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The 19 greatest starts in Cubs history, No. 18: Orval Overall, June 26, 1906

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A great start during a great Cubs season.

Photo by Buyenlarge/Getty Images

In the first installment of this series, we learned about a great start made by Bob Wicker, one of the more obscure Cubs of the first decade of the 20th Century.

On June 2, 1906, Wicker was traded to the Reds for Orval Overall.

It didn’t take long for Overall to make an impact for the Cubs, who were on their way to a still-MLB record 116-win season.

Overall allowed 12 runs (it’s uncertain how many of those were earned) in his first three Cubs starts, all on the road. Then he made his first start in front of the home folks June 26 at West Side Grounds, and it’s nearly certain all of those fans went home happy.

Overall threw a three-hit shutout against the Cardinals, striking out 11. That was one shy of the then-franchise record of 12, set by Jake Weimer in 1904.

The un-bylined Tribune recap said of Overall’s gem:

Overall mowed down the Cardinals in relentless fashion. Only nine faced him in three innings, and five of those were swept away from the plate on strikes. Not until the fourth did a visitor reach base; then Tinker heaved Burch’s grounder a bit too wide for Hofman to take care of. A sacrifice hit and a wild pitch put the runner on third, with one out. Arndt slapped a hot one to Overall, who partially stopped it. Tinker dashed in, and just missing a collision with Klem, who was behind the slab, completed the play at first. Burch could have scored from third had he foreseen how the play was going, but Overall’s stab at the ball fooled him into staying on third, where he died when Smoot grounded to Evers.

At no other time was there a chance for a Cardinal run. Not until the fifth did the visitors get a safe hit, and in the nine innings only four Mound City builders reached first.

They don’t write ‘em like that anymore, that’s for sure.

In his six seasons with the Cubs, Overall posted a 1.94 ERA in 163 games and 1135 innings. His 86 wins rank 25th in franchise history, and his three-hit shutout in Game 5 of the 1908 World Series made him the last Cubs winning pitcher in a clinching World Series game until 2016.

Overall pitched for the Cubs through 1910, sat out the 1911 and 1912 seasons in a contract dispute (a fairly common thing in an era where many could make more money doing work outside baseball), and returned in 1913 before retiring from the game and getting into banking in California. He died in 1947, aged 66.