FRANK SCHULTE – Unsung Post Season Hero of October 22

Charles Conlon

Charles Conlon


OCTOBER 22, 1910 – World Series Game 4

It might seem cruel to write about the Cubs in the World Series the day after they were eliminated in the NLCS. But there was a time, over a hundred years ago, that the Cubs were a World Series powerhouse. And in 1910, they won a tight game while facing elimination that, for the time, solidified their reputation for being a darling of October.

When the Cubs were on the verge of being swept out of the 1910 World Series, they staged a rally. And the player who sparked the Cubs comeback was right fielder Frank Schulte.

The Cubs of the first decade of the 20th century made their presence felt in the World Series. Between 1906 and 1910, they won 4 out of 5 pennants and winning it all against Detroit in 1907 and 1908.

In 1910, with a team loaded with future Hall of Famers, the Cubs found themselves in the World Series facing off against Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics, who were looking for their first ever title.

Frank Chance, part of the celebrated Evers to Tinker to Chance double play combination, was the player manager and could turn to Orvall Overall and Mordecai Three Finger Brown in his rotation.

But Connie Mack’s squad had a Hall of Famer of their own in the rotation. Chief Bender allowed just 3 hits in a complete game victory for Game 1. In the second game, the Cubs stranded 14 runners and lost 9-3.

The Cubs returned home for Game 3. Then the Cubs called the West Side Grounds home as Wrigley was not yet built. Jack Coombs won his second game of the series and two days later were going to go for the sweep with Bender on the mound.

King Cole, who won 20 games and led the league with a 1.80 ERA over 239 2/3 innings in his rookie year, took the mound for the Cubs. The score was tied after 3 when the A’s took a 3-1 lead on a 2 run double by Danny Murphy.

In the bottom of the 4th, right fielder Frank Schulte came to bat. The 27 year old native of Cochecton New York had led the National League in homers that year. He had 10. The left handed slugger known as Wildfire had been a big offensive hero in the Cubs 1908 World Series victory over Detroit.

This time, he singled to lead off the fourth and came around to score when Frank Chance singled. He singled again in the 6th but was stranded. By the 9th, with Three Finger Brown now pitching out of the bullpen, the A’s were still up 3-2.

Bender was still dealing in the bottom of the 9th, 3 outs from their first every World Series title. They would have to go through Schulte.

Wildfire led off the bottom of the ninth with a double to right field. Two batters later, Chance tripled him home and the game was tied.

The Cubs could not drive home the winning run that inning but the game was tied. The Cubs were a World Series team to be reckoned with.

In the bottom of the 10th, the Cubs rallied again off of Bender with Jimmy Sheckard smacking the walk off hit. The Cubs stayed alive to see another day.

It would be prolonging the inevitable. Schulte got a hit in Game 5 but the Philadelphia squad blew open a tight 2-1 game with a 5 run 8th inning and would clinch in 5 with a 7-2 final.

The Cubs would have to wait to add onto their World Series total. They are still waiting. But Cub fans should salute their players who come up big in the post season, especially the World Series. That is what makes Frank Schulte the Unsung Post Season Hero of October 22.

Nine World Series winners who had a losing September

Photo: L. G. Patterson -

Photo: L. G. Patterson –

It is a divisive buzz word in baseball. If you are a player on the diamond, you can claim to feed off of it. If you are a journalist focusing on a compelling narrative, it is something to write about and get readers excited. If you are breaking down stats and looking for predictive qualities, it is completely worthless and mythical. Momentum can be stopped by a terrific pitcher.
There are teams that get hot late and stampede to a World Series title. The 2011 Cardinals and the 2012 Giants are two obvious recent examples.

But sometimes a team stumbles into the playoffs and look lucky to even be there, and eventually win it all. The 2000 Yankees and the 2006 Cardinals are the most obvious examples of that.

Let us examine that second group. What teams have gone on to win the World Series with a losing record in September?

What teams limped into October and emerged as the kings?

I am starting this article before I have done the research, so as I type this sentence, I do not know how many teams will meet the criteria.
My source will be Baseball Reference, the single greatest website in the history of the internet.

These are the teams who won it all, despite a bad September.

Baseball Hall of Fame

Baseball Hall of Fame

1913 Philadelphia Athletics

Connie Mack’s squad rattled off a 14 game winning streak in the late spring and maintained a big lead for the rest of the season. Led by Home Run Baker, Eddie Collins, Chief Bender and Eddie Plank, the A’s coasted to the pennant.
But they did not enter the World Series as a hot team. After finishing a 3 game winning streak on August 28, they limped to the finish line, losing 18 of their last 33 games, the third worst mark in the AL over that time. They lost 8 of their last 9 games before facing the mighty New York Giants in the World Series. Bender and Plank dispatched John McGraw’s squad in 5 games and won the World Series.

Baseball Almanac

Baseball Almanac

1935 Detroit Tigers

Mickey Cochrane was the player manager of this squad that featured fellow future Hall of Famers Hank Greenberg, Charlie Gehringer and Goose Goslin. They were on a roll in September, going on a 5 game winning streak between August 31 and September 7, compiling a 10 game lead over the Yankees.

Then they would stumble. They lost 14 of their last 22 games, 9 of their last 12 and 6 of their last 7. They finished in first but only by 3 games. They would right the ship in the World Series and defeat the Cubs in 6 games.

Baseball Almanac

Baseball Almanac

1938 New York Yankees

Joe McCarthy’s team was aiming for their third straight World Series title. It would be Lou Gehrig’s final World Series run (although nobody knew that at the time. Bill Dickey, Joe DiMaggio, Lefty Gomez, Joe Gordon and Red Ruffing were all on the squad and would eventually be enshrined in Cooperstown.

They went 28-8 in August to pull away from the pack and by September 13th had a 16 game lead. But they lost 12 of their last 19 games, including a 6 game losing streak in the middle of the month. They limped to the finish line, arrived at the World Series and clobbered the Cubs in a 4 game sweep, their third of eventually 4 straight titles.

Baseball Almanac

Baseball Almanac

1944 St. Louis Cardinals

With baseball depleted during the war years, the Cardinals still had Stan Musial and were aiming for their third straight pennant.  A stretch where they won 14 of 15 games in August put the pennant away.

But after August 25, the Cardinals would put up a lackluster 16-19 record the rest of the way. They would drop 8 of 10 at one point and were not playing inspiring baseball when they faced their crosstown rival Browns in the World Series. While the Browns held the early edge, the Cardinals would eventually win the World Series in 6 games.



1974 Oakland Athletics

Alvin Dark took over the managerial duties after Dick Williams won back to back titles with the rambunctious Oakland squad. Still armed with Reggie Jackson, Rollie Fingers, Vida Blue, Sal Bando, Catfish Hunter, Joe Rudi, Bert Campaneris et al, they seemed to be cruising to their fourth straight division title.

They finished August with a loss and played uninspired ball the rest of the way. From August 31 to the end of the season, the two time defending champs went a less than robust 14-16, dropping 10 of their last 17 games. They would lose only 2 games in the post season as they made quick work of both the Orioles and the favored Dodgers and became the only team not called the Yankees to win 3 straight World Series titles.



1981 Los Angeles Dodgers

The 1981 season was odd to say the least. A two month strike in the middle of the summer split the season in two. Instead of picking up the season where everyone had left off, the teams that were in first place at the begining of the strike were eligbile for a special Divisional Championship Series. Tommy Lasorda’s star studded Dodgers squad were post season bound no matter how they played when the games resumed.

They were fortunate. Despite the likes of Lopes, Garvey and the emergence of Fernandomania, the Dodgers trudged through September. After August 28th, the Dodgers would go a less than championship worthy 15-20. They dropped 5 straight in mid September and only won 3 of their final 9 games before facing a tough Astros team.

The Dodgers would top Houston, Montreal and the Yankees in a thrilling post season. Nobody remembers the uninspired September. Instead the 1981 World Champions remain one of the most loved teams in Dodger history.

Sports Illustrated

Sports Illustrated

1997 Florida Marlins

Jim Leyland piloted the Marlins towards a playoff berth somewhat under the radar. They had some big stars on the team, such as Gary Sheffield, Kevin Brown and Moises Alou. But few gave the team much of a chance. They made a run at the mighty Braves with a 6 game winning streak in late August and early September that brought them to within 2 1/2 games. They had the third best record in all of baseball at that point.

Then they skidded to a 9-15 finish. They lost 7 of their last 9 including their final 4 games and looked like pretenders filling out the field when they were the wild card against the hard charging San Francisco Giants. The Marlins would sweep the Giants and knock the 2 time defending pennant winner Braves out in the NLCS. Then they would top the Indians in a heart stopping (and breaking) extra inning Game 7 victory in the World Series.



2000 New York Yankees

The Yankees were back to back champs under Joe Torre and aiming for not only a three-peat but also their fourth title in five years. With Jeter, O’Neill, Pettitte, Rivera, Clemens, Williams, Posada, Martinez and Justice on the team, they were cruising to an easy division title. On September 13th, they had a 9 1/2 game over the Red Sox and clinching was merely a formality.

Then the losing began. First it was a 2 game losing streak. Then it expanded to 8 losses in 9 games. They finished the season winning only 5 of their final 21 games. They lost their last 7 games, getting swept by the Devil Rays and the Orioles. Only a Red Sox loss in the final weekend clinched the Division Title by 2 1/2 games. If any team looked dead, it was the two time defending champs.

But a hard fought Division Series win against Oakland revived them. They would top Seattle in the ALCS and beat the Mets to win their third straight World Series.



2006 St. Louis Cardinals

Under Tony LaRussa, the Cardinals had made the post season in 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2005. But they only had one pennant in that stretch, and the 2004 NL Champs were humiliated by the Red Sox. The 2005 team looked like a World Series contender, but they were stopped by the Houston Astros, despite Albert Pujols’ heroics.

In their first season in New Busch Stadium, the Cardinals did not look like champs. In fact after May, they only logged one winning month. Despite their mediocrity and an 8 game losing streak in August, the Cardinals were in first place for much of the season.

The Reds tied the Cardinals in late August but a three game winning streak in late August ending on September 2 gave them some room. They would need it. The Cardinals finished the season 11-17, including a 7 game skid that nearly cost them the Division in late September. Only an almost equally miserable September by Cincinnati kept the Cardinals from missing the playoffs all together.

Not favored in any round, the Cardinals beat the Padres, snuck past the Mets and stunned the Tigers to finally win the World Series for LaRussa and Albert Pujols.



This list does not include the 1958 New York Yankees, who dropped 7 of their last 10 games but would defeat the defending World Champion Milwaukee Braves in 7 games.
Nor does it include the 1966 Orioles who had .500 records in August and September only to sweep the mighty Dodgers in the World Series.

It does not include the 1973 Oakland A’s who dropped 7 of their last 11 before beating the Orioles and the Mets to capture the title.

The 1987 Twins are not on the list, despite dropping 7 of their last 9 games and faced a red hot Tigers team in the ALCS. The Twins would top the Tigers and the Cardinals for the Championship.

The 1990 Reds are not on the list despite being a sub .500 team for the second half of the season before topping the Pirates and A’s for the Championship.

It also does not include the 2005 White Sox, who went on a 4-10 stretch in September that nearly cost them the Division title before rampaging through the playoffs to win their first title since 1917.

So it is a rare occurance. Teams that win the World Series tend to be quality teams who are not prone to losing months. But it is possible. For these teams, the concept of momentum was nonsense. They got into the dance and were recorded in history as the champs and their poor finishes fair removed from anyone’s memory.

Cliff Lee can’t lose? Neither could THESE 5 guys!

It seems like a foregone conclusion by anyone NOT named Lisa Swan that Cliff Lee will win tonight in Yankee Stadium and put the Yankees in a 2-1 hole.

He’s awesome! He’s unbeaten in the post season!
He can NOT lose!

Where have I heard THAT before?
Oh yeah… many times and believe it or not with people with more impressive post season credentials than Cliff Lee.

I am going to pull out five examples of a dominant pitcher entering a can’t miss game with everything in their favor lost…

Beware Cliff Lee, THESE guys had an easier team to face than you do tonight!

Philadelphia Athletics

Game 1 – 1914 World Series.

The Boston Braves stormed into the World Series with a worst to first August rally, but now had to face the defending World Champion Athletics and their future Hall of Fame ace starting game 1.

It wasn’t supposed to be close, and it wasn’t. Except it was the Braves, led by Hank Gowdy, Rabbit Maranville and pitcher Dick Rudolph who rolled, 7-1.

Washington Senators

Game 7 – 1925 World Series

Arguably the greatest pitcher of all time finally got his shot to pitch in the World Series in 1924. He got his jitters out by losing two games but winning Game 7 out of the Bullpen.

In 1925, the Big Train was rolling for the repeat, winning Games 1 and 4. When the Pirates forced Game 7, it was no problem. Johnson was rested and ready.

Washington gave him a 4 run cushion before he even took the mound and the World Series was a foregone conclusion. But the Pirates kept battling and in the 8th inning, Kiki Kuyler doubled home the go ahead run. The 9-7 win was saved by Red Oldham, a personal obsession of mine.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Game 2 – 1966 World Series

Koufax was one of the most dominating forces in baseball history in the mid 1960s and rose to the occasion in the World Series, winning the MVP in the 1963 and 1965 Series. When the Orioles roughed up Don Drysdale in Game 1 of the Series, there was no panic in Los Angeles. Koufax was going to take the hill.

For the first 4 innings, it was vintage Koufax. But the Dodger defense betrayed him, committing 6 errors over all. Koufax lasted only 6 innings in the 6-0 loss, which turned out to be his final game. Future Hall of Famer Jim Palmer got the win.

St. Louis Cardinals

Game 7 – 1968 World Series

Bob Gibson had already won 2 World Series MVPs but the 1968 series was looking like his masterpiece. He struck out 17 in the opening shutout and threw another complete game win in game 4 (his 7th straight complete game World Series win.)

In Game 7, he was throwing a 1 hit shutout into the 7th when Curt Flood slipped and couldn’t catch Jim Northrup’s 2 out fly ball which turned into an RBI triple. The Cardinals wouldn’t recover and the Tigers won the game 4-1 to clinch the series.

Oakland A’s

Game 1 – 1990 World Series

The A’s and Dave Stewart learned their lesson after losing the 1988 World Series to the Dodgers. They were 12-1 in the 1989 ALCS and World Series and 1990 ALCS combined. And Dave Stewart was the MVP of the ’89 World Series and ’90 ALCS. He was unquestionably the best big game pitcher in baseball.

He took the mound against the Reds ready to dispatch of them quickly to give Oakland back to back titles. Eric Davis had other ideas, homering off of Stewart in the first inning.

Stewart lasted only 4 innings and the Reds won 7-0. Stewart would regain his stuff for Game 4 but still lost, 2-1 as it was the Reds who pulled off the sweep.

So there you have 5 examples of guys who had bigger reputations than Cliff Lee who couldn’t get the job done.

I’d think of more but that should give you a strong foundation. If Koufax and Gibson can lose the big game, why not Lee?

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