“DIARY OF A WINNER”

THE 1914 "MIRACLE" BRAVES
Bill James puts the Braves
back into first place

September 8, 1914 ... Manager Stallings' Boston Braves fought their way into the lead in the National League pennant race with a 8 to 3 win over the New York Giants in the final game of the series at Fenway Park. So effectively did they use their bats, that Rube Marquard was driven from the mound after they had bombed him for four innings, during which they had nine hits, with Johnny Evers contributing three of them. Art Fromme and Hooks Wiltse followed Marquard and were also ineffective. Bill James although he did not look like he could do it, pitched a great game and after the first inning held New York to only three hits in nine innings. He also did some good work at the plate to an all around great game for him.

Both pitchers were wild at the start, and a strong wind probably affected their control. James passed Fred Snodgrass and Larry Doyle, the first two men up and then George Burns doubled one in front of the mound, which James bounced on and tried to force Snodgrass at third. He failed to do so and filled the bases instead. Knowing the game could be lost right there, he made a good pitch to Art Fletcher, who popped out to Evers. Jim Murray then hit a bouncer back at James, allowing him to get Snodgrass at the plate. Hank Gowdy unfortunately granted a passed ball which allowed Doyle to score making it 1 to 0 in favor of New York.

Marquard had poor control, but managed to get off cheaply in the first inning. The Braves tied up the game by waiting him out, as Moran drew a pass to get on first. Evers waited on him to tried to draw another pass, but got a pitch he liked and knocked it into centerfield. Ted Cather came up and attempted to sacrifice, but Marquard quickly got the bunt and forced Moran at third. Possum Whitted was patient and waiting him out to get another free pass to first, filling the bases. Evers was forced at the plate as Butch Schmidt hit one back to Marquard. With the bases still full, Red Smith stayed patient and waited it out to get yet another walk to first. This third pass of the inning brought in Cather with the tying run.

Then in the second inning Hank Gowdy led off with a sizzling singled to center and was sacrificed to second by James. Moran also singled to center, and the crowd had their first chance to boo Fred Snodgrass when he made a wild throw to the plate, trying to get Gowdy, who scored easily and also would have done so with a perfect throw. Moran took off for second on the throw and went to third when Evers got a base hit. Evers drew a throw to second base and Moran made a break for the plate, but was an easy out when Cather fanned. But the Braves were in the lead and stayed in the lead for the rest of the game.

The Braves knocked Marquard out of the game in the fourth inning after they scored four runs giving them a 6 to 1 lead. The Giants made their first hit off James in the fifth inning, on a triple by Doyle to left-center. Burns then drew a walk and he and Doyle worked a double steal to score the Giants second run.

Art Fromme then came into pitch the fifth inning and James came close to getting a home run on a ball that hit the left corner of the centerfield bleacher fence. A foot more to left and it would've gone past the flagpole to the wall, but the ball bounded off the fence back to Bob Bescher who held James at second. Moran sacrificed him to third and then Stallings sent up Joe Connolly to bat against the right-handed pitcher. Connolly responded by lacing out a single that scored James with the seventh run for the Braves.

The Braves scored another run in the sixth to make it 8 to 2 and the Giants scored one more in the eighth on George Burns' double, a ground ball out to Red Smith and a sacrifice fly on which Joe Connolly made a great catch. That made the score 8 to 3 which is where it stood to the end of the game.

The crowd, because of his behavior on Monday, got on Fred Snodgrass and rode him almost continually. However, after he made a great catch after a long run, robbing Hank Gowdy of at least a double, the crowd rose up and cheered his good work as enthusiastically as any crowd at the Polo Grounds. Snodgrass, who had been booed unmercifully, was applauded all away as he walked from the cliff, where he made the catch, back to the bench. He only slightly acknowledged the applause, but no one really cared. The rest of the game it was business as usual with the fans riding him continually.

Joe Connolly contributed a fielding gem with a one-handed catch running up the left on Jim Murray's fly ball in the eighth-inning. Johnny Evers turned in a play that few men would have attempted, and is doubtful if anyone else would have been able to make it. He caught Larry McLean's pop fly near second and then doubled up Bob Bescher, one of the fastest men in the league, at first. Bescher thought that the chances were very slim, that the ball the caught it all and he also did not expect the quick throw that followed the great catch. Evers seemed to have the plate all figured out before he ever made it. Smith also made a fine one-handed stop behind third base and got Fletcher at first, while Butch Schmidt he handled several bad throws like an artist.

The crowd saw a pretty good game, with a lot of hitting, and what was better still was the fact that it was done mostly by the Braves. The weather was not perfect with a strong wind making low temperatures all the more disagreeable. Herbie Moran pulled a muscle after sliding into first on a sacrifice, and Rabbit Maranville accidentally bumped his ankle to make matters worse. The Giants left town not well pleased with the outcome of the series, and probably have their confidence a bit jilted.

Red Sox pitcher Dutch Leonard, with his right arm and a split, was a spectator and watched with interest. Present Gaffney said that paid attendance for the two games on Labor Day was 74,163.

 

FENWAY PARK

 

P

C

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

 

R

H

E

 
     

NEW YORK GIANTS

1

0

0

0

1

0

0

1

0

   

3

3

1

 
     

BOSTON BRAVES

1

1

0

4

1

1

0

0

x

   

8

15

1

 

 

W-Bill James (21-7)
L-Rube Marquard (10-19)
Attendance - 17,000

2B-Burns (NY), Smith (Bost), Gowdy (Bost), James (Bost)
3B-Doyle (NY)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AB

R

H

AVG

 

 

Herbie Moran cf 3 1 1 .234  

 

Johnny Evers 2b 4 1 3 .291  

 

Ted Cather lf 3 2 1 .273  

 

Joe Connolly ph/lf 2 0 1 .309  

 

Possum Whitted rf 4 0 1 .210  

 

Butch Schmidt 1b 3 2 0 .276  

 

Red Smith 3b 3 0 2 .248  

 

Rabbit Maranville ss 5 0 2 .243  

 

Hank Gowdy c 4 1 2 .237  

 

Bill James p 3 1 2 .267  
               
    IP H ER BB SO  
  Bill James 9 3 2 7 5  

 

 

         

 

 

 

1914 NATIONAL LEAGUE STANDINGS

 

 

BOSTON BRAVES

69 53 -

 

 

New York Giants 68 54 1

 

 

Chicago Cubs 69 59 3

 

 

St. Louis Cardinals 67 62 5 1/2

 

 

Philadelphia Phillies 57 65 12

 

 

Pittsburgh Pirates 57 66 12 1/2

 

 

Cincinnati Reds 56 70 15

 

 

Brooklyn Robins 55 69 15