12/3 Former Cubs manager Hank O’Day in Hall

Chicago-born umpire and former Cubs manager Hank O’Day was elected into the Hall of Fame on Monday by the pre-integration committee. O’Day was the only man in history to play, umpire, and manage in the National League. He was born in Chicago on July 8, 1862, and began his baseball career as a right-handed pitcher in the American Association in 1884-85. He spent the next four years in the NL with Washington and New York before winding up his pitching career in the Players League with a 22-win season in 1890.

He was hired as a full-time NL umpire in 1895, and became known for having the courage to make the right call, no matter how unpopular. He’s best remembered for a game Sept. 23, 1908. Remember the Merkle play? O’Day was behind the plate for the Cubs and New York Giants game at the Polo Grounds. With the score tied in the ninth, Al Bridwell singled with Moose McCormick on third and Fred Merkle on first. Seeing McCormick score the apparent winning run, Merkle immediately ran for the Giants’ clubhouse. Cubs second baseman Johnny Evers yelled for the ball fielded by teammate Artie Hofman. Before Evers could get the ball, Giants pitcher Joe McGinnity intercepted it and threw into the crowd. According to a SABR story, Evers found another ball, tagged second, and appealed to Emslie to call Merkle out. Emslie didn’t make a call because he didn’t see anything. Evers then appealed to O’Day, who made the call, negating an apparent Giants victory. Because of the chaos on the field, O’Day ruled the game a tie and left.

O’Day’s career includes two tours of duty as a manager, first with the 1912 Cincinnati Reds and later with the 1914 Cubs. He was an umpire for 35 years and worked 10 World Series.

1 Comment

Remember Merkle’s Boner? Heck, I was there and saw it.

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