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Bonehead Merkle

On September 23, 1908, at the Polo Grounds in New York City, there were two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning. The New York Giants and the Chicago Cubs were battling for the National League pennant, with the score tied at 1-1. The Giants had two men on base: 19-year-old Fred Merkle on first and Moose McCormick on third. Al Bridwell slapped a single up the middle, scoring McCormick.

The game seemed to be over. But instead of tagging second base, Fred Merkle trotted off the field to the Giants’ locker room. The Cubs threw the ball to second, forcing out Merkel. The run didn’t count, the Giants lost the pennant, and Fred Merkle picked up the name, “Bonehead Merkle.”

But that’s not the end of the story. Fred Merkle got another chance and went on to play for 14 more seasons, including five trips to the World Series.

Today in the Word, December 27, 1994