This series presents the final game of each post-season series that went all the way.
Until 1946, that means World Series Game 7s
(none of the best-of-nine World Series went the full length).
1909 - Game 7: Pittsburgh @ Detroit
Ty Cobb and Honus Wagner at the 1909 World Series
The Detroit Tigers won their third straight AL pennant.
Led by 22-year-old superstar Ty Cobb, Hughie Jennings' club edged the Philadelphia Athletics by 3.5 games.
Cobb won the league Triple Crown (at a time when that term was not coined yet):
.377 batting average, the third consecutive year he led the AL in that department;
107 RBI, three straight in this category also;
9 HR, the only time he would finish #1 in that statistic. Ty also led the AL in runs, hits, stolen bases, and slugging percentage.
George Mullin led the league with 29 wins against only 8 losses. Ed Willett, finished 21-10 and "Kickapoo Ed" Summers, a righty like his two mates, contributed 19 victories.
Fred Clarke's Pirates ended the Cubs' three-year reign as Senior Circuit champs by 6.5 games after a 16-game winning streak in early September.
A future Hall of Famer also led the Pirates: 35-year-old SS Honus Wagner.
Like Cobb, Honus won his league's batting championship (.339), only he did Ty one better - it was Wagner's fourth consecutive crown.
He also led the NL with 100 RBIs, 39 doubles, and .489 slugging percentage.
The pitching staff featured two 20-game winners: Vic Willis (22-11) and Howie Camnitz (225-6). Lefty Leifield just missed the magic number, finishing 19-8.
Fan interest all over the country was high (translation: more money was bet on the Series than in previous years) in part because of the first matchup between the veteran Wagner and the young upstart Cobb.
Friday, October 8 @ Pittsburgh: Pirates 4, Tigers 1
WP: Babe Adams; LP: George Mullin
Saturday, October 9 @ Pittsburgh: Tigers 7, Pirates 2
WP: Bill Donovan; LP:
Monday, October 11 @ Detroit: Pirates 8, Tigers 6
Nick Maddox; LP: Ed Summers
The National Commission that ruled baseball had determined the site of Game 7 by a coin flip prior to Game 5 that AL President Ban Johnson called correctly.
They also acceded to Detroit's request to move the game back a day to October 16, a Saturday, in order to boost ticket sales.
Deacon Phillippe (8-3, 2.32), the 37-year-old veteran who won three games for the Pirates in the '03 Series, begged Clarke to let him pitch Game 7.
But the day off gave Fred an opportunity to go with Charles "Babe" Adams again with only two days rest. The 27-year-old rookie had enjoyed a fine season, finishing 12-3 with a 1.11 ERA.
Clarke had surprised the baseball world by choosing the "young giant" (185 lb) to start the series. Adams fulfilled the faith his skipper had in him by twirling a six-hit 4-1 victory.
So Babe took the hill again for the pivotal Game 5 with the series tied. Adams responded with a complete game 8-4 triumph. He struck out 8 and walked only 1 on a 40° day with a chilling wind sweeping across the field.
Jennings went with his veteran who won Game 2, Wild Bill Donovan, who won only eight games during the season.
1909 Pittsburgh Pirates
1909 Detroit Tigers
Bennett Park, Detroit, for 1909 World Series
Pittsburgh Pirates Lineup
John "Dots" Miller
Charles "Babe" Adams
Detroit Tigers Lineup
"Wahoo Sam" Crawford
Charles "Boss" Schmidt
"Wild Bill" Donovan
Charles "Boss" Schmidt
Bill Abstein - note spelling
A disappointing crowd of 17,562 showed up at Bennett Park.
The weather played a big role in keeping many home. Freezing rain the night before caused many to assume the game would be postponed.
But by game time at 2 pm, the weather, while far from ideal (50° and blustery), was better than for any of the other three contests in Detroit.
The game was no contest but not because the rookie blew up on the sport's biggest stage.
Wild Bill lived up to his name from the start, hitting the first batter, Bobby Byrne, on an 0-2 pitch. Leach bunted to the P, who had plenty of time to get the runner at 2B, but no one covered the base. So Bill threw Leach out at 1B. Clarke gave the hit and run signal to himself and Byrne but failed to connect on the pitch. C Boss Schmidt's throw nailed the runner at 3B. Byrne and Moriarty collided, and both were knocked out. The game was stopped while doctors worked on each man. Moriarity arose to a great cheer and continued in the game, but Byrne was carried off the field with a sprained ankle, replaced by Ham Hyatt, who would play CF with Leach moving to 3B. After the long delay, Clarke walked and then stole 2B. Wagner also took a free pass. Miller hit a vicious grounder toward LF, but SS Donie Bush made a beautiful stop and recovered in time for a forceout at 2nd to let Donovan escape with no damage.
Davy Jones fouled out to Leach.
Showing some nervousness himself, Adams hit the next batter, Bush, in the thigh. Ty Cobb took two strikes before lifting a fly to RF.
With Wahoo Crawford at the plate, George Gibson made a fine throw to 2B Dots Miller to nail Bush trying to steal.
Donovan put the leadoff man on again, this time via a base on balls to Abstein.
Playing aggressively, Clarke gave Wilson the hit-and-run sign but he swung and missed. C Schmidt's throw to 2nd sailed high and Abstein stole the base.
Now the Pirate skipper called for a bunt. When Wilson bunted in front of the plate, Schmidt chose to take a shot at 3rd but threw late. Gibson popped out to SS Bush in short LF - not far enough to allow the runner to score.
Donovan committed another cardinal sin by walking his opposing moundsman, Adams, to load the bases. Hyatt flew to CF, Abstein scoring after the catch. Leach walked, filling the sacks again. Clarke also worked a base on balls, forcing in another run. Donovan had to bear down with Wagner at the plate lest the game get out of hand quickly. He induced a fly to RF. Still, the Pirates scored two runs without benefit of a hit. Pirates 2 Tigers 0
Adams got Crawford to ground to 1B. Babe hit Delahanty, but home plate umpire "Silk" O'Loughlin ruled that Jim stepped into it and would not award him 1B. Then Delahanty walked. Moriarity followed with a double into the crowd in RF, hobbling into 2B on his injured leg. Charley O'Leary took over at 2nd as a pinch-runner.
With runners on 2nd and 3rd, the Tigers had an excellent opportunity to tie the game, but Babe induced Tom Jones to pop to SS.
Then Adams got a break when his pitch hit thebat as Schmidt tried to get out of the way, and the ball rolled to the mound. No one knew it at the time, but the Pirate rookie had just survived his worst scrape of the game.
O'Leary took over 3B.
Once again, the leadoff man got on when Miller grounded a single over 2B. Abstein doubled down the LF line, Miller stopping at 3rd.
Then came a strange double play that gutted the rally for the Buccos. Wilson grounded to SS Bush who threw home to get Miller. After making the tag, Schmidt threw to Delahanty to catch Abstein off the bag. Gibson grounded out to end the inning.
Obviously not trusting Donovan to keep the score close, Jennings sent his ace George Mullin to pinch hit for Bill to great cheers from the fans.
After George lined out to RF, Jones beat out a bunt toward the mound. When Davy slid into 1st, he dislodged the bag from its fastening, and the game was delayed while it was replaced.
With Cobb on deck, Bush sacrificed Davy to 2B, 1-3.
But Ty bounced back to the mound.
Pitching for the third time in five days, Mullin broke the streak of leadoff men on base when Adams flied to LF.
But Hyatt walked, and Leach singled over SS's head, Hyatt holding at 2B. Clarke sacrified both runners up a base 1-3 (the second one-out bunt of the game). Wagner was purposely passed to load the bases.
But Miller foiled the strategy by singling to RF to double the lead.
With runners on 1st and 3rd, Miller stole 2nd as Schmidt made no attempt to get him lest Wagner come home. Mullin escaped without further damage by striking out Abstein. Pirates 4 Tigers 0
Crawford grounded out 5-3. Delahanty singled to RF. O'Leary popped to Wagner. Tom Jones stroked a one-bagger to RF, Delahanty holding at 2nd.
But Schmidt grounded to 3B Leach who stepped on the bag to end the inning.
Mullin retired the Pirates in order. Wilson flied to CF. Gibson bounced to SS. Adams went out 4-3.
Adams followed suit. Mullin grounded out to 3rd. Davy Jones fanned. Wagner threw out Bush.
Pittsburgh salted the game away with three more runs.
The inning started inauspiciously with Hyatt going down 4-3.
Then Leach doubled into the LF crowd. Clarke drew a base on balls. Wagner drilled a triple to LF and came home on D. Jones's bad throw to 3rd. Mullin retired the next two batters. Miller banged a long fly to CF. Abstein popped to SS. Pirates 7 Tigers 0
With a seven-run lead, Adams could relax and throw strikes. He set down the heart of the Tigers' order. Cobb's futility continued as he grounded to the P.
LF Clarke caught Crawford's fly. Delahanty popped to Leach, who made a nice catch in foul territory.
Hyatt grounded to DelahantyB.
Gibson doubled to LCF. Adams' hot grounder bounced off 3B O'Leary to SS Bush, who threw to 1st for the out as Gibson took 3rd. Hyatt rolled out to 2nd.
O'Leary fouled to Gibson. T. Jones grounded to Wagner. Schmidt ended Adams streak of retiring nine in a row with a ground rule double to LF.
But, in a strange move, Mullin, who would compile a .262 lifetime batting average, batted for himself and flew out.
Leach bounced to the mound. Clarke, who led the NL in bases on balls, walked for the fourth time in the game, then stole 2B. Wagner flew out to CF, but Clarke did not tag up.
Miller poled a long fly to CF that Wahoo Sam dropped to allow Clarke to score and Dots to reach 2B. Davy Jones made a great running catch of Abstein's fly near the LF crowd. Pirates 8 Tigers 0
Another 1-2-3 inning for Adams. D. Jones popped to 2B. Bush did the same to Wagner. Cobb skied to LF to finish the Series 6-for-26 (.231).
The sun, which had peeked through the clouds off and on all afternoon, broke from behind the clouds. The crowd, desperate for any omen, rose to its feet cheering madly. The inning began with Wilson sending a high popup to 3B.
Gibson reached on Bush's bobble.
Despite an eight-run lead, Clarke had Adams sacrifice (T. Jones unassisted), but the C died on 2nd when Hyatt fouled out to Schmidt.
Crawford grounded out 6-3 to finish 7-for-28 (.250).
Delahanty doubled over LF Clarke's head into the crowd.
But Adams closed out the series by getting Moriarty to foul to Leach, and Tom Jones to fly out to Clarke.
Jubilant Pirates fans stormed the field and tossed Tommy Leach into the air "like a cork."
After snagging the final out, Clarke tried to escape via the LF gate but was run down by fans.
About 40 frenized ones tried to rush Wagner but, after falling on a few of them, the Dutchman pointed to a slim fellow who was escaping from the field through a gate under the grandstand. "There's the fellow. Get him. He did it."
The Pittsburgh rooters dashed madly after the young fellow with cries of "Babe! Babe!" They cornered Adams just as he was disappearing and dragged him back into the sunlight. They tossed their hero from shoulder to shoulder until play became so rough that the Pittsburgh players formed a compact body and marched off the field together, swinging their bats to create a path.
Meanwhile, Tiger rooters cancelled plans to capture their heroes and haul them around town in a triumphant chariot, which was found later behind the grandstand.
A spread at one of the downtown hotel was still available, but Jennings sent word that his boys did not care to enjoy the feast.
The Pirates outhit the Tigers only 7-6. The 8-run trouncing was due in large measure to defense (three Tiger errors) and control (10 walks by the Detroit hurlers, which remains a Game 7 record).
The Detroit team and fans must have felt jinxed since this was their third straight Series loss. The great Ty Cobb would win eight more AL batting titles but never appear in another World Series.
Ty's personal duel with Honus ended with a distinct victory for Wagner: Cobb:
6-26 .231, 3 R, 5 RBI, 2 SB Wagner: 8-24 .333, 4 R, 6 RBI, 6 SB
145,444 attended the Series. Each Pirate received $1,825 from the receipts while the Tigers earned $1,275 apiece.
The city of Pittsburg (as it was spelled from 1891-1910 following a ruling from a Presidential Commission on geographical names) honored its heroes with a public parade of "hundreds of automobiles" on Monday the 18th that culminated in ceremonies at Forbes Field, which had opened June 30 of that season. Three-game winner Adams received the greatest ovation and, more importantly, a purse of $1,264 which had been collected from admirers, including his fellow Pirates who donated $500. The crowd yelled for a speech from the hurler, but he declined as tears trickled down his cheeks. Wagner also contented himself with waving to the crowd. Manager Clarke did the honors with the megaphone, thanking the fans for their support.
That evening, the city of Detroit honored its AL champions with a banquet that included the usual speeches by politicians seizing the occasion. The main topic among the attendees was "what if" - what if Jennings had used Willett more or had used a different hurler in the final game.
The Pirates would not return to the Fall Classic until 1925 when they beat the Washington Senators in seven games. Detroit's drought lasted nine years longer until the '34 club lost to The Gashouse Gang in seven.