October 12

This Day in History

Sports

Oct 12, 1929:

Athletics score 10 in eighth inning of championship game

On October 12, 1929, the Philadelphia Athletics score 10 runs in a single inning of a World Series game against the Chicago Cubs. They went on to win the game by two runs, taking a 3-1 lead in the series. They won the championship, their first since 1913, in the fifth game.

The series began with what seemed like an odd strategic decision on the part of the A’s. Instead of starting pitcher Lefty Grove—the best arm in the American League—in the first game, Philadelphia manager Connie Mack decided to put injured veteran Howard Ehmke on the mound. Ehmke had only pitched 55 innings in the regular season—in fact, Mack had fired him in August. But then, after Ehmke promised that he had "one more good game" in his bum shoulder, Mack decided to let him spend the fall traveling up and down the East Coast, watching the Cubs play. It was a smart move: Chicago had great hitters, but by the time the Series rolled around Ehmke knew them by heart, and he used his erratic sidearm to take them out one by one. He pitched all nine innings of Game 1, struck out a record 13 batters and didn’t allow a run until the last inning. The A’s won 3-1.

Philadelphia won the second game 9-3 (aces Grove and George Earnshaw pitched) and lost the third 3-1. Then came the fourth game, one of the strangest in World Series history. After the seventh inning, the Cubs were winning 8-0 and ready to tie the series at two games apiece. But in the eighth, Chicago’s team collapsed. Thirteen batters and five pitchers later, the A’s had scored 10 runs. (Most excruciatingly, outfielder Hack Wilson had lost a ball in the sun and allowed a three-run inside-the-park homer.) Grove pitched two perfect innings to seal Philly’s victory. The A’s were on their way to a championship.

In the next game, the Cubs were up 2-0 in the eighth, until Max Bishop singled and Mule Haas homered, tying the game. After a double, an intentional walk and another double, the A’s had won the game and the series. (Meanwhile, at least one newspaper had been so unimpressed with the A’s lackluster play in the early innings that they’d reported the Cubs’ victory and rolled the presses before the seventh inning had even ended. As a result, 10,000 copies of the Springfield Daily News had to go into the garbage.)

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