1908 Chicago Cubs season

1908 Chicago Cubs season

The 1908 Chicago Cubs season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Cubs winning their third consecutive National League pennant, as well as the World Series. The Cubs have not won a World Series since then. This team included four future Hall of Famers: manager / first baseman Frank Chance, second baseman Johnny Evers, shortstop Joe Tinker, and pitcher Mordecai Brown. In 1908, Brown finished second in the NL in wins and ERA.

Regular season

Season summary

The Cubs started the season in Cincinnati. Orval Overall was the Cubs' Opening Day starting pitcher. Overall gave up five hits and committed an error in the first inning as the Reds take a 5–0 lead.[1] The Cubs tied the game in the sixth and won the game in the ninth. Cubs pinch hitter Heinie Zimmerman drove in Johnny Evers. Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown pitched in the ninth and gets a save for the Cubs.[2]

The home opener was on April 22. Owner Charles Murphy had added several new seats to the stadium. Long-time Cub player-manager Cap Anson threw out the first pitch. Tinker, Evers and Chance turn their second double play of the season as the Cubs beat the Reds by a score of 7–3.[3]

On June 30, the Pirates took first place, as the Chicago Cubs lost to the Cincinnati Reds.[4] Starting on July 2, the Pirates started a critical five game series against the Cubs.[5] In the first game, Three Finger Brown threw a six hit, no walk shutout, winning the game 3–0. Brown was 10–1 on the season.

On September 26, starting pitcher Ed Reulbach became the only pitcher in Major League Baseball history to pitch two shutouts on the same day. That day, the Cubs played a doubleheader against the Brooklyn Dodgers. Reulbach pitched both games to completion, which the Cubs won by scores of 5–0 and 3–0.[6]

The Merkle Game

On Wednesday, September 23, 1908, while playing for the New York Giants in a game against the Cubs, 19-year old Fred Merkle committed a base-running error that later became known as "Merkle's Boner" and earned him the nickname of "Bonehead."

In the bottom of the 9th inning, Merkle came to bat with two outs, and the score tied 1–1. At the time, Moose McCormick was on first base. Merkle singled, and McCormick advanced to third. Al Bridwell followed with another single, and McCormick trotted home to score the apparent winning run. The New York fans in attendance, under the impression that the game was over, ran onto the field to celebrate.

Meanwhile, Merkle, thinking the game was over, ran to the Giants' clubhouse without touching second base (a gesture that was common at the time). Cubs second baseman Johnny Evers noticed this, and after retrieving a ball and touching second base, he appealed to umpire Hank O'Day to call Merkle out. Since Merkle had not touched the base, the umpire called him out on a force play, and McCormick's run did not count. The run was therefore nullified, the Giants' victory erased, and the score of the game remained tied.

Unfortunately, the thousands of fans on the field (as well as the growing darkness in the days before large electric light rigs made night games possible) prevented resumption of the game, and the game was declared a tie. The Giants and the Cubs would end the season tied for first place and would have a rematch at the Polo Grounds on October 8. The Cubs won this makeup game, 4–2, and thus the National League pennant.

Season standings

Notable transactions


1908 Chicago Cubs
Pitchers Catchers



Other batters


Player stats


Starters by position

Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
C Kling, JohnnyJohnny Kling 126 424 117 .276 4 59
1B }, Tyler/Brashaw}|Tyler/Brashaw }]] 129 452 123 .272 2 55
2B Evers, JohnnyJohnny Evers 126 416 125 .300 0 37
3B Steinfeldt, HarryHarry Steinfeldt 150 539 130 .241 1 62
SS Tinker, JoeJoe Tinker 157 548 146 .266 6 68
OF Sheckard, JimmyJimmy Sheckard 115 403 93 .231 2 22
OF Schulte, FrankFrank Schulte 102 386 91 .236 1 43
OF Slagle, JimmyJimmy Slagle 104 352 78 .222 0 26

Other batters

Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
Hofman, SollySolly Hofman 120 411 100 .243 2 42
Marshall, DocDoc Marshall 12 20 6 .300 0 3


Starting pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Brown, MordecaiMordecai Brown 44 312.1 29 9 1.47 123
Reulbach, EdEd Reulbach 46 297.2 24 7 2.03 133
Pfiester, JackJack Pfiester 33 252 12 10 2.00 117
Overall, OrvalOrval Overall 37 225 15 11 1.92 167
Fraser, ChickChick Fraser 26 162.2 11 9 2.27 66
Lundgren, CarlCarl Lundgren 23 138.2 6 9 4.22 38
Coakley, AndyAndy Coakley 4 20.1 2 0 0.89 7

Other pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Kroh, RubeRube Kroh 2 12 0 0 1.50 11

Relief pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G W L SV ERA SO

1908 World Series

Main article: 1908 World Series

NL Chicago Cubs (4) vs AL Detroit Tigers (1)

Game Score Date Location Attendance
1 Cubs – 10, Tigers – 6 October 10 Bennett Park 10,812
2 Tigers – 1, Cubs – 6 October 11 West Side Park 17,760
3 Tigers – 8, Cubs – 3 October 12 West Side Park 14,543
4 Cubs – 3, Tigers – 0 October 13 Bennett Park 12,907
5 Cubs – 2, Tigers – 0 October 14 Bennett Park 6,210



  • 1908 Chicago Cubs season at Baseball Reference
Preceded by
Chicago Cubs
National League Championship Season
Succeeded by
Pittsburgh Pirates