CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

Phillies helped christen Ebbets Field in 1913

Phillies helped christen Ebbets Field in 1913

Phillies helped christen Ebbets Field in 1913

In their 30th year of existence, the Phillies began 1913 by playing the Dodgers in their new Brooklyn home, Ebbets Field, on April 9. The Phils scored an unearned run in the first inning, and right-hander Tom Seaton made it stand up in a game that took 90 minutes to play.

According to Bob Warrington, a Philadelphia baseball historian and memorabilia collector, to commemorate the event, Brooklyn was allowed to start its season a day before every other team in the American and National Leagues -- a special one-game affair.

At its conclusion, both teams hopped trains to Philadelphia to begin a three-game series scheduled to begin April 10. Temperature at game time was 37 degrees, and the extreme cold kept attendance well below a capacity crowd. Only 10,000 hardy souls showed up to witness history in the making.

A Phillies team photo was taken before the opener. All the players are wearing thick wool sweaters, and fans behind them are also are heavily garbed. Seaton is located third from the right in the first row. Standing to the right of the crouching Erskine Mayer in the first row is a hunchbacked boy who was the team's mascot and bat boy.

Phillies manager Charlie Dooin, mindful of the success Connie Mack's Athletics enjoyed since 1910, when hunchback Louis van Zelst had been adopted as the team's good-luck mascot and bat boy, decided the Phils needed one as well. The mascot normally did not accompany the team during road trips, but Dooin decided that he should be present at this special game. That is why the mascot is in a home uniform, while the rest of the team wears road attire.

Seaton finished with 27 wins in 322 innings, the most in the league, then jumped to the Federal League after the season ended. Other pitching aces included Grover Cleveland Alexander (22-8) and Ad Brennan (14-12).

But it was the offense that paved the way for an 88-63 mark, good enough for second place.

Outfielder Gavvy Cravath led the NL in homers (19), RBIs (128) and hits (179), while his .341 average ranked second. First baseman Fred Luderus was runner-up in homers (18). As a team, the Phillies' 74 home runs led the league.

The Phils led the NL from May 3 to June 30 before falling behind the pennant-winning New York Giants. Seasonal attendance of 470,000 was the second best in the 30 years of the franchise.

Outfielder Roy (Doc) Miller, a left-handed hitter, set a Phillies record with 20 pinch-hits in 56 at-bats, a mark that stood until 2008, when Greg Dobbs collected 22.

Doubleheaders were numerous, 27 for the season. From Sept. 15-Oct. 4, the Phils played 12 doubleheaders and one single game.

Philly fans grabbed headlines on Aug. 30. With the Phillies leading, 8-6, in the top of the ninth, fans in one bleacher section began to distract Giants hitters by waving handkerchiefs, newspapers and straw hats.

Umpire William Brennan forfeited the game to the Giants. NL President Thomas Lynch overruled Brennan and declared the Phils the winners. New York appealed and the NL Board of Directors ruled the game to be completed in New York on October 2. Philadelphia won, 8-6.

Away from the playing field, owner Horace S. Fogel, who had tried to change the name of the team to "Live Wires," was suspended for life for making inflammatory comments about the National League. Former New York City police commissioner William Baker took over ownership of the Phillies before the season began, and promptly changed the name of team's home from Philadelphia Park to the Baker Bowl.

Larry Shenk is the vice president of Alumni Relations for the Phillies. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{}
{}