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Interview with the President of the Athletic Club of Philadelphia

Posted by Johnny Goodtimes, Fri, September 05, 2014 12:30 PM Comments: 0

Scott AlbertsWith the 2014 Base-ball Exhibition and Fair taking place at the Naval Yard this weekend, I thought I’d chat with the President of the Athletic Club of Philadelphia (4701 South Broad Street) Scott Alberts. For the uninitiated, the Athletic Club is a group of local guys who get together to play old-fashioned baseball. And these dudes take it seriously. They have uniforms that match the ones the Philadelphia team wore when they played in the 1860s and 70s and they play by the exact rules laid down in 1864. It bears a close relation to the game we’ve come to know and love, but with some very interesting variations.

JGT: How was baseball different in 1864 than it is today?

SCOTT: Baseball has evolved in many ways in the past 150 years, but the most significant differences are that, in 1864, players did not wear gloves while playing in the field, pitches were required to be delivered in an underhand fashion, and a batter can be put out when a fielder catches a struck ball in the air OR after a single bounce. There are a number of other minor rule differences as well.

JGT: Why are grown men such as yourself deciding to dress up in wool jerseys to play baseball by rules that were in place 150 years ago? Why not just join a softball league instead and wear shorts and gloves on your hands?  Continue reading Interview with the President of the Athletic Club of Philadelphia

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Interview With Clifton Parker, Biographer of Philadelphia A’s Hall of Famer Al Simmons

Posted by Johnny Goodtimes, Thu, November 07, 2013 03:00 PM Comments: 0

bucketfoot-al-baseball-life-simmons-clifton-blue-parker-paperback-cover-artAl Simmons was named MVP of the Philly Dream Series after a terrific hitting performance topped off with the Series-winning walk-off hit in Game 7. It was cool that Simmons had such a great Series. He is one of the greatest baseball players to ever play in Philadelphia, and because the A’s moved out of town, his achievements have kind of been lost to time. Part of the point of the whole project was to bring some of those A’s greats (5 of whom are in the Hall of Fame, including Connie Mack) back to life, at least in a baseball sense.

Incredibly, despite being one of the best players in the “Golden Era” of baseball, Al Simmons had never had a biography written about him until 2011. That’s when Clifton Blue Parker decided to do one on the A’s legend. Titled Bucketfoot Al: The Baseball Life of Al Simmons, you can purchase it here. I spoke with Clifton about the enigmatic, hard playing, hard living outfielder of whom Connie Mack once wished, “If I could only have nine players named Simmons.” 

What inspired you to write the book?

My grandfather and great grandfather were doctors in North Carolian who helped the A’s built their minor league field. I had a picture of my grandfather with Connie Mack at that stadium. I also had a ball autographed by Connie Mack that he had given my great-grandfather. I always had an interest in the team. A team that was arguably better than the ’27 Yankees. And I saw that they weren’t always given their due.

Why Al Simmons?

What I like to do is to cover ground that people haven’t covered before. Simmons was probably the greatest player out there statistically who had never had a full length book written about him. To me, it’s exciting to work on a book that is shining a light on one of the best players of all time.

What kind of upbringing did Simmons have? Continue reading Interview With Clifton Parker, Biographer of Philadelphia A’s Hall of Famer Al Simmons

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Al Simmons, Lefty Grove Lead A’s to Game 7 Victory and Dream Series Championship

Posted by Johnny Goodtimes, Mon, November 04, 2013 07:00 PM Comments: 0

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Mule Haas comes home with the winning run following an Al Simmons double.

In 1954, Roy Mack went against his father’s wishes to sell the Philadelphia A’s to Kansas City real estate developer Arnold Johnson. He made a few more bucks than he would have had he sold the team to a Philly conglomerate that almost bought it at the time (In fact the papers were signed; Roy reneged on the deal). But by selling his father’s soul for a few pieces of gold, he lessened the impact that the greatest pro sports team in Philadelphia history had on this city. He left greats like Jimmie Foxx, Lefty Grove, and Al Simmons without an eternal home, allowing their names to get swept away by the winds of time instead of being honored in the city where they reached heights never again attained by any team in Philadelphia.

But on this day, in Game 7 of the Philly Dream Series, those three men returned to the forefront of the Philadelphia baseball world, and once again proved why they are among the greatest players this city has ever seen in any sport. Grove, beaten in Games 1 and 5, pitched a gem on only two days rest. Foxx delivered one of his vintage home runs to the deepest recesses of center field in the 2nd inning. And Al Simmons, a player who always had a fickle relationship with this city even when he was a star here, had no problem winning the adoration of the Shibe Park faithful on this day. It was Simmons who, with one out and two on in the bottom of the 9th, hit a scorcher down the left field line, past the glove of Pedro Feliz and into the corner, scoring Mule Haas and sending the Shibe denizens into a state of pandemonium. For Haas, there was a certain sense of deja vu…he had also scored the winning run in the 5th and deciding game of the 1929 World Series.

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Jimmie Foxx waits on deck before smashing a homer in the 2nd.

The A’s spectacular finish somewhat overshadowed the gutsy pitching performance of Cole Hamels. Pitching on only two days rest for the first time in his career, he was sublime, holding the A’s to 1 run and only 5 hits in 8 innings of work. Remarkably, he got better as the game went on, allowing only one hit after the 4th inning. That left some Phillies faithful wondering why he was pulled after the 8th, having thrown 90 pitches.

His opposing hill-minder Lefty Grove was dominant for 7 innings, but ran into problems in the 8th after giving up a walk to Jayson Werth to start the inning. Werth stole 2nd, went to third on a long Utley fly ball, and came home when a Ryan Howard shot was caught by Mule Haas just shy of the warning track. Haas, known for his great arm, fired a rocket home, but Werth was able to slide in under the tag and tie the game at 1. After surrendering a single to Pat Burrell, Grove was replaced by Ossie Orwoll, one of the unsung heros of the A’s in this series. He coaxed Shane Victorino into a harmless fly ball. The A’s went down quietly in the 8th, and we headed to the 9th tied at 1.

Mack threw the Phils for a total loop when he inserted Eddie Rommel into the game to pitch the top of the 9th. The knuckleballer, who won 27 games for an A’s team that won only 65 all season in 1922, stymied the Phils attack. Forcing the Phils to try to hit a knuckleball after chasing Lefty Grove’s fastball all day was a cruel trick played by the Tall Tactician, and the men in red went down quietly.

J.C. Romero came into pitch in the bottom of the 9th, and it was pesky little Max Bishop who got the A’s rally started with a single off the Phillies left-handed specialist. Haas then sent a roller to Utley. The Phils tried to turn two, but Haas beat the throw to first. Romero then walked Mickey Cochrane, sending Simmons to the plate. Charlie Manuel walked out onto the hill, and in a move that will be second guessed by Phillies fans for years to come, decided to send for Ryan Madson instead of Brad Lidge. Manuel was always extremely conservative when it came to his closer, but there are plenty of Phils fans who would say that this is why you pay the closer the big bucks, to put out fires like this one.

Mack White Elephants win the Philly Dream Series in 7!

Mack’s White Elephants win the Philly Dream Series in 7!

The count ran to 2-2 when Madson decided to toss his four seam fastball. Simmons put the barrel of the bat on it. Pedro Feliz dove but never had a shot. Burrell chased it into the corner, but by the time he got there, it was obvious that the game and the Series were over. The A’s erupted out of the dugout as Mule Haas crossed the plate.

The Phillies had put up a far better fight than anyone had thought they would. But in the end, the A’s simply had too much Mule, too much Lefty, too much Mickey, too much Double X. And they had a man born with the name Aloyz Szymanski who was one of the finest ballplayers this city has ever seen, and did a damn fine job of proving it on a Monday afternoon in North Philadelphia.

GAME NOTES: You can check out the boxscore and play by play here…Al Simmons was named Series MVP. After a slow start, he finished the Series 12-24 in the final 5 games, including the Series winning hit in Game 7…Mule Haas also had a monster Series, going 8-23 in the final 5 games, collecting four doubles and a homer…hitting stars for the Phillies were Jimmy Rollins (.310), Pat Burrell (.318) and Carlos Ruiz (.320). Utley and Howard both had disappointing Series. Utley went 4-24 (.166) and Howard went 4-30 (.133) though he did amass 7 RBIs. Howard was absolutely helpless against Lefty Grove. In three games against him, he went 0-11 with 8 strikeouts…Discussions are already in place for a matchup for next year. Possibly the 1980 Phils vs. the 1911 A’s? We shall see.

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A’s Win Game 6 in a Shootout

Posted by Johnny Goodtimes, Sun, November 03, 2013 09:00 PM Comments: 0

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Ryan Howard cracks a double in the first inning.

This piece is a continuation of our Philly Dream Series between the 1929 Philadelphia A’s and the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies. For more info on this series, click here. To see the results of the first 5 games, click here.

In 1985, Marvin Hagler and Tommy Hearns met in the middle of the ring, neither harboring any intentions of having the fight go the distance. There was no defense, no sweet science, just two street brawlers determined to knock the other one out. And so it went in Game 6 of this Phillies Dream Series. There are no superlative pitching performances or sterling defensive plays to discuss, merely a recounting of a back alley brawl, with both gangs bashing the other with heavy lumber. It was the A’s who recorded the knockout punch in the 9th, escaping from the street fight with a few bruises but living to fight another day with a 10-8 victory.

Both sides came out swinging in the first, with Al Simmons knocking in Max Bishop with a single. In the bottom of the first, Ryan Howard finally got involved in the Series, cracking a George Earnshaw pitch off the right field wall for a double to knock in two. Pat Burrell followed that up with a single to score Howard, and the fans at CBP, sensing a Phillies Series win, were delirious. Continue reading A’s Win Game 6 in a Shootout

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Phillies Edge A’s to Move Within One Win of Upset in the Series

Posted by Johnny Goodtimes, Fri, November 01, 2013 06:15 PM Comments: 2

Dubee settles Hamels down in the first.

Dubee settles Hamels down in the first.

The headline of most baseball games is a nucleus from which the story can then fan out…Hamels dominant, A’s destroy Blanton, Mickey Cochrane takes over. Then there are those strange games that have no true core. Where pitchers become hitters, great defenders botch routine plays in the field, and one team comes in like a lion and goes out like a mouse. No ebb, no flow, just seemingly a strange sequence of random events. Game 5 was one of those games, and when the curtain finally came down on this theatre of the absurd, it was the Phillies who were victorious by a score of 4-3.

 The Phils got to Lefty Grove in the first, as Chase Utley brought Jayson Werth home with a line drive double to center. But the A’s responded in the bottom of the initial frame, and made it appear to the Shibe Park faithful that the same steamroller that had run over the Phils in South Philly had made its way up Broad and taken a left on Lehigh.

Two runs and four hits, capped off by a screaming double from Al Simmons, were recorded before Hamels had registered a single out, and it looked as if the A’s were too formidable for even the Phillies’ finest arm. But a Rich Dubee visit to the mound seemed to calm Hamels down, and he struck out Jimmie Foxx to get his first out. He got Bing Miller to fly out to shallow center before issuing a free pass to Jimmy Dykes. With the bases juiced Hamels coerced Joe Boley into a routine grounder to 2nd. But Chase Utley bobbled it, and by the time he was able to strangle the squirtbug, all runners were safe and Cochrane had scored to make it 3-1 A’s. Fortunately for Hamels, the next batter up was Lefty Grove, a career .148 hitter, and Hamels struck him out to end the inning before things got out of control. But he had thrown 38 pitches in the inning, and the Phils were lucky to only be down two after one. Continue reading Phillies Edge A’s to Move Within One Win of Upset in the Series

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A’s Blast Blanton, Even Series, Snatch Momentum

Posted by Johnny Goodtimes, Wed, October 30, 2013 10:10 PM Comments: 15

Rube Walberg pitched a complete game 3-hitter

Rube Walberg pitched a complete game 3-hitter.

Kentucky Joe Blanton‘s last appearance in a game of this magnitude was a magical one. Not only did he pitch 6 solid innings in Game 4 of the 2008 World Series, giving up only 4 hits and 2 runs, but he also blasted a memorable home run that convinced many Phillies fans in attendance (myself included) that THIS was our year.

Game 4 of the Philly Dream Series did not turn out nearly as well. The Phillies got rocked, 10-1, as Big Joe was blasted for three runs in the first. Not long after a Mule Haas double in the 3rd, he was pulled from the mound to a chorus of boos and with the Phillies in a 3-0 hole.

That hole would get a lot bigger in the 5th when Chad Durbin got shelled for the 2nd time in two games. The heart of the A’s offense ripped the heart out of Durbin’s chest, as a leadoff walk to Mule Haas and consecutive hits by Cochrane, Simmons, and Foxx gave the A’s a touchdown lead. A single by Bing Miller brought home Foxx to add the extra point, and it was 7-0 by the time Durbin’s cold, lifeless corpse was dragged off the field. (The coroner’s report read “Death by Annihiliation”). Continue reading A’s Blast Blanton, Even Series, Snatch Momentum

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1929 A’s Fan Talks About Growing Up Next Door to Shibe

Posted by Johnny Goodtimes, Tue, October 29, 2013 06:02 PM Comments: 10

rooney-400x392With us in the midst of our Philly Dream Series, I thought it’d be a great time to share an interview I did recently with Philadelphia A’s fan Jack Rooney, part of which originally appeared on Philly Mag‘s blog. Jack was 6 when the A’s won the 1929 World Series, and lived directly behind the right field fence. Those great old photos of fans sitting on the rooftops watching World Series games? One of those rooftops was Jack’s! Last year he wrote a book about the experience called Bleachers in the Bedroom. Here he talks to me about that 1929 team, what it was like having bleachers on his roof, and about his brother’s friendship with Al Simmons. 

Where exactly did you live?
I lived on 2739 20th street. Behind the right field fence. And they had a low right field fence, about 12 feet high, so you had a great view from there. I was interviewed at Citizens Bank Park a few years ago, and I sat in a section there they called rooftop bleachers, and it’s supposed to duplicate the view we had from our rooftop bleachers on 20th Street. So the reporter asked me, “Is it the same?” And of course I could look out and sort of visualize what it was like back then, and I said, “We were a lot closer.”

Some of the A’s players lived right in your neighborhood, right?
The one we really had a relationship with was Al Simmons. He was probably the biggest star on the team. He rented a room from a family that was three doors away from us on 20th Street. We saw him often. My kid brother had the job of waking him up sometimes, because Mrs. Conwell didn’t want to go into his bedroom, so she’d say, “Hey Jerry, would you go in and wake up Al?” And he’d go in, wake him and talk to him. My brother would say, “Come on Al, you’ve got to get up. You’ve got to get your batting practice.”

Continue reading 1929 A’s Fan Talks About Growing Up Next Door to Shibe

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A’s Explode for 12 Runs Behind Cochrane’s Monster Game

Posted by Johnny Goodtimes, Mon, October 28, 2013 05:00 PM Comments: 7

The Philadelphia A’s took Game 3 of the Philly Dream Series over the Phillies by a score of 12-4. They were led by Mickey Cochrane’s explosive night at the plate in which he hit for the cycle and drove in five runs. The Phillies still lead the series by a count of 2 games to 1.

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Cochrane hit for the cycle.

The remarkable thing about Mickey Cochrane is that, by all accounts, he was a better football player than baseball player in high school. But since there was money to be made in baseball in the early 1920s, and not in football, he decided to play professionally with a leather glove instead of a leather ball. On this day, all of North Philadelphia is thankful.

His nifty night began in the top of the first. After a Mule Haas double, Mick (who, ironically, is of Scottish ancestry) singled into right center to bring the Mule home. It continued in the 3rd, as Cochrane opened the frame by delivering a ground rule double over the center field wall. Al Simmons would bring him home with a single a few moments later.

In the 4th, the floodgates opened. After Moyer hit Max Bishop with a pitch, and Mule Haas cracked another double, up stepped Cochrane. He delivered a shot into the right center gap that had more speed behind it than Werth and Victorino accounted for. It rolled to the wall, then took an awkward bounce off the wall towards center, and by the time Victorino wrangled it with his mitt and sent it back to the infield, Cochrane was standing on third. (Catchers don’t typically hit many triples, but Mickey is the exception. His 64 career triples were the most of any 20th century catcher in the Hall of Fame.) His three-bagger gave the A’s a 6-2 lead. That lead was stretched to 7-2 when Al Simmons sent him home a few minutes later with a single. Not long after, third baseman Jimmy Dykes hit a moonshot over the right field wall, and the rout was on.

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Werth watches Cochrane’s homer disappear into the crowd.

But Mickey wasn’t done. In the 5th, Cochrane stepped up with old Eddie Collins standing on third. Chad Durbin tried to sneak a fastball past him. Bad move. Cochrane laced a shot into right. Werth turned and waited for it to bounce off the wall. It never did. It just grazed the metal fence above a Red Cross sign and hurtled into the seats. The boosters in blue hats who made the trip south cheered raucously, while the rooters in red sat stonefaced and silent, as the scoreboard screamed the harsh truth at them: 11-2. Mickey Cochrane had accomplished something quite remarkable: he had hit for the cycle. (Remarkable, yes, but hardly shocking. He would go onto to hit for the cycle in 1932 and 1933, and is thus one of very few MLB players with multi-cycle games.)

Things would turn ugly moments later, as Durbin cracked Simmons in the head with a pitch. Both benches cleared, and Connie Mack stared coolly at Durbin while walking out to check on Simmons, but sanity prevailed, and Durbin was immediately yanked for JA Happ. (Simmons, as hard boiled as they come, stayed in the game.)

Pat the Bat added a couple of late inning RBIs, but by then fans of both teams were already deep in discussion about whether or not the A’s were gong to hit Blanton as hard as they hit Moyer. And after his epic performance in a must win game, an old debate, heard often in Philadelphia when our grandfathers and great-grandfathers walked the city streets, was dusted off and presented anew: Is Mickey Cochrane the greatest catcher of all time?

GAME NOTES: You can check out the box score and play by play here…The A’s had 7 hits in the first 19 innings of this Series. They had 11 hits in the first 4 innings of tonight’s game…After Moyer and Durbin imploded, the rest of the Phillies bullpen pitched quite well, giving up 4 hits and no runs in 4.1 innings of work…While Al Simmons (3-5, 2 RBI) and Mickey Cochrane (4-6, 5 RBI) broke out of their slumps in a big way, Jimmie Foxx continues to struggle, going 0-4. He’s now 1-12 in the Series…1929 World Series hero Howard Ehmke pitched adequately, but Mack obviously had plans to make this game a “Pitch by committee” affair, as 5 different A’s took the field and Ehmke only went 3 innings…Jimmy Rollins is having an excellent Series so far, going 5-12 with 4 runs scored and 3 stolen bases.

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Myers Dominant as Phillies Take 2-0 Series Lead

Posted by Johnny Goodtimes, Sat, October 26, 2013 01:40 PM Comments: 7

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Brett Myers confounded A’s hitters with his cutter.

Coming into this Series, most people fell on one of two sides of the debate: either the 1929 A’s were going to dominate because they had three future Hall of Famers in the middle of their lineup and another one on the mound, or the 2008 Phillies were going to dominate because the players of their era were bigger and stronger. And their pitchers, as Brad Lidge said, had a slider in their arsenal, which the A’s had never seen before.

The bigger/stronger thing is not as much of a factor as most people assume: Chase Utley is 6’1, 200 pounds, while Jimmie Foxx is 6’0″, 195 pounds.  And Cole Hamels is 6’3″, 195, while Lefty Grove is 6’3″, 190. Not much of a difference there.

But after two games, it seems like the pitching theory holds some water, because the A’s just can’t seem to touch the Phils pitching. In Game 2, it was Brett Myers who confounded the vaunted heart of the A’s lineup, pitching 7 innings and giving up only 4 hits. Yes, he did make the mistake of pitching Jimmie Foxx a fastball in the 2nd inning, which Foxx gladly turned into a souvenir for a fan in the left field bleachers. But after that Myers began relying on his cutter, which the A’s had never seen before, and no one except Max Bishop was able to touch it.

Earnshaw warming up before Game 2.

Earnshaw warming up before Game 2.

As we told you in the scouting report, Athletics starter George Earnshaw struggled with control, and the wildness bug hit him  in Game 2. He actually walked in a run in the 3rd, and then completely fell apart in the 8th. With the A’s trailing by only a run, and after recording two quick outs, Pedro Feliz ripped a liner into the left field corner of Shibe. At this point, Mack probably should have gone to his bullpen. He elected to stay with Earnshaw, though he was over 120 pitches at that point. Earnshaw proceeded to walk Greg Dobbs and Carlos Ruiz. J-Roll then followed up with a single into left center, and the Phils had stretched their lead to 5-2. The damage would have been worse, but Al Simmons made a spectacular catch of a Jayson Werth flyball into left. No surprise there. As legendary Giants manager John McGraw once said of the Milwaukee native, “Al Simmons proved to me  that he is a really great outfielder, especially when it comes to timing the ball. That wonderful sense of timing that makes him a great batter is plainly shown in his outfield work.”

Ossie Orwoll came into relieve Earnshaw in the top of the 9th, and things went from bad to worse. Chase Utley led off the inning with a shot to centerfield…no mean feet, considering that center field is a staggering 468 feet away from home plate (Worth noting: Babe Ruth hit 60 homers in 1927 while playing at a home stadium with a CF fence 408′ from home. Jimmie Foxx hit 58 homers in 1932 in a stadium with a CF fence 468′ from home.) After a Pat Burrell double, Shane Victorino hit a blast that just barely cleared the wall in left center to make the score 8-2. To make the loss even more disheartening, the game ended with the A’s big 3 (Cochrane, Simmons, and Foxx) going down meekly against Ryan Madson in the bottom of the 9th. If those same bats don’t wake up out of their funk in Game 3, this Series will be over a lot sooner than anyone predicted it would be.

GAME NOTES: You can check out the box score and the play by play here...After two games, Foxx, Cochrane, and Simmons are a combined 1-23…The A’s have only gone down 2 games to none once in a World Series. In 1914, they went down 2-0 on their way to getting swept by the “Miracle Braves”…in 5 innings of work thus far, the Phillies bullpen has given up 1 hit and zero runs…through two games, Max Bishop and Bing Miller have a combined 5 hits. The rest of the team is a combined 2-49 (.041)…Game 3 is scheduled for Monday night at Citizen’s Bank Park. The A’s have never played in a night game. The first MLB night game took place in 1935, as the Phillies lost to the Reds at Crosley Field in Cincinnati...Ethel Waters, a Chester native who had a huge hit in 1929 with the song Am I Blue? sang the National Anthem.

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Hamels, Dobbs Lead Phils to Game 1 Win

Posted by Johnny Goodtimes, Thu, October 24, 2013 04:00 PM Comments: 8

NLCS Dodgers Phillies BaseballComing into Game 1 of the Philly Dream Series, much of the talk surrounded the fact that we were going to get to see two of the greatest lefties in Philadelphia baseball history. Neither Cole Hamels nor Lefty Grove disappointed. The mighty A’s hitters managed a measly two hits off of Hamels in 7 innings of work. Phillies hitters didn’t have much more luck off of Grove, who allowed only 1 run in his first 9 innings of work, before finally wearing down in the 10th.

The scoring started in the bottom of the 4th, as Bing Miller sent a Cole Hamels fastball over the right field wall. Miller hasn’t had to pay for a steak in this town since his walk off double won the A’s the 1929 World Series, and a big Dream Series could only burnish his legend.

The Phils answered immediately. In the top of the 5th, they loaded the bases with no outs, and Jimmy Rollins hit a fly ball to left center that brought home Pedro Feliz and quieted the raucous crowd.

This being Philadelphia, that crowd was electric from the start. And when Herbert Hoover was announced to throw out the first pitch, he was met with boos and chants of “We Want Beer!” (Remember the ’29 A’s played in the midst of Prohibition). The crowd’s rowdy behavior did not go over well with the  gentlemanly teetotaller Connie Mack. (After the game, the President jokingly responded to the boos by saying, “I thought they were cheering me on by screaming ‘Hooooooo-ver!’”)

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Tied at 1 after 9, Mack decided to ride Lefty into the tenth, despite the fact that he was clocking in at over 120 pitches. Greg Dobbs, pinch hitting  for Ryan Madson, hit a flyball double into right field to lead off the inning. After walking Rollins, Grove was replaced by reliever Ossie Orwoll (pic right), perhaps the finest athlete on the A’s. Orwoll played in the NFL in 1926, and as an Athletic, he’s played first base, center field and left field in addition to pitching. He coaxed Jayson Werth into a fly out to left, but the ball went deep enough to allow pinch runner So Taguchi to advance to third. Chase Utley then flew out to right. Bing Miller lined up his catch and threw a dart home, but Taguchi avoided Cochrane’s tag and gave the Phils the 2-1 lead.

Brad Lidge came on in the bottom of the 10th, and leaning heavily on the slider, struck out three batters to end the game.

Dobbs, who set a team record with 22 pinch hits this past season, spoke about his big hit after the game. “Lefty does a  nice job of painting the corners with that fastball, but I think he was a little tired. That one he threw me caught a little too much of the plate and I was able to get around on it.” The wonkish Dobbs, known for studying pitchers, says he’s watched what video of Grove he could find. ”Does all this help me tremendously? I don’t know. But I do know that it makes me feel prepared, and not feeling prepared is the worst thing that can happen. You need to feel good going into an at-bat.”

Well, Greg Dobbs has all of South Philadelphia feeling good after his heroics in Game 1.

RELATED: You can check out the box score and play-by-play of Game 1 here. 

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