As times and traditions of the game change, some things die out. The doubleheader has been one of them. Seldom do teams plan a doubleheader in their schedules, the few that we now see are often regularly scheduled games followed by some sort of make-up game due to a rain out or other reason.
Another tradition that has changed is the use of a pitcher. In the past, it was not uncommon to see a pitcher throw a complete game, even if he wasn't doing well, something that would NEVER happen now, as bullpens were not as developed.
Pitchers would sometimes pitch on back-to-back days or even back-to-back games of those more-common doubleheaders. These two factors made our next feat possible: two complete game victories by one pitcher in one day.
Just let that sink in. Not only did one pitcher pitch in two games back-to-back, but on the same day. Not only did they start these games, they finished both of them, going anywhere from 10 to 21 innings in the process. And finally, not only did they finish these two games, they won BOTH of them! This feat, while mostly forgotten and now virtually impossible, deserves recognition among the most fabulous baseball feats of all time.
Items of interest: You will notice just how much times have changed, as you see that the last time this was achieved was in 1926. Also of note are the extraordinarily fabulous feats of Ed Reulbach, Joe McGinnity, and Dupee Shaw. Reulbach threw both of his complete games for shutouts, while McGinnity and Shaw achieved this feat more than once in one month, with three and two instances, respectively.
"Too many pitchers, that's all, there are just too many pitchers. Ten or twelve on a team. Don't see how any of them get enough work." - Cy Young
American League Instances
National League Instances
Joe McGinnity has accomplished this more times than any other pitcher, AND he did it all three times during the same season and the same month.
On July 12, 1879, Pud Galvin became the first to accomplish this feat with an extra inning game and his combined twenty-one innings are the most ever during a doubleheader win. The last pitcher who could have joined this list (pitching two complete games victories on the same date) was Jack Scott of the Phillies who won the first game 3-1 of a doubleheader versus the Reds on June 19, 1927, then lost the second game 3-0.
This incredible pitching feat has also occurred in the defunct Players League by: Henry Gruber on July 26, 1890, Bert Cunningham on August 20, 1890, and Ed Crane on September 27, 1890; as well as in the defunct American Association by Tim Keefe on July 4, 1883, Guy Hecker on July 4, 1884, Matt Kilroy on July 26, 1887 & October 1, 1887, and Tony Mullane on September 20, 1888.