During the Dead Ball Era of 1900-1919, 1-0 scores were a common occurrence. It was clearly evident that those days were over when Babe Ruth swatted 54 homers in 1920, but the real sign of the times was a game that featured the highest final score in history. On August 25, 1922, the Chicago Cubs beat the Philadelphia Phillies by a count of 26-23 at Wrigley Field. The 26 runs by a single team has since been surpassed, but the combined total of 49 runs has not. Fifty-one base knocks, 21 walks, and nine errors led to 22 different men scoring a run.
The scoring barrage began in the second inning, when Phils pitcher Jimmy Ring became agitated after arguing with the umpire over some close pitches. Instead of settling down, he blew up, surrendering 10 runs in that inning alone. Left helpless was his manager Kaiser Wilhelm, who had no time to begin warming others in the pen. Oddly, Wilhelm chose to leave Ring in to pitch the third, and the result was more of the same. Very quickly the score was 25-6, and it appeared as if the game was long over. Even the wary Wrigley faithful had lit their victory cigars by the eighth inning, as Chicago still led by a count of 26-9. Yet the resilient Phils were far from through. Out came a series of rookie Cub pitchers, and the visiting club couldn’t wait to take advantage. Uel Eubanks was the first to feel their wrath, surrendering eight runs in just 2/3 of an inning. He would never again pitch in the majors. Ed Morris relieved and halted the onslaught in that inning, but allowed four runs in the ninth without recording an out. Tiny Osborne, the next rook, came on and immediately let two more men cross the plate, but managed to bring the slugfest to a halt when the hot Bevo LeBourveau whiffed with the bases juiced.
Despite notching 23 runs, the Phillies could easily have had even more. The runners stranded in the ninth were just three of the 16 total men they left on. They also had 26 hits, more than the other team. However, neither team’s offense was anywhere near as explosive as they showed. Philadelphia finished seventh in runs scored on the year, while Chicago finished fourth.