“DIARY OF A WINNER”

BILL JAMES

THE 1914 "MIRACLE" BRAVES
The Braves
sweep Cincinnati behind Rudolph & James

August 17, 1914 ... The Boston Braves won both games of the doubleheader in Cincinnati with the Reds this afternoon and made a slight gain on the Giants, whose lead was cut down one half game. In the process, Dick Rudolph scored his 10th straight win and Bill James his ninth straight win, while the club made it 30 victories in 36 games.

The Braves did not have to fight hard because in the first game they won by a score of 11 to 1 and in the second game the score was 5 to 3. Manager Stallings plan to use Paul Strand in the second game, but Bill James was feeling fine and wanted to get the start, so the Boston manager indulged him and send him in. Both Boston pitchers were true to form and as their teammates were hitting behind them, giving each one a good margin to work on early in the games.

The Reds knocked out three hits off Rudolph in the first inning and two in the second inning, but made only two more for the rest of the game. They got seven off James altogether and three of those came in the ninth-inning, during which Cincinnati scored all their runs. Three of the hits were scratch infield hits.

Rube Benton, who pitched the first game for Cincinnati, was hit easily and then a young fellow from Dayton, Ohio, named Pete Fahrer was tried during the last two innings when the Reds were hopelessly out of the running. Pete Schneider worked in the second game and pitched wildly and with little control, getting four base on balls and hitting the batsman in the first inning. He pitched the string out however, and while the Braves did not do as much hitting off him as they did on Benton in the first game, they got in a few timely hits and enough runs to win it.

The only run off Dick Rudolph came in the very first inning and all that were made off James came in the last inning. Chances are that James would have notched a shutout if not for a muffed fly ball on the first man up. The hitting of Possum Whitted, Johnny Evers and Hank Gowdy was the feature in the first game, while Joe Connolly was equally conspicuous in the second game. Connolly also made a fine catch in the second game although he in Rabbit Maranville came close who collision. The Rabbit was making the hard play on the ball and it is doubtful he would been able make the catch.

In game number one, with the selection of the southpaw Rube Benton to start the game for Cincinnati, manager Stallings elected to play Ted Cather in right field and Whitted in left, in place of Josh Devore and Joe Connolly. Cather open the game with a great single over second base, Johnny Evers drew a base on balls, and both Whitted and Maranville were struck out. Butch Schmidt then singled to left to fill the bases. Red Smith hit a slow roller to third which Fritz von Kolnitz had to run in and make a quick play on. He threw wild to first and the ball went by the firstbaseman, allowing both Cather and Evers to score and giving the Braves a quick 2 to 0 lead.

Two runs were pretty good lead and ultimately all that Rudolph needed, although the Reds got a run in the bottom of their half of the first inning. Buck Herzog pulled one down the right-field foul line that was good for a triple and scored on von Kolnitz's single to center.

In the third inning, the Braves scored another pair of runs. Whitted and Maranville both singled and von Kolnitz muffed Butch Schmidt's attempt to sacrifice the fill the bases. After Red Smith struck out, Leslie Mann was passed to force in Whitted with another run. The other run came in when Herzog juggled the ground ball hit by Hank Gowdy.

In the fourth inning, Evers led off with a double and went to third on Whitted sacrifice bunt. Maranville hit one down to second baseman Bert Niehoff who tried to throw out Johnny Evers at home unsuccessfully. No one was covering second on the play, so the Rabbit advanced there and made it to third on a stolen base. He then scored on Schmidt's long sacrifice fly to right-field.

Then in the fifth inning, three more runs were put over as Mann and Gowdy both singled, Rudolph sacrificed, and is Benton tried to get Mann at third and failed, Rudolph was safe on the fielder's choice to fill the bases. Ted Cather Johnny Evers both a ground balls that allow the Cincinnati infield to force runners at the plate, but then Whitted brought Rudolph, Josh Devore and Evers over with a smashing double to left field. That made the score 9 to 1 after five innings.

The Braves added one more run in the eighth and one more run in the ninth to make the final score 11 to 1 in the first game.

With James and Schneider booked up as a starting pitchers in the second game, the fans expected to see pitchers duel. Schneider started wild, passing Devore and Evers. Devore was caught napping at second on a pickoff for the first out. Connolly then flied to right and Maranville and Schmidt were also walked to fill the bases. Then Schneider hit Red Smith with a pitch to bring in the first Boston run.

No more scoring took place until the Braves top of the fourth inning. Schneider became wild again, after two men were out, and secondbaseman Heinie Groh allowed James to get on with a wild throw that put him on second base. Schneider then passed Devore and Evers to load the bases. He faced Joe Connolly, who sent a screeching drive past Bill Kellogg at first base, and Bert Daniels the rightfielder made a wild throw to the plate that allowed Evers to score and Connolly to go to third. Maranville made the last out, but the score was 4 to 0 in the Braves favor.

In the ninth-inning Johnny Evers singled to center and kept going to second, as Herbie Moran let the ball get away from him. He went to third on Connolly's sacrifice and scored on Maranville's single up the middle.

Then the Reds made a great finish and tried to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth. Josh Devore started by muffing Marty Berghammer's fly ball, allowing him to get the second. That seem to irritate James, as an out, a scratch single by Mike Gonzalez and a sacrifice fly by Doc Miller brought in three runs. But that was the scoring as Cincinnati was on the losing end, with Bill James winning the game 5 to 3.

Fritz Mollwitz, the Cincinnati firstbaseman, was seriously injured and it is doubtful if you will be able to play again this season. In the second inning of the second game, he tripped over first base and fell on his right shoulder. The ligaments are reported to be badly torn and it was thought he had a fracture of the collarbone.

For a while this afternoon, it looked like the Pittsburgh Pirates were going to help the Braves cut down the lead of the Giants. But when six runs were posted on the scoreboard in the eighth-inning for New York, a grown went up from the spectators, who apparently were anxious to see the Braves beat the league leaders.

The Giants defeated Pittsburgh by a score 7 to 3 with a rally in the eighth-inning.

 

at Redland Field (Cincinnati) ...

R

H

E

BOSTON BRAVES

2

0

2

2

3

0

0

1

1

 

11

11

0

CINCINNATI REDS

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

 

1

7

5

W-Dick Rudolph (16-8)
L-Rube Benton (13-13)
Attendance – 2900

2B-Evers (Bost), Whitted (Bost), Gowdy (Bost)
3B-Herzog (Cinci)

 

Game #2 ...

R

H

E

BOSTON BRAVES

1

0

0

3

0

0

0

0

1

 

5

7

3

CINCINNATI REDS

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

3

 

3

7

3

W-Bill James (16-6)
L-Pete Schneider (4-6)


2B-Herzog (Cinci), Berghammer (Cinci)
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AB

R

H

AVG

 

 

Josh Devore rf 3 1 0 .230  

 

Johnny Evers 2b 2 3 1 .301  

 

Joe Connolly lf 4 0 2 .296  

 

Rabbit Maranville ss 4 0 1 .248  

 

Butch Schmidt 1b 4 0 2 .269  

 

Red Smith 3b 2 0 0 .240  

 

Les Mann cf 4 0 0 .236  

 

Hank Gowdy c 4 0 0 .249  

 

Bill James p 4 1 1 .253  
               
    IP H ER BB SO  
  Bill James 9 7 1 2 3  

 

 

         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AB

R

H

AVG

 

 

Ted Cather rf 5 2 1 .262  

 

Johnny Evers 2b 5 4 2 .300  

 

Possum Whitted lf 4 1 2 .184  

 

Rabbit Maranville ss 5 2 1 .248  

 

Butch Schmidt 1b 2 0 1 .266  

 

Red Smith 3b 4 0 0 .241  

 

Les Mann cf 4 1 2 .239  

 

Hank Gowdy c 5 0 2 .253  

 

Dick Rudolph p 3 1 0 .113  
               
    IP H ER BB SO  
  Dick Rudolph 9 7 1 0 3  

 

 

         

 

 

 

1914 NATIONAL LEAGUE STANDINGS

 

 

New York Giants 59 43 -

 

 

BOSTON BRAVES

56 46 3

 

 

St. Louis Cardinals 58 52 5

 

 

Chicago Cubs 55 51 6

 

 

Brooklyn Robins 48 55 11 1/2

 

 

Philadelphia Phillies 48 56 12

 

 

Pittsburgh Pirates 47 56 12 1/2

 

 

Cincinnati Reds 47 59 14