Olson’s Clout Saves Dodgers

Damon Runyon

Washington Herald/October 11, 1916


Brooklyn Shortstop Stops Rout and Wins 4-3 Game

Brooklyn, N.Y., Oct. 10.—When the curtain of events dropped upon the third game of the 1916 world’s series at Ebbets Field, Flatbush, it was Ivan Olson’s terrific wallop in the fifth that had the Dodgers still in front of the Boston Red Sox by a score of 4 to 3.

It was Ivan Olson’s smash that stopped the apparent rout of the Dodgers and put them back in the battle for the baseball championship after they had lost two games in Boston and seemed to be on the run. The Red Sox still hold a one-game margin, but few of the 20,000 chilled fans in the windswept stands in Flatbush today doubt that the Dodgers have a good chance to take the series.

Ivan Olson’s clout practically drove young Carl Mays, the right-hander with the weird underhand delivery, from the game. He finished out the fifth, but in the next inning Bill Carrigan, manager of the Red Sox, sent Olaf Henricksen up to bat for him.

It was young Carl Mays who stopped the rally of the Dodgers in the ninth inning of the first game of the series at Boston Saturday, and it was after that game that thousands of Brooklyn fans were abusing Ivan Olson unmercifully because of his errors, and placing him among the “goats” of the series.

Chased to Dressing Rooms

One wondered if any of these abusive fans were among those who were saying all summer that Wilbert Robinson’s club could not win the National League pennant without a shortstop, or if there were any of them among the wild-eyed that spilled out on the field at the close of the game today and chased Ivan Olson as he fled with the rest of the Dodgers to the dressing room under the stands.

A Brooklyn band brought some order out of a lot of enthusiastic chaos by starting a march around the field. The Brooklyn fans promptly fell in behind the band, waving Dodger pennants, and shrieking vociferously.

The “royal rooters” of Boston and a band with the interminable “Tessie” had followed the Red Sox over to Brooklyn and the rival cheering squadrons met in the middle of the field and mingled their yells and music.

Many Seats Empty

It was more like an outburst after a football game than the celebration of a baseball triumph. The state of the weather helped in making it seem more like football than baseball. It was quite cold, although the sun was shining brightly. The spectators were encased in wraps.

It has been said in this story that there were 20,000 present. It is a mere guess. No official statement was given out at Ebbetts Field today, either, regarding the attendance or the finances of the game. It is the custom—in fact, it is the baseball law—that these figures shall be issued immediately. Usually they are megaphoned to the press stand before the end of the game.

There were many empty seats in the upper tier of the stands at Ebbetts Field today. Whether it is simply a case of the baseball public declining to pay the $5 asked for those seats, or whether it is something else, remains to be seen.

There was much criticism of Charles H. Ebbets, president of the Brooklyn Club, at the time he first announced his prices. The National Commission defended him by stating that it fixed the prices. For the first four games of the series, the commission is merely trustee for most of the money taken in, as the greater part goes to the ball players.

Rows of boxes have been built out on the field, and some of these boxes showed empty seats today. There were empty seats in the stand. It is said that there has been some sort of clerical mix-up, but just what it is could not be learned.

 Coombs Causes Fears

Under the weather conditions prevailing, many Brooklyn fans were a little fearful of the result when they saw fat old Uncle Wilbert Robinson motion the veteran Jack Coombs to the station where the Brooklyn pitchers go through that preliminary called “warming up.” Pitchers who have reached Coombs’ age usually require a hit day to get the year-stiffened muscles properly oiled up.

“Colby Jack,” hero of many a world’s series encounter when he was part of Connie Mack’s marvelous machine, was given a four-run lead by his teammates. Yet he did not last the game out. He pitched carefully and craftily, but the Sox were hitting his delivery with resounding whacks from the start, although good fielding behind him kept him out of trouble.

In the sixth, when Olaf Henricksen came up, batting for Mays, Coombs passed him with four pitched balls. The score was 4 to 0 in favor of the Dodgers. One of the Red Sox was out.

The always dangerous Harry Hooper tripled to right, scoring Henricksen. Janvrin, the “school phenom,” popped to Cutshaw. Chick Shorten, a mere recruit, playing center in place of Clarence Walker, singled over second, scoring Hooper. Coombs himself tossed out Hoblitzel, but there was a murmuring of apprehension in the stands.

Gardner Makes Long Drive

In the seventh inning, with one out, Larry Gardner, the Sox third baseman, smashed a drive over the right field wall.

Coombs turned even as Gardner was trotting around the bases and began waving his arm toward center field, where a bunch of Dodger and Red Sox players were sprawled out on the cold ground, and a number of pitchers were busy warming up.

A big hulking form detached itself from the group and moved slowly across the field.

Coombs literally took himself out. He didn’t wait for Manager Robinson to act. Coombs is Robbies closest adviser of the Dodgers and they planned the campaign against the Sox together. When Pfeffer came up “Colby Jack” handed him the ball and walked to the Dodgers’ bench, while the crowd applauded.

With Pfeffer pitching, Everett Scott raised a fly to Myers and Thomas was called out on strikes.

In the third inning, after Myers had been thrown out by Scott, Jake Daubert, captain of the Dodgers, singled to right. It was the first clean low out of the infield that the luckless Daubert has secured in the series, although he got an infield tap earlier in this game.

Cutshaw Laces Out Double

The picturesque Stengel singled, and Daubert took second. Wheat lifted a fly to Duffy Lewis. A strike and two balls had been called on George Cutshaw when he slashed a drive across first base for two bases, scoring Daubert and putting Stengel on third. Everett Scott made one of his sensational plays in getting Mike Mowrey’s roller and retiring his man at first.

In the fourth, Olson bunted safely and went to second when Gardner threw poorly to Hoblitzel. Miller bunted to Mays who, seeing that he had no chance to get Olson at third, tossed to Hoblitzel and got Miller. Coombs singled, scoring Olson. Myers sacrificed Coombs to second, but Scott threw out Daubert.

Stengel was the first man up in the fifth and raised a foul which Gardner caught while leaning against the boxes back of third. Wheat drew a base on balls and took second while Mays was throwing out Cutshaw.

While Mowrey was at bat, Manager Bill Carrigan objected to Hank O’Day’s judgment of a called ball and they debated for several minutes. A little later old Hank glowered through his mask at the Boston bench and shook a thick finger at Carrigan with warning gesture.

Where Olson Stars

Mowrey drew a base on balls. Here it was that Olson slipped in his three-base smash which won the game. It was a clean, lifting drive beyond the fielders. Scott got Miller’s grounder and threw out the catcher at first.

George Foster went in the box for the Sox in the Dodgers’ side of the sixth. Foster was the hurling hero of the 1915 world series, but he has not been going so well of late, it is said, and therefore has not started a game.

Jake Daubert hit a terrific drive to left in the seventh with two out. It rolled to the fence.

Daubert tried to  make it a home run, but his speed was fading between third and the plate and Lewis fired the ball to Scott, who in turn shot it to Thomas. Daubert took a slide, and lay prostrate at the plate while Thomas reached for him with the ball and Hank O’Day stood over them, hands outstretched, looking at the play.

For a couple of seconds they held the pose, so to speak. It was like a tableau. Suddenly O’Day made a sharp backhand gesture, indicating Daubert was out. Up came Capt. Jake, “hopping mad,” and out of the Dodgers’ bench boiled the Brooklyn players with the temperamental Stengel in the lead.

They surrounded O’Day, yelling in his ears. They pointed to the ground to prove where Jake’s cleats had put him over the plate. Uncle Wilbert Robinson trotted around Hank in a circle. The old umpire glared at then all an instant, then stooped down and calmly dusted the plate with his little broom. The players drifted to their positions one by one.

(Source: Chronicling America, https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045433/1916-10-11/ed-1/seq-11/)