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Great moments in bad World Series weather
2008-10-27 22:30
by Bob Timmermann

The World Series had its share of bad weather before tonight.

In the 1908 World Series between the Cubs and Tigers, temperatures for most games were in the 30s and 40s. The attendance for Game 5 (which was the finale) at Detroit's Bennett Park was a whopping 6,210.

In 1911, the World Series alternated games between the Polo Grounds in New York for the Giants and Shibe Park for the Athletics. Game 3 was on October 17 in New York. Game 4 was on October 24 in Philadelphia. And in 1911, the NL season lasted one week longer than the AL season to boot.

And then there was Game 7 of the 1925 World Series. The defending champion Washington Senators had taken a 3-1 lead in the series, but couldn't close the deal against the Pirates at Griffith Stadium in Game 5 and then lost Game 6 at Forbes Field.

Game 7 was scheduled for October 14, 1925, but heavy rains postponed the game one day. And over 46,000 showed up at Forbes Field on October 15 to watch Game 7. And Commissioner Kenesaw Landis was determined that Game 7 was going to be played. However, it was still raining. And a bit foggy. And the field was muddy. And it was cold. And it was dark.

But the game went on as scheduled.

The Senators scored four times in the top of the first to knock out Pirates starter Vic Aldridge after just 1/3 of an inning. And the Senators had Walter Johnson pitching.

But the Big Train didn't have it. Pitching with a bad leg and in bad weather, Johnson gave up 15 hits and shortstop Roger Peckinpaugh made two key errors behind him.

Nursing a 7-6 lead in the 8th, Johnson retired the first two Pirates before surrendering a double to catcher Earl Smith and Emil Yde pinch ran. Pinch hitter Carson Bigbee then doubled to left to score Yde with the tying run. Eddie Moore walked and Max Carey reached on a Peckingpaugh error that loaded the bases. Kiki Cuyler then stroked an automatic double to right field to score two runs and give the Pirates a 9-7 lead that Red Oldham made stand up in the 9th.

In the New York Times account of the game (by James R. Harrison):

Water, mud, fog, sawdust, fumbles, muffs, wild throws, wild pitches, one near fist fight, impossible rallies -- these were mixed up to make the best and worst game of baseball played in this country. Players wallowing ankle deep in mud, pitchers slipping as they delivered the ball to the plate, athletes skidding and sloshing, falling full length, dropping soaked baseballs -- there you have part of the picture that was unveiled on Forbes Field this dripping afternoon.

2008-10-27 23:15:25
1.   Eric Enders
Cuyler's Series-winning double was hugely controversial because it happened while a dense fog was on the field and it's fairly certain that none of the umpires were able to see whether it landed fair or foul. They called it fair, but they were just guessing. Goose Goslin later told Larry Ritter: "It wasn't fair at all. It was foul by two feet. I know because it landed in the mud and stuck there."
2008-10-27 23:18:42
2.   Eric Enders
Then there's the 1976 World Series which was famous for Bowie Kuhn going coatless in freezing weather because he didn't want to admit to the national TV viewers that the weather was poor. (This was back when Kuhn's decision to play all World Series games at night was still highly controversial.)

Actually, I'm not certain, but that might have been the incident that sparked the famous Red Smith quote: "This never would have happened if Bowie Kuhn were alive today."

2008-10-27 23:21:58
3.   Bob Timmermann
I could have gone on longer, but the 1925 Times story had that good passage.
2008-10-28 09:02:09
4.   berkowit28
What was the logic last night in continuing until the Rays tied it up? Why couldn't they just suspend it at the end of the 4th inning, or 5th? Surely it's fairer to suspend the game at the end of an inning, when both teams have had equal time in both offense and defense in adverse conditions, no matter what the score? People were talking, on screen and off, as if there's a rule that says that only if the game is tied can it be suspended, otherwise the game is over (if it's more than 4 1/2 innings, according to some). But Selig is geing quoted as saying he "wouldn't let that happen". So it's not really a rule? It shouldn't be, for sure - it would be rather stupid to declare the World Series over with a game unfinished that could simply be suspended and continued another day.

So that's it, then? A stupid rule that can be ignored but creates confusion because it sort-of-exists-but-not-really, so the game went on too long? They should have just suspended the game earlier. I guess there's something I'm not getting that probably Bob can explain.

2008-10-28 09:36:26
5.   Xeifrank
4. Where did you read or how did you come to the conclusion that the game was being played until the Rays tied it up? I think when the game was tied at the end of a half inning that it became convenient to postpone the game, but I don't believe they were playing the game "until" the Rays tied it up. If so, why not call it after the Pena single? What would've happened if Longoria's line drive to CF fell for a hit and the Rays took a 3-2 lead? Keep playing until the Phillies tied it up at 3-3? I don't buy the argument that the game was continuing until the Rays tied it up. I think it was more convenience.
vr, Xei
2008-10-28 10:11:55
6.   Bob Timmermann
Selig clearly stated last night that the game was not going to be called early. At worst, he would have just put the game into an indefinite rain delay and the game would have resumed when it could have.

Since there aren't any other games to be played, you can just wait and wait and wait and wait.

2008-10-28 12:48:21
7.   das411
Posts like this are what make The Griddle great, thanks Bob!

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