Fred Snodgrass had a fine big league career that spanned nearly a decade and included three consecutive trips to the World Series. A versatile defender, Snodgrass played every position but pitcher though the majority of his games were in centerfield. It was there that a singular play defined his baseball legacy.
That play came in the bottom of the 10th inning in the deciding game of the 1912 World Series. With his Giants leading the Red Sox 2-1, Snodgrass dropped a routine fly ball off the bat of Clyde Engel for a two-base error. Harry Hooper then scorched a long drive that Snodgrass snagged with a spectacular catch in deep center.
The next batter Steve Yerkes walked before Tris Speaker singled to scored Engel and send Yerkes to third. Giants pitcher Christy Mathewson issued an intentional pass to Duffy Lewis to load the bases and bring up third baseman Larry Gardner. With a sacrifice fly to right, Gardner became the hero and sealed Snodgrass’s fate as the goat.
In the collection is this letter both penned and signed by Fred Snodgrass. Dated November 5, 1955, the letter references the Dodgers’ Fall Classic victory – their only championship representing Brooklyn.
Snodgrass writes in part, “Was happy the ‘Bums’ won this year at last. I had lunch this spring with them at Vero Beach. 400 players in uniform was quite a sight.”
After retiring from the game in 1916, Snodgrass returned home to California where he was a successful businessman, City Councilman, and Mayor of Oxnard. He enjoyed renewed fame with the 1963 release of Larry Ritter’s famed baseball book The Glory of Their Times. Fred Snodgrass passed away in Ventura, California in 1974 at age 86.