Jump to content


9/23/08- 100th Anniversary of the 'Merkle Boner'


FutureGM
 Share

Recommended Posts

Tomorrow marks the 100th anniversary of one of the more interesting incidents in baseball history, the 'Merkle Boner'.

 

Here is the basic rundown of the incident from Wikipedia:

 

On Wednesday, September 23, 1908, while playing for the New York Giants in a game against the Chicago Cubs, while he was 19 years old (the youngest player in the NL), Merkle committed a base running error that later became known as "Merkle's Boner," and earned Merkle the nickname of "Bonehead."

 

In the bottom of the 9th inning, Merkle came to bat with two outs, and the score tied 1-1. At the time, Moose McCormick was on first base. Merkle singled and McCormick advanced to third base. Al Bridwell, the next batter, followed with a single of his own. McCormick advanced to home plate scoring the winning run for the game. The fans in attendance, under the impression that the game was over, ran onto the field to celebrate.

 

Meanwhile, Merkle, thinking the game was over, walked to the Giants' clubhouse without touching second base. Cubs second baseman Johnny Evers noticed this, and after retrieving a ball and touching second base he appealed to umpire Hank O'Day, who would later manage the Cubs, to call Merkle out. Since Merkle had not touched the base, the umpire called him out on a force play, and McCormick's run did not count.

 

The run was therefore nullified, the Giants' victory erased, and the score of the game remained tied. Unfortunately, the thousands of fans on the field (as well as the growing darkness in the days before large electric light rigs made night games possible) prevented resumption of the game and the game was declared a tie. The Giants and the Cubs would end the season tied for first place and would have a rematch at the Polo Grounds, on October 8. The Cubs won this makeup game, 4-2, and thus the National League pennant.

 

Varying accounts

 

Accounts vary as to whether Evers actually retrieved the game ball or not. Some versions of the story have him running to the outfield to retrieve the correct ball. Other versions have it that he shouted for the ball, which was relayed to him from the Cubs' dugout. And still other versions have it that Giants pitcher Joe McGinnity saw what was transpiring, and threw the game ball into the stands; thus the ball that was picked up by or relayed to Evers was a different ball entirely. The New York Times account of the play recalls that Cubs manager and first baseman Frank Chance was the one who "grasped the situation" and directed that the ball be thrown to him covering second base.

 

At the time, running off the field without touching the base was common, as the rule allowing a force play after a potential game-winning run was not well-known. However, Evers, who was noted as an avid studier of the official rules of the game, had previously attempted the same play only a few weeks earlier, in Pittsburgh, ironically with Hank O'Day umpiring. In that instance, O'Day had not seen whether the runner tagged second, so he declined Evers' appeal, but he apparently was alert to the possibility in the New York game. The outcome ensured that the rule was known to everyone afterward.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...