Smoky Joe Wood

Howard Ellsworth "Smoky Joe" Wood (October 25, 1889 – July 27, 1985) was a professional baseball player for 14 years. He played for the Boston Red Sox from 1908 to 1915, where he was primarily a pitcher, and for the Cleveland Indians from 1917 to 1922, where he was primarily an outfielder. Wood is one of only 13 pitchers to win 30 or more games in one season (going 34–5 in 1912) since 1900.

Smoky Joe Wood
Joe Wood 1915
Pitcher / Outfielder
Born: October 25, 1889
Kansas City, Missouri
Died: July 27, 1985 (aged 95)
West Haven, Connecticut
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
August 24, 1908, for the Boston Red Sox
Last MLB appearance
September 24, 1922, for the Cleveland Indians
MLB statistics
Win–loss record117–57
Earned run average2.03
Batting average.283
Home runs23
Runs batted in325
Career highlights and awards

Early career

"Smoky Joe" played his first amateur baseball for the local miners teams in Ouray, Colorado. Wood made his playing debut with the mostly-female "Bloomer Girls." There were many such teams across the country, which barnstormed in exhibition games against teams of men. Bloomer Girl rosters featured at least one male player.

Red Sox star Ted Williams, as a guest on the Bill Stern's Sports Newsreel radio program in 1950, told the story that Wood was posing as a girl on a girls' team when The Red Sox signed him. The story ended: "The pitcher I'm talking about was the immortal Smoky Joe Wood. A pitcher who can never be forgotten even though he did get his start posing as a girl".

After joining the Red Sox in 1908 at the age of 18, Wood had his breakthrough season in 1911 in which he won 23 games, compiled an earned run average of 2.02, threw a no-hitter against the St. Louis Browns and struck out 15 batters in a single game. Wood once struck out 23 batters in an exhibition game. He earned the nickname "Smoky Joe" because of his blazing fastball. Wood recounted in the seminal book The Glory of Their Times, "I threw so hard I thought my arm would fly right off my body."

His peers concurred. A story that gained common parlance was that legendary fastballer and pitching contemporary Walter Johnson once said, "Can I throw harder than Joe Wood? Listen, my friend, there's no man alive can throw harder than Smoky Joe Wood!" But in the Johnson Biography by his Grandson "Baseball's Big Train", this statement was traced to-a descendant of Smoky Joe, a fabricated quote. But reminded of Johnson's supposed assessment 60 years later, Wood said, "Oh, I don't think there was ever anybody faster than Walter." Johnson, whether being as usual self-effacing or literal, did say Wood could throw as hard as he could for two or three innings, but his delivery put much strain on his arm. Johnson had a speed 6.1 MPH faster than anyone measured with the photo-electric system (used occasionally in the 1910s through 1930s), but Wood when tested in 1917 had already had a career-changing injury.[1]

1912 season

Wood's best season came in 1912, in which he won 34 games while losing only 5, had an ERA of 1.91 and struck out 258. Since 1900, pitchers have won 30 or more games only 21 times, with Wood's 34 wins being the sixth-highest total.[2] He also tied Walter Johnson's record for consecutive victories with 16.

On September 6, 1912, Wood faced off against Johnson in a pitching duel at Fenway Park. At the time, Wood had a 13-game winning streak and Johnson had recently had his own American League record 16-game winning streak snapped. The papers of the time hyped the matchup like a heavyweight prize fight, and a standing-room-only crowd of 29,000 packed the park that day. Johnson and Wood dueled to a scoreless tie through five innings, when with two outs in the sixth, Boston's Tris Speaker doubled to left on a 1–2 count and Duffy Lewis knocked him in with a double down the right-field line. Meanwhile, Wood gave up only two hits and no runs and the Red Sox prevailed, 1–0.[3]

Smokey joe wood
Baseball card

Equally compelling in drama, Wood's Red Sox faced John McGraw's New York Giants in the historic 1912 World Series. After slugging it out in seven close games, the teams met for the deciding game eight at Fenway with future Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson starting for the Giants. After Boston tied the score 1–1 in the bottom of the seventh, Wood came in to pitch. He matched Mathewson in the eighth and ninth, and the game went into extra innings. In the top of the tenth, Fred Merkle got to Wood knocking in a run with a single. But in the bottom of the tenth, Clyde Engle, pinch-hitting for Wood, hit an easy fly ball to Fred Snodgrass in center field, and Snodgrass dropped the ball. Given new life, the "Snodgrass Muff" cost the Giants as Speaker and Larry Gardner each knocked in a run to overcome the 1-run deficit. Wood and the Red Sox won the game 3–2 and the series 4–3–1. For Wood, the game was his third win in the series against one loss. He also struck out 11 batters in one game, becoming the first pitcher to record double-digit strikeouts in a World Series game.[4][5]

Position player

The following year, Wood slipped on wet grass while fielding a bunt in a game against the Detroit Tigers. He fell and broke his thumb, and pitched in pain for the following three seasons. Although he maintained a winning record and a low ERA, his appearances were limited, as he could no longer recover quickly from pitching a game. Wood sat out the 1916 season and most of the 1917 season, and for all intents and purposes ended his pitching career.

Late in the 1917 season, Wood was sold to the Cleveland Indians, where he rejoined former teammate Tris Speaker. Always proficient with the bat, he embarked on a second career; like his former teammate Babe Ruth, Wood ended his career as an outfielder. His hitting statistics, however, were far more pedestrian than those of Ruth. Nonetheless, Wood finished in the top 10 in the American League in runs batted in in two seasons (1918 and 1922), and in 1918 he also finished in the top ten in home runs, doubles, batting average and total bases.[6] Wood pitched seven more times, all but one game in relief, winning none and losing one. He also appeared in four games in the 1920 World Series.

Wood finished his major league career after the 1922 season with a pitching record of 117–57 and an ERA of 2.03. His lifetime batting average was .283. In his final season with the Indians, he had his highest hit total for a season with 150, and also set a personal mark for RBI with 92.

Later life

Wood went on to become head baseball coach at Yale University, where he compiled a career managing record of 283–228–1 over 20 seasons. While at Yale, he coached his son Joe, who pitched briefly for the 1944 Red Sox.

Decades later, in 1981, Wood was present at a historic pitcher's duel between Yale University and Saint John's University, featuring future major leaguers (and teammates) Ron Darling and Frank Viola. Darling threw 11 no-hit innings for Yale, matched by Viola's 11 shutout innings for St. John's. Wood, sitting in the stands, recalled Ty Cobb and said, "A lot of fellows in my time shortened up on the bat when they had to – that's what the St. John's boys should try against this good pitcher." Darling lost the no-hitter and the game in the 12th, and Wood called it the best baseball game he had ever seen. The account was recorded in Roger Angell's 1982 book Late Innings, and, later, in the anthology Game Time: A Baseball Companion.

In 1981, Lawrence Ritter and Donald Honig included him in their book The 100 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time. They explained what they called "the Smoky Joe Wood Syndrome", where a player of truly exceptional talent but a career curtailed by injury should still, in spite of not having had career statistics that would quantitatively rank him with the all-time greats, be included on their list of the 100 greatest players. Wood was also interviewed for Ritter's famous book, The Glory of Their Times.

In 1984, Wood received a standing ovation on Old Timers Day at Fenway Park in Boston, some 72 years after his memorable season.[7] Aged 94, he said he was happy that Boston remembered him as "Smoky."

Wood died in West Haven, Connecticut on July 27, 1985.[8] He was buried in Shohola Township, Pennsylvania. In 1995, he was selected to the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame. On August 27, 2005, the Society for American Baseball Research's Connecticut Chapter named itself the Connecticut Smoky Joe Wood SABR Chapter.

In 2013, Gerald C. Wood's biography, Smoky Joe Wood: The Biography of a Baseball Legend, was published by the University of Nebraska press [3]

See also


  1. ^ Tom Deveaux (2001) "The Washington Senators, 1901–1971", McFarland, ISBN 0-7864-0993-2 Excerpt, pp. 37
  2. ^ "Single-Season Leaders & Records for Wins".
  3. ^ John Klima (2002) "Pitched Battle: 35 of Baseball's Greatest Duels from the Mound", McFarland, ISBN 0-7864-1203-8 Excerpt, pp. 28-31
  4. ^ "GIANTS LOSE, 3–1; WOOD, HIT HARD, PROVES MASTER". The New York Times. October 12, 1912.
  5. ^ Evans, Billy (November 10, 1912). "GIANTS DESERVE PRAISE FOR SPORTSMANSHIP". The New York Times.
  6. ^ "Smoky Joe Wood". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 2011-05-24.
  7. ^ Leaguepark, Joe Wood biography [1], Accessed 27 October 2011 Archived August 9, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Baseball reference, [2], Accessed 27 October 2011

External links

1908 Boston Red Sox season

The 1908 Boston Red Sox season was the eighth season for the Major League Baseball franchise previously known as the Boston Americans. The Red Sox finished fifth in the American League (AL) with a record of 75 wins and 79 losses. The team played its home games at Huntington Avenue Grounds.

1909 Boston Red Sox season

The 1909 Boston Red Sox season was the ninth season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished third in the American League (AL) with a record of 88 wins and 63 losses. The team played its home games at Huntington Avenue Grounds.

1910 Boston Red Sox season

The 1910 Boston Red Sox season was the tenth season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished fourth in the American League (AL) with a record of 81 wins and 72 losses. The team played its home games at Huntington Avenue Grounds.

1911 Boston Red Sox season

The 1911 Boston Red Sox season was the eleventh season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished fourth in the American League (AL) with a record of 78 wins and 75 losses. This was the final season that the team played its home games at Huntington Avenue Grounds, before moving to Fenway Park.

1912 Boston Red Sox season

The 1912 Boston Red Sox season was the twelfth season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. This was the first year that the team played its home games at Fenway Park. The Red Sox finished first in the American League (AL) with a record of 105 wins and 47 losses. The team set the franchise record for highest winning percentage (.691) in a season, which still stands; tied the franchise record for fewest losses in a season, originally set by the 1903 club and not since equalled; and set a franchise record for most wins, which was not surpassed until the 2018 club.The team then faced the National League (NL) champion New York Giants in the 1912 World Series, which the Red Sox won in eight games to capture the franchise's second World Series. One of the deciding plays in the World Series was a muffed fly ball by Giants outfielder Fred Snodgrass, which became known as the "$30,000 muff" in reference to the prize money for the winning team.Behind center fielder Tris Speaker and pitcher Smoky Joe Wood, the Red Sox led the league in runs scored and fewest runs allowed. Speaker was third in batting and was voted league Most Valuable Player. Wood won 34 games, including a record 16 in a row. Although the pitching staff was satisfactory, the only star pitcher was Wood, while the only star in the starting lineup was Speaker. Little-known third baseman Larry Gardner was the next best hitter, while future Hall of Famer Harry Hooper had a poor offensive season.

1912 World Series

In the 1912 World Series, the Boston Red Sox beat the New York Giants four games to three (with one tie).

This series, featuring close games and controversial decisions, was regarded as one of the most exciting World Series of its era. Nearly all of the games were close. Four games in this Series were decided by one run. A fifth ended in a tie. A sixth was decided by two runs. Game 7 was the only one with a margin greater than three runs. Two games, including the decisive Game 8, went to extra innings. In Games 1 and 3, the losing team had the tying and winning runs on base when the game ended.

The series showcased star pitching from Giant Christy Mathewson and Red Sox fireballer Smoky Joe Wood. Wood won two of his three starts and pitched in relief in the final game. In the deciding game, Boston rallied for two runs in the tenth inning thanks to two costly Giants fielding misplays.

This was one of only four World Series to go to eight games, and the only best-of-seven Series to do so. While the 1912 Series was extended to eight games due to a tie game being called on account of darkness, the 1903, 1919, and 1921 World Series were all best-of-nine affairs that happened to run eight games.

1914 Boston Red Sox season

The 1914 Boston Red Sox season was the fourteenth season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished second in the American League (AL) with a record of 91 wins and 62 losses.

1915 Boston Red Sox season

The 1915 Boston Red Sox season was the fifteenth season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished first in the American League (AL) with a record of 101 wins and 50 losses. The team then faced the National League (NL) champion Philadelphia Phillies in the 1915 World Series, which the Red Sox won in five games to capture the franchise's third World Series.

1915 Major League Baseball season

The 1915 Major League Baseball season.

2001 New York Yankees season

The New York Yankees' 2001 season was the 99th season for the Yankees. The team finished with a record of 95-65 finishing 13.5 games ahead of the Boston Red Sox. New York was managed by Joe Torre. The Yankees played at Yankee Stadium. Roger Clemens had sixteen straight wins, tying an American League mark shared by Walter Johnson, Lefty Grove, Schoolboy Rowe, and Smoky Joe Wood. Clemens would finish the season with the AL Cy Young Award and become the first pitcher to win six Cy Young Awards.Another chapter was written in the story of the Yankee-Red Sox rivalry. On September 2, 2001, Mike Mussina came within one strike of a perfect game before surrendering a bloop single to Carl Everett. This was Mussina's third time he has taken a perfect game to or beyond the 8th inning. Coincidentally, it would have been the 3rd perfect game in for the Yankees in a span of 4 seasons and could have been the 4th perfect game in franchise history.

In the emotional times of September 2001 in New York City, following the September 11 attack on New York's World Trade Center, the Yankees defeated the Oakland A's three games to two in the ALDS, and then the Seattle Mariners, who had won 116 games, four games to one in the ALCS. By winning the pennant for a fourth straight year, the 1998–2001 Yankees joined the 1921–1924 New York Giants, and the Yankee teams of 1936–1939, 1949–1953, 1955–1958 and 1960–1964 as the only dynasties to reach at least four straight pennants. The Yankees had now won eleven consecutive postseason series over a four-year period. However, the Yankees lost the World Series in a dramatic 7 game series to the Arizona Diamondbacks, when Yankees star closer Mariano Rivera uncharacteristically lost the lead – and the Series – in the bottom of the ninth inning of the final game. With the loss, this marked the second time in five years that a team lost the World Series after taking a lead into the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 7 (following the Cleveland Indians in 1997) and the first time since 1991 that the home team won the seventh game of a World Series.Despite the loss in the series, Derek Jeter provided one bright spot. Despite a very poor series overall, batting under .200, he got the nickname, "Mr. November", for his walk-off home run in Game 4, though it began October 31, as the game ended in the first minutes of November 1. In calling the home run, Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay said "See ya! See ya! See ya! A home run for Derek Jeter! He is Mr. November! Oh what a home run by Derek Jeter!" He said this after noticing a fan's sign that said "Mr. November".

Also, during the emotional times following the attacks, Yankee Stadium played host to a memorial service, just before the Yankees played their first home game following the attacks. The service was titled "Prayer for America".

2005 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 2005 proceeded in keeping with rules enacted in 2001. The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) held an election to select from recent players, and the Veterans Committee held a separate election to select from players retired more than 20 years.

Induction ceremonies in Cooperstown were held July 31 with Commissioner Bud Selig presiding.

Clyde Engle

Arthur Clyde "Hack" Engle (March 19, 1884 – December 26, 1939) was a utility player who played in Major League Baseball between 1909 and 1916. Listed at 5' 10", 190 lb., Engle batted and threw right-handed. He was born in Dayton, Ohio.

Engle was a sort of super-utility man at all positions but pitcher and catcher, playing mainly at first base and third. He entered the majors in 1909 with the New York Highlanders of the American League, playing for them one and a half seasons before joining the Boston Red Sox (1910–14). In his rookie year for New York, he hit a .278 batting average with a career-highs of 20 doubles and 71 RBI in 135 games. His most productive season came with Boston in 1913, when he posted career-numbers in average (.289), runs (75), triples (12) and stolen bases (28). He was also a member of the Boston Red Sox 1912 World Series champion team which defeated the New York Giants in eight games.

During the 1914 midseason, Engle joined a significant number of players who jumped to the Buffalo teams of the outlaw Federal League (1914–15), returning to the American League with the Cleveland Indians in 1916, his last major league season.

In an eight-season career, Engle was a .265 hitter (748-for-2822) with 12 home runs and 318 RBI in 836 games, including 373 runs, 101 doubles, 39 triples, 128 stolen bases, and a .335 on-base percentage. He made 748 appearances as a fielder at first base (255), third base (163), left field (142), center field (111), second base (81), right field (25) and shortstop (9).

Following his majors career, Engle was the athletic director and coached the University of Vermont football team, and he later coached the freshman baseball team at Yale University, where the coach of the varsity squad was his former teammate and close friend Smoky Joe Wood.

Engle died in Boston, Massachusetts at age 55.

Jeff Tesreau

Charles Monroe "Jeff" Tesreau (March 5, 1888 – October 24, 1946) was an American Major League Baseball player.

Joe Wood

Joe Wood may refer to:

Smoky Joe Wood (1889–1985), American baseball player

Joe T. Wood (1922–2019), American politician

Joe Wood (infielder) (1919–1985), American baseball player

Joe Wood (1944 pitcher) (1916–2002), American baseball player

Joe Wood (footballer) (1904–1972), Australian footballer for North Melbourne

Joe Wood (musician) (fl. c. 1980), singer among band T.S.O.L.'s second complement of musicians

Joe Wood (1944 pitcher)

Joe Frank Wood (May 20, 1916 – October 10, 2002) was a professional baseball pitcher. He appeared in three games in Major League Baseball for the Boston Red Sox during the 1944 season. Listed at 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m), 190 lb., Wood batted and threw right-handed. He was born in Shohola, Pennsylvania. His father, Smoky Joe Wood, also was a major league pitcher.

In three pitching appearances, including one start, Wood posted a 0–1 record with a 6.52 ERA, 13 hits allowed, five strikeouts, three walks, and 9 ⅔ innings of work.

Wood died in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, at the age of 86.

Larry Pape

Laurence Albert Pape (July 21, 1885 – July 21, 1918) was a pitcher in Major League who played his entire career for the Boston Red Sox between the 1909 and 1912 seasons. Listed at 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m), 175 lb., Pape batted and threw right-handed. He was born in Norwood, Ohio.

Pape began his baseball career with independent teams in a suburb of Cincinnati, before joining the Milwaukee Brewers of the American Association in 1908. He entered the majors in 1909 with the Red Sox, going 2–0 with a 2.01 ERA, appearing in 11 games as a starter, reliever and closer. He was demoted to Brockton a year later, being recalled in 1911 to join a Boston rotation that included Smoky Joe Wood, Ed Cicotte and Ray Collins. Pape responded with a 10–8 mark and a 2.45 ERA. He also was a member of the 1912 American League champion Red Sox, although he did not play in the World Series. The 1913 Reach Guide describes him as being used "mainly as a 'warm-up' pitcher" for the 1912 champions. Boston Globe reporter James O'Leary suggested that the reason he pitched so little in 1912 was that manager Jake Stahl lost confidence in Pape after he made an error in the first game at Fenway Park on May 17 which caused the Red Sox to lose. Sportswriter Hugh Fullerton explained Pape's non-use in the 1912 World Series by writing that although he was a good, effective pitcher," Fullerton felt that the Red Sox opponents, the New York Giants, would be able to hit him. Despite not playing in the World Series, Pape was honored as a champion at the post-victory celebrations.In a three-season career, Pape posted a 13–9 record with 84 strikeouts and a 2.80 ERA in 51 appearances, including 24 starts, 13 complete games, two shutouts, one save, and 283⅓ innings of work.

After the 1912 season, Pape was sold to the Buffalo Bisons of the International League, after the Red Sox placed him on waivers, the Cincinnati Reds attempted to claim him, and the Red Sox pilled him off of waivers. Sportswriter Joe S. Jackson wrote an article in the Washington Post about the injustice of the situation, as Pape would have earned more if he went to the Reds. Pape never played for the Bisons, and quit baseball when the Bisons were going to send him to a Canadian team. He did not pitch at all in 1913, and was sold to the Portland Beavers after the season for $2000. He pitched ineffectively in nine games for the Beavers and was released during the season.Pape died on his 33rd birthday in Swissvale, Pennsylvania. His death was reported as being due to complications from an old baseball injury in which he was hit by a ball in the stomach. However, the cause of death listed on his death certificate was glandular cancer.

List of Boston Red Sox team records

The Boston Red Sox are a Major League Baseball (MLB) team based in Boston, Massachusetts. They have competed in the American League (AL) since it was founded in 1901, and in the AL East division since it was formed in 1969. Note that before 1908, the team was known as the Boston Americans. The list below documents players and teams that hold particular club records.

Marty McHale

Martin Joseph McHale (October 30, 1886 – May 7, 1979) was an American professional baseball pitcher who played for six seasons for the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians in Major League Baseball

Yale Field

Yale Field is a stadium in West Haven, Connecticut, just across the city line with New Haven, Connecticut. It is primarily used for the Yale University baseball team, the Bulldogs, and, until 2007 was also the home field of the New Haven County Cutters Canadian-American Association of Professional Baseball minor league baseball team. Yale's baseball team has played continuously at the same site since 1885 while the field was constructed and opened in April 1928. It holds 5,000 people.

During President Bush's days baseball playing for Yale, the team played in both the 1947 and 1948 College World Series, losing to the University of California in 1947 and to USC in 1948. Yale's manager during this time was former big leaguer Ethan Allen. Yale Field hosted what is believed to be the first game of the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship in 1947 when Yale hosted Clemson.Yale Field was the site for one of the most famous college baseball games of all time. On May 21, 1981, during a qualifying game for the College World Series, Ron Darling from Yale and Frank Viola from St. Johns dueled through 11 scoreless innings before St. Johns broke through with a run in the 12th inning to win 1-0. Both pitchers went on to have distinguished Major League careers. Darling pitched 11 innings of no-hit ball (still a college playoff record) before surrendering a single in the 12th inning.

In attendance at the game was Yale President and soon-to-be Commissioner of Baseball, A. Bartlett Giamatti as well as pitching great and ex-Yale Baseball Coach, Smoky Joe Wood. Renowned baseball author Roger Angell was also at the game and wrote an article about the game for the New Yorker Magazine, entitled "The Web of the Game" (See New Yorker, July 20, 1981, p.97)

Ron Darling devoted an entire chapter to this game in his 2009 book; "The Complete Game, Reflections on Baseball, Pitching, and Life on the Mound", published by Alfred A. Knoff, a division of Random House.

Another legendary game took place at Yale Field in 1941. With Smoky Joe Wood as manager, and Joe Jr. on the mound, the Elis faced Colgate whose roster included two of Smoky Joe's other sons, Steve and Bob Wood. Yale prevailed 11-5.

Yale Field was also the name of the football stadium prior to the Yale Bowl opening in 1914.


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