In this edition of TWiCH, we look back at the career of Orval Overall. Yes, you read correctly, his name is Orval Overall. He was traded to the Cubs on June 2, 1906 and helped lead the team to three NL Pennants and back-to-back World Series titles.
Overall began his career in 1905 with the Cincinnati Reds winning 16 of his 24 starts and posting 127 strikeouts against 97 walks in 226 innings that first season. After a very rocky start in 1906, he was traded to the Cubs.
Overall promptly turned things around after arriving in Chicago, going 12-3 with a 1.88 ERA and 13 complete games in 14 starts. The Cubs went on to win the NL Pennant and set an MLB record for most wins in a regular season before losing to the White Sox in the World Series. Overall pitched in two games during the series and gave up two runs on 10 hits, striking out eight.
The following season saw Overall take over as the ace of the club. He finished the 1907 season with a 23-7 record, 1.68 ERA, eight shutouts and a 141 strikeouts to 69 walks. He also managed to collect three saves in the process. More importantly, Overall led the Cubs to back-to-back World Series titles in 1907 and 1908.
The 1909 season saw Overall compile a career-low 1.42 ERA while winning 20 games and leading the NL in strikeouts (205). He declined rapidly after that and ultimately retired from baseball in 1910, though he did attempt a comeback three years later.
Though he’s probably best known now for his name, Orval Overall was one of the top pitchers of his era and was an integral member of the Cubs team opposing fans still seem to mention all too often.