Note: Although I covered these teams earlier, this game had to be the choice for this day.
In the last year of the National League monopoly of major league baseball (the American League was playing in 1900, but wasn't claiming "major league" status), Philadelphia
and Boston opened the season at the South End Grounds and rolled around for nearly
three hours over 10 innings of baseball before the Phillies prevailed by a 19-17 margin in
front of 10,000 spectators.
Vic Willis started for Boston and Al Orth for Philadelphia. And it was quickly apparent
that it wasn't Willis's day. The first batter, Roy Thomas, reached on a fly ball to right that
Billy Hamilton couldn't get to (or run for) and reached second. Jimmy Slaigle followed
with a single to right to score Thomas. Ed Delahanty got hit by a pitch and Nap Lajoie
singled to load the bases. A wild pitch scored the second run of the inning. Two more
walks by Orth led to three more runs scoring and Philadelphia was quickly ahead 5-0.
Boston got a run back in the bottom half of the inning on consecutive two-out singles by
Herman Long, Chick Stahl, and Jimmy Collins.
Orth's second inning was much like the first. With one out, Slaigle walked and Lajoie
and Elmer Flick followed with singles to score Slaigle. Flick tried to go to second, but
was thrown out with Lajoie scoring. Catcher Ed McFarland walked and third baseman
Bert Myers singled. Shortstop Monte Cross then slammed a three-run homer to make it
But Boston was not deterred as RBI singles from Willis and Hamilton cut the lead to 10-3
after two innings. And Willis managed not to give up any more runs in the third.
In the fourth, the Phillies resumed their scoring. Myers singled and Herman Long made
two errors and Willis had a wild pitch and two runs had scored. With the score, 12-3
Philadelphia after three and a half, Boston manager Frank Selee decided to get a new
pitcher warming, 24-year old Harvey Bailey. Bailey managed to retire Philadelphia
without anyone scoring in the fifth and Boston added a run to make it 12-4. Bailey was
not lucky in the sixth.
With two outs, McFarland and Cross singled. Then Bailey walked Orth and Bobby Lowe
then muffed a grounder off the bat of Thomas to let two runs in and Philadelphia led 14-
4. Philadelphia added two more in the seventh on a fielders choice RBI by Cross and an
RBI single from Orth.
Boston made a faint murmur of protest in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, Lowe
doubled and scored on a single by Boileryard Clarke. Bailey was allowed to bat for
himself down 16-5 and tripled in Clarke to make it 16-6. Hamilton singled home Bailey
and it was 16-7 Philadelphia. The teams traded runs in the bottom of the eighth and the
top of the ninth and it was 17-8 going to the bottom of the ninth.
Selee sent Buck Freeman up to pinch hit for Clarke to lead off the bottom of the ninth and
he put a jolt in to the crowd with a home run to right field and it was 17-9. Then Boston kept hitting and hitting (the Boston Globe's account here gets confusing) and by the time Freeman's spot came up again it was 17-13. But Freeman flied out to Delahanty for the second out of the inning. Pinch hitter Shad Barry batted for the second time and singled home Duffy and Collins to
make it 17-15.
Hamilton was due up, but he had thought the game was over and was about to change to
go home and Jack Clements was approaching home to pinch hit. But someone got word
to Hamilton and he came back out and he slapped a single to score Lowe and Barry to tie
the game at 17-17. Hamilton advanced to second on the throw home. Tenney came up
with a chance to win the game, but flied out to Delahanty to send the game to extra
Kid Nichols came in as the third Boston pitcher of the game and he might not have been warmed
up. He walked Delahanty to lead off the inning. Lajoie hit a potential double play ball to
Lowe at second, but it rolled through his legs and Delahanty went to third with Lajoie at
second. Flick hit a grounder to Long who threw out Delahanty at the plate. But
McFarland followed with a double to plate two runs and give the Phillies a 19-17 lead.
Phillies manager Bill Shettsline put in Bill Bernhard to pitch the tenth and he set Boston
down in order to give the Phillies the bizarre win.
The Phillies scored 19 runs on 19 hits, but only three were for extra bases. Boston
pitchers did walk eight and hit a batter. Also Boston committed six errors and had two
passed balls. Boston ended up with 17 runs on 26 hits, four of them for extra bases.
Philadelphia's big offensive attack would net them just third place in the National League
for 1900, finishing eight games behind Brooklyn. Boston would finish fourth, 17 games
Philadephia's opening day lineup in 1900 featured three Hall of Famers in Delahanty,
Lajoie and Flick. Boston had five in Collins, Duffy, Nichols, Willis and Hamilton.
Eric Enders wrote about this game for the New York Times in a piece about "The first baseball game of the 20th Century." (I'm a 1901 guy personally.) You can read his full-length piece here.