Cartoon Canon: Big Train derailed!

RICHMOND, Va. -- It dawned on me recently that, aside from a few members on the roster, I knew next to nothing about the Pirates’ 1925 World Series championship.

One thing I did know: That team is one of only two Pittsburgh teams to win a championship at home (the other being, of course, the 1960 squad). So, this being October, and with no local playoff games to watch, I decided to take a little dive into history, and did it ever pay off!

The tale of the Pirates’ 1925 run is crazy!

It went seven games, of course, as have all their championships. The Senators had a 3-1 lead in the series, on the strength of two dominating outings by Walter 'The Big Train' Johnson in which he gave up a single run. The Pirates trailed at some point in every game, but managed to scratch out victories in Games 5 and 6 to stay alive.

In Game 7, Johnson had a 4-0 lead after the first inning and was well on his way to becoming the first pitcher to win three games in a World Series until the elements intervened. The game, already postponed once, was played in steady rain, with fog rolling in that eventually became so thick that the outfield wasn’t visible from home plate. The Pirates then knocked the normally dominant Johnson around for 15 hits (including Kiki Cuyler's game-winning double, which Washington outfielder Goose Goslin always claimed was actually a foul ball… not that one could prove it with such poor visibility). He wasn’t helped by the performance of shortstop Roger Peckinpaugh, who committed eight errors over seven games.

The mental mistakes and soggy conditions spelled doom for the Senators, as the opportunistic Pirates came back to win the game and the series. The Pittsburgh Baseball Club has seldom epitomized its nickname, 'Battlin’ Buccos' so well!


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