Most everyone knows how Johnny Evers took advantage of Fred Merkle’s mistake in September 1908, when Merkle failed to touch second base, helping the Cubs steal a pennant from the New York Giants. But not many know that Merkle caught Evers with a hidden ball trick two years later!
On September 22, 1910, one day shy of the two year anniversary of the play that had so embarrassed Fred Merkle, the Giants were hosting the Cubs at the Polo Grounds. Evers drew a lead-off walk in the fifth inning and began riding Giants pitcher Louis Drucke. When Drucke threw over to first base in a pick-off attempt, Evers easily got back and again took his lead off first, while telling Drucke how lousy his move to first had been.
But Merkle had only faked throwing the ball back to Drucke. When Evers took his lead and began yelling at Drucke, Merkle suddenly produced the ball and stuck it in Evers’ ribs. Giants fans gave Merkle a standing ovation. It did not make up for 1908, but at least for a moment, Fred Merkle had outsmarted Johnny Evers in front of the whole world.