23
Sep
08

100 Years Ago was Merkle’s Boner


In honor of the Cubs’ second straight journey to the postseason as the NL Central division winners it is important to note that today is the 100th anniversary of the “Merkle Boner.” No, that isn’t what happens whenever you give German Chancellor Angela Merkel a massage; it happened on the baseball diamond in a game between the Chicago Cubs and the New York Giants.

Fred Merkle, then at 19, the youngest player in the league, came up to bat in a 1-1 ballgame in the 9th inning. With two outs already and Moose McCormick on first, Merkle singled moving McCormick to third. Then, Al Bridwell came to the dish and hit a single of his own. McCormick scored and the New York fans came running onto the field cheering, swarming the players and the field.

Unfortunately for the Giants, Merkle never reached second base because of the fans and had walked off the field. Johnny Evers, the alert Cubs second baseman noticed this and after retrieving the ball appealed to the second base umpire who then called Merkle out on a force play. Because it was a force, the run was thus negated and the game was to continue. However, with all the fans on the field it was impossible to restart the game and it was ruled a tie.

At the end of the season the two teams though had identical records and a one-game playoff was required. The Cubs ended up winning that game and then going on to win the World Series, which as baseball fans know, was the last time they won. Had Merkle just run to the base and touched second, the Giants would have won the game, won the division and the Cubs would be mired in misery forever, instead of just for 100 years.

So, honor Berkle’s Boner in any way you feel appropriate today. This might be the year the Cubs just actually do it and get past their demons and win the World Series. Although I don’t think they will. They may get there but I don’t think the Cubs can get past either of the Red Sox or the Angels, but if they play the White Sox or the Rays I think they have a real chance.


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