The Pittsburgh Pirates took on the St Louis Cardinals on September 5, 1910. It was a Labor Day doubleheader, and they played one game in the morning and one in the afternoon, with two separate admissions at Forbes Field. The Pirates were the defending champions and had a 71-49 record going into the day. However, the Chicago Cubs were on a tear all season and they had a 10.5 game lead. The Cardinals were a seventh place team, though they didn’t play like it in this game. The Pirates sent Lefty Leifield to the mound against 22-year-old Bob Harmon, who was in his first full season.
In the first inning, the Cardinals had a two-out rally. Mike Mowrey doubled, then moved to third base on an infield single by Ed Konetchy. Mowrey scored on the front end of a double steal. The Pirates tied it up in their half of the first with an inside-the-park home run from Tommy Leach, who hit a ball straight over the center fielders head and it rolled all of the way towards the flagpole at the wall.
In the second, St Louis started the inning with three straight hits, including one off of the hand of Leifield. That brought in one run, then the next batter sacrificed the two runners into scoring position. A grounder to Honus Wagner turned into a fielder’s choice, when his throw home wasn’t in time to get the runner from third base. The Cardinals got an RBI double to make it 4-1, then a sacrifice fly made it a 5-1 game.
There is some discrepancy in the boxscore (see below) with the scoring in the second. The local paper that provided play-by-play for this game has the Cardinals scoring four runs on four hits, but it doesn’t say when Nick Maddox took over for Leifield in the inning. It does say that Leifield went 1.1 innings with six hits, so we know that Maddox didn’t give up the double. The next batter hit the sacrifice fly, so that had to be the first batter faced by Maddox because there was already one out in the inning. The problem is that the boxscore only has four runs being charged to Leifield, so that has to be wrong.
The Pirates came back in the bottom of the second, thanks to two errors from future Hall of Famer Miller Huggins. He was a solid player, but he’s in the Hall as a manager. A walk to Bobby Byrne loaded the bases, then Tommy Leach came through again, this time clearing the bases with a double to make it 5-4.
Maddox faced the minimum in the third, then the Pirates got something going in the bottom of the inning when Honus Wagner doubled off of the third baseman’s glove. Dots Miller moved Wagner up to third base with a sacrifice, then Ham Hyatt tied the score with an RBI ground out.
The Pirates were at it again in the fourth. Byrne doubled and stole third, but he was cut down at the plate on a grounder by Leach. Fred Clarke singled to put runners on the corners with two outs. Clarke stole second, then the Cardinals walked Wagner to load the bases. Dots Miller lined a two-run single into right field and the Pirates had a 7-5 lead.
Neither team got anything going in the fifth or sixth innings, as Harmon settled down and Maddox was cruising since entering the game. Things changed in the seventh though. Miller Huggins reached on a walk, moved to second on an out, then stole third base. A walk and a hit batter loaded the bases, then a wild pitch brought in Huggins and Ed Konetchy, who scored from second base. The ball never left the infield, but the Cardinals tied the score.
Ham Hyatt singled in the bottom of the seventh, then the Pirates got their own two-base wild pitch, which sent him to third base. The next batter was Chief Wilson and he sent a fly ball to center field, but Hyatt didn’t test the arm of Rebel Oakes. However, Mike Simon followed with a drive to Oakes and Hyatt made a safe dash towards home, putting the Pirates ahead again.
Maddox was pinch-hit for in the seventh and Sam Leever came out for the eighth. Maddox allowed just one hit in his 5.2 innings. The Cardinals loaded the bases in the eighth on two infield hits and a walk. Another infield hit tied the score and left the bases loaded with one out. The next batter smashed a grounder to Wagner at shortstop and he turned it into a 6-2-3 double play to end the inning, with an 8-8 score.
In the bottom of the eighth, Wagner was hit by a pitch after the first two batters were retired. He came all the way around from first base on a double by Dots Miller to make it 9-8. The Cardinals got a runner on in the ninth, but a long drive by Rebel Oakes was corralled in right field by Chief Wilson on a great catch, which would have tied the score. Leever finished out the exciting 9-8 win and sent 3,204 fans home happy, though some likely returned for the afternoon game, which you may read about tomorrow…
Here’s the boxscore from Retrosheet.