Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Stats on Fred Merkle at Baseball-Reference.Com

If you look at baseball stats of old-time players you are probably familiar with The site has statistics on players, teams, seasons, managers and more. For fans of old-time baseball, it's a great place to go for information on baseball history.

One of the greatest stories in baseball history is that of Fred Merkle, the New York Giant was named "bonehead" by the press because as a young player he walked off the base path in a critical game after the "winning run" was scored before touching the next base. Although it was a common practice at the time, Merkle paid a dear price for doing what everyone else was doing. The umpire decided to enforce a "dormant" rule that was on the books and Merkle became the brunt of the muckraking press of the time.

The Merkle game was in 1908, but the stats on show that the event happened very early in his career-- a career that continued for almost two decades. Merkle's Giants ended up sharing first place with the Chicago Cubs and a rubber match was needed because the "Merkle Game" was called a tie. The Cubs went on to win the match, the Pennant and the World Series--the last World Series for the Cubs in over 100 years. Interestingly enough, Merkle would play for the might Cubs in the twilight of his professional career.

Sporting Chance Press is the publisher of Mike Cameron's Public Bonehead, Private Hero: The Real Legacy of Baseball's Fred Merkle and other fine sports books. Public Bonehead, Private Hero is a great American story of baseball’s Fred Merkle, who was at the confluence of Progressive Era history and baseball legend. The book sets the stage historically and then recounts the most famous play in baseball history. A young New York Giant, Fred Merkle, walks off the base path after the apparent end of a hotly contested game only to be ruled out later on a rarely enforced technicality. The Giants cried foul. The press focused all of its muckraking venom on the unfortunate Fred Merkle and christened him “bonehead” for the remainder of his life, insuring his fame as baseball’s number one scapegoat. To Order.

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