August 10 was a quiet day in the majors. As the baseball tradition goes, “he runs well for a catcher,” is more of an insult than a compliment. In 1905 in the midst of a typically poor season, the Boston Beaneaters finished 7 of 8 with a 51-103 record, some 54.5 games back. Hidden by the description of, “rather indifferent playing on the part of Pittsburgh”, which lead to the Beaneaters 7 to 4 victory.
The game’s box score shows a personal player highlight: Pat Moran hit a trifecta of triples. What makes this special is that Pat was a career backup catcher with only 267 at bats that year. With good catchers always in demand, he played for 14 years from 1901 to 1914 and had a .235 lifetime batting average that helped generate a career WAR of only 6.8.
There must have been something special in the Pittsburgh water that series, for two days earlier, on the 8th, Pirates third baseman Bill Brain, also hit three triples. Here is the box score from the game on the 10th. It’s unusual because the text says Boston at Pittsbugh, but the box score has Boston erroneously in the home team spot.
Pat Moran’s success in baseball was as a manager and clubhouse leader. He was noted for developing hall of fame pitchers Grover Cleveland Alexander and Eppa Rixey. In his first year of managing he guided the Phillies to their first Pennant in 1915. Four years later in 1919, he led the Cincinnati Reds to the postseason. In his nine years as a manager, his teams finished first or second six times. His career winning percentage was a very respectable .561. Sadly and most tragically he died from Bright’s disease during Spring Training of 1924 at a too young age of 48.
For more information see SABR Bio Project written by Dan Levitt on Pat Moran, http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/5375ed39. Player photo http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Pat_Moran. Box score from Sporting Life Magazine, Vol 45 No. 23 page 10.