Hilltop Park, Manhattan, NY, April 14, 1908 – Opening Day action between the Philadelphia A’s and NY Highlanders

Hilltop Park, Manhattan, NY, April 14, 1908 – Opening Day action between the Philadelphia A’s and NY Highlanders

 

It’s opening day between the Philadelphia Athletics and New York Highlanders (today’s Yankees). Athletics rookie catcher Syd Smith looks like he’s about to throw to second on another Highlanders steal attempt, as they had already stole three bases on the day and were taking full advantage of the backstop’s first major league game and the butterflies that surly came with it.

The game would be scoreless until New York broke through in the bottom of the 12th inning for a 1-0 victory when Kid Elberfeld would send the local rooters home happy scoring on a sacrifice fly hit by second baseman Harry Niles. Slow Joe Doyle would get the complete game shutout for the locals, which would be the only win of the season as Doyle would hurt his arm just a couple weeks later and sidelining him for most of the season.

Thanks to Don Stokes keen eye take a look at the catcher wearing no shinguards, but then take a look at the Highlander batter, who oddly enough has one on his right leg. After some research, (thanks to my friend Peter Morris excellent book “A Game of Inches: The Stories Behind the Innovations That Shaped Baseball …”) I found it to be Highlander shortstop Elberfeld, who wore it for protection on the field from sliding runners, not for protection at bat.

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