Solly Hofman

Hofman was the slick centerfielder and general handyman for the four Cub pennant-winners of 1906-08 and 1910. His teammates called him Circus Solly because of his many “circus” catches in the outfield. Hofman was a timely hitter and good baserunner. His best season was 1910 when he hit .325 and had 86 RBI.

In the “Merkle Boner” game of 1908 against the Giants, it was Hofman who retrieved Al Bridwell‘s single and called to second baseman Johnny Evers that Merkle had failed to touch second. His throw from the outfield sailed over Evers’ head but was eventually retrieved for the forceout that ended the game in a tie. The Cubs won the makeup game and the pennant. According to baseball historian Paddy Keough, a friend of Hofman, the throw got past Evers because Circus Solly could not resist clowning, even on that crucial play, and threw a curveball to Evers.