

Jones replaced Callahan as manager shortly after this picture was taken.  The Sox finished in 3rd place with an 89-65 record, improved to 2nd the following season and won the American League pennant, and beat the Chicago Cubs in the Worlds Series in 1906.