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Manager Fred Lake named Doc Gessler, the offensive star (?) of 1908 with his three home runs, was named team captain for 1909. It was the team’s first year without Cy Young, who had been traded in February to Cleveland (closer to his Ohio home) for two right-handed pitchers (Charlie Chech and Jack Ryan), and also $12,500. Young won 19 games in ’09; between them, Chech (7) and Ryan (3) won 10. Some fans accepted the trade without alarm, but the Washington Post reported that Nuf Ced McGreevy of the Royal Rooters and others “were so indignant that they started an organized boycott of the American League grounds. Other fans talked of raising a purse to buy Cy back on their own hook.” The team itself continued to improve, finishing in third place and only 9 ½ games behind Detroit. There was one “first” in 1909, and something that remains unique in team history: a rookie pitcher threw a shutout at home in his first start. Some seven other Sox pitchers have shut out the opposition on the road, but on July 6 Larry Pape (2-0 over Washington) became the only one to ever do it at home. Ten days later, Biff Schlitzer threw the best game of his career, a complete 10-inning 2-1 victory. Harry Niles scored the winning run – hit by a pitch, he advanced to second base on a sacrifice, took third on an out, and scored on a hit by captain Gessler. Schlitzer joined Chech and Ryan and Pape as one of 18 starters the Red Sox employed during the course of the season, as the team tried to fill the hole left by trading away Cy Young. There were as many starters as there had been players on the 1904 team. Smoky Joe Wood had his first full season (11-7, 2.18 – the same ERA as Frank Arellanes, who led in wins (16-12). The best ERA belonged to the knuckleball man, Eddie Cicotte (1.94, 14-5). Tris Speaker, also in his first year, led in homers (seven) and RBIs (77), with a .309 average. This was a team known as the “Speed Boys” and Speaker stole 35 bases. Harry Lord’s 36 led the team, as did his .315 average, though Speaker was close at .309. There had been optimism again, with an 11-game winning streak in mid-August causing a brief outbreak of pennant fever. Oddly, they traded away their captain – Doc Gessler – on September 9 – 1909, but even more oddly Washington manager Joe Cantillon loaned him back to the Red Sox that same afternoon. He entered in the ninth inning and in the top of the 10th singled in Tris Speaker with the tie-breaking run that won the game – defeating his own team while wearing Boston’s uniform one last time. Finishing 88-63, Lake thought he deserved a sizable raise, but couldn’t come to terms with Taylor, so the Red Sox let Lake go. Taylor hired Patsy Donovan to run the team in 1910, but Lake found another job managing just a few hundred yards away; Boston’s NL team signed him up. POSTSEASON EXHIBITION GAMES There was another round of postseason exhibition games, playing one each in Rhode Island and in Maine and then taking on the New York Giants – the team that refused to play a World Series in 1904 – in a best-of-seven series. The Giants won the first game in New York, but then lost four in a row, the final three of them at the Huntington Avenue Grounds.

By Bill Nowlin
 

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Tagged:
Biff Schlitzer, Charlie Chech, Cy Young, Doc Gessler, Eddie Cicotte, Frank Arellanes, Fred Lake, Harry Niles, Jack Ryan, Joe Wood, John I. Taylor, Larry Pape, Patsy Donovan, Royal Rooters, Tris Speaker

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