The 1929 World Series featured the Philadelphia Athletics and the Chicago Cubs. The Athletics beat the Cubs decisively in five games.
This was the Series of the famous "Mack Attack" (so called in honor of longtime A's owner-manager Connie Mack), in which the Athletics overcame an eight-run deficit by scoring 10 runs in the home half of the seventh in Game 4 (before two straight strikeouts by Pat Malone ended it) to snatch a 10–8 victory from the jaws of a defeat which would have evened the Series at two games apiece. The Cubs were further humiliated in the middle of that record rally when center fielder Hack Wilson lost Mule Haas's fly ball in the sun for a fluke three-run inside-the-park home run, bringing the A's to within a run at 8–7. It was the last occurrence of an inside-the-park home run in a World Series game until Game 1 of the 2015 World Series.
Because seven of the eight regulars in the Cubs' lineup hit right-handed (except for first baseman Charlie Grimm), Mack started only right-handed pitchers and kept all his lefties in the bullpen even though two of his best starters, 300-game-winner-to-be Lefty Grove and Rube Walberg, were southpaws.
Accordingly, Game 1 will be remembered mostly for the surprise start of aging A's pitcher Howard Ehmke, whose record thirteen strikeouts in a stellar complete game 3–1 win bested "Big" Ed Walsh's 1906 Series record by one, and stood until Carl Erskine broke it by one in 1953. Ehmke went on to start Game 5 but failed to get out of the fourth inning, the bullpen and a ninth-inning A's come-from-behind walk-off rally bailing him out.
AL Philadelphia Athletics (4) vs. NL Chicago Cubs (1)
This was the first World Series game ever played at Wrigley Field.
The 35-year-old Ehmke's first-game appearance was no sentimental move by Mack even though he was considered "over the hill", having won only seven games for the slugging A's, pitched only two complete games and worked a scant 55 innings in the regular season. Mack chose Ehmke over Grove or George Earnshaw because he thought Ehmke's stuff would baffle the hard-hitting Cubs, and that his sidearm delivery would make it hard for them to pick up the ball against the white-shirted "bleacher bums" of Wrigley. He proved his shrewd manager right, striking out thirteen Cubs for a Series record that would stand until 1953. Mack had rested Howard's arm by sending him to scout the Cubbies for the last few weeks of the season, with both A's and Cubs far ahead in their respective standings. Ehmke notched 13 strikeouts in the game, besting the World Series record of 12 set by Ed Walsh in 1906.
Attending Game 1 was 9-year-old John Paul Stevens, who would grow up to become a Supreme Court Justice. A lifelong Cub fan, Stevens later said, "And that was my first game, a tragic game for a young boy to go and see in person!"
Jimmie Foxx became the first player to homer in his first two World Series games.
Game 3 was a strong showing of two defensive teams at their best, a classic pitchers' duel and a "nail-biter."
Sticking to his righties-only policy, Mack rolled the dice again in Game 4 by starting 46-year-old Jack Quinn. Unlike Ehmke, however, Quinn was no challenge to the Cubs hitters, who torched him for seven runs before Mack pulled him in the sixth inning, setting the stage for the "Mack Attack" in the bottom of the seventh.
After Wilson's miscue on Haas's hit, an unknown fan wrote new lyrics to "My Old Kentucky Home", beginning with "The sun shone bright into poor Hack Wilson's eyes..." and ending "For we'll sing one song for the game and fighting Cubs, for the record whiffing Cubs far away." After seeing his seemingly safe 8–0 lead implode to a 10–8 loss after the A's record seventh and a scoreless last two innings, Cub skipper Joe McCarthy was anything but jovial. When a boy came by after the game asking for a baseball, "Marse Joe" muttered, "Come back tomorrow and stand behind Wilson, and you'll be able to pick up all the balls you want!" That eight-run deficit overcome by the A's that momentous Columbus Day in Philly is still the largest in playoff history through the 2016 season, and Mule Haas's 7th inning inside-the-park home run was the last in a World Series game for 86 years.
Mack gave Ehmke his second start of the Series, but without the advantage of surprise and without the white shirts in Wrigley's bleachers he was ineffective, touched for two runs and taken out in the fourth inning. The A's rallied for their only three runs in the bottom of the ninth to come from behind yet again and win the Series on home turf, 3–2. Haas tied it up with dramatic suddenness on a two-run homer; and after a double by Al Simmons and an intentional walk to Jimmie Foxx, Bing Miller's walk-off double scored Simmons to end the game and give the A's their first world championship in sixteen years.
1929 World Series (4–1): Philadelphia Athletics (A.L.) over Chicago Cubs (N.L.)