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Jack Warhop’s hidden gem

On July 5, 1912, Warhop put together one of the strangest games imaginable.

Portrait of Jack Warhop Photo by George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images

As we’ve talked about before, the 1912 season is not one that goes down fondly in Yankees history. The then Highlanders went 50-102. That .329 winning percentage is the worst in franchise history, and it was just a mess of a year in general. But one of the few bright spots for that team was pitcher Jack Warhop.

Warhop had by far his best season in 1912, putting up a 2.86 ERA (127 ERA+) in 258 innings. His 7.2 Baseball Reference WAR led the team and accounts for the vast majority of the 17.0 he put up in his eight-year career.

In general, the 1912 season was on an offensive struggle for the Highlanders. Few days was that more evident than on July 5, 1912.

The 1912 Highlanders on average scored four runs per game, but they got off to a perfect start that day against the Senators, scoring two in the first. However, on the mound to start was a pitcher who was not one of the few bright spots. Ray Fisher finished the year with a 5.88 ERA (62 ERA+), and this game didn’t help that figure. In the second, the Senators answered back with two runs, and knocked Fisher out of the game. Warhop came in and got out of the second, beginning what would be a very long day for him.

In the fourth inning, the Highlanders’ offense added three runs, leading to the Senators making a pitching change of their own, as they brought in a little guy named Walter Johnson. In the sixth inning, Washington again tied the game, and then set up a pitcher’s duel between two guys who didn’t even start the game.

Warhop and Johnson kept going. And then they kept going. And then they kept going some more. In the ninth inning, Warhop himself had a chance to give the Highlaners the lead, but was robbed of a hit by Senators’ center fielder Clyde Milan. The game went into extra innings, and needed several of them to finally conclude.

From the seventh inning all the way through the 15th, Warhop essentially threw a hidden complete game shutout. For nine straight innings, he kept the Senators off the board. As you might guess considering the game kept going, Johnson matched him on the other side. If anything, he bettered Warhop. While the Highlanders eventually finished the game with six hits, the Senators recorded 14.

After a scoreless top of the 16th, Warhop came back out for the bottom half of the inning. After a couple singles, Ray Morgan drove home the winning run with a single, giving the Senators a 6-5 win.

Warhop’s final line came out to 14.1 innings pitched, four runs on 14 hits and seven walks with nine strikeouts. On the other hand, Johnson went 12.2 innings, allowing two runs on four hits and two walks, striking out five. That difference shows in part why one is in the Hall of Fame and the other had one pretty good season.

According to Baseball Reference’s Stathead, the 14.1 innings by Warhop is the longest relief outing in Yankees franchise history. Thanks for nothing, 1912 Highlanders’ offense.

At no point soon are we likely to see a team use their ace in relief in a random July game. If that somehow ever does happen, we are definitely unlikely to see said ace then stay in the game for 14.1 innings. It’s probably for the best that doesn’t happen anymore.


New York Times, July 6, 1912

Baseball Reference Stathead