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  • Writer's pictureKirk Jenkins

It’s Hooks Wiltse Versus Norwood Gibson in Game 4

We’re back in Boston’s Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds for Game 4 of the (Simulated) 1904 World Series. With a 3-0 lead and looking to close out the series for the New York Giants, John McGraw is sending lefthander Hooks Wiltse to the mound.

If you’re wondering, Hooks Wiltse got the nickname because he couldn’t throw a breaking pitch to save his life.

Just kidding. Hooks had one of the great curveballs in the league and was one of the first major league pitchers generally regarded to have a better breaking ball than his fast ball.

Of course, none of that explains the nickname of Hooks’ brother – also a pitcher – Snake Wiltse.

But I digress.

Pitching for the Boston Americans, trying to stave off elimination, is Norwood Gibson.

The Giants got off to a fast start in the top of the first when Dan McGann hit a two-out double, but Hall of Famer Roger Bresnahan ended the inning with a ground ball to short.

The Giants scored the first run of the game in the top of the second. George Browne hit a seeing-eye single right between the second baseman and shortstop. Sam Mertes grounded out, advancing Browne to second, and a wild pitch with Billy Gilbert at the plate then advanced Browne to third. Gilbert then delivered the run with a sacrifice fly – which Boston left fielder Kip Selbach dropped for a one-base error. Catcher Jack Warner singled Gilbert to third and stole second on the first pitch to pitcher Hooks Wiltse (who was actually a pretty good hitter). But the Americans tied the game in the bottom of the second when Lou Criger hit a two-out, 3-2 fast ball over the right field fence.

The Giants took a 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth. Sam Mertes drew a one-out walk and stole second. Billy Gilbert then drilled a single to left, plating Mertes. But the Americans tied the game and took a 3-2 lead in the bottom half of the fourth. Freddy Parent led off by reaching on a one-base error by Giants pitcher Hooks Wiltse. After Buck Freeman hit a fly ball to right, Hooks’ control temporarily abandoned him, as he hit Candy LaChance and Chick Stahl with two consecutive pitches to load the bases. Hooks then walked in a run with Lou Criger at the plate, and then, one out later, did it again – walking pitcher Norwood Gibson with the bases loaded.

The Giants tied the game in the top of the fifth. Art Devlin led things off right a sharp single to right. After a line drive by Billy Dahlen and a popup from Dan McGann, the Giants got some clutch hitting (and a little luck). Roger Bresnahan walked, sending Devlin to second. George Browne singled, loading the bases for the Giants. The Giants tied the game on a wild pitch with Sam Mertes at the plate.

So it was 3-3. And there it stayed. In the bottom of the fifth and top of the sixth, two 1-2-3 innings with four strikeouts. In the bottom of the sixth, the Americans’ Candy LaChance led off with a single, but Chick Stahl then grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. The Americans got back-to-back singles in the bottom of the seventh, but Boston manager Jimmy Collins ended that threat by grounding into a 4-6-3 double play.

In the top of the eighth, the Giants mounted a bit of a threat. George Browne hit a one-out double off the right field wall, but with two outs, the Americans gave Billy Gilbert an intentional pass and got Jack Warner on a line out.

In the top of the ninth, the Giants nearly broke through. With two outs, Bill Dahlen doubled to left center. After Dan McGann got an intentional walk, Hall of Famer Roger Bresnahan loaded the bases when Americans’ shortstop Freddy Parent juggled an easy ground ball for an error. But then Gibson bore down and whiffed George Browne for the third out. After the bottom of the ninth went by quietly, we had ourselves the first extra inning game of the series.

Both the Giants and the Americans got one baserunner each in the top and bottom of the tenth, but neither amounted to much. In the top of the eleventh, Bill Dahlen reached for the Giants on a one-out single, but Dan McGann hit a ground ball to shortstop resulting in a force of Dahlen, and Roger Bresnahan grounded out.

For some reason, McGraw sent an obviously tiring Hooks Wiltse out to pitch the bottom of the eleventh for the Giants. He struck out right fielder Buck Freeman to lead off the inning, but then WIltse’s control completely left the building – three straight walks to Candy LaChance, Chick Stahl and Lou Criger, putting the Americans on the brink of a walk-off win. McGraw finally lifted Wiltse in favor of Jack Dunn, who got Hobe Ferris on a shallow fly ball. LaChance feinted towards home, but Roger Bresnahan discouraged that idea, throwing a strike to catcher Frank Bowerman, keeping LaChance at third. Collins sent Duke Farrell to the plate to hit for Americans’ pitcher Norwood Gibson, and it looked for a moment like it might work – Farrell hit a sharp ground ball to Giants’ second baseman Billy Gilbert. But Gilbert rushed the throw to first, and the throw got by Dan McGann, giving LaChance plenty of time to trot home with the walk-off winning run.

So after four games in the (Simulated) 1904 Series, it’s Giants three, Americans one. Back to Boston next time for Game 5.


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