The Dodgers All-Star Shortstop Maury Wills Gets His 104th Stolen Base
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 3 – WILLS STEALS AGAIN – Maury Wills of the Dodgers slides safely into third for his 104th stolen base of the season, as the throw from catcher Ed Bailey of the Giants bounces past third baseman Jim Davenport and into left field. Wills kept going and scored on the action to put the Dodgers ahead 4-2. (AP Wirephoto)
Maury Wills lead the National League six straight times in stolen bases from 1960 -1965. When he shattered Ty Cobb’s 47-year-old single season record of 96 stolen bases in 1962, with 104 steals, Wills revolutionized the game. Teams looked at Wills style of play and realized they could change the outcome of the game by having their own speedsters.
Eventually Lou Brock and Rickey Henderson would each succeed in establishing new stolen base records of 118 and 130 bases respectively. But it was Maury Wills who brought back the art of the steal from the deadball era of baseball. In addition to an all-star selection and gold glove award Wills was named the National League’s Most Valuable Player in 1962.
One interesting side note: Wills got caught stealing only 13 times in 1962. In his 96 steals, Ty Cobb was caught 38 times in 1915.
Snow Doesn’t Stop A Tiger Victory
In the old days of baseball when there were fewer games and no playoff rounds, the baseball season started in mid-April. In part, the later start date was to try and prevent what happened to the Tigers on Saturday, April 15, 1911. The Tigers were playing their third game of the year at their home field, Bennett Park, against the Chicago White Sox on what started out as a cold and raw day.
One sportswriter said the game was played in “conditions that were unprecedented.”
Patsy Dougherty triples for the White Sox.
The snow started to fall in the top of the sixth. The White Sox had an opportunity to break a scoreless tie when Patsy Dougherty led off the sixth inning with a solid triple. Continue reading
The “Georgia Peach” Ty Cobb, Plays In The Windy City
I wonder if baseball fans recognize greatness early on in a player’s career? Ty Cobb started his major league career with the Detroit Tigers in 1905 and had his first breakout season in 1907 at the age of 20 when he led the American League in hits, stolen bases, RBI’s and a .350 batting average. The photograph above is from 1907, taken at Southside Park in Chicago, home to the White Sox from 1900-1910. So did the fans in Chicago realize they were watching a player who would electrify baseball for the next twenty years?
One thing you notice by looking at Ty Cobb is that he had a unique batting stance. His legs and feet would many times be planted way ahead of home plate and his hands spread apart on the bat. It enabled him to spray balls all over the field and get to the pitch before it could do what the pitcher wanted it to. He hit .366, the highest career batting average ever by a major leaguer.
Here Cobb plays against the White Sox in 1908 at Southside Park in front of a packed house. Once again notice how far ahead Cobb is standing in front of the plate. One criticism of Cobb besides his nasty disposition, was that he didn’t hit a lot of home runs like Babe Ruth. Cobb bristled at that comparison, saying anyone could hit home runs, it took talent to be a spray hitter like he was.
On May 5, 1925 visiting St. Louis against the Browns, Cobb told a reporter in the dugout that “today for the first time my career I’m going to go for home runs.” The comment is apocryphal, but that day Cobb went six for six. Home runs? He hit three.
An Unlikely Catalyst Causes a Baseball Strike – Other Players Rally Around the Unpopular Ty Cobb
On Wednesday May 15, 1912 The Detroit Tigers were playing the New York Yankees at Hilltop Park in upper Manhattan when one of the most infamous incidents in baseball history occurred.
Ty Cobb, the star outfielder for the Tigers was incited by a fan to go into the stands and pummel him.
The fan, Claude Lucker (alternately spelled by contemporary papers as Lueker or Leuker) worked as a page in the office of Tammany boss “Big Tom” Foley. From the onset of the game Lucker was being particularly obnoxious according to all accounts. Cobb and Lucker exchanged nasty barbs and Cobb warned Lucker to stop calling him names or he would come into the stands to take care of him personally. By the fourth inning Cobb had had enough and he jumped into the left field stands and started administering a beating and no one seemed to interfere.
Sticks and stones were probably not as harmful to Cobb as the names which could hurt him – especially when the racist outfielder was called a “half-nigger” by Lucker, which was what apparently drove him over the edge.
It should be noted that Lucker had a machine press accident when he was younger and was missing one hand and had Continue reading