July 17, 1914: Gene Packard goes the distance as Packers defeat ChiFeds in 14 innings

This article was written by Frederick C. Bush

Gene PackardIt was Ladies’ Day at Kansas City’s Gordon and Koppel Field on July 17, 1914, as the hometown Packers hosted the Chicago Federals and, according to the press, the crowd of 3,000 fans consisted of “mostly women.”1 Both the ladies and gentlemen who were present were no doubt pleased as “the battle probably was the most brilliant Packer followers have seen.”2 The game featured a clash between southpaws Gene Packard for Kansas City and the ChiFeds’ Doc Watson, who between them allowed only one runner to cross the plate over the first eight innings. A veritable flurry of runs was scored in the ninth that left the game tied, 2-2, after which righty Claude Hendrix took the hill for Chicago and continued the duel with Packard, who persevered to gain the victory.

The two lefty starters each had their opposition’s hitters frustrated as they put zeros on the scoreboard over the first four innings. The only threat to either pitcher over that time was Art Wilson’s one-out triple off Packard in the top of the fourth, but Dutch Zwilling popped out and Al Wickland flied out to strand their teammate at third.

After Packard retired Chicago in order in the top of the fifth, Kansas City opened the scoring in the bottom of the frame. George Stovall, who doubled as manager and first baseman, socked a leadoff double to right field. Art Kruger, the next batter, lashed a single to left that forced Stovall to hold at third base, and Pep Goodwin lofted a sacrifice fly to center field for a 1-0 Packers lead. Watson limited the damage to the lone run by retiring Cliff Daringer and Jack Enzenroth.

Kansas City threatened to score again in the bottom of the sixth when Chet Chadbourne and Grover Gilmore hit back-to-back one-out singles. Duke Kenworthy hit into a fielder’s choice that wiped out Gilmore at second while Chadbourne advanced to third. Stovall stepped to the plate again and, as manager, may have made the call for the next play that ended up taking the bat out of his hands: Chadbourne and Kenworthy attempted a double steal, but Chadbourne was too slow and was tagged out in a rundown between third and home.3

As the ninth inning began, “[t]he fans were getting ready to make a quick exit. The game had been played in jig time, and early suppers were promised.”4 However, Joe Tinker, the ChiFeds’ legendary manager-shortstop, wanted to play longer and made moves to try to tie the game. First, he sent Bruno Block to pinch-hit for Watson in the inning’s leadoff spot. Block reached base via an error by Daringer at shortstop and was replaced by pinch-runner Harry Fritz. After Rollie “Bunions” Zeider flied out, Tinker himself knocked a base hit to put runners at first and second. Wilson followed with a triple to deep center — his second three-base hit of the day — that gave Chicago a 2-1 lead. Although Wilson again was stranded at third, he appeared to have turned the tide of the game. The Kansas City fans still anticipated going home early, but now they would be leaving with disappointed faces rather than happy ones.

As it turned out, Tinker’s next move gave renewed hope to the hometown faithful. He sent right-hander Mike Prendergastto the mound in order to give Claude Hendrix, his intended relief pitcher, sufficient time “in which to limber his wing.”5Prendergast surrendered a leadoff triple to Chadbourne, and Tinker hastily inserted Hendrix into the game. With Gilmore at bat, the spitballing Hendrix “applied slippery elm juice all over the ball and when he sent one of his hot ones to [catcher] Wilson it slipped from the glove and Chadbourne tied the score.”6 Hendrix then retired Gilmore, Kenworthy, and Stovall in order and “settled in a death struggle” against Packard.7

Chicago second baseman Jack Farrell stroked a two-out double in the top of the 10th to get into scoring position, but Hendrix, the next batter, flied out. In the bottom of the inning, the Packers threatened to end the contest. Kruger looped a Texas Leaguer to center for a leadoff single. Next, Goodwin bunted up the first-base line; Feds first baseman Fred Beckpicked up the ball and fired it wildly to Tinker at second to try to nab Kruger; the result was an error that put runners at first and second with no outs. Stovall inserted John Potts as a pinch-runner for Kruger and sent Ted Easterly to pinch-hit for Daringer. Easterly laid down the second Packers’ bunt of the inning, and Beck made his second error, this time dropping Hendrix’s throw that would have retired Easterly.

Hendrix received due credit for the manner in which he “tighten[ed] his pitching machinery” and escaped the no-outs, bases-loaded jam.8 Cad Coles now pinch-hit for Enzenroth, and he grounded to Tinker at short, who threw Potts out at home. Beck atoned for his two errors by fielding Packard’s grounder and rifling it home to retire Goodwin. With the bases still loaded, Chadbourne smashed a fly ball to deep center, but Zwilling “went neatly into the next county before he smothered it in his big glove” to preserve the tie.9

After all of this excitement, the 11th inning was a letdown as both pitchers retired their opponents in order. Zwilling demonstrated his defensive worth once more by hauling in Kenworthy’s “mighty drive near the right center fence” for the second Packers out.10 In fact, Zwilling “made several marvelous catches in deep center field and saved the game several times” but was “helpless at bat,” going 0-for-6 and striking out twice.11

The 12th inning proved to be as uneventful as the 11th, then the Feds mounted a threat in the top of the 13th. After Packard quickly retired Farrell and Hendrix, Zeider, and Tinker hit consecutive singles and Wilson drew a walk to load the bases. Zwilling was up to bat, but Packard caught Zeider “prancing far off third” and threw the ball to third baseman George Perring, who tagged him out as he attempted to slide back to the bag.12

After taking part in the defensive gem, Perring led off the Packers’ half of the inning with a double and advanced to third on Packard’s sacrifice. However, Hendrix extricated himself from his latest jam by striking out Chadbourne and Gilmore.

Packard looked as though he finally might be tiring in the 14th when he once again surrendered consecutive two-out singles, this time to Beck and Tom McGuire. Potts’s error in center field on McGuire’s hit allowed both runners to advance an additional base. Packard summoned his reserves and induced a grounder by Farrell to Kenworthy at second base, who “winged out Farrell in a close play.”13

Although Packard was wearing down after pitching 14 innings, it was Hendrix who gave out first. As had been the case in the previous inning, the Packer who retired the last Federals batter was the first man up in the home half. Kenworthy bounced what looked to be a routine ball to third base, but it took a bad hop and “kangarooed … over Bunion Zeider’s bean” for a leadoff single.14 Stovall then smashed a single to center field that was just past the reach of Tinker to put Hendrix in a precarious position. Potts worked Hendrix to a 3-and-0 count before lining his own single, the Packers’ third consecutive hit, to drive in Kenworthy with the winning run.

After Kansas City’s 3-2 triumph, the Chicago Tribune observed, “These pesky teams seem to enjoy extra inning battles. This is the fourth they have enjoyed this year and Chicago has won only one.”15 Packard raised his record for the season to 13-9 by pitching a remarkable 14 innings over which he allowed only 10 hits, one walk, and one run; he struck out seven and lowered his ERA to 2.18. Tinker had been Packard’s manager when both were with the National League’s Cincinnati Reds in 1913 and Packard originally had followed Tinker to the ChiFeds, though he ended up pitching for Kansas City instead.16 On this day, Tinker likely wished that his former pitching prospect had been on his side once more.

 

Notes

1 “Tinx Drop Clash in 14th by 3-2; Hendrix Victim,” Chicago Tribune, July 18, 1914: 13.

2 “Packers Won in the 14th,” Kansas City Star,” July 18, 1914: 8.

3 “Notes of the Game,” Kansas City Star, July 18, 1914: 8.

4 “Tinx Drop Clash in 14th.”

5 “Notes of the ChiFeds,” Chicago Daily Tribune, July 18, 1914: 13.

6 “Tinx Drop Clash in 14th.”

7 “Packers Won in the 14th.”

8 Ibid.

9 “Tinx Drop Clash in 14th.”

10 “Packers Won in the 14th.”

11 “Notes of the ChiFeds.”

12 “Packers Won in the 14th.”

13 Ibid.

14 Ibid.

15 “Notes of the ChiFeds.”

16 Bill Lamb, “Gene Packard,” sabr.org/bioproj/person/4e228512, accessed July 6, 2018.

Additional Stats

Kansas City Packers 3
Chicago Federals 2 
14 innings


Gordon and Koppel Field
Kansas City, MO

 

Box Score + PBP:

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