The boner game

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Merkle's Boner refers to the notorious base-running mistake committed by rookie Fred Merkle of the New York Giants in a game against the Chicago Cubs on September 23, Merkle's failure to advance to second base on what should have been a game-winning hit led instead to a forceout at second and a tied game. The Cubs later won the makeup game, which proved decisive as they beat the Giants by one game to win the National League NL pennant for It has been described as "the most controversial game in baseball history". The NL pennant race of was a three-way fight among the teams that dominated the league in the first decade of the modern era: the Pittsburgh Pirates pennant winners in, andthe Giants the boner game in andand the Cubs winners in and Merkle was 19 years old inthe youngest player in the National League.

The boner game

It was the first big-league game Merkle had ever started. The Giants were the home team. Neither Mathewson nor Pfiester allowed a run through three innings.

The boner game

In the fourth, Cubs shortstop Joe Tinker hit the ball into the outfield, and when right fielder Mike Donlin could not stop it from going past him deep into the cavernous outfield of the Polo Grounds, Tinker circled the bases for an inside-the-park home run that gave Chicago a 1—0 lead. It was the first homer hit off Mathewson since a homer by Tinker on July The game was still tied 1—1 when the Giants came to bat in the bottom of the ninth.

Pfiester remained on the mound for Chicago. Cy Seymour led off with a groundout to second. Art Devlin singled, putting the winning run on first base with one out. Moose McCormick grounded sharply to second and Devlin was forced out, but Devlin's aggressive slide prevented a double play and allowed McCormick to reach the boner game base safely on a fielder's choice.

Merkle, who only had 47 plate appearances in the entire season, [8] singled down the right-field line.

The boner game

McCormick, the potential winning run, advanced to third base. Shortstop Al Bridwell came up to bat next with two outs and runners at the corners. Bridwell swung at the first pitch from Pfiester, a fastball, and drilled an apparent single into center field. McCormick ran home from third, and the game appeared to be over, a 2—1 Giants victory.

Giants fans poured out of the stands and mobbed the field; fans sitting behind home plate crossed the field customarily in this era to exit the ballpark via the outfield. Merkle, advancing from first base, saw the fans swarming onto the playing field. He turned back to the dugout without ever touching second. Cubs second baseman Johnny Evers saw an opportunity to have the rule enforced. He shouted to center fielder Solly Hofmanwho, though the field was filled with fans, retrieved the ball and threw it to Evers.

The boner game

According to oneJoe McGinnitya Giants pitcher who was coaching first base that day, intercepted the ball and threw it away into the crowd of fans. Evers apparently retrieved the ball and touched second base, although some reports stated that he substituted a different ball. Umpires Emslie and O'Day hurriedly consulted, and O'Day, who saw the play from home plate, ruled that Merkle had not touched second base; on that basis, Emslie ruled him out on a force, and O'Day ruled that the run did not score. Newspapers told different stories of who had the boner game the ball to Evers and how.

One newspaper claimed that Cub players physically restrained Merkle from advancing to second. This also intimated that the ball may not have been successfully retrieved from the crowd after McGinnity's interference and stated that Merkle insisted that he had indeed touched second base. A contemporary from the Chicago Tribune supports this version. Five years after the play, Merkle admitted that he had left the field without touching second, but only after umpire Emslie assured them that they had won the game.

InO'Day said that Evers' tag was irrelevant: he had called the third out after McGinnity interfered with the throw from center field. Unable to quickly clear the field of fans, O'Day ruled the game over on of darkness. National League the boner game Harry Pulliam upheld the ruling. On October 2, Pulliam rejected the Giants' appeal of O'Day's ruling and the Cubs' call for a forfeit victory and again upheld the umpires, declaring the force play on Merkle valid and the game a tie.

Due to rainouts during the season, in the last week of the pennant race the Giants were forced to play 10 games. The Cubs won eight of their last 10 after the Merkle game to also finish 98— The Pirates, who beat the Dodgers 2—1 on September 23 to gain a half game on their rivals, won nine of their last 10 to force a makeup game with the Cubs on October 4.

The Cubs beat the Pirates 5—2, leaving themselves tied with the Giants, and with the Pirates a half-game back of both teams at 98—56, they were thus eliminated. On October 6, the National League board of directors agreed with its umpires and with Hank Pulliam, making a final ruling that Merkle had the boner game to touch second base and that the force rule was correctly applied.

To decide the pennant and a spot in the World Seriesthe teams had to replay the tied game on October 8. Mathewson, scheduled to start the game, said, "I'm not fit to pitch today. I'm dog tired. Future Hall of Famer Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown entered the game in relief and got out of the jam without allowing another run.

This was the Cubs' last world championship for more than a century; the next came in the World Series. The Pirates won the World Seriesalso against the Tigers. The Giants then returned to the World Series for three straight years, —, only to lose each year—to the first of Connie Mack 's two Philadelphia Athletics dynasties in andand to the Boston Red Sox in John McGraw's club did not win another championship untilwhen they defeated the emerging New York Yankeesfeaturing Babe Ruthtwo consecutive years in the Yankees' first World Series appearances. The New York Times game story on September 24,blamed the loss on "censurable stupidity on the part of player Merkle.

He played in five World Series, all for the losing team. When he finally appeared at a Giants old-timers' game inhe got a loud ovation from the fans.

The boner game

Merkle's Bar and Grill, a popular Wrigleyville bar just one block south of Wrigley Field in Chicago, is named after Fred Merkle and features his image prominently in the bar's logo and interior. The bar's website recounts the story of Merkle's infamous baserunning gaffe, and its list is titled "The Bonehead". On July 1,a minor league game between the Lansing Lugnuts and Great Lakes Loons featured a very similar play, in which an apparent game-winning single for the Lugnuts was nullified the boner game the runner at first ed the celebration instead of advancing to second.

Baserunning mistake in a baseball game. Baseball portal. The First Fall Classic E-book ed. ISBN Lowell Sun July 16, Newark Advocate p. July 10, Chicago Tribune. Retrieved New York Times. September 24, The Inside Game. Retrieved November 14, — via YouTube. Chicago Cubs. Cubs Win! Or Do They? Milwaukee Brewers St. Louis Cardinals Chicago White Sox. Marquee Sports Network. Radio network WSCR.

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The boner game

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The boner game

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Merkle's Boner