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Random Game Callback, June 25, 1907
2006-06-25 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

The last place Washington Senators, heading for one of many dismal finishes, were swept in a doubleheader by the Philadelphia Athletics by the scores of 3-1 and 3-2 at Philadelphia's Columbia Park.

Connie Mack's A's were the most popular team in the American League in terms of attendance and had already won two pennants in the American League's first six seasons. The Senators, managed by Joe Cantillon, had never posted a winning record. Mack started lefty Rube Waddell in the first game and righty Chief Bender in the second game. Cantillon started Tom Hughes and Charlie Smith, a pair of righthanders.

Waddell and Hughes matched goose eggs until the sixth. Centerfielder Charlie Jones got a second chance at bat when Philadelphia first baseman Harry Davis dropped a foul fly. With new life, Jones hit a grounder to shortstop Monte Cross, who booted it and Jones was aboard. Third baseman Jim Delahanty followed with a booming triple to score Jones to put Washington ahead 1-0.

In the seventh, Philadelphia second baseman Simon Nicholls hit a two-out triple. Right fielder Socks Seybold grounded to Delahanty at third, who threw the ball away, which let Nicholls score and Seybold went to second. Davis doubled in Seybold. Jack Coombs relieved Waddell, who had been pulled for a pinch hitter (Bender), and finished up.

Philadelphia didn't waste time in the second game. In the first inning, left fielder Topsy Hartsel got to second on an error by Washington shortstop Dave Altizer. Nicholls sacrificed and Seybold delivered an RBI single. Seybold was caught stealing for the second out, but Davis followed with another single and he successfully stole second. Third baseman Jimmy Collins singled home Davis and the A's led 2-0.

In the second inning, Bender hit a slow roller up the third base line. Shortstop Tony Smith cut across in front of Delahanty to field it and threw it away and Bender went all the way to third. Hartsel doubled in Bender to make it 3-0.

Washington was able to push across two runs in the eighth thanks to a run-scoring triple from Jones and an RBI groundout from first baseman John Anderson. But Bender retired Washington in the ninth for the complete game win.

The Senators finished the season in last place at 49-102, 43 1/2 games out of first. The only good thing that happened for Washington that year was the arrival of a young hard throwing right hander from the minor leagues in Idaho. His name was Walter Johnson. The 19-year old would make his debut on August 2 and would go 5-9 with a 1.88 ERA. He would go on to win 417 games for Washington in a 21-year career with an ERA of 2.17.

Philadelphia finished in second place with an 88-57 record, 1 1/2 games behind Detroit. On September 30, Detroit travelled to Philadelphia for a crucial doubleheader, with Detroit leading by 1 1/2 games. Detroit and Philadelphia played a controversial 9-9 17-inning tie in the first game and it was too dark to get in the second game. Under American League policies at the time, neither game of the doubleheader was made up and the Tigers were able to hold on to that 1 1/2 game lead until the season ended the following weekend. The A's played 145 games to a decision and had five ties and missed out on nine games, including three with the Tigers. In 1908, the Tigers would benefit from a cancelled game and beat out Cleveland for the pennant by 1/2 game. Detroit was 90-63 and Cleveland was 90-64. Third place Chicago was 88-64. After 1908, the American League decided to make up all games that would affect the pennant race (this did not apply to games cancelled in later years by labor disputes.)

1907 was Ty Cobb's first full year and he was the AL's big star leading the league in batting average at .350. Hartsel led the league in OBP at .405 and drew 106 walks. Davis led the league in home runs with eight. Waddell led the AL in strikeouts for his sixth and final time with 232. Waddell was sold to St. Louis in the offseason.

Nicholls had a sensational rookie year for Philadelphia (he had brief appearances in 1905 and 1906). He batted .302 and stole 34 bases and played good defense at second and shortstop. However, Nicholls slumped badly in 1908, batting just .216. In 1909, Eddie Collins took over second base and Jack Barry occupied shortstop and Nicholls was sold to Cleveland. He passed away at age 29 on March 12, 1911 of complications of typhoid fever.

Sources: Retrosheet,, Washington Post, SABR BioProject info about Nicholls

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