Baseball In A Blizzard – The Detroit Tigers 1911 Snow Game

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.

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. But Jimmy Callahan grounded out weakly and Lee Tannehill hit a pop fly for the second out. Dougherty took matters into his own hands and tried to steal home and was thrown out on a close play at the plate.

Detroit Tigers Play in Snow storm 1911 b

The Tigers Davy Jones bats with snow swirling around him.

In the bottom of the sixth inning the snow started falling at a faster rate. In the photograph above, Tigers left fielder Davy Jones comes to bat while White Sox catcher Billy Sullivan and umpire Fred Perrine await a pitch from Sox hurler Jim Scott. At this point many observers in the ball park thought the game should have been called off.

Detroit Tigers Play in Snowstorm 1911 a

Davy Jones scurries back to first base during the snow storm.

The game was scoreless until the bottom of the seventh when the snow started falling so heavily that a snow curtain developed in the air and it became difficult to see the ball. Ty Cobb singled and then Sam Crawford hit a grounder to first baseman Tex Jones. White Sox shortstop Rollie Zelder dropped the throw from Jones and everyone was safe. Another grounder by Chick Lathers was hit at second baseman Amby McConnell, who tagged Crawford out, but made a wild throw attempting the double play, allowing Cobb to score. The Tigers then scored another run to make it 2-0.

Remember, these are the days in which a baseball was used for an entire game and was never thrown out of play. So now by the bottom of the eighth inning, the baseball was covered with frost and wet snow. Davy Jones reached base when he hit a ball that got lost in the snow. Donie Bush walked and Ty Cobb who had gone two for three stepped up to the plate. The wind and snow had become a completely blinding blizzard. From behind the plate Cobb, Sullivan and Perrine could not even see the pitcher. That was it. An hour and a half after the game had started, umpire Perrine told both teams to leave the field.

The “blizzard game” was over.

3 thoughts on “Baseball In A Blizzard – The Detroit Tigers 1911 Snow Game

  1. Laura G. Lively

    Thanks for posting I didn’t know about this game! My grandfather, Jack Lively, was a pitcher on the 1911 team.

  2. Gail

    this is a great picture of Davy Jones batting in the snowstorm. Thanks for the background story.

    Any idea where I can purchase a print of this?


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