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  #1  
Old 05-09-2022, 12:58 PM
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Default Merkle's Boner

So I'm looking at a T206 Fred Merkle earlier today and the seller has listed it as "Merkle's Boner".

Obviously my WTF curiosity spikes and I had to google it.

Posting here as it is quite the story and I might NOT be the only person on the boards that hasn't heard it.

https://lastwordonsports.com/basebal...f-fred-merkle/
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  #2  
Old 05-09-2022, 01:27 PM
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boner card
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  #3  
Old 05-09-2022, 01:44 PM
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boner card
Nice looking CJ card, but the real boner is that a collector 100 years ago decided to tack it to a wall.

Brian
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  #4  
Old 05-09-2022, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toledo_mudhen View Post
So I'm looking at a T206 Fred Merkle earlier today and the seller has listed it as "Merkle's Boner".

Obviously my WTF curiosity spikes and I had to google it.

Posting here as it is quite the story and I might NOT be the only person on the boards that hasn't heard it.

https://lastwordonsports.com/basebal...f-fred-merkle/
I remember that story but reading it again is a classic.
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  #5  
Old 05-09-2022, 04:43 PM
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Merkle's boner...
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Old 05-09-2022, 04:53 PM
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Old 05-09-2022, 04:55 PM
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Everyone knows about the boner!
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Old 05-09-2022, 05:10 PM
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It's weird that that card features a random play at third base (many years later?), with mainly a bunch of Detroit(?) players involved.
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Old 05-09-2022, 05:41 PM
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Tom Seaver Boner:
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Old 05-10-2022, 07:00 AM
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This thread reminds me of one of my favorite baseball quotes:

Baseball is like Church. Many attend, few understand.

That explanation TOTALLY misses how that play developed. Back in the day, all players normally veered away from 2nd base to get off of the field in that end of game situation. Earlier in the season Johnny Evers (EE - vers, not sounding anything like the plural of 'ever') attempted that end of game force out situation, and the umpire didn't call it. Evers and the umpire discussed it, and the umpire indicated that if it came up again, he'd be watching and he'd call it. Well it did come up, in this critical game.

Merkle was intelligent. Merkle was among the few players with whom the Giants manager would discuss baseball strategy. And that was no normal manager... it was John McGraw, among the elite of baseball strategists. Get the 4 cd set of The Glory Of Their Times, and listen to Chief Meyers discuss the play, manager McGraw, and Fred Merkle. After listening to that, you'll think that McGraw didn't chew out Merkle for a baserunning blunder, but that he perceived that Evers had out rules mastered McGraw.

I think that listening to that CD set, reading that book and a few others, should be required reading here. [/SIZE]

Last edited by FrankWakefield; 05-10-2022 at 07:02 AM.
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Old 05-10-2022, 09:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankWakefield View Post
This thread reminds me of one of my favorite baseball quotes:

Baseball is like Church. Many attend, few understand.

That explanation TOTALLY misses how that play developed. Back in the day, all players normally veered away from 2nd base to get off of the field in that end of game situation. Earlier in the season Johnny Evers (EE - vers, not sounding anything like the plural of 'ever') attempted that end of game force out situation, and the umpire didn't call it. Evers and the umpire discussed it, and the umpire indicated that if it came up again, he'd be watching and he'd call it. Well it did come up, in this critical game.

Merkle was intelligent. Merkle was among the few players with whom the Giants manager would discuss baseball strategy. And that was no normal manager... it was John McGraw, among the elite of baseball strategists. Get the 4 cd set of The Glory Of Their Times, and listen to Chief Meyers discuss the play, manager McGraw, and Fred Merkle. After listening to that, you'll think that McGraw didn't chew out Merkle for a baserunning blunder, but that he perceived that Evers had out rules mastered McGraw.

I think that listening to that CD set, reading that book and a few others, should be required reading here. [/SIZE]
This is right, but I still think the umpire, Hank O'Day, was wrong to suddenly enforce this rule (with that side understanding with Evers) at the end of the season, in a pennant race.

Keith Olbermann has been working for years to clean Fred Merkle's name of that "boner" misnomer. When O'Day was inducted into the HOF I emailed Keith and he replied by spelling out why O'Day's ruling was wrong:

Of course the key to the O'Day call is, if he really thinks that's a third out, he has to either resume the game or forfeit it to Chicago. He got it wrong no matter whether you think the premise of the play was right or wrong.

His options were:
1) Base hit, ballgame over
2) Not a base hit, resume game
3) Not a base hit, forfeit to Chicago
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  #12  
Old 05-10-2022, 09:26 AM
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Strangely enough, I was just rereading "Glory of Their Times" last night with none other than Fred Snodgrass, a player/witness and himself the victim of a "boner", describing this piece of baseball history. A couple of interesting sidebars:
1. Joe McGinnity was 3rd base coach for for the Giants. He saw what Evers was trying to do and strongly moved to intervene.
2;. Frank Chance, then player/mgr of the Cubs rushed to the umps' locker room and convinced them to return to the field and after much discussion they ruled Merkle out, the winning run forfeited and the game tied.
3. McGraw did not lambast Merkle. Rather gave him a $1,000 raise for the following season.
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Old 05-10-2022, 09:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankWakefield View Post
This thread reminds me of one of my favorite baseball quotes:

Baseball is like Church. Many attend, few understand.

That explanation TOTALLY misses how that play developed. Back in the day, all players normally veered away from 2nd base to get off of the field in that end of game situation. Earlier in the season Johnny Evers (EE - vers, not sounding anything like the plural of 'ever') attempted that end of game force out situation, and the umpire didn't call it. Evers and the umpire discussed it, and the umpire indicated that if it came up again, he'd be watching and he'd call it. Well it did come up, in this critical game.

Merkle was intelligent. Merkle was among the few players with whom the Giants manager would discuss baseball strategy. And that was no normal manager... it was John McGraw, among the elite of baseball strategists. Get the 4 cd set of The Glory Of Their Times, and listen to Chief Meyers discuss the play, manager McGraw, and Fred Merkle. After listening to that, you'll think that McGraw didn't chew out Merkle for a baserunning blunder, but that he perceived that Evers had out rules mastered McGraw.

I think that listening to that CD set, reading that book and a few others, should be required reading here. [/SIZE]
Nicely done, Frank.
(Being the, "die-hard" Cub fan; I love the, "Evers had out rules mastered McGraw" part too, lol.)

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Last edited by benge610; 05-10-2022 at 09:59 AM. Reason: added ( .... ) part
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  #14  
Old 05-10-2022, 01:32 PM
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  #15  
Old 05-10-2022, 01:35 PM
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Merkle's Boner and Snodgrass' Muff are two plays that wrongly sullied the names of two great (and intelligent) ballplayers. Chief Meyers even referred to Merkle as "the smartest man in baseball".
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Old 05-10-2022, 09:19 PM
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Thank you, Mark and Ben; I agree, Jarrod.

And it sounds like Mr. Olbermann has thoughtfully considered and correctly suggested how that situation plays out. It was a mess. Right about McGinnity heaving the ball into oblivion, and about the $1000.

From what I've read, Snodgrass didn't deserve the blame in losing that World Series game... as is mentioned.


I like this stuff, it brings the little cards to life. In a way it de-monetizes them a bit, and part of their value is tied to their legacy. That's more appealing to me than slabs, pop reports, and such.
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Old 05-11-2022, 01:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scmavl View Post
Merkle's Boner and Snodgrass' Muff are two plays that wrongly sullied the names of two great (and intelligent) ballplayers. Chief Meyers even referred to Merkle as "the smartest man in baseball".
They were two excellent players who didn't deserve the notoriety. But being the wordy fellow that I am, I have to admit that I am impressed you were able to work both 'boner' and 'muff' into the same sentence.

I feel thoroughly sullied.

Brian
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Old 05-11-2022, 06:50 AM
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Im trying to find a ticket to this game. In fact, I dont think I have ever seen one.
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  #19  
Old 05-11-2022, 08:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankWakefield View Post
Thank you, Mark and Ben; I agree, Jarrod.

And it sounds like Mr. Olbermann has thoughtfully considered and correctly suggested how that situation plays out. It was a mess. Right about McGinnity heaving the ball into oblivion, and about the $1000.

From what I've read, Snodgrass didn't deserve the blame in losing that World Series game... as is mentioned.


I like this stuff, it brings the little cards to life. In a way it de-monetizes them a bit, and part of their value is tied to their legacy. That's more appealing to me than slabs, pop reports, and such.
Thank you, Frank; for sharing a view of the hobby that I can relate to;

RE: "I like this stuff, it brings the little cards to life. In a way it de-monetizes them a bit, and part of their value is tied to their legacy. That's more appealing to me than slabs, pop reports, and such."

We all get the bug with HOF'ers, stars. teams. etc. Not to hijack the thread but I love digging into history for possible backstory, as it may relate to a player or card. "Boner" and "Muff" are well known examples but I have found so many cool adventures that keep my passion going; love your take referenced above.
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Old 05-11-2022, 08:45 AM
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I learned about it in Ken Burns' Baseball documentary, there was a full segment about it in there. Rookie mistake, and he never lived it down for the rest of his life. Brutal. And honestly, considering all the crazy people pouring onto the field, I'd bet many other players would've done the same. You've got to feel for that guy.
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Old 05-11-2022, 01:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankWakefield View Post
Thank you, Mark and Ben; I agree, Jarrod.

And it sounds like Mr. Olbermann has thoughtfully considered and correctly suggested how that situation plays out. It was a mess. Right about McGinnity heaving the ball into oblivion, and about the $1000.

From what I've read, Snodgrass didn't deserve the blame in losing that World Series game... as is mentioned.


I like this stuff, it brings the little cards to life. In a way it de-monetizes them a bit, and part of their value is tied to their legacy. That's more appealing to me than slabs, pop reports, and such.
Bingo! That is why I am still in the Game.
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Old 05-11-2022, 03:19 PM
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It was an incredibly boneheaded play any which way you slice it.

I play coed softball and a couple of years ago in the championship we were in a similar situation where we were in a tie game with 2 out and the bases loaded. A hit would win it. I was screaming at the dummies on first and second to make sure they touch the base in event of a hit. Yeah I'm that guy.
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Old 05-11-2022, 09:36 PM
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Guys... read / listen to The Glory of Their Times. Absorb what Chief Meyers had to say. Then notice how Professor Ritter Asks Snodgrass about it and how he asks about Snodgrass' play.

This wasn't a rookie mistake or a bonehead play, it was the norm for the time. Hundreds of fans pouring onto the field, the players didn't leave the field via the dugout at the Polo Grounds at that time, instead they left through gates far away in that deep center field wall. Merkle and everyone else (except for maybe Johnny Evers AFTER he'd talked with umpires about the possibility of the play) would have veered to the right of the path from first base to second base, and they'd have headed straight for the safety of the clubhouse out there past the center field gate.

Years later, with the rules clarity that came after this play, understanding had spread through the major leagues, through the minors, through college ball, and high school ball. Even today, many little leaguers don't get it, I'm sure I didn't my first year in little league. Nowadays it's a bonehead play. 110 years ago it was the expected, predictable norm.
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Old 05-11-2022, 10:05 PM
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Sports fans like to have winners and losers; heroes and scapegoats; the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Even in team sports. That is what makes sports so exciting and the fans so passionate.

Most of the heroes didn't win it by themselves, and most of the scapegoats aren't entirely the cause of the losses.

History makes the greatest heroes the most memorable and, as well, the biggest screw-ups remain memorable too.
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Old 05-12-2022, 04:45 AM
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Yeah I'm that guy.
I knew "that guy" - He played on every team that I was on from 5th grade thru High school.......

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Old 05-12-2022, 09:00 AM
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Great thread -

The bonehead play for me was O'Day's ruling, as some have said. To suddenly start calling this play by the books at a critical moment in a pennant race was an outrageous act of favoritism (whether or not it was meant that way). The bigger problem, as Bill James once wrote, is having a bunch of rules on the books that are routinely not enforced, which creates the opportunity for arbitrary and unfair decisions like this one. If it's on the books, you gotta enforce it. Otherwise you gotta get rid of it.

I wonder, does current baseball have a lot of rules that aren't enforced?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankWakefield View Post
Guys... read / listen to The Glory of Their Times. Absorb what Chief Meyers had to say. Then notice how Professor Ritter Asks Snodgrass about it and how he asks about Snodgrass' play.

This wasn't a rookie mistake or a bonehead play, it was the norm for the time. Hundreds of fans pouring onto the field, the players didn't leave the field via the dugout at the Polo Grounds at that time, instead they left through gates far away in that deep center field wall. Merkle and everyone else (except for maybe Johnny Evers AFTER he'd talked with umpires about the possibility of the play) would have veered to the right of the path from first base to second base, and they'd have headed straight for the safety of the clubhouse out there past the center field gate.

Years later, with the rules clarity that came after this play, understanding had spread through the major leagues, through the minors, through college ball, and high school ball. Even today, many little leaguers don't get it, I'm sure I didn't my first year in little league. Nowadays it's a bonehead play. 110 years ago it was the expected, predictable norm.
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Old 05-12-2022, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toledo_mudhen View Post
So I'm looking at a T206 Fred Merkle earlier today and the seller has listed it as "Merkle's Boner".

Obviously my WTF curiosity spikes and I had to google it.

Posting here as it is quite the story and I might NOT be the only person on the boards that hasn't heard it.

https://lastwordonsports.com/basebal...f-fred-merkle/
If I am not mistaken there is a Scoops card titled "Merkle Pulls Boner"
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Old 05-12-2022, 10:08 AM
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I wonder, does current baseball have a lot of rules that aren't enforced?
I don't know if it is a rule, but the first and third base coaches generally do not stand in their coaching boxes.
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  #29  
Old 05-12-2022, 03:24 PM
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Default Fred Merkle Collection

About 15 to 20 years ago one of Fred Merkle's daughters gave permission to the Lucas County Public Library (Toledo, Ohio) to display her collection of her father's baseball cards and artifacts. I remember it was full of tobacco and candy cards from the era, all devoted to Fred Merkle. I had just started collecting prewar cards at the time, so I went to the main branch to see it. it really inspired me to build a prewar collection. I wonder what ever happened to that collection. I hope that it still is the family's possession.

Here is one of my Fred Merkle cards.
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Old 05-12-2022, 09:02 PM
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Quote:
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I wonder, does current baseball have a lot of rules that aren't enforced?
The one that makes me crazy is the socks. These guys that wear long baggy pants and don’t have their socks up the proper way. There’s actually a poster in every MLB clubhouse that tells them how to wear their socks properly….the old school way.
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Old 05-13-2022, 12:55 AM
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Had a solid career but all anybody seems to remember was a "mistake" on the base paths that wasn't all that egregious in the context of what most other ballplayers of the era would have done. If Merkle was a bonehead then Johnny Evers was a f**khead. John McGraw thought Merkle was good enough to play ten seasons at first base for the Giants. I'll bet he never called him Bonehead. Rest in deserved peace, Fred Merkle.
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Old 05-13-2022, 12:16 PM
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Often forgotten in this story is National League President Harry Pulliam. McGraw issued a protest, and if Pulliam had ruled in favor of McGraw, the whole thing might have been long forgotten by now. Pulliam and McGraw had a rocky relationship, due to McGraw’s history of kicking and bullying, so perhaps that influenced Pulliam’s decision, but I don’t really think so. Pulliam felt it necessary to always back his umpires for the good of the game, and to prevent them from quitting their thankless jobs. Some think this played a role in Pulliam’s suicide less than a year later.
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Old 05-13-2022, 03:04 PM
Kaneen Kaneen is online now
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C-3PO's Boner (Or as I like to call him, "C-12PO!")

1977 Star Wars C-3PO Error Card.jpg
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Old 05-16-2022, 11:16 AM
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C-3PO's Boner (Or as I like to call him, "C-12PO!")

Attachment 516522
Well, that can't be unseen.
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Old 05-16-2022, 06:14 PM
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Default Snodgrass and Merkle's other boner

Mention has been made of Snodgrass' "$30,000 Muff" in the 1912 World Series. Interestingly enough, Merkle could have helped to bail Snodgrass out.

The 1912 World Series was between the Boston Red Sox and New York Giants. As Game 2 ended in a tie on account of darkness the best-of-seven series went for eight games. Game 8 went into extra innings when in the top of the 10th Merkle lined a one-out RBI single to put the Giants up by one. With Christy Mathewson on the bump he looked like he was lined up to be a World Series hero. But then...

In the bottom of the 10th Snodgrass dropped a fly ball to left-center that allowed the lead-off hitter, Clyde Engle, to reach second base. Oops. The Giants were still up by a run when Hall of Famer Harry Hooper came to the plate and squared to bunt. Snodgrass started cheating in behind second base in case the bunt was popped up and he needed to back-up a throw to second for a possible double play. Instead, at the least second Hooper pulled his bat back, took a full swing and hit what he himself thought would be an inside the park home run to center. Somehow Snodgrass tracked it down and made a catch described by many players later on as among the best they'd ever seen.

So now there's one out and a runner on second when Mathewson walks Steve Yerkes to put runners on first and second for Hall of Famer Tris Speaker. On the first pitch Speaker popped up in foul territory, just off the first base line. Accounts vary, but Merkle moved slightly towards the ball from his position at first as Mathewson also came towards the foul pop, and catcher Chief Meyers ran up the first baseline. The ball dropped between all three of them. Some Red Sox claimed that Mathewson called for Meyers to make the catch, thus throwing off Merkle. Some Giants claimed that Red Sox players on the bench imitated Mathewson's voice and called for Meyers. No matter, as the first baseman, Merkle should have taken charge on that foul pop. It would have been two out. Instead, with another chance Speaker lined a single to the outfield and tied the game. After an intentional walk to try and set up a double play with the bases now loaded, the Sox got a sac fly from Larry Gardner to score the World Series winning run.

Just a few years after the infamous 1908 "boner", for which I don't blame Merkle at all, he did kind of screw up on that foul pop. When Snodgrass died 62 years later, his obituary in the New York Times was headlined with "Fred Snodgrass, 86, Dead; Ball Player Muffed 1912 Fly". Sheesh...

Another interesting fact about Merkle. He played in the 1911, 1912 and 1913 World Series with the Giants, in 1916 with the Dodgers and again in 1918 with the Cubs. He was also on the regular season roster of the 1926 Yankees, who also played in the World Series (though Merkle wasn't on the post-season roster). All six of those teams lost the Series and Merkle never got a ring.

So far as I could think of, only Terry Pendleton has also played in as many World Series and never won any.
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Old 05-16-2022, 06:58 PM
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The only card item I've ever seen depicting Fred Merkle in Yankees attire, plus the only card I've seen of Brother Matthias...

There's some ballplayer named Ruth on there too.
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Old 05-16-2022, 08:47 PM
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John, good stuff there... Merkle and Pendleton.

Reminds me of the Buffalo Bills, going to the Super Bowl but not winning. So, as a player I think I'd rather go to the World Series 6 times and lose all 6 rather that play 20 years and not ever get to the World Series.
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Old 05-16-2022, 09:13 PM
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Great piece Erick.
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Original circulation E98 Master set 120/120

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https://www.flickr.com/photos/183872512@N04/
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  #39  
Old 05-18-2022, 12:36 PM
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John, good stuff there... Merkle and Pendleton.

Reminds me of the Buffalo Bills, going to the Super Bowl but not winning. So, as a player I think I'd rather go to the World Series 6 times and lose all 6 rather that play 20 years and not ever get to the World Series.
Tough call!!! I guess I'd agree with you but to keep getting that close and losing each time. Maybe two losses would be the ideal!

I always felt badly for Pendleton as the first 3 Series he went to (1985, 1987 and 1991) were all in odd-numbered years, so at that time it meant the AL had home field advantage. It all 3 of those Series Pendleton's team had a 3-2 lead and then lost Games 6 and 7 on the road. In fact, in the last two Series all seven games were won by the home team.

Even worse yet for Terry, he played with the Braves in 1994 and 1996, but in 1995 (when they won a World Series) he was with the Marlins and missed out.
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Old 05-18-2022, 01:27 PM
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I always felt badly for Pendleton as the first 3 Series he went to (1985, 1987 and 1991) were all in odd-numbered years, so at that time it meant the AL had home field advantage. It all 3 of those Series Pendleton's team had a 3-2 lead and then lost Games 6 and 7 on the road. In fact, in the last two Series all seven games were won by the home team.
Even worse, Pendleton should've had the game winning RBI to win the 1991 World Series, if not for the most underrated play in World Series history: Knoblauch's fake out of Lonnie Smith:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eM5kHJUBRSE
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Old 05-18-2022, 02:16 PM
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Even worse, Pendleton should've had the game winning RBI to win the 1991 World Series, if not for the most underrated play in World Series history: Knoblauch's fake out of Lonnie Smith:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eM5kHJUBRSE
Oh yes, that's right! I remembered Lonnie Smith was the runner but forget it was Pendleton at the plate for that play. Ouch.

And to go back to the 1985 World Series, Pendleton's team lost Game 6 in part due to Denkinger's infamous call at first. And very similarly to Merkle in Game 8 of the 1912 World Series, while a ton of people remember Denkinger's blown call not so many remember that on the very next pitch Steve Balboni popped up in foul territory near first base and the ball wound up falling between the first baseman and the catcher (Jack Clark and Darrell Porter). Given another chance, Balboni then lined a single to the outfield to get two on with none out, giving more momentum to the Royals.
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Old 05-18-2022, 02:19 PM
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Let's don't forget good old Steve Bartman. To me the goat is Alex Gonzalez who booted a sure double play that would have resulted in the Cubs still leading 3-1.
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Old 05-22-2022, 09:35 AM
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i was just going thru a Auction--and remember this thread.
So, i also got interested and read the info around this excitement.
Wow.
Heres the xtra tad i was looking at:

Rare original Type I photograph capturing a heated argument between the New York Giants and Chicago Cubs during their historic final game on October 8, 1908, to decide the National League pennant. This is, to the best of our knowledge, one of only three known images from this game, and the only example of this photo to appear at auction. The game was a make-up of the famous “Merkle’s Boner” game on September 23rd. In that game, the Giants had seemingly defeated the Cubs in the ninth inning on a two-out base hit by Al Bridwell. However, Fred Merkle, who was on first base at the time, failed to touch second base before exiting the field (a common practice at the time). Second baseman Johnny Evers noticed this, called for the ball (there is some dispute whether he retrieved the actual ball Bridwell hit), and stepped on second for the force out, thereby negating the winning run. After a lengthy argument by the Giants, the umpires upheld the call. They also decided that it was too late to start another inning and declared the game a tie. The importance of the game became apparent at the end of the season when both clubs finished tied for first. As a result, National League president Harry Pulliam ordered that the game be replayed on October 8th at the Polo Grounds. The Giants, of course, lost the game, thereby forever immortalizing Fred Merkle’s name in the annals of baseball history.

The image pictures numerous members of the Giants and Cubs huddled together around home plate as the umpires watch the fracas. We don’t know the nature of the dispute, but Cubs catcher Johnny Kling looks particularly upset. There are no descriptive markings on the photo to identify the game or date (we know it is 1908, because the uniform style worn by the Cubs here was used only during that season). However, we can accurately determine it is from the October 8th makeup game because we found a nearly identical image, taken by George Grantham Bain, that is housed in the Library of Congress. (The Bain photograph pictures nearly the exact same scene as the offered photo, only it was taken either a few seconds earlier or later, because the position of the players is slightly different.) Bain’s photo is clearly marked by his customary etching in the negative that reads "Dispute - Giant - Cub Final Game '08."

It is incredible that given the importance of the October 8th makeup game that so few photos from the contest exist. Aside from the offered photo and the Bain example housed in the Library of Congress, the only other image we know of is that featured on a real-photo panoramic postcard that pictures a game-in-progress scene. This is both a rare and historically important Type I photo that would be welcome addition to any advanced baseball photograph, New York Giants, or Chicago Cubs collection. The photo (6.75x4.75 inches) displays a “Spooner & Wells, Inc.” credit stamp on the reverse, along with a handwritten number in pencil. There is a tiny chip in the lower-left corner, a few minor surface wrinkles, and adhesive residue on the reverse. In Excellent condition overall. PSA encapsulated as Type I Authentic.
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