At the very beginning of 1907, looking at the 1906 season through the proverbial rear-view mirror (the first known use of said mirror on the newfangled motor vehicles only came four years later, in 1911), it seemed as though things couldn’t possibly get any worse – but darker days lay ahead.
On March 28, during spring training, manager Chick Stahl committed suicide by drinking carbolic acid. Though the true cause of his decision is uncertain, he had apparently frequently mentioned that managing the team detracted from his ability to play on it. Cy Young agreed to serve until a permanent manager could be hired – the team ran through four managers before the 1907 season was over: Young, George Huff, Bob Unglaub, and Deacon McGuire.
Just before the season began, John I. Taylor’s team cut ties with Buck Freeman, who had played with the team since 1901 and led the league in RBIs in 1902 and 1903. Manager Huff only lasted eight games (2-6) and there were intimations that President Taylor had his fingers in decision-making. Later in the year, Huff contributed as a scout, signing both Tris Speaker and George Whiteman.
Unglaub won his own first game as manager, with a bases-clearing triple for a 4-3 win over New York. He lasted 29 games (9-20), and then was replaced on June 17 (the fourth manager in about eight weeks) by McGuire for the rest of the year.
McGuire was a player on the New York Highlanders (Yankees), and Taylor had to get permission to offer him the job. On that same day, Boston traded away Jimmy Collins to Philadelphia. Despite the turmoil at the top, the team finished with a record of 59-90, some 10 wins better than 1907 and crept out of the cellar, finishing seventh – though still 32 1/5 games behind the first-place Tigers.
The best game of the year from a purist’s standpoint came on September 9, as two aces – Cy Young for Boston and Rube Waddell for Philadelphia – battled for 13 scoreless innings apiece, neither pitcher walking even one batter, in a game which wound up a 0-0 tie. Cy Young had another 20-win season, the 14th of his career, finishing 21-15 with a 1.99 earned run average. George Winter (12-15, 2.07 ERA) had the second-most number of wins.
One might have concluded that Joe Harris (he of the 2-21 record in 1906) would be out on his ear – but, no, he was sent a new contract and pitched again this year, getting to 0-7 before they finally gave up on old Joe. He finished his major league career with a 3-30 record – despite a decent 3.35 lifetime ERA.
As in 1906, hitting four homers gave you the team lead; Hobe Ferris held the honor. First baseman Unglaub led in runs batted in with 62. Right fielder Bunk Congalton’s .286 was high average on a team which – as in 1905 – hit just .234. After the season, on December 18, owner John I. Taylor announced that his 1908 team would adopt the wearing of red stockings and call themselves the Red Sox.
POSTSEASON EXHIBITION GAMES There was another city series against the Boston Doves, the NL team. It was a matchup between two seventh-place clubs. The Americans won all seven games played, and – having lost 13 games in a row to the AL club – there was perhaps a lack of enthusiasm for continuing the postseason exhibition games in future years.By Bill Nowlin
- Bob Unglaub, Buck Freeman, Bunk Congalton, Chick Stahl, Cy Young, Deacon McGuire, George Huff, George Whiteman, Hobe Ferris, Jimmy Collins, Joe Harris, John I. Taylor, Tris Speaker