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Sooner or later, in baseball as in most areas of life, what goes up must come down and after back-to-back pennants, Boston finished a mediocre fourth place with a 78-74 record, 16 games out of first – the race had been between Philadelphia Athletic and the White Sox, who finished just two games back. Boston stumbled from the start, losing their first six games, two of which were particularly dispiriting losses. On April 18, George Winter threw a one-hitter in front of only 400 fans in Washington, but lost the game, 1-0, the one run coming in on back-to-back errors in the very first inning. Three days later, at the home opener, captain Jimmy Collins raised the blue 1904 championship pennant on the flagpole, as the band played and thousands of fans shouted, waving flags, hats, and handkerchiefs. As the game progressed, Boston led by 4-0 after seven innings. Then came five Philadelphia runs and spirits were dampened, the final score a depressing 5-4. A month later, in Cleveland on May 19, there was a road accident when a streetcar hit the team bus and knocked it over. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured in any way. The 1905 season, though, was nothing like the wreck of a season which arrived in 1906. Still in its early years, there were unusual occurrences – on July 23 and 24, a major-league team from Michigan (the Detroit Tigers) played a major-league team from Massachusetts (the Boston Americans) in Columbus, the capital of Ohio. Boston won both games, deemed home games for Detroit. There was a weird stretch of doubleheaders occasioned by repeated rainouts both home and away. In late August, the team played six doubleheaders in a row and in September played nine doubleheaders in a 16-day span. They swept two, were swept in two, and split the other seven. The first game of the September 27 doubleheader saw Big Bill Dinneen come back after being out for nearly a month with an ailing arm. He walked two White Sox in the first inning, but threw a no-hitter for a 2-0 win. This was one of the splits. Cy Young got hammered in the second game and lost, 15-1. The team won every one of its final eight games, taking the 70-74 record up to 78-74. The team batting average for the season, though, was a poor .234. Cy Young posted a stellar 1.82 ERA – his third-best season - but had a losing season; he won 18 but lost 19 despite an impressive 1.82 ERA, but you can’t win if your team doesn’t score runs. Buck Freeman had seen his average drop for the fourth year in a row, now down to a weak .240 with only three homers and 49 RBIs. Jimmy Collins led in both average (.276) and runs batted in (65), neither being impressive totals. Jesse Tannehill was the only pitcher of note with a winning record, and he stood out (22-9, 2.48). POSTSEASON EXHIBITION GAMES After the regular season was over, the two Boston teams went at it in a “city series”. The Nationals won the first game, but then the Americans won the next six – playing two extra games even though the best-of-seven series was already won. Every one of the games was played at the Huntington Avenue Grounds.

By Bill Nowlin
 

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Tagged:
Bill Dinneen, Buck Freeman, Cy Young, George Winter, Huntington Avenue Grounds, Jesse Tannehill, Jimmy Collins

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