September 19, 1915: St. Louis Terriers’ pennant hopes fall in sloppy 12-inning loss to last-place Baltimore Terrapins

This article was written by Paul Hofmann

Steve Evans (TRADING CARD DB)The Sunday game at Handlan’s Park1 on September 19, 1915, drew an estimated crowd of 13,000 to watch the second-place St. Louis Terriers square off against the last-place Baltimore Terrapins.2 The Terriers, who had a record of 17-10-2 since August 23, were locked in a hotly contested three-team battle for the Federal League pennant. They entered the game with a 76-64 record, three games behind the front-running Pittsburgh Rebels and a half-game ahead of the Chicago Whales. The Terrapins had long since been eliminated from the pennant race and were languishing in last place with a record of 44-93, 33½ games off the pace. In a cost-saving move, the Terrapins had been getting rid of many of their veteran players and were playing with what amounted to a makeshift lineup. Vern Duncan, Steve Evans, and Yip Owens were the only position players who remained in the Terrapins’ regular lineup from the start of the season. 

Rankin Johnson drew the starting assignment for the Terrapins. The right-hander, making his 23rd start of the season, came into the contest with a record of 9-13 and an ERA of 3.20. The Terriers countered with rubber-armed Dave Davenport. The right-handed Davenport, 19-16 with a 2.18 ERA, was pitching for the third consecutive day and making his 41st start of the season.3 Two days earlier, Davenport had tossed a two-hit shutout against the Brooklyn Tip-Tops, and the day before he had pitched two innings in relief in the first game of a doubleheader.

The game-time temperature was in the low 70s and the skies were fair as Davenport held the Terrapins scoreless in the top of the first inning. Johnson did not fare as well in the bottom half of the inning as the Terriers scored four runs. Given the recent trajectory of the two clubs — the Terrapins had dropped 15 of their last 17 games — St. Louis appeared well on its way to victory.

Baltimore scored a run in the top of the second to cut the Terriers’ lead to 4-1. The score remained the same until the top of the fourth when the Terrapins scored three more runs, causing Terriers manager Fielder Jones to summon right-hander Doc Crandall from the Terriers’ bullpen. In 3⅔ innings pitched, Davenport gave up four runs (all earned) on eight hits and one walk. Crandall, who entered the game with a 17-15 record and 2.57 ERA, recorded the last out of the inning. After 3½ innings, the score was 4-4.

The Terriers quickly answered with two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning as they chased Johnson after 3⅓ innings. Terrapins manager Otto Knabe called on rookie Charlie Young, who had been with the club for less than a month, to finish the fourth inning. After getting the last two outs of the fourth, Young struggled with his control and managed to record only one out in the bottom of the fifth inning before being relieved by right-hander Snipe Conley. In his one inning of work, the right-hander gave up one hit and walked four batters, and was responsible for two of the three runs the Terriers scored in fifth. At the end of five innings, the Terriers’ lead stood at 9-4.

The Terrapins began to chip away at the lead when they scored a run off Crandall in the sixth and added two more in the seventh. With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Eddie Plank, who only eight days earlier had won the 300th game of his illustrious career, was summoned from the bullpen to hold on to the Terriers’ dwindling lead. Plank entered the game with a record of 18-10 and a 2.26 ERA, and like Davenport and Crandall was showing the strain of a heavy workload as the season entered its final weeks. The left-hander was making his fourth relief appearance in as many days.4

The Terriers were hanging on to their precarious 9-7 lead as the game entered the ninth inning. After Plank retired the first hitter, the Terrapins staged a rally. Shortstop Jimmy Smith and second baseman John Gallagher hit back-to-back singles and pinch-hitter Jack Quinn rolled a soft grounder to short that Ernie Johnson booted, leaving the bases loaded. First baseman Ken Crawford followed with a single to score two and even the score, 9-9.

George LeClair, who had been picked up the Terrapins after being released by the Buffalo Blues in July, came on in relief in the bottom of the ninth inning.5 The right-hander, pitching for his third Federal League club of the season, entered the game with a record of 2-5 and 2.53 ERA. On this day, LeClair was particularly effective, holding the Terriers scoreless while yielding only one hit — a double by Plank — during his four innings of work as the game went into extra innings.

Poor pitching and a porous defense proved to be the Terriers undoing in top of the 12th inning. After Plank retired the first two hitters of the inning, Evans and Owens reached safely.6 The Terriers appeared to be out of the inning when LeClair hit a comebacker to mound. However, Plank was unable to field the ball cleanly and the bases were loaded. Smith followed with his fourth single of the game, plating Evans and Owens with the go-ahead runs. LeClair moved to third on a passed ball by Harry Chapman and scored when third baseman Jimmy Walsh made the Terriers’ fifth error of the game.

LeClair pitched a scoreless 12th inning to secure the victory for Baltimore. The victory improved his record to 3-5. It was the final victory of his major-league career. Plank suffered the loss, his record dropping to 18-11. The two teams banged out 34 hits (20 by the Terrapins and 14 by the Terriers), 27 of which were singles, and committed eight errors (three by the Terrapins and five by the Terriers). The time of the game was 3 hours and 24 minutes.7 Because of the length of the first game, the second game of the doubleheader was called due to darkness, scoreless after three innings.8

With the loss, the Terriers dropped to third place. However, the team won 11 of its last 13 decisions and finished the season in second place with a record of 87-67 (.565), a single percentage point behind the Federal League champion Chicago Whales who finished 86-66 (.566). In such closely contested pennant races, second-place finishers can often point to a handful of games and reflect on what would’ve, should’ve, or could’ve been. The Terriers’ 12-9 loss to the lowly Terrapins, in which they blew both four-run and five-run leads and were within two outs of a victory, was certainly one such game and perhaps the one game they could point to that cost them the 1915 Federal League pennant.  

The Terrapins went on to lose 14 of their last 16 games to finish the season with a record of 47-107, 40 games behind Chicago and St. Louis. No other Federal League team recorded a 100-loss season.



In addition to the sources cited in the Notes, the author also consulted and



1 Handlan’s Park, named after St. Louis Terriers owner Eugene Handlan, was the Terriers’ home during the team’s brief two-year history in the Federal League. It was also referred to as Federal League Park, Laclede Park, Grand and Market Park, and Steininger Field.

2 L.C. Davis, “Sports Salad,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 20, 1915: 12.

3 Late in the 1915 season the Terriers went almost exclusively with Davenport, Doc Crandall, and Eddie Plank.

4 Plank pitched two innings and took the loss against the Brooklyn Tip-Tops on September 16. Two days later, he relieved in both games a doubleheader against the Tip-Tops. In the opener, he pitched three innings of one-hit baseball to earn his 17th victory of the season. In the nightcap he pitched another 3⅔ innings of scoreless baseball to win his 18th game of the season.

5 “Jones’ Twirlers are Worn Out by Unusual Efforts,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 20, 1915: 12.

6 While no play-by-play exists, one account of the game states that “Evans walked and Owens was passed.”  However, the box score indicates that Plank did not walk a batter and neither Evans nor Owens was credited with drawing a walk. Evans was credited with three singles on the day and Owens had a double. 

7 “Terriers Have an Open Date Today; Third-Place Again,” St. Louis Star and Times, September 20, 1915: 11.

8 “Federal League,” Butte (Montana) Miner, September 20, 1915: 2.

Additional Stats

Baltimore Terrapins 12
St. Louis Terriers 9
12 innings

Handlan’s Park
St. Louis, MO


Box Score + PBP:

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