The 7 to 0 upset of the powerful Princeton nine by the supposedly mediocre Harvard aggregation at Solders Field last Saturday has given the base ball dopesters the shock of the season and convinced the Harvard men who saw the game or who read about it in the Sunday sporting columns that the Crimson has a real team. The forecasters who on Saturday morning unhesitantly ranked Princeton first, Yale second, and Harvard third, are pondering on the most graceful way to hedge.
The big noise in the Harvard victory was Spalding's pitching. He mixed up fast balls, curves, and puzzling floaters in a manner that kept the Tigers guessing--and guessing wrong. The slender Crimson pitcher allowed two hits, both of which were decidedly scratchy. He also walked two men, and all four Tigers waited on the bases for the hit that never came. Two of them died on third, one on second, and the other on first. Spalding is not a strike-out pitcher--he only fanned one man Saturday. His forte is rather to fool the enemy sluggers into popping up easy files or dribbling grounders to the infielders, and at this game he was unusually successful.
Spalding Fields Position Well
For the second successive game the Crimson nine played errorless ball. A considerable part of the credit for this achievement goes to Spalding, however, for he was so completely the master of the situation that the Princeton batters gave the University fielders very few hard chances. Spalding himself handled chances. Spalding himself handled eight fielding plays, several of them difficult, with nonchalant ease.
On May 24, 1909, T. S. Hicks '10 pitched a no-hit game against Princeton, a feat never accomplished before or since. Spalding came close, even closer than the box score indicates, to equalling Hicks's performance. In the fifth inning with two out shortstop Richards, guaging a Spalding twist badly, caught it on the handle of his bat and dropped it over Campbell's head into short right field for a single. In the sixth Foster led off with a high fly that either Jenkins, Todd or Gordon could have cut, and while the three were doing the Alphonse-Gaston act, the ball dropped safely. The scorers had no recourse but to give the batter a two-bagger. With these two exceptions, Spalding was invulnerable.
Big League Scouts Watch Caldwell
The much vaunted Caldwell was in the box for Princeton, fresh from an almost perfectly pitched game against Dartmouth. Two major league scouts were in the press-stand to look the Tiger twirler over as a possible big league prospect, Perhaps with that knowledge in his mind, Caldwell started out for all the world like a champion, striking out five men in two innings. With two out in the third, however, Rogers, his first inning strike out still rankling, leaned against a fast ball for a home run between and far beyond the left and center fielders.
The fifth inning outburst that netted five runs saw another home run, even longer than the first. Gordon came up with three scores already in on hits by Hammond, Samborski, and Campbell, and two wild throws. The Crimson center fielder drove the ball far over the head of the right fielder to the grandstand facing the second team field. He had almost reached the plate when the fielder retrieved the ball. It was Gordon's third homer of the season, making him a tie with Todd for Babe Ruth, laurels.
Caldwell was probably not at his best. He had his usual speed and curves, but he made the mistake of grooving the ball too frequently. The Crimson batters worked him to the limit, refusing to go after bad balls, and hitting the good ones with a punch that has been missing much of the season.
The scouts for the Detroit Tigers and the New York Yankees who came to see an exhibition of pitching skill did not, however, go home disappointed. What Caldwell failed to show them, Spalding showed in abundance, and both were impressed by the Harvard twirler's performance. "It isn't so much speed and curves that count" said one of them after the game. "Nine-tenths of pitching is handing the other fellow what he doesn't like and what he isn't looking for. That's what Spalding did today."