1908 Chicago Cubs season

1908 Chicago Cubs
1908 World Series Champions
1908 National League Champions
Major League affiliations
Other information
Owner(s) Charles Murphy
Manager(s) Frank Chance
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The 1908 Chicago Cubs season was the 37th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 33rd in the National League and the 16th at West Side Park. It involved the Cubs winning their third consecutive National League pennant, as well as the World Series. This team included four future Hall of Famers: manager / first baseman Frank Chance, second baseman Johnny Evers, shortstop Joe Tinker, and pitcher Mordecai Brown. In 1908, Brown finished second in the NL in wins and ERA. This would be the last World Series victory for the Cubs until the 2016 World Series.

Regular season

Season summary

The Cubs started the season in Cincinnati. Orval Overall was the Cubs' Opening Day starting pitcher. Overall gave up five hits and committed an error in the first inning as the Reds take a 5–0 lead.[1] The Cubs tied the game in the sixth and won the game in the ninth. Cubs pinch hitter Heinie Zimmerman drove in Johnny Evers. Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown pitched in the ninth and gets a save for the Cubs.[2]

The home opener was on April 22. Owner Charles Murphy had added several new seats to the stadium. Long-time Cub player-manager Cap Anson threw out the first pitch. Tinker, Evers and Chance turn their second double play of the season as the Cubs beat the Reds by a score of 7–3.[3]

On June 30, the Pirates took first place, as the Chicago Cubs lost to the Cincinnati Reds.[4] Starting on July 2, the Pirates started a critical five game series against the Cubs.[5] In the first game, Three Finger Brown threw a six hit, no walk shutout, winning the game 3–0. Brown was 10–1 on the season.

On September 26, starting pitcher Ed Reulbach became the only pitcher in Major League Baseball history to pitch two shutouts on the same day. That day, the Cubs played a doubleheader against the Brooklyn Dodgers. Reulbach pitched both games to completion, which the Cubs won by scores of 5–0 and 3–0.[6]

The Merkle Game

On Wednesday, September 23, 1908, while playing for the New York Giants in a game against the Cubs, 19-year-old Fred Merkle committed a base-running error that later became known as "Merkle's Boner" and earned him the nickname of "Bonehead."

In the bottom of the 9th inning, Merkle came to bat with two outs, and the score tied 1–1. At the time, Moose McCormick was on first base. Merkle singled, and McCormick advanced to third. Al Bridwell followed with another single, and McCormick trotted home to score the apparent winning run. The New York fans in attendance, under the impression that the game was over, ran onto the field to celebrate.

Meanwhile, Merkle, thinking the game was over, ran to the Giants' clubhouse without touching second base (a gesture that was common at the time). Cubs second baseman Johnny Evers noticed this, and after retrieving a ball and touching second base, he appealed to umpire Hank O'Day to call Merkle out. Since Merkle had not touched the base, the umpire called him out on a force play, and McCormick's run did not count. The run was therefore nullified, the Giants' victory erased, and the score of the game remained tied.

Unfortunately, the thousands of fans on the field (as well as the growing darkness in the days before large electric light rigs made night games possible) prevented resumption of the game, and the game was declared a tie. The Giants and the Cubs would end the season tied for first place and would have a rematch at the Polo Grounds on October 8. The Cubs won this makeup game, 4–2, and thus the National League pennant.

Season standings

National League W L Pct. GB Home Road
Chicago Cubs 9955 0.643 47–30 52–25
New York Giants 9856 0.636 1 52–25 46–31
Pittsburgh Pirates 9856 0.636 1 42–35 56–21
Philadelphia Phillies 8371 0.539 16 43–34 40–37
Cincinnati Reds 7381 0.474 26 40–37 33–44
Boston Doves 6391 0.409 36 35–42 28–49
Brooklyn Superbas 53101 0.344 46 27–50 26–51
St. Louis Cardinals 49105 0.318 50 28–49 21–56

Record vs. opponents

1908 National League Records

Boston 12–106–16–28–146–1610–127–1514–8
Brooklyn 10–124–186–166–165–179–1313–9
Chicago 16–6–218–416–611–11–19–13–110–1219–3
Cincinnati 14–816–66–168–14–110–128–1411–11
New York 16–616–611–11–114–8–116–611–11–114–8
Philadelphia 12–1017–513–9–112–106–169–1314–8
Pittsburgh 15–713–912–1014–811–11–113–920–2
St. Louis 8–149–133–1911–118–148–142–20

Notable transactions


1908 Chicago Cubs
Pitchers Catchers



Other batters


Player stats


Starters by position

Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
CJohnny Kling126424117.276459
1BFrank Chance129452123.272255
2BJohnny Evers126416125.300037
3BHarry Steinfeldt150539130.241162
SSJoe Tinker157548146.266668
OFJimmy Sheckard11540393.231222
OFFrank Schulte10238691.236143
OFJimmy Slagle10435278.222026

Other batters

Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
Solly Hofman120411100.243242
Del Howard9631588.279126
Pat Moran5015039.260012
Heinie Zimmerman4611333.29209
Jack Hayden11459.20002
Kid Durbin14287.25000
Doc Marshall12206.30003
Vin Campbell110000


Starting pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Mordecai Brown44312.12991.47123
Ed Reulbach46297.22472.03133
Jack Pfiester3325212102.00117
Orval Overall3722515111.92167
Chick Fraser26162.21192.2766
Carl Lundgren23138.2694.2238
Andy Coakley420.1200.897

Other pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Rube Kroh212001.5011
Karl Spongberg17009.004
Bill Mack26003.001

Relief pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G W L SV ERA SO

1908 World Series

NL Chicago Cubs (4) vs AL Detroit Tigers (1)

1Cubs – 10, Tigers – 6October 10Bennett Park10,812
2Tigers – 1, Cubs – 6October 11West Side Park17,760
3Tigers – 8, Cubs – 3October 12West Side Park14,543
4Cubs – 3, Tigers – 0October 13Bennett Park12,907
5Cubs – 2, Tigers – 0October 14Bennett Park6,210


Inline citations

  1. Murphy 2007, p. 61
  2. Murphy 2007, p. 62
  3. Murphy 2007, p. 63
  4. Murphy 2007, p. 95
  5. Murphy 2007, p. 99
  6. Baseball Almanac (2010). "Shutout Records". Archived from the original on July 1, 2010. Retrieved July 5, 2010.
  7. Doc Marshall page at Baseball Reference


  • Murphy, Cait (2007). Crazy '08: How a cast of Cranks, Rogues, Boneheads and Magnates created the Greatest Year in Baseball History. Smithsonian Books, a Division of Harper Collins. ISBN 978-0-06-088937-1. 


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