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By Zane Miller

On Tuesday, July 11th, 1905, the Brooklyn Superbas (now Los Angeles Dodgers) played host to the Pittsburgh Pirates at the second iteration of Washington Park in Brooklyn, New York, with both teams coming into the game in completely different places in the standings.

For the Pirates, they were looking to continue the upward trajectory of their season as they entered with a 46-29 record, with the team also seeking to keep pace with the National League-leading New York (now San Francisco) Giants, who were seven games ahead as the holders of the lone postseason entry. As for the Superbas, they were simply looking to stay out of last place in the NL, with the team sitting at an abysmal 22-51 record. That being said, they still had a good opportunity to avoid being labeled as the worst team in the league, as the Boston Beaneaters (now Atlanta Braves) shared the same 22-51 record, with the American League’s Washington Senators (now Minnesota Twins) also near the bottom of the standings at 23-43.

On the mound for Pittsburgh would be longtime starter Deacon Phillippe, best known for being the first-ever winning pitcher of the World Series in 1903 and eventually winning a World Series with the Pirates in 1909, as he looked to build upon his personal 9-6 record coming into the afternoon affair, while the Superbas sent up third-year starter Oscar Jones, who was in the midst of a disappointing 7-10 season after finishing inside the top-10 in innings pitched in both of the previous two seasons.

The Pirates wasted little time in jumping out to the lead, showing why they were clearly the better team than their counterparts as a five-run rally in the third inning put them ahead 6-1. This forced Jones out of the ball game early, with the recently acquired Fred Mitchell coming on in relief, an occurrence which was far rarer at the time than nowadays. However, Mitchell was unable to do much better, as he would go on to allow five runs of his own in the fourth through sixth innings. While Mitchell would eventually find his groove afterwards, it would be too little, too late for Brooklyn to make a comeback, eventually falling to the Pirates 11-2.

Phillippe was credited with the win, only allowing a pair of runs and taking four strikeouts in the complete game effort, though this did not come without resistance from the Superbas as they compiled a total of 15 hits against him. Despite having plenty of scoring opportunities and solid production offensively, including a four-hit game from star right fielder Harry Lumley, Brooklyn was unable to take advantage as only Lumley and left fielder Bob Hall added an RBI for the side.

Meanwhile, Jones took the loss after allowing six runs in three innings of work, giving up eight hits and a walk along with the only home run of the afternoon to center fielder Ginger Beaumont. As a matter of fact, Beaumont was by far the biggest contributor of the game offensively, as he tallied four RBIs and three hits, as well as nabbing an impressive three stolen bases to assist in the winning effort.

The Pirates improved to 47-29, and would eventually finish the year with a shining 96-57 record, the second-best in the NL. However, this would not nearly be enough to catch the Giants, who continued their romp on the way to a 105-48 record which would finally culminate in their first World Series title. The Superbas, on the other hand, fell to 22-52 and would finish as the worst team in the MLB with a 48-104 record, holding the dubious distinction as the first NL team to end a year with more than 100 losses.