Brooklyn Smacks Pirates, Wins Chronicle Cup

Pittsburgh, who had lost a bitterly contested pennant to Brooklyn in 1900, challenged the club to a playoff after the season ended. Now under the direction of manager Ned Hanlon, Brooklyn agreed and although both clubs touted it as a World Series, the rest of the National League was unimpressed by it all.

The Brooklyn team was called Hanlon's Superbas after a popular vaudeville troupe by the same name was playing to full houses in the New York area.

In 1900, Brooklyn benefitted when the Baltimore Oriole owner Harry Vanderhorst, lost a good deal of money on the 1899 season. Charlie Ebbets, now the Brooklyn owner, suffered equally in the financial department.

So in the loosely governed atmosphere of National League baseball, the Orioles transferred most of their good players to Brooklyn, who sent some second-raters to Baltimore to fill out their roster.

Vanderhorst bought stock in the Brooklyn Franchise and Ebbets was allowed to buy a block of Baltimore stock. Ned Hanlon, Baltimore president and manager, became the Brooklyn manager while retaining his presidency in the Baltimore club. Plus he was also allowed to buy some stock in the Brooklyn club.

ESPN would implode if such a scheme was attempted today, but in the era of "syndicate baseball" it was a common move. You can almost hear Peter Gammons now.

So Brooklyn received, among others, future Hall of Famers Willie Keeler and Joe McGinnity, and was strengthened greatly.

Despite that, there was a battle for the National League pennant. However, Pittsburgh, led by Honus Wagner, had taken the season series from Brooklyn 11-8 and contested the win, challenging Brooklyn to a post-season playoff with the Pittsburgh Chronical-Telegraph sponsoring the tournament and furnishing a huge silver trophy lined with gold for the winners.

The best three of five game series was to be played entirely in Pittsburgh. McGinnity, who had won 28 games during the regular season, opened for the Superbas and Rube Waddell, some years away from his antics with the Philadelphia As, was the Pittsburgh starter.

McGinnity, who threw almost completely underhand, had little trouble until a rundown in the eighth inning saw Waddell crashing into him. His knee struck McGinnity in the temple and knocked him cold.

It took some time to revive him and, a bit wobbly, he hit a batter, walked another and allowed a pair of singles but survived to nail down a 5-2 win.

Frank Kitson, 15-13 during the season, started the second game for Brooklyn and engendered a huge swell of betting on the Pirates. But he allowed only four hits and the Pirates chipped in with eight errors and Brooklyn won 4-2.

Pittsburgh won the third game 10-0, giving the Pirate fans of a decisive comeback but McGinnity, now clear headed, dispatched them 7-1 in the fourth, and final, game of the series.

Keeler hit .375 as did catcher Duke Farrell. Fielder Jones led the team with five runs batted in. McGinnity had a 2-0 record and a 1.50 ERA.

The winning trophy was awarded to McGinnity and each Brooklyn player was given a $100 bonus.

The two clubs left later in October to tour Cuba, but not before a banquet was held in Brooklyn, with speeches and toasts almost non-stop during the evening.

Chief Brooklyn rooter William J. Butting congratulated the team and management and echoed the sentiments of all Bridegroom, Superbas and Dodger fans for decades to come when he said, "The only regret that I have is that the New Yorks were able to tie our champions in their season series. Any other team would have been all right, but that bunch from across the river -- never!"

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