Pivotal World Series Plays
Schmidt Misses the Final Strike
1907 World Series Game 1: Detroit Tigers @ Chicago Cubs
34 years before Mickey Owen, a Detroit catcher missed the third strike
that should have ended the game.
The Detroit Tigers had an outstanding season, finishing 92-58 to win the American League pennant by 1 1/2 games over the Philadelphia Athletics. Their opponents in the fourth World Series were the Chicago Cubs, who ran away with the National League pennant, winning 107 games against 45 losses to outpace the second place Pittsburgh Pirates by a whopping 17 games. The Cubs were determined to avoid another World Series upset like the one they endured in 1906 when they won 116 games only to lose in six games to their crosstown rivals, the White Sox.
Each manager started his ace. Detroit's Hughie Jennings went with Bill Donovan, who won 25 against only four losses. Chicago player-manager Frank Chance selected Orval Overall, 23-7 with a 1.68 ERA.

West Side Grounds, home of the Chicago Cubs
Paying as much as $2 for a ticket, a crowd of 24,377, including 1,200 Tiger rooters off a special train, packed the West Side Grounds two hours before the 2 PM game time. They saw both hurlers pitch well. The only run in the first seven innings came in the 4th when Chicago C Johnny Kling singled home Chance.

Managers Frank Chance and Huey Jennings (picryl.com public domain photo)
The Tigers finally got to Overall in the 8th with the help of some shoddy Cub defense. Two singles, three costly errors, and a fly ball plated three runs. Still strong, Donovan retired the side in order in the bottom of the 8th. Overall survived another error in the top of the 9th to keep the margin at 3-1.

L-R: Bill Donovan, Orval Overall, Harry Steinfeldt
"Fearless Leader" Chance lived up to his nickname by singling to right field to start the fateful 9th. 3B Harry Steinfeldt reached when Donovan plunked him. Kling tried to bunt the runners over but popped out to 1B Claude Rossman. 2B Johnny Evers hit what should have been a double-play grounder to 3B Bill Coughlin, but he booted the ball to load the bases. RF Frank Schulte hit to the mound and was thrown out by Donovan with Chance scoring an unearned run since that should have been the final out of the inning. Frank chose Del Howard, a lefthanded batter, to hit for Tinker. When Howard fell behind 0-2, C Charles "Boss" Schmidt walked to the mound to visit Donovan. "I told him a low curve inside," recalled Bill. After play resumed, the Detroit hurler threw what he predicted. "That ball could not have been placed better if I had walked up to the batter's box and handed it to the Chicago batsman." Howard swung over the ball, but it caromed off Schmidt's mitt. That allowed Steinfeldt to cross the plate with the tying run and the batter to reach first. With Overall at the plate and runners on 1st and 3rd, Howard stole 2nd. So Chance ordered Pat Moran to pinch hit for Overall. Evers tried to steal home but was thrown out to end the rally.

L-R: Johnny Evers, Del Howard, Boss Schmidt
So the game went into extra innings. Neither team scored in the 10th although the Cubs should have. With one out, CF Jimmy Slagle singled and stole second as LF Jimmy Sheckard struck out. When Chance walked, the two runners pulled a double steal with Steinfeldt at bat. Shortly thereafter, another pitch got away from Schmidt. He scrambled for the ball as Donovan raced in to cover the plate. Slagle appeared to be on his way to beat the throw to the plate and win the game, but Steinfeldt shoved his shoulder into Schmidt's toss, deflecting it. Home plate umpire Hank O'Day ruled interference and called Slagle out. When neither side scored in the 11th and 12th, the game was called because of darkness and ruled a 3-3 tie.
Schmidt cried in the Detroit clubhouse after the game. Reports also surfaced that Boss had been "in a terrible nervous state the day before the series began."
The Tigers didn't know it, but they had lost their best opportunity to beat the Cubs. Schmidt disintegrated as the Series went on. Chicago stole 22 bases in the next four games, winning them all.
Boss Schmidt is the only player in major league history to make the final out of a World Series twice - 1907 and 1908.