Iron Man Pitching Performances

This article was written by Leonard Gettelson

This article was published in the 1977 Baseball Research Journal


    When reference is made to hurlers pitching both games of a doubleheader, the two who come to mind most readily are Joe McGinnity and Ed Reulbach. Iron Man McGinnity achieved this feat five times since 1900, winning three twinbills for the Giants in the one month of August 1903. His other two efforts were for the Orioles in1901 and he split both times.

  Reulbach of the Cubs is remembered, of course, because he was the only hurler to toss shutouts in both his efforts on September 26, 1908. The Dodgers fell 5-0 and 3-0. But how good was his overall performance compared to the 23 others who won both games since 1900; or even the 14 others who pitched two complete games but not winning both, or either? In the two games, Ed gave up a total of 8 hits, 5 walks, and fanned 10. Each of these efforts was bettered individually by other pitchers.

  In fact, another Ed from Chicago, Big Ed Walsh of the White Sox, had a better overall performance in his twin triumph over the Red Sox just three days after the Reulbach victories. In the two games, he gave up only 1 run, 7 hits, 1 walk, and fanned 15, which is the top mark. The one walk was achieved by two other pitchers, including Grover Alexander twice.

  Another great dual performance took place that same week when Ed Summers of the Tigers beat the Athletics 7-2 and 1-0 in 10 innings on Claude Rossman’s homer. This was a case of a pitcher getting better as he went along, as Summers gave up only two hits in that extra-inning game, and did not issue a base on balls. He took on the extra duty because of his special ability to beat the A’s. He had a string of seven straight wins over the Mackmen.

  Who gave up the fewest hits in a twinbill? Fred Toney, the big righthander of the Reds on July 1, 1917, and Herman Bell, rookie of the Cardinals on July 19, 1924. Toney gave up three hits and one walk in each game. He felt so strong after the first contest that he told his manager he would work the second game as well. His manager was Christy Mathewson, who had never pitched two games himself, but who was grateful for Toney’s offer, because the staff was severely depleted at that time. In fact, several days before, Hod Eller had pitched a doubleheader, winning one game.

  Herman Bell was an unknown quantity for the Cardinals in 1924.  He was not used much and was well rested. He did not give up a hit to the Braves until the eighth inning of the first game and went five in the second before he was touched. He gave up a total of six hits and two walks and moved right along. The times were 1:31 and 1:17. Bell won only three games that first season, and two came in this double-header.

  Why do pitchers work both games of a twinbill? There are various reasons. We have already alluded to depleted pitching staffs and a special ability against the opposing club. McGinnity could do it because he had an easy underhand delivery. Ed Walsh was used to working hard under normal conditions. Doc Scanlan of the Dodgers did it more as a stunt on the last day of the 1905 season. George Mullin of the Tigers didn’t think about it until he saw that the opposing pitcher in the second game was a green rookie. Mullin thought he would have an easy time of it, but it didn’t turn out that way. Outpitched, he was lucky to win 4-3 with a Tiger rally in the ninth.

  Did a pitcher ever work the second game after losing the first?  Several times it has happened. On June 25, 1903, Wiley Piatt of the Braves lost to the Pirates 1-0 in a very well pitched game. In the second game he lost 5-3, and became the only hurler to lose two complete games in a day in this century. On July 21, 1918, the Athletics were short staffed in that World War I season. John Watson, who pitched two doubleheaders for the club that summer, lost the first game to the Indians 3-2 in 11 innings. He still came back and pitched the second, a 5-5 tie called after 8 innings to let the A’s catch a train. On August 31 of that year, he was roughed up with 12 hits in losing the first game, but came back to shut out the Red Sox 1-0 on 1 hit in the second game. On August 13, 1921, while with the Braves, he finally won two games. Outside of McGinnity, he was the only hurler to work three doubleheaders in this century.

  Kid Nichols pitched and easily won the first game for the Cardinals on September 11, 1904. He also worked the second game, but was raked for 14 hits. He didn’t withdraw, however, because he was also the manager of the Cards and didn’t want to waste a new pitcher. And Carl Mays didn’t neglect his hitting while pitching a doubleheader win over the Athletics in 19 18. He collected 5 hits in 6 trips.

  All the trivia experts know that in 1926 Emil Levsen of the Indians was the last hurler to pitch two complete game victories. But who was the last one to pitch two complete games? It was Jack Scott of the Phils the next year on June 19, 1927. He won 3-1 and lost 3-0 against the Reds. At 35, he was the oldest of the double duty performers. Several have tried to do it in the last half century, and Don Newcombe of the Dodgers came closest on September 6, 1950. He beat the Phils 2-0 in the first game and was trailing 2-0 in the 7th of the nightcap when he retired. On July 20, 1973 Wilbur Wood started both games against the Yankees, but was knocked out in each game, losing both.

  It really isn’t fair to talk about iron man pitchers who pitched two full games in one day without some reference to those who pitched 18 innings or longer in the same game. After all, Joe Oeschger and Leon Cadore nearly pitched the equivalent of three games in one afternoon with their 26-inning 1-1 tie on May 1, 1920. And there were 37 others who worked 18 or more innings in one game since 1900. Just like the twinbill hurlers, almost all of them were of an earlier generation. The last hurler to pitch as many as 18 innings was Vern Law of the Pirates on July 19, 1955, and he failed to get a decision.

  It is interesting to note that some of the same pitchers who pitched doubleheaders also worked in marathon games-Reulbach, Summers, Waddell, and Dixie Davis. Who performed best in the long games? Well, you have to give credit to Oeschger, who gave up 9 hits and 1 run in 26 innings. However, Carl Hubbell pitched 18 shutout innings, giving up only 6 hits and no walks.

  Carried below are first the hurlers who pitched two complete games in one afternoon, and then those who pitched 18 or more innings in one game.

 

Pitchers Winning Two Complete Games in One Day Since 1900





Scores

Hits

SO

BB

Aug.

1

1903

Joe McGinnity, Giants vs Braves

4-1

6

5

1

 

 

 

 

5-2

6

3

1

Aug.

8

1903

Joe McGinnity, Giants vs Dodgers

6-1

8

2

0

 

 

 

 

4-3

5

5

4

Aug.

31

1903

Joe McGinnity, Giants vs Phils

4-1

5

4

3

 

 

 

 

9-2

6

9

1

July

1

1905

Frank Owen, W. Sox vs Browns

3-2

4

3

3

 

 

 

 

3-0

3

0

0

Sep.

6

1905

Ed Walsh, White Sox vs Red Sox

10-5

9

5

4

 

 

 

 

3-1

5

5

1

Oct.

3

1905

Doc Scanlan, Dodgers vs Cards

4-0

3

8

2

 

 

 

 

3-2

9

5

0

Sep.

22

1906

George Mullin, Tigers vs Nats

5-3

11

4

1

 

 

 

 

4-3

9

5

2

Sep.

25

1908

Ed Summers, Tigers vs A’s

7-2

6

1

3

 

 

 

 

1-0*

2

6

0

Sep.

26

1908

Ed Reulbach, Cubs vs Dodgers

5-0

5

6

1

 

 

 

 

3-0

3

4

4

Sep.

29

1908

Ed Walsh, White Sox vs Red Sox

5-1

3

10

0

 

 

 

 

2-0

4

5

1

Sep.

22

1914

Ray Collins, Red Sox vs Tigers

5-3

12

3

1

 

 

 

 

5-0

4

0

1

July

29

1916

Dave Davenport, Browns vs Yanks

3-1

4

4

3

 

 

 

 

3-2

7

7

3

Sep.

9

1916

Bill Perritt, Giants vs Phils

3-1

4

6

0

 

 

 

 

3-0

4

3

2

Sep.

20

1916

Al Demaree, Phils vs Pirates

7-0

7

0

3

 

 

 

 

3-2

9

4

2

Sep.

23

1916

Gr. Alexander, Phils vs Reds

7-3

12

3

0

 

 

 

 

4-0

8

4

1

July

1

1917

Fred Toney, Reds vs Pirates

4-1

3

3

1

 

 

 

 

5-1

3

1

1

Sep.

3

1917

Gr. Alexander, Phils vs Dodgers

5-0

4

5

1

 

 

 

 

9-3

9

2

0

Sep.

18

1917

Bill Doak, Cardinals vs Dodgers

2-0

2

1

1

 

 

 

 

12-4

12

4

2

Aug.

30

1918

Carl Mays, Red Sox vs Athletics

12-0

9

2

0

 

 

 

 

4-1

4

3

2

Aug.

13

1921

John Watson, Braves vs Phils

4-3

9

2

2

 

 

 

 

8-0

2

5

0

July

10

1923

John Stuart, Cards vs Braves

11-1

3

0

2

 

 

 

 

6-3

10

0

2

July

19

1924

Herman Bell, Cards vs Braves

6-1

2

3

1

 

 

 

 

2-1

4

2

1

Sep.

6

1924

Urban Shocker, Browns vs White Sox

6-2

9

1

1

 

 

 

 

6-2

5

0

4

Aug.

28

1926

Emil Levsen, Indians vs Red Sox

6-1

4

0

1

 

 

 

 

5-1

4

0

2

 

* 10 Innings
 

 

 

Other Pitchers Hurling Two Complete Games in One Day





Scores

Hits

SO

BB

Sep.

3

1901

Joe McGinnity, Orioles vs Brewers

W

10-0

6

2

0

 

 

 

 

L

1-6

9

2

4

Sep.

12

1901

Joe McGinnity, Orioles vs A’s

W

4-3

7

2

3

 

 

 

 

L

4-5

10

0

1

June

25

1903

Wiley Piatt, Braves vs Pirates

L

0-1

6

7

1

 

 

 

 

L

3-5

8

5

2

Aug.

21

1903

Rube Waddell, A’s vs Tigers

W

1-0

3

6

2

 

 

 

 

L

1-2

8

7

3

Sep.

11

1904

Kid Nichols, Cards vs Reds

W

4-2

3

3

2

 

 

 

 

L

5-8

14

0

2

June

3

1907

Stoney McGlynn, Cards vs Reds

W

1-0

5

3

2

 

 

 

 

L

1-5

7

5

3

July

31

1915

Dave Davenport, St.L. Feds vs Buff.

W

1-0

4

8

0

 

 

 

 

L

0-1

1

4

2

Sep.

6

1916

Rube Benton, Giants vs Dodgers

W

6-1

4

4

1

 

 

 

 

L

1-2

10

5

1

June

19

1917

Hod Eller, Reds vs Cubs

L

1-2

6

6

2

 

 

 

 

*W

6-2

7

2

0

July

21

1918

John Watson, A’s vs Indians

+L

2-3

12

2

3

 

 

 

 

#T

5-5

10

2

1

Aug.

31

1918

John Watson, A’s vs Red Sox

L

1-6

12

1

5

 

 

 

 

W

1-0

1

1

1

June

28

1919

Carl Mays, Red Sox vs Yankees

W

2-0

7

3

0

 

 

 

 

L

1-4

7

5

2

Sep.

24

1921

Dixie Davis, Browns vs Red Sox

L

1-2

9

0

2

 

 

 

 

W

11-0

6

2

0

June

19

1927

Jack Scott, Phils vs Reds

W

3-1

6

0

1

 

 

 

 

L

0-3

9

0

0

 

* 6 innings + 11 innings   # 8 innings

 

 

Date

of

Game

Pitcher and Club

IP

Hits

Runs

SO

BB

Outcome

May

1

1920

Joe Oeschger, Braves

26

9

1

7

4

Tie Game

May

1

1920

Leon Cadore, Dodgers

26

15

1

7

5

Tie Game

Sep

1

1906

JackCoombs,A’s

24

15

1

18

6

WonCG

Sep.

1

1906

Joe Harris, Red Sox

24

16

4

14

2

Lost CG

May

17

1927

Robert Smith, Braves

22

20

4

5

9

Lost QG

July

17

1914

Rube Marquard, Giants 2

1

15

1

2

2

Won CG

July

17

1914

Babe Adams, Pirates

21

12

3

6

0

Lost CG

Aug.

1

1918

ArthurNehf,Braves

21

12

2

8

5

LostCG

July

17

1918

George Tyler, Cubs

21

13

1

8

1

Won CG

May

24

1929

Ted Lyons, White Sox

21

24

6

4

2

Lost CG

July

4

1905

RubeWaddell,A’s

20

15

2

11

4

WonCG

July

4

1905

CyYoung,Red5ox

20

13

4

9

0

LostCG

Aug.

24

1905

Ed Reulbach, Cubs

20

13

1

7

4

Won CG

Aug.

24

1905

Tully Sparks, Phils

20

19

2

6

1

Lost CG

July

17

1918

MiltWatson,Phils

20

19

2

5

4

LostCG

Apr.

30

1919

Joe Oeschger, Phils

20

22

9

2

5

Tie Game

Apr.

30

1919

Burl. Grimes, Dodgers

20

15

9

7

7

Tie Game

May

24

1929

George Utile, Tigers

20

17

5

4

3

Won Game

July

21

1945

Les Mueller, Tigers

19

13

1

6

5

No Decn.

June

22

1902

Jack Taylor, Cubs

19

14

2

6

1

Won CG

July

31

1912

Otto Hess, Braves

19

14

7

3

8

Lost CG

Sep.

27

1912

Eddie Plank, A’s

19

12

5

10

6

Lost CG

May

24

1918

Stan Coveleskie, Inds.

19

12

2

4

6

Won CG

May

3

1920

Dana Fillingim, Braves

19

12

1

4

4

Won CG

Aug.

9

1921

Dixie Davis, Browns

19

13

6

8

5

Won CG

June

22

1902

Ch. Phfflippe, Pirates

18

14

3

6

3

Lost CG

June

17

1915

George Zabel, Cubs

18

9

2

6

1

Won Rel.

June

17

1915

JeffPfeffer, Dodgers

18

15

4

6

8

Lost CG

May

3

1920

Sherrod Smith, Dodgers

18

13

2

3

5

Lost CG

Aug.

17

1902

Bill Donovan, Dodgers

18

14

7

13

7

Tie Game

June

24

1905

Ed Reulbach, Cubs

18

14

1

6

6

Won CG

June

24

1905

Jack Taylor, Cards

18

11

2

7

4

Lost CG

July

16

1909

Ed Summers, Tigers

18

7

0

10

1

Tie Game

May

15

1918

WalterJohnson,Nats

18

10

0

9

1

WonCG

May

15

1918

Cl. Williams, W. Sox

18

8

1

3

2

Lost CG

June

1

1919

Jeff Pfeffer, Dodgers

18

23

10

6

3

Lost CG

May

14

1927

Guy Bush, Cubs

18

11

2

5

8

WonCG

July

2

1933

Carl Hubbell, Giants

18

6

0

12

0

Won CG

July

19

1955

Vern Law, Pirates

18

9

2

12

3

No Decn.

 

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