1925 was the National League's Golden Jubilee Year (it started in 1876, so this was the 50th season) and baseball showed that it was already prepared to celebrate whatever anniversaries it could. So on this day at the Polo Grounds, the New York Giants had an Oldtimers Day. And over 18,000 fans came to see stars of the past, like Amos Rusie, honored before the game and then they watched the Giants rally for three runs in the ninth to tie the game and the win it in the 12th, 5-4.
Cincinnati manager Jack Hendricks chose Dolf Luque to start. Giants manager John McGraw was away from the team on business (he did that a lot) and Hughie Jennings was running the team. Jennings tabbed Hugh McQuillan to start on the mound. By the time the game was over Jennings would be doing a lot of manipulating as he would get 18 players in the game. Hendricks just wrote in the names of his nine starters and never substituted.
The Reds scored first. In the second inning, second baseman Hughie Critz singled, moved up on a Babe Pinelli sacrifice and came home on an Edd Roush single. The Giants tied the game in the third when centerfielder Billy Southworth walked, stole second, and then scored on a double by Ross Youngs that Roush thought he had caught. Luque put his team ahead in the fifth when he hit a solo home run off of McQuillan.
In the eighth, Luque helped himself again. He singled, went to third on a double by Critz and then came home on a long fly by Pinelli. The Reds made it 4-1 in the ninth after Rube Bressler doubled and eventually came around on a single by Jimmy Caveney.
But the Giants weren't going to disappoint the old stars like Roger Connor, Mickey Welch, and Dasher Troy, who were in attendance. Shortstop Travis Jackson singled to right to lead off the inning. Pitcher Jack Bentley (who batted .303 in 1925) pinch hit for catcher Grover Hartley and flied out. Frank Walker (a .222 hitting outfielder) pinch hit for relief pitcher Kent Greenfield and hit a ball to Caveney at short. Walker beat the throw, which was wild and Jackson scored and Walker went all the way to third.
Now I will let the New York Times writer describe the next play:
Introducing Billy Southworth. William peppered one of Luque's slants on the nose and sent the ball carolling to right centre. It whistled past everybody and landed limp and exhausted against the concrete wall. Southworth then beat Coventry's Preakness time [1:59] around the track and galloped in with Walker ahead of him. That tied the score, 4-all.
In the twelfth, Frankie Frisch doubled with one out and scored on a single by George Kelly to win the game. The 12-inning game took just 2:15 to play.
The win improved the Giants record to 17-6 and gave them a 5 1/2 game lead over Brooklyn and Cincinnati. However, the Giants were not able to hold off a fast-finishing Pittsburgh team and finished 86-66, 8 1/2 games behind the Pirates. The Reds finished in third at 80-73, 15 games out of first.
Both teams were loaded with future Hall of Famers, although many of them owed that status to being a friend of Frankie Frisch, who is often thought to have to use the Veterans Committe to induct many of his contemporaries.
Sadly, two of the best names on the Reds never panned out. Both were catchers. The Reds primary catcher was Bubbles Hargrave. His real name was Eugene. One of the backups was Astyanax Douglass. That was his real name.
Sources: New York Times, Retrosheet, Baseball-Reference.com, www.horse-races.net