The World Series was basically created so that team owners could get more lucrative butts in seats. Although a tiny bit of video footage from the 1909 World Series does exist, those not fortunate to be in Forbes Field or Detroit’s Bennett Field could only follow the games through gatherings where a mechanical board would be updated from telegraphed results. The photo’s from 1919, but I imagine it wasn’t that much different ten years before that, and this interesting article about early baseball broadcasting compares it to today’s ESPN gamecasts. The more things change, right?
Anyway, let’s see what you know about the 1909 Pirates.
The 1909 Pirates still hold what record?
A. Most runs scored in a season B. Most Hall of Fame players on one team C. Best winning percentage by an eventual World Series champion D. Most consectutive wins in a season
We all know that you can win a lot of games and choke in the postseason (cough Seattle Mariners cough). The Pirates had a .724 winning percentage that year, but unlike other teams with that percentage, they won the whole thing. The closest any team has come to that were the legendary 1927 Yankees, who had a .714 winning percentage.
What Pirate led the 1909 National League in runs scored?
A. Fred Clarke B. Tommy Leach C. Honus Wagner D. Chief Wilson
Wee Tommy, as he was nicknamed, scored 126 runs that year. Honus couldn’t win everything, you know.
Honus Wagner was fifth in home runs in the National League that season. How many did he hit?
A. 20 B. 12 C. 15 D. 5
Tommy Leach actually hit one more homer than Honus, and Red Murray of the Giants was the home run king that season with a whopping ... seven. All hail the dead ball era.
Rookie right-hander Babe Adams, the star of the 1909 World Series, holds this distinction:
A. First pitcher to win three World Series games B. First pitcher to strike out fifteen in a World Series game C. First pitcher to hit the winning run in a World Series D. First rookie pitcher to start and win a World Series Game Seven
It would take nearly a hundred years before John Lackey, then with the Angels, did the same in 2002. In other news, somehow I forgot the Angels had a World Series win, even though I’ve mentioned it here. I blame that on not personally knowing any Angels fans. I’ve been to whatever the Angels’ park is being called these days, so I do know Halos fans exist.
What team got beaten the most by the Pirates that year?
A. Boston Doves B. St. Louis Cardinals C. Brooklyn Superbas D. Philadelphia Phillies
The Pirates’ record against the lowly Doves, who eventually evolved into the Atlanta Braves, was 20-1 in 1909. I swear that team holds the record for most name changes ever; I got tired reading the Wikipedia entry before I hit the 1920s, no lie.
Trivia Tuesday is taking next week off, but we’ll still have some past Pirates content courtesy of Brad Balukjian, author of the new (and really good) book The Wax Pack—see you then!