The 1909 World Series: Game Two

The Pittsburgh Pirates took the opener of the 1909 World Series by a 4-1 score, thanks in part to some sloppy play in the field by the Detroit Tigers, who committed four errors. Game two of the series was scheduled for the next day, Saturday, October 9,1909 at Forbes Field. Even more fans showed up for the second battle between the two league champions, as 30,915 fans would pack themselves into the park, hoping for another victory by the hometown team. The lineups remained nearly the same, except for the pitchers spot in the order. The Pirates went with staff ace, Howie Camnitz, who went 25-6 1.62 in 283 innings during the 1909 season while the Tigers called on veteran Bill Donovan, who went just 8-7 in 1909, but he won 43 games combined between the 1907-08 seasons. The lineups for the day are as follows:

Wild Bill Donovan won 25 games in 1901 and 1907

Pittsburgh Pirates

3B Bobby Byrne
CF Tommy Leach
LF Fred Clarke
SS Honus Wagner
2B Dots Miller
1B Bill Abstein
RF Chief Wilson
C George Gibson
P Howie Camnitz

Detroit Tigers

LF Davy Jones
SS Donie Bush
RF Ty Cobb
CF Sam Crawford
2B Jim Delahanty
3B George Moriarty
1B Tom Jones
C Boss Schmidt
P Bill Donovan

In game one the Tigers got on the board early but couldn’t score again over the next eight innings. Game two played out a little different for the team from Detroit. Leadoff hitter Davy Jones opened the game with a bunt single. Donie Bush sacrificed him over to 2B with a bunt of his own back to Camnitz. That brought up Ty Cobb with a runner in scoring position and one out. The Tigers were trying to be aggressive early but Jones made the unwise decision of trying to steal 3B and he was gunned down by George Gibson. Cobb grounded out to Dots Miller at 2B to end the top of the inning.

The Pirates were the team to get on the board quickly this game. Bobby Byrne drew a leadoff walk then was brought home by a double from Tommy Leach. Manager Fred Clarke came up next and bunted Leach over to 3B, bringing up Honus Wagner, who was usually clutch in these situations. Donovan was able to bear down and strike out the NL batting champ for the second out. Up stepped the rookie second baseman Dots Miller, who finished third in the NL in RBI’s. He laced a double to right field, scoring Leach with the second Pirates run, but he was left stranded when Bill Abstein struck out looking to end the inning.

It was time for the Tigers to play catch up and they didn’t take long to score, although the second inning looked to be easy for Camnitz once he struck out Sam Crawford and got Jim Delahanty to ground out for two quick outs and the bottom of the order coming up for Detroit. George Moriarty singled to left field, then first baseman Tom Jones did the same, moving Moriarty to 3B. Boss Schmidt then came up, he was a .209 hitter with 11 extra base hits all season, so it was quite shocking to see him smack a double off the Pirates ace, scoring both runners. Donovan struck out to end the inning but the score was now tied.

The bottom of the Pirates order went down without a run in the second. A walk to Gibson was the only base runner they had. He stole second base with two outs but Byrne struck out to end the inning. The Tigers came up in the third and this inning their aggressive play paid off. Jones tried to bunt for a hit to start the inning and while Byrne at 3B was able to make the play, Abstein at first base was unable to hold on to his throw for an error. Camnitz then gave up a single and a walk to Cobb to load the bases with no outs. He got the cleanup hitter, Sam Crawford to fly out to shallow left field, keeping the runners from tagging up but Jim Delahanty was able to double to center field to plate two runs and give the Tigers a 4-2 lead. That hit chased Camnitz from the game and brought in Vic Willis.

Willis went 22-11 on the season and the Pirates were hoping to go to him for game three but this game was still early enough and close enough to not look ahead. Things did not start off well for Vic, before he could even get into the flow of the game, Ty Cobb took off for home plate and scored the Tigers fifth run of the game. Willis ended up walking the batter but settled down and got the last two outs with no further damage.

The Pirates started something early in the bottom of the inning, with the second double of the game from Leach to lead off. He was left stranded at 2B as the heart of the order flew out to CF, popped out to the catcher(Wagner) and struck out, to end the inning. Willis had the first 1-2-3 inning in the fourth, getting two groundouts and a strike out. In the fourth, the Pirates put the lead off man on again, this time a single from Abstein. Just like with Leach the previous inning, Abstein never moved from the base as the bottom of the order went down in order.

In the fifth the Tigers would put together another rally with some help from Willis. He got Cobb to groundout to start the inning, then Crawford followed with a double. Willis walked the next batter, got a pop out to first base, then issued a two out walk to load the bases. The light-hitting Boss Schmidt stepped up and singled to center field to score two more runs, giving him four RBI’s on the day. On the play, Tom Jones tried to go first to third but was thrown out by Leach to end the inning. The second run had already crossed the plate before the out, giving the Tigers a 7-2 lead halfway through the game.

The top of the Pirates order in the fifth went down in order. The sixth inning saw each team get one base runner but both halves of the inning ended with that runner getting thrown out trying to steal. Both instances seemed like odd decisions. Donie Bush was thrown out with Ty Cobb up at the plate to end the inning, while Honus Wagner was caught stealing third base with his team down by five runs.

The seventh inning had another mirror image event like the the previous inning. In each half, the lead off runner got on, for the Tigers it was from a single by Cobb, while Chief Wilson reached for the Pirates due to an error. The next batter for both teams hit into a double play and both third outs were then recorded via strikeout.

Both teams went down in order in the eighth inning and Willis retired the Tigers in order in the top of the ninth, giving the Pirates one last chance, down by five runs. Honus Wagner led off with a single to right field and then moved on to second base with a stolen base. Miller grounded out for the first out, moving Wagner over to 3B. Donovan then struck out Abstein and got Wilson to fly out to center field to end the game, sending the Pittsburgh fans home disappointed. On paper the pitching matchup looked to be a good one for the Pirates but Detroit evened up the series with a 7-2 victory and in the process, made the Pirates use two of their best pitchers.

The teams were off the next day as they traveled to Bennett Park in Detroit for game three. Nick Maddox(13-8) would take the mound for the Pirates against 19 game winner, Ed Summers, for the Tigers. When we return next week, it will be Monday, October 11,1909 as both of these two teams look to take the lead in this best of seven series.


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About John Dreker

John was born in Kearny, NJ, hometown of the 2B for the Pirates 1909 World Championship team, Dots Miller. In fact they have some of the same relatives in common, so it was only natural for him to become a lifelong Pirates fan. Before joining Pirates Prospects in July 2010, John had written numerous articles on the history of baseball while also releasing his own book and co-authoring another on the history of the game. He writes a weekly article on Pirates history for the site, has already interviewed many of the current minor leaguers with many more on the way and follows the foreign minor league teams very closely for the site. John also provides in person game reports of the West Virginia Power and Altoona Curve.

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