More Than Merkle: A History of the Best and Most Exciting Baseball Season in Human History

By David W. Anderson | Go to book overview

10 September All Hell Breaks Loose

If baseball fans believed August play was exciting, they had not seen anything yet. September 1908 was one of the most exciting, tumultuous, and controversial months in the history of major league baseball. The season was coming down to a situation where every game was life and death. The same pressure was on the contenders' front offices as they urgently sought help on the diamond.

For the Giants and Cubs, off-field maneuvering had profound impact on the eventual outcome of the pennant races. Desperate to shore up pitching staffs depleted by injury and by the rigors of a long season, both clubs were seeking help. In mid-August, Sporting Life reported that the Giants were close to acquiring Andy Coakley from the Reds, but a planned trade fell through. This was more significant than it seemed at the time.

Coakley was acquired by the Cubs on September 2 and won two crucial games during the stretch drive. The Giants settled for signing and bringing up rookie pitcher Rube Marquard. His contract was bought August 3 for eleven thousand dollars after scouts saw him pitch a perfect game in Indianapolis. Marquard started only one game in 1908. In that game the future Hall of Famer was bombed in one of the most horrific debuts any Hall member endured.

In the American League there was off-field news as well. Citing Ban

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More Than Merkle: A History of the Best and Most Exciting Baseball Season in Human History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • More Than Merkle *
  • Contents *
  • Illustrations *
  • Tables *
  • Foreword xi
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Introduction xvii
  • 1 - Baseball Turned Upside Down the 1906 World Series 1
  • 2 - The Game in 1908 Dead Ball Era Baseball 10
  • 3 - The Teams of 1908 a Look at the Players 35
  • 4 - The Men in Blue the Umpires of 1908 87
  • 5 - April the Best Hopes of Fans 105
  • 6 - May the Makings of a Pennant Race 115
  • 7 - June the Race is On 127
  • 8 - July Gain the Edge 137
  • 9 - August the Storm Clouds Gather 150
  • 10 - September All Hell Breaks Loose 164
  • 11 - October Down to the Wire 184
  • 12 - Scandals of 1908 Delayed Reckoning 210
  • Appendixes - The Record of 1908 225
  • Notes 241
  • Bibliographic Essay 251
  • Index 255
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