"The 29, 577 crowd that attended the first game [of the 1909 World Series] was rather surprised to see Adams warm up to face George Mullin, the Tiger ace, and a 29-game American League winner.
"'Aren't they sending a boy on a man's errand?" and 'Do they expect that kid to hold off Mullin?' were some of the pregame comments from loyal National League sympathizers.
But they didn't know their boy!"
-- Frederick G. Lieb
The Pittsburgh Pirates
Originally published in 1948, this classic history of the Pittsburgh baseball franchise has been reissued by Southern Illlinois University Press in its Writing Baseball series.
The author, Frederick Lieb, was one of the best baseball journalists from its earliest days. He covered the game for 70 years and was one of the first living writers to be inducted into the writer’s wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
This history, written in colorfully accessible prose, chronicles the club's history from its 1882 origins as the Pittsburgh Alleghenies to its spring training preparations for the 1948 season, a span that includes six National League pennants and three World Series appearances.
The Pittsburgh Pirates franchise won its first World Series in 1909 after winning the National League pennant with a record of 110–42. The Pirates won the Series in seven games over the Detroit Tigers. The series featured the two best players at the time - Honus Wagner of the Pirates and Ty Cobb of the Tigers - but was ultimately decided by rookie pitcher Babe Adams who won three starts.
Charles Benjamin Adams.
Born in Tipton, Indiana, on May 18, 1882. "My early boyhood in Indiana was spent on a farm," he told reporters after the 1909 World Series. "I did my bit down on that farm, too; we all did, and dad always saw that the work was well done." Charley was actually born left-handed, but he developed his right hand by throwing stones at tree stumps and rabbits after a childhood accident nearly severed the little finger of his left hand. At age 16 he went to live with Lee Sarver, a farmer in Mount Moriah, Missouri, a tiny town in the northwest corner of the state. Encouraged by Sarver, Charley played for the high school baseball team and later pitched for the local town team.