Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, Thursday, March 16, 1911, Page Fourteen, Courtesy of Genealogy Bank
Greatest Play I Ever Saw
As Told To Hugh S. Fullerton
By Fred Tenney
Manager Boston National League Team and for Years Considered the Foremost First Baseman of the Country
Two plays – among tens of thousands – stand out in my memory, and they were made by two of the greatest players the game has ever seem. It is hard to decide which was the greater, although I must give the choice to Herman Long. Giving poor Herman credit for making the greatest play does not help much in fixing the date, for almost everyone who ever saw his work will recall some wonderful play. The play I remember so vividly was one that he made at Baltimore in the final series of 1897 – and that was a series filled with sensational plays and situations. The series meant everything to us – for you know Boston and Baltimore were fighting it out every year for the pennant in those days. The game was a thriller all the way – one of those contests that set the crowd wild and keep every player nerved to the highest possible tension at every minute, and leave him afterward feeling like a weary dish rag. Late in the game there were three men on bases and two out. The Baltimore crowd was insane. Odd as it may seem, I can not recall who was at bat. He was a hard hitter, but that doesn’t identify him in that gang; they all hit hard and every one of them was dangerous at any time and worse in a pinch. Long as playing a fairly deep shortstop, yet not quite as deep as he usually went, because he shortened up a step or two, having so many chances for a play at any of the bases. The batter hit the ball squarely and sent it on a line like a flash between short and third. My heart jumped, for it looked all over. Long took about three steps and made a side leap toward third base. It looked to me as if he jumped as high and as far as he could and then kicked himself upward to reach the ball. He came down sprawling and kicking, but lighted on his feet. He had grabbed that ball in his bare hand, knocked it into his other hand, and was clutching it when he alighted. In spite of the greatness of the catch (it stunned the crowd and knocked the fight out of the Orioles for a minute), I laughed. Herman coming down looked like a cat that has been held upside down and then dropped and is trying to light on its feet. I remember that I ran clear across the field before I knew what I was doing to shake hands with him on account of the catch, and we players applauded as if we were spectators.
The other great play was one that Jimmy Collins made in a game against Pittsburg, and in a way it was as great as that of Long, although the circumstances were not as spectacular nor did so much depend upon it. Davis, then with the Pittsburg club, drove a hard grounder between third and short. There was a runner on first base and it looked as if the hit would result in a bunch of runs and defeat for us. Collins, who never quit on a ball, did not appear to have a chance on earth to reach it. He took a flying leap and dove after the ball. He blocked it, stumbled, recovered, stumbled again, trying to regain his footing to make a throw, and while pitching headlong onto his face he threw to second base just in time to force the runner. Copyright 1911, by W.G. Chapman