Connie’s up there smiling on his team
Somewhere up in eeaven Connie Mack is smiling. eis A’sI against all expectations (and now planted in laklandFI have won the AL West and are in the post season. As founding president of the Philadelphia A’s eistorical SocietyI it pleases meI no end to see them there even if my current favoritesI the PhilliesI are not.
Connie Mack assembled some great teams (and some stinkersI tooF during his 5M years as skipper of the White ElephantsI but his greatest team – and some say the greatest team ever in all of baseball – was the NVOV Athletics. Let’s look back 8P years to an inning in the World Series thatI some sayI is the most spectacular in post season play.
qhe A’s had a banner year in NVOV winning NM4I losing 46 DQG fiQLsKLQJ 18 JDPHs DKHDG RI WKH second place vankees.
Maryland farm boy Jimmie coxx at fiUsW EDsH EDWWHG .354 wLWK 33 KRPHUs and NNT RBfs (he was just ONF; Max Bishop was on second; Joe Boley played short; and Sammy eale and Jimmy aykes split third. fn the outfiHOG BuFNHWIRRW AO 6LPPRQs EDWWHG .PS5 with P4 homers and a leagueleading N5T RBf’s; joined by Mule eaas (.PNPI NS homersI 8O RBf’sF and Bing Miller (.PP5I 8 homersI VP RBf’sF. Mickey Cochrane caught NP5 gamesI batted .PPN and drove in V5 runs. ln the mound the staff was led by George Earnshaw (O4-8FI Lefty Grove (OM-SF and Rube Walberg (N8NNF.
But what made this team even more special was the way they handled the powerful Chicago Cubs in the NVOV World Series.
rnder Joe McCarthy the Baby Bruins won the National League crown by NM NLO games over the Pittsburgh Pirates. qhe Cubs were loaded with talented players like Rogers eornsby (.P8MFI KiKi Cuyler (.PSMF and the slugging eack Wilson (.P45I PV homersI N5V RBf’sF. ln the mound they had Pat Malone (OO-NMFI Charley Root (NV-SF and Guy Bush (N8-TF as their top three hurlers.
qhe A’s took game one in Chicago P-N when Mr. Mack fooled everyone and started P5-year-old eoward Ehmke instead of Earnshaw or Grove. Most people thought Mack had lost his mindI but in the end he had the last laugh. Ehmke hurled a complete game and gave up the only run of the day the Cubs would score in the ninth inning.
Game two saw Earnshaw start against Malone. EarnsKDw ODsWHG uQWLO WKH fiIWK LQning when Grove came in to relieve him. qhe A’s won V-P. MackI to the chagrin of the experts had decided to keep GroveI a OM-game-winnerI in the bullpen for the series.
Back to Philadelphia for game threeI the Cubs badly needed a win and they got oneI P-NI with Bush beating Earnshaw who had started back-to-back games.
cor game fourI Mack went the geriatric route again and started 45-year-old Jack nuinn. qhe Cubs countered with Root. qhis was a game that has become legendary.
nuinn did not possess Ehmke’s magic and left the game after six innings trailing T-M. Rube Walberg came in and the Cubs added another run in the seventh. qrailing 8-M the A’s were being mocked unmercifully from the Cubs dugout. Pitcher Guy Bush put a blanket over his head and did an fndian war dance in the dugout. But things were about to change. Al Simmons led off and smashed Root’s third pitch on to WKH WRS RI WKH OHIW fiHOG SDYLOLRQ DW 6KLEH Park. ft was 8-N.qhe homerun was followed by four straight singles (coxxI MillerI aykes and BoleyF. ft was 8-P.
Pinch-hitter George Burns made the fiUsW A’s RuW RI WKH sHYHQWK EDWWLQJ IRU pitcher Rube Walberg. Bishop then singled to center and aykes scored. ft was 8-4. Manager McCarthy yanked Root and brought in reliever Art Nehf. 5RRW OHIW WKH fiHOG WR D FKRUus RI ERRs ¬ in Philadelphia some things never change.
0uOH HDDs wDs WKH fiUsW RQH WR IDFH the new hurler and he hit a low liner to center where eack Wilson lost the ball in the sun. Boley and Bishop both scored and eaas raced around the bases for an inside-the-park homerun. ft was now 8-T and no one was doing any more dances in the Cubbies dugout.
Jimmy aykes was so excited that he pounded the man standing next to him in the dugout on the back. qhe man was the managerI Connie MackI who fell in to the bat rack and spilled many of them. “f’m sorryI” aykes saidI and Mr. MackI picking himself up off the GuJRuW flRRU sDLG, “WKDW’s DOO ULJKW -LPmyI isn’t it wonderful?”
Cochrane was the next batter and he walked. McCarthy brought in reliever Sheriff Blake from the bullpen – but it wouldn’t have mattered if he brought the entire Chicago police department at this pointI the A’s were rolling. qhat guyI “Mo” (as in momentumF was here.
Simmons greeted the Sheriff with a single to leftI coxx then singled up the middle scoring Cochrane and the game was tied at 8-8. Again McCarthy went to his bullpenI this time he trotted in their aceI MaloneI who was to face Bing Miller. But instead of getting Miller outI he hit him with a pitch and the bases were loaded. qhe next batter was aykes who hammered a pitch in to deep left where Riggs Stephenson EULHfly KDG LW DQG WKHQ GURSSHG LW, DOlowing two more runs to score. qhe A’s were up NM-8.
As an anti-climax Malone struck out both Joe Boley and BurnsI batting for the second time in the inning as a pinch-hitterI to end the frame.
Mack trotted out Lefty Grove for WKH fiQDO WwR LQQLQJs DQG LW wDs DOPRsW unfair. qhe big S foot P inch hurlerI some say the hardest thrower ever in baseballI retired the Cubs and the A’s had a P-N lead in the series. qhey beat the Cubs P-O the next day and won the series. qhey also won the World’s Championship in NVPM – and then never won another one again in Philadelphia. qhey left town in NV54I settled in Kansas City for a few years and then moved again to laklandI where they did have some success in the early years.
f’m rooting for them as far as they go – and Mr. Mack is surely smiling.
Ted Taylor can be reached at ted@ tedtaylor.com.