The Great Zim and the 'Split Century,' Part 3

This is a third of 4 parts of a detailed account of an event that is, to my knowledge, unique in the history of baseball: when Heinie Zimmerman of the Cubs was offered $100 gold certificate if he could play for 2 weeks in June and July of 1913 without being thrown out of a game by an umpire.

An anonymous fan provided half of the certificate and promised to give Zimmerman the other half if he remained on good behavior through all 14 days.

I believe that the time spent reading it will be richly rewarded.



A few hours before the Cubs opened a 5-game series at Cincinnati on June 25, the half of the $100 certificate held by Zimmerman became 2 quarter certificates.

"[W]hen Joe Tinker and Mordecai Brown, former members of the Cubs, drove to the hotel this morning to make a call on their old pals, Heine, of course, had to show them the half of a yellow back," the Tribune explained.

"Tinker had read of it, but thought there was some joke to it and when he got his hands on the piece of paper he deliberately tore the one-half in two.

"Heine leaped upon the Reds' manager and wrenched the prize money away, but now instead of one-half he has two quarters of a yellow back.

"Heine says not another soul will have a chance to get a peek at the bill until he earns the other half."


The Cubs lost the game, 12-4, with Zimmerman managing only a walk in 5 trips to the plate.

"He went through the game in spite of the hot weather and never made a kick on any decision," the Tribune noted. "Bill Brennan, who called the balls and strikes, was not in a pleasant mood, either, for he could hardly breathe down in the Reds' park, because not a bit of the breeze could get in.

"Brennan got so irritated once at things that were going in the Cubs' bench that he whipped off his mask and said something unintelligible in loud and angry words, but he was not talking to Heine, for Heine was lounging off to one side, bothering nobody."



The following afternoon, Brown made his first start against the Cubs. He had won 188 games and compiled a 1.80 earned run average in 10 seasons as a Cub, winning at least 20 games annually from 1906-11, before slumping to 5-6 in 1912. Released in October, he had joined a minor league team in Louisville, which in January traded him to the Reds.

Brown shut out his old team for 5 innings. In the sixth, with 1 out and a runner on third, Zimmerman hit a screaming liner directly at the left fielder, "who seemed set for a catch," according to the Tribune, "but the ball curved down and escaped through his feet, going to the fence for a three bagger."

Zimmerman then scored on a fly ball. But the Cubs managed only 1 other run, in the ninth, as they fell, 8-3.

The gift triple was Zimmerman's only hit in 4 at bats against Brown, who went the distance to earn his 200th career victory -- a number nowhere to be found in the Tribune's account of the game!


"Heine was quite a model young man in today's game," the paper remarked, "although his team was being licked and the weather was distressingly hot. He never frowned at the umpire once during the combat and played with a spirit and dash that was admirable.

"Zim's behavior during the last three or four days has been such that Secretary Williams has confidence in his ability to win the prize. At least Williams lent money to Heine last night.

"Perhaps Heine could have gotten the little loan anyway, but with the half century in his hip pocket and the other part of it more than half won, he looked like a good risk and got the money no questions asked.

"Up to date the great Zim has earned $57.1428 of the prize of $100. He is so sure now of winning that he has planned just where most of it will be spent. One may expect to see the star clouter wearing a new summer outing suit for one thing. He expects to spring it July 4."



On Friday, June 27, the Cubs lost again, this time by 5-1. Since the second of their back-to-back shutouts of the Phillies on the 18th, they were 1-6, having won only the rain-shortened game at St. Louis.

The Reds' pitcher was Rube Benton -- no relation to former Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton, whose image appeared on the $100 gold certificate. This Benton limited the Cubs to 4 hits but walked 7.

Two of the walks came in the third inning. A bunt and a ground out produced a run, making the score 4-1. "The round ended when [Armando] Marsans made a spectacular running catch of Heine Zim's tremendous drive to deep center."

That was as close as Zimmerman came to a hit in his 4 at bats.


Already mad at Marans for robbing him of a triple or more, Zimmerman grew madder later "at young [John] Dodge, the healthy looking youngster who is playing third for Joe Tinker.

"In the sixth inning Heine pulled a vicious smash down the third base line, and it sure looked like a double but this youngster made a lunge back of third, stabbed the ball, then heaved Heine out at first by half a step."

By behaving until the final out, Zimmerman raised his possible earnings to $64.2857.

He "invested in a couple of new shirts because he had spoiled some of his best ones by cutting the sleeves out just to see if they would be much cooler that way."



The heat was so intense that Charlie Smith, the Cubs' pitcher, collapsed and was not revived for nearly an hour.

Smith "seemed strong when he pitched the eighth inning," according to the Tribune. "Between rounds Lefty Leifield and 'Red' Corriden fanned both Smith and [catcher Roger] Bresnahan with towels and mopped their heads with cold water.

"Smith sat on the bench until the ninth inning was started, when Evers excused him as a pinch hitter was sent in to hit for him. He went to the clubhouse unassisted, but when the other boys came in a few minutes later they found him in a heap on the floor."

After being worked on for 60 minutes by the team's trainer and a doctor who had attended the game, Smith "recovered in time to get back to the hotel for dinner, but didn't care about eating."


Never heard of Charlie Smith? Me neither, until I researched this story.

The right hander was 33 years old when he lost that day at Cincinnati, in his 11th game and eighth start of the season. The defeat made his record 4-4. In the wins, he had allowed 3 earned runs in 35.2 innings, capped by a 7-hit shutout in his previous start.

Smith had been pitching in the big leagues since 1902, when he made his debut with Cleveland, at age 22. He spent 4 seasons with the Senators and 3 with the Red Sox, who sold him to the minor league team in Newark, N.J., in May of 1911.

Three months later, Newark sold him to the Cubs, for whom he would play 4 seasons, compiling a record of 191-19, with a 3.12 ERA, in 63 games, including 32 starts, of which he completed 13. He finished 23 games and saved 1.

Smith ended 1913 at 7-9, 2.55, then went 2-4, 3.86 in 1914, after which he was released. He joined San Francisco of the Pacific Coast League, was 17-8, 3.09, then retired, at age 35.

His final Major League numbers were 66-87, 2.81, in 212 games over 10 seasons. His ERA+ was 94; his WAR, 8.5.

Smith was only 48 when he died of pneumonia in 1929. His death certificate lists his profession as a pitcher for the Cubs.



Saturday was "another sweltering day," the Tribune reported, "but Cincinnati is so worked up over the prowess of the Reds that fully 4,500 natives went to the hot ball park in preference to sitting at home in the shade and sipping cool drinks. The thermometer at street level was well over the hundred mark, and what little breeze was stirring couldn't get into the ball yard because of the big concrete grandstand."

Neither team made a hit for 3 innings. Then, with 2 out in the fourth, Zimmerman "pulled such a hot smash down third base way that it nearly tore a hand off young Dodge, the promising third sacker for the Reds. The ball caromed off to the stand for a double and Heine Zim wound up on second base crowing."

A walk and a triple resulted in 2 runs, which was all the Cubs needed, as they ended their 4-game losing streak with a 3-1 triumph.


"There wasn't a chance for the umpire to put Heine Zimmerman out of the game today," said a sidebar in the Tribune. "Heine was too good natured. . . .

"Heine has gone through ten of the fourteen days required for him to be good and the other four, he declares, will be soft, for he will not take a chance of saying a word to an umpire even if he calls a third strike on a ball that bounces over the plate.

"So far the great Zim has earned $71.42 6-7, which he admits is some sum to get for doing nothing except to keep his mouth shut. There's a bare possibility that Heine will have formed the habit of keeping still during the two weeks and will never get put out again."



Zimmerman made 2 hits, both singles, in the series finale, but the Cubs returned to their losing ways.

They rallied from a 3-0 deficit to take a 4-3 lead midway through the fifth inning, but the Reds broke the game open by scoring 5 runs in the bottom of the inning.

The Cubs replied with 2 runs in the top of the sixth, starting with a leadoff hit by Zimmerman against a new pitcher, none other than Brown. But "Three Finger" blanked his former team the rest of the way, saddling the Cubs with a 9-6 loss.

The defeat sent them home with a 2-6 record on the 10-day road trip and an overall record just 1 game above .500, 33-32.

When the trip began, the Cubs had been in third place, 5.5 games out of first. When it ended, they were fourth, 8 games behind.


During the trip, Zimmerman batted just .250, with 3 singles, 2 doubles and 2 triples in 28 at bats.

On the other hand, he was "so confident now of winning the other half of the $100 yellow back that he think he'll order a new suit of clothes as soon as he gets into Chicago tomorrow," the Tribune said.

"Heine's logic is good, too, for he says it will be impossible for him to lose his temper now after keeping it for the last ten days when the team has been playing in such poor luck and such terrific heat.

"Heine can't think of anything that could happen in the remaining three days of the two weeks that would excite him enough to cause even a cross look at one of the umpires. . . . The only time he was at all fumed [against the Reds] was when he swung at one of Brownie's curve balls in his last last time, and, catching it on the end of the bat, sent a little roller to the second baseman.

"So far, Heine has earned $78.57 1-7 of the $100 bill, and if he gets through three more days without getting put out of the game by an umpire, he will be rewarded with the other half at Cub park on Thursday."

That was the not the "Cub Park" or "Cubs Park" that would be the name of today's Wrigley Field later on. It was the West Side Grounds, the Cubs' home park for some games since 1893 and all games since the following year.



Returning home immediately made a big difference for Zimmerman and the Cubs.

On the final day of June, they routed the Pirates, 12-2.

In Monday's series opener, Zimmerman contributed 2 singles, a double, a walk and a stolen base. He also was called out at home on a close play "and didn't say a word in protest to the umpire.

"Not in the twelve days of strife to earn the other half of that $100 yellow back has he been in such a stirring situation. It was sufficient to cause a row, but Heine remembered his good resolutions, and accepted the decision without a word."

The play came in an unspecified inning, with 2 outs, Zimmerman on third and Al Bridwell on first.

"The latter started to steal while [Howie] Camnitz was standing the slab, having made no motion to pitch the ball. Of course, Camnitz turned and shot the ball to [Jim] Viox on second, and the instant he did Heine made a dash for the plate.

"He came in viciously, feet first, and [catcher Bob] Coleman met him with the ball. It was close, but Umpire [Earnest] Quigley called Heine out.

"The star clouter simply got up, brushed the dirt off his clothes, and walked out to his position on third base. . . .

"After going through what he did yesterday without protesting, the betting is 10 to 1 that Heine will win. . . .

"Only $14.28 4-7 of the $100 is still out of Heine's hands, the amount earned so far amounting to $85.71 3-7."


TOMORROW: The final 2 days -- and what came after

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