When Cubs' stalling resulted in forfeit

As long as the rule existed that a losing team had to complete 5 innings at bat or a game was wiped from the records, many teams on the short end of a score after a few innings tried to prevent the games from becoming official.

Call it "stall ball."

Their attempts to stave off defeat frequently became comical, if not downright absurd.

One of the most egregious efforts was by the Cubs, on July 6, 1913.

Here is the account in the next day's Chicago Tribune of what transpired on that Sunday afternoon at the West Side Grounds.






Riot and Disorder Mark Finish

of Farce Contest; Evers

Target of Jeers.




Arbiter Puts Sudden Stop to Bur-

lesque After Warning Local

Manager Twice.



There was riot and disorder at the west side ball park yesterday when the Cubs forfeited the second game of a double header to St. Louis after turning it into one of the worst farces ever seen on a ball field.

The Cubs won the first game, 6 to 0, and it was agreed to call the second game at 5 o'clock so the Cardinals could catch an early train for Boston. It was 3:45 o'clock when the second contest was started.

In the opening inning St. Louis scored three runs after exhausting fifteen minutes or more of the time.

Immediately the Cubs purposely began delay the game, with the hope that 5 o'clock would come before five innings could be finished, thereby avoiding defeat, for in that case it would not be a complete game.

Crowd Jeers Chicago Players.

The crowd of fully 12,000 persons immediately began jeering the Chicago players for their unsportsmanlike conduct.

Umpires Mal Eason and Bill Brennan each warned Manager [Johnny] Evers twice that if the stalling were continued the game would be forfeited to St. Louis. In spite of the warnings, Manager Evers himself deliberately stalled on a play at the opening of the fourth inning, and Umpire Eason promptly declared the game forfeited.

The scene that followed was such as has never been seen in Chicago before. Manager Evers ran and placed in front of Eason, taking hold of the umpire's shoulders and protesting vigorously.

Fully 4,000 fans rushed out on the field and surrounded the pair, but the peculiar part of it all was that the crowd was against Evers and in favor of the umpire.

Hundreds of fans patted Eason on the back, and finally, when they made an opening for him to walk through the grandstand, the entire crowd applauded and cheered him for his action, although it had taken a game away from the home team.

On the other, the mass of fans on the field followed the Cubs' manager to the clubhouse, hurling jeers at him, and for a time it looked as if he was in danger of being attacked.

Crowd Demands Its Money.

Up in the grandstand in front of the club's offices the crowd jammed and shouted for its money back until it was necessary for a dozen of the users to bar the door of the president's office to prevent the irate fans from entering.

Only two or three policemen were present, and they finally had to take a hand to get the crowd to move. Many left vowing "never again" and giving cheers for Charley Comiskey [owner of the White Sox].

The little tricks played by the Cubs to kill time began in the first inning, just after the Cardinals had made three runs. They weren't so marked, however, until the second inning was on, when Evers displayed his art. The Cardinals had scored one more run in their half of the second and of course it looked like an impossibility for the Cubs to overcome that lead.

The Cubs did score one run in the last of the second and had two men on the bases when it came for pitcher [Orval] Overall to bat. The big hurler took his position slowly and after one strike had been called Manager Evers ran out from the bench and stopped the game, taking out Overall and substituting [catcher] Roger Bresnahan as pinch hitter.

Roger Takes His Time.

Roger was away down in the corner of center field warming up pitchers, and the bat boy was sent down to get him. Roger met the boy out in right field, then had to run back to the clubhouse after something, then walk all the way around to the home bench, select a bat, and walk to the batters' box.

At least five minutes was consumed in making this change. When Roger was approaching the plate he was seen to fumble in his hip pocket and pull a handkerchief part way out.

Finally he stepped into the box, then just when the pitcher was ready to wind up, Roger stepped out and whipped out his 'kerchief as if to wipe some dust out of his right eye.

This was too much for Umpire Eason to stand and he ordered pitcher [Slim] Sallee to proceed. Sallee pitched a ball over the middle of the plate and the umpire called it strike two, then Roger back back lively, ready to hit the next one.

When the third inning began the stalling increased. [The Cardinals' Mike] Mowrey started by accidentally making a base hit to left field. On the first ball pitched he started to steal second, going slow with the idea of being caught.

[Catcher Jimmy] Archer pegged the ball down there, but neither [second baseman] Evers nor [shortstop Red] Corriden covered the base. The ball went to the outfield, and Mowrey kept on, jogging around hoping to be tagged at third. [Tommy] Leach shot the ball back to Evers, and he had to relay to [Art] Phelan, who tagged out the runner.

Koney Poles "Home Run."

Ed Konetchy followed with a fly to left center. Mike Mitchell went after the ball just slowly enough to miss it. It rolled to the fence and Koney kept on running, reaching the home plate just ahead of the ball.

The inning finally was completed with a fly ball to [Frank] Schulte, and after making the catch he tossed the ball in to Evers. Johnny carefully laid it down in the grass out in right field and walked to the bench, thus making it necessary for one of the Cardinals to go out after it, causing further delay.

When Archer got the ball after Koney's home run he pegged it wildly to third base, and the ball rolled away out in left field. Evers walked after it and carried in into the infield.

Another time, a foul fly was raised off first base. [Vic] Saier ran almost to the box seats, and although he has caught hundreds similar to this, he missed this one, apparently intentionally.

Right of the midst of all this stalling, while the Cubs were at bat, there was a fight between two spectators in the boxes just behind the Cubs' bench. All the Cubs rushed out and some of them climbed to the roof of the bench.

Some of the women seated in that box scrambled out on the field to avoid the fight, and the game was delayed still further while the umpires went over to help restore order. Miller Huggins, manager of the Cardinals, rushed over to the scene and demanded the umpires let the fight alone and proceed with the game.

Reulbach Enters Burlesque.

At the start of the third inning [Ed] Reulbach was called to the slab to replace Overall, and Big Ed continued to warm up down by the clubhouse as long as possible, then walked as slowly and with as short steps as he could take to the middle of the diamond, where he proceeded to warm up as much longer as the umpire would allow.

The climax finally came at the start of the fourth inning. There still was about twenty minutes left to play, fifty minutes having been consumed in completing three innings.

Ivy Wingo, the Cardinals' catcher, was the first batter up in the fourth, and the only chance for the other two innings to be played by 5 o'clock lay in getting out as quickly as possible.

Consequently Wingo tapped the first pitched ball on a nice little bound right to pitcher Reulbach. Big Ed knocked the ball down with one hand, pawed it out of reach with the other, then making a mad scramble for it, heaved it over Saier's head to the grand stand.

The ball caromed off the front of the boxes and bounded back into the grass behind Evers. Wingo just kept on running slowly, and when Evers picked up the ball Wingo was rounding second. John could have tossed the ball easily to Phelan and headed the man off at third, but instead he just walked into the diamond carrying it while Wingo strolled to third.

Forfeits Game to Cards.

Immediately Eason jerked off his mask, walked out to the middle of the diamond, where he consulted for a moment with his assistant, Brennan. Then he turned to the grand stand and announced the game was forfeited to St. Louis.

Manager Evers was seen in the clubhouse after it was over and had the following to say: "St. Louis started the stalling. We didn't do anything that wasn't legitimate until Wingo deliberately jogged around the bases trying to get put out. Then I refused to throw the ball.

"Why, I ever had them start the game five minutes earlier than was necessary so there would be more time to play. I suppose [Cubs President Charlie] Murphy will protest the game, but I guess it will do no good."

According to that, the manager considers all the other stalling, except the final instance, was legitimate, even if not good sportsmanship. His point in hurrying the game is not plain, for he didn't know then that St. Louis would get away in front.

The Cub president was asked what he thought of the affair and refused to comment on it, but expressed the belief that the umpire had done the right thing, providing he had properly warned the manager before hand.



Murphy did file a protest, as reported in the Tribune on Tuesday:


In his letter of protest of [National League] President [Thomas] Lynch, Murphy declares the Cards made a farce of the game by walking around the bases in the second inning in order to be retired and hurry the game. He also cites a section of the rules which authorizes the umpire to forfeit a game whenever one of the teams refuses to continue play.

According to Murphy's version of the matter, the Cards' actions were equal to their refusal to play -- wherefore, in all justice, the game should have been forfeited to the Cubs in the second round. He declared he would take the matter before the [Major League] board of directors, if necessary, to get a final ruling.

Regarding the tactics employed by Manager Evers to delay the contest, Murphy said that really should not enter into the discussion, as the umpire should have called a halt before the Trojan's actions brought on the near riot.

After wiring his protest to National League headquarters in New York, Murphy hit upon another happy thought and sent a supplementary telegram, filing charges against the umpires connected with Sunday's fiasco.

[After reproducing the telegrams in full, the story continued.]

The section of the rule referred to by Murphy in his supplementary wire states, in substance, that the umpires must enforce the rules, regardless of their personal opinion.

Also in his extensive letter to Lynch the Cub president declares Evers was pushed away from the plate by Huggins while two managers were arguing with the umpires. Just what connection that might have with the matter is not stated, but the whole trend of Murphy's communication seems to indicate that the Cards were wholly responsible for the mixup, and that the Cubs merely were retaliating when they started the "stalling" which resulted in the forfeiting of the game.



In his collection of notes accompanying the story in Monday's Tribune, Weller had written, "It is probable that Manager Evers will draw a suspension for the part he played in yesterday's farce, and, unfortunately, if it comes it will keep him out of the series with the Giants."

But when the series between the third-place Cubs (40-34) and first-place Giants (47-23) began at the Polo Grounds on Tuesday afternoon, Evers was on the field and directing the Cubs -- whereas Giants Manager John McGraw was completing a suspension of his own.

"Manager Evers received notice of a fine of $50 imposed on him by President Lynch by President Lynch for the stuff which resulted in forfeiting the second game in Chicago on Sunday," the Tribune reported.



That did not sit well with Murphy, prompting this brief item on the next page of paper:

"Characterizing Umpires Eason and Brennan as 'both extremely incompetent,' President of the Cubs yesterday and sent another long letter to President Lynch asking that the fine of $50 imposed on Manager Evers for his conduct at the west side park last Sunday be remitted.

"Murphy cited the fact that the arbiters were quoted as saying Lynch surely would back them up in the controversy resulting from the forfeiture of the game to the Cardinals. He declared that they had no right to anticipate the decision of the league president.

"According to the west side magnate, the report submitted by the umpires was written hastily Sunday night, just before they left for the east, and did not contain all the 'important' details of the row."



On Thursday, Lynch ruled against Murphy. He wrote:

"This game was played under an agreement to stop play at 5 o'clock, and was forfeited to the visiting club by Umpire Eason for the reason that the Chicago club, with the score against it, employed tactics designed to delay the game.

"The umpire, from the evidence it appears, was fully justified in forfeiting this game under authority of section 4, rule 26, of the playing rules. The protest of the Chicago club is dismissed and the game stands as awarded."

But Lynch also announced a new rule:

"In this connection attention is called to the fact that managers (in some cases without consent of club owners) have entered into agreements to stop play at a certain hour in order to catch early trains. The practice has grown into an abuse, grossly unfair to the public and in violation of the spirit of the playing rules.

"Umpires will hereafter observe no agreement of such nature, except it be absolutely necessary in order to allow one hour to catch the LAST TRAIN by means of which either team can reach its next scheduled point in time."

Evers' fine was upheld, too.



The Cubs had lost the first 2 games at New York, as the Giants extended their winning streak to 14 games.

On Thursday, the day that Lynch issued his rules, the Cubs snapped the streak with a 3-2 victory, thanks to a 2-out, 2-run, go-ahead triple by Hack Miller in the sixth inning.

Evers had led off the inning with a single and scored the first of the runs. He also took part in 4 double plays.

Then the Giants closed out the series by making 23 hits in a 14-4 rout.



The Giants eventually won 101 games and lost only 51, as they captured the pennant by 12.5 games over the runnerup Phillies. (88-63). The Cubs came in third, 1 game behind Philadelphia, as they finished with the same number of wins but 2 more losses -- 1 of them, the July 13 forfeit to St. Louis.

The Cardinals wound up dead last, and emphatically so. At 51-99, they trailed the seventh-place Reds by 11.5 games, the Cubs by 35.5 and the champion Giants by 49.

The Giants lost to the Athletics in 5 games in the World Series.

The Cubs lost to the White Sox in 6 games in the City Series.



Evers, who had signed a 5-year contract to manage the Cubs, spent the off season shuttling between Chicago and his home in upstate New York. He oversaw the signing of players and worked on trades.

Then, on Feb. 10, 1914, he was unceremoniously fired as manager.

"I will never play for Murphy again under any conditions," Evers said after learning of his ouster while at the league's scheduling meeting in New York.

Murphy's choice to replace Evers: an umpire, Hank O'Day.


A Chicago native, O'Day had pitched for 5 teams in 3 leagues over 7 seasons in 1884-90, then toiled for 3 more years in the minors. Then he turned to umpiring, making it to the National League in 1897.

He was the home plate umpire in the famous "Merkle's Boner" game on 1908 between the Cubs and Giants, famously writing in his report to the league president, "The run don't count" because Merkle had failed to touch second base on an apparent walk-off hit in the bottom of the ninth inning.

In 1912, O'Day was hired to manage the Reds. He lasted 1 season and returned to umpiring in 1913 before taking over the Cubs. After they went 78-76, he was fired again, then umpired through 1927.



The day after Evers was dismissed as manager, he was traded to Boston, ending his 12-year, 1,409-game career as a Cubs.

He spent 3 seasons and part of a fourth with the Braves, but played only 318 games, 139 of them in the first year. He appeared in 56 games with the Phillies in 1917.

In 1921, Evers came out of retirement . . . to manage the Cubs again. On Aug. 1, after they suffered their eighth loss in 9 games, leaving their record 41-55, Evers was fired.


He subsequently managed in Chicago during yet another season: 1924, with the White Sox.

When the team was 10-11, he became ill in Boston and ultimately needed to have his appendix removed. He was absent for 30 games.

After he returned, the Sox went 41-61, then beat the Cubs in the City Series, 4-2.

On Dec. 11, owner Charlie Comiskey announced that second baseman Eddie Collins would be player-manager of the Sox in 1925. Evers never managed again.

He was 65 when he died in 1947, the year after his induction to the Hall of Fame, together with his famous infield partners, Joe Tinker and Frank Chance.

FanPosts are written by readers of Bleed Cubbie Blue, and as such do not reflect the views of SB Nation or Vox Media, nor is the content endorsed by SB Nation, Vox Media or Al Yellon, managing editor of Bleed Cubbie Blue or reviewed prior to posting.