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Game 125: Pirates at Twins

A World Series rematch nearly a century in the making!

Pittsburgh Cityscapes And City Views Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

First Pitch: 1:10 PM CT

TV: Bally Sports North

Radio: TIBN

Know Thine Enemy: Bucs Dugout

Seeing as how inter-league play began in 1997, there isn’t a robust history between the Minnesota Twins & Pittsburgh Pirates. But nearly a century ago, the Twins’ progenitors—the Washington Senators—squared off against the Bucs in an epic 7-game World Series.

The 1925 Senators (96-55-1) were coming off an improbable 1924 World Series victory. For decades known as “first in war—first in peace—last in the American League”, the Senators had finally built themselves into a legitimate powerhouse. Offensively, they were powered by Joe Judge (.314 BA, .892 OPS, 127 OPS+), Goose Goslin (.334 BA, .941 OPS, 139 OPS+), and Joe Harris (.323 BA, 1.003 OPS, 155 OPS+). Old war horse Walter Johnson (20-7, 3.07 ERA, 229 IP, 16 CG, 3 SHO, 138 ERA+) was still the de facto ace, but by this time eclipsed by youngster Stan Covelski (20-5, 2.84 ERA, 241 IP, 15 CG, 3 SHO, 149 ERA+).

Goose Goslin
“Talk to me Goose!”

The ‘25 Pirates (95-58) were “just okay” pitching-wise for the times—but they could wallop. Nearly every starter was league-average or better (98 OPS+ or higher). Pie Traynor (.320 BA, .840 OPS, 108 OPS+), Kiki Cuyler (.357 BA, 1.021 OPS, 152 OPS+), and something called Stuffy McInnis (.368 BA, .921 OPS, 129 OPS+, albeit in 175 PA) were the usual suspects knocking the horsehide around.

Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pie-man gets his hacks in
Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images

As the 1925 World Series began, it looked to be a laugher with Washington taking a quick 3-1 series lead behind two victories from Johnson. But the Senators couldn’t close it out on home turf in Game 5—and then Pittsburgh won Game 6 at Forbes Field.

Game 7 was a rainy, muddy affair that rendered the contest more Tough Mudder obstacle course than baseball game.

Waiting For World Series To Start
Actual pic of Game 7 rooters
Photo by PhotoQuest/Getty Images

Predictably, Washington sent Johnson to the mound yet again—but for perhaps the first time in decades the Big Train derailed. Despite holding a 4-0 lead after the first inning and a 6-3 advantage after four frames, it was tied at 6-6 after seven were completed.

Not to be deterred, Roger Peckinpaugh blasted a home run in the top of the 8th to give the Senators a 7-6 lead. Needing just six outs for a championship repeat, Johnson got the first two in the bottom of the 8th quickly. But then—disaster struck: double, double, walk, error, double. When the dust had settled, Pittsburgh had a 9-7 edge—and an inning later a World Series victory.

U.S. President Calvin Coolidge Shaking Hands with Washington Senators Pitcher, Walter Johnson, Griffith Stadium, Washington DC, USA, circa 1925
Not even the endorsement of President Calvin Coolidge could prevent Father Time from striking down Johnson at the worst possible moment.
Photo by: Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

While Pirates players took home $5,333 in winner’s shares—$93,157 in today’s currency according to U.S. Inflation Calculator—the Nats would have to settle for $3,735 ($65,243).

The names (Pie!—Kiki!—Stuffy!) and drama of 1925 will certainly eclipse anything that transpires at Target Field this afternoon—but the conditions will be far better and perhaps the Twins variant can come away with the victory this time.

Today's Lineups

Ji Hwan Bae - CF Jordan Luplow - LF
Bryan Reynolds - LF Donovan Solano - 1B
Andrew McCutchen - DH Carlos Correa - SS
Ke'Bryan Hayes - 3B Jorge Polanco - DH
Connor Joe - 1B Edouard Julien - 2B
Endy Rodriguez - C Royce Lewis - 3B
Henry Davis - RF Ryan Jeffers - C
Liover Peguero - 2B Matt Wallner - RF
Alika Williams - SS Michael Taylor - CF
Osvaldo Bido - RHP Dallas Keuchel - LHP