The 1910 World Series illustrates the futility of comparing players from different eras. The Philadelphia Athletics defeated the Chicago Cubs in five games, but what was unique and seems unbelievable today is that they used only two pitchers. Jack Coombs, who won 31 games during the season, started, completed, and won 3 games in the World Series, while Chief Bender, who won 23 games, started two games, going 1-1.
The Athletics and Cubs Were Evenly Matched
The Athletics and Cubs were evenly matched. Fielder Jones, the veteran former Chicago White Sox manager, rated the Series a toss up. “I don’t believe anyone is wise who tries to name the winner of the upcoming World Series. If Chance’s pitchers are as good as they were in 1907 and 1908, Chicago should have the edge. I know something about Bender, Plank, and Coombs, and that is they are three of the best in the business.”
A Lack of Work?
Chief Bender started the first game at Philadelphia. He went the distance, allowing only one unearned run in the ninth inning as the Athletics beat the Cubs, 4-1. The next day, Jack Coombs defeated Mordecai Brown, 9-3, in what was considered a sub par complete game performance. After a day for travel, Coombs started Game 3 on one day’s rest. “The big fellow demonstrated that his poor showing in the Tuesday game had been due to lack of work. The lack of it was still apparent at the start of today’s battle, but once through the second inning, with a strong margin of runs to work on Coombs struck his gait, and was unbeatable….”
Trailing 3 games to none, the fourth game was rained out. When it was played the next day, Cubs youngster King Cole held the Athletics to 3 runs over 8 innings, but found himself trailing by a run. The Cubs tied the game in the bottom of the ninth off starter Chief Bender, when manager Frank Chance, tripled home Wildfire Shulte. They won in the tenth, when Jimmy Sheckard singled home Jimmy Archer.
Jack Coombs Won 3 Games
Chief Bender started Game 1, and then started Game 4 on three days rest, which even today is not unusual, but Jack Coombs started Game 3 with one day of rest after having started Game 2. Athletics’ manager Connie Mack started Coombs in Game 5 on two days rest. Coombs completed his third game of the series as Philadelphia became World Champions, beating the Cubs, 7-2.
Jack Coombs started three games, completed three games, and won three games. “It was his third performance in seven days, and what makes it more remarkable is that it was his best game of the three in which he worked.” Chief Bender started two games, winning one and losing one as Philadelphia beat Chicago using only two pitchers.
Unlike Today’s Game
Unlike today, the starters were not limited to a predetermined number of pitches or innings pitched. There were no set up men, there was no lefty-righty platooning, and there were no closers. The rules of the game were basically the same as today, but the approaches to the game were diametrically opposed to the way the modern game is managed. Any attempts to compare them are exercises in futility.
1910 World Series at Retrosheet.org
By FIELDER. A. JONES. Special to The New York Times.. (1910, October 16). FIELDER JONES ON WORLD’S SERIES. New York Times (1857-Current file),p. C5. Retrieved March 1, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 – 2005) database. (Document ID: 105095581).
By I.E. SANBORN.Special to The New York Times.. (1910, October 21). ATHLETICS DRIVE CUB PITCHERS OUT :Terrific Bombardment of Beulbach and Mclntire Gives Them Easy Victory. New York Times (1857-Current file),8. Retrieved March 1, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 – 2005) database. (Document ID: 105096189).
By FIELDER JONES, Former Manager Chicago Americans.. (1910, October 23). YOUNG KING COLE BEATS ATHLETICS :Chicago’s Youngest Pitcher Checks Mack’s Team in World’s Series.. New York Times (1857-Current file),C5. Retrieved March 1, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 – 2005) database. (Document ID: 102049912).
By I.E. SANBORN.. (1910, October 24). ATHLETICS WIN WORLD SERIES :Jack Coombs Again Pitches Connie Mack’s Team to Victory. CUBS FIGHT HARD TO WIN Fifth and Deciding Game a Heart-Breaking Struggle in Which Brown Goes Down in Defeat.. New York Times (1857-Current file),6. Retrieved March 1, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 – 2005) database. (Document ID: 105096804).