“DIARY OF A WINNER”

RED SMITH

THE 1914 "MIRACLE" BRAVES
The Braves split with the Cardinals,
but gain another game in the standings.

September 23, 1914 ... While an even break was the best that the Braves could get out of the doubleheader with the Cincinnati Reds today at Fenway Park, the Giants were beaten twice by the St. Louis Cardinals, so the Braves lead was increased to six full games in the race for the National League pennant. The Cardinals are now only two games behind the Giants and the Cubs are only one game behind the Cardinals. The Braves are scheduled for 16 more games and the Giants for 15. The Cardinals have 13 and the Cubs have 14, so with the season drawing to a close, the margin held by the Braves looks better every day.

The Reds came here today with a record of 18 straight losses and they lost the first game of the doubleheader after putting up a hard fight, by a 3 to 2 score. Then they turned around and won the second game dramatically in the ninth-inning with a rally, winning 3 to 0.

Bill James and Red Ames were the opposing pitchers in the opener and both did some great pitching, with James having a little bit better of it. The two college men were trotted out for the second game. George Davis of Williams College and Harvard Law School for the Braves, and Charlie "King" Lear of Princeton for the Reds. The pair of youngsters had a great battle and neither was scored on for eight innings.

Only two singles were made off Davis, while two doubles and a single were all that Lear surrendered. It was in the ninth-inning when the Reds touched up Davis for three runs to win the game. He has started four times and pitched one no-hit game. It was his second straight start for Lear. In his first start he was taken out in the first inning, but he looks like an excellent prospect for Cincinnati.

The weather was very hot and 11,000 fans turned out to see the doubleheader. They certainly got their money's worth. In the second inning the Reds got a cheap run, but the Braves worked over two in the fourth and took the lead, holding it until the ninth, when an error, a sacrifice and an infield hit allowed Cincinnati to tie the score.

The Reds fought hard all day in both games. Judging by the way they played, one would think that they were making a fight for first place, instead of being hopelessly chained in the cellar. They probably do not care to make any new records for the number of consecutive games lost.

In the first game, the Reds scored first in the second inning. Heinie Groh doubled to right and Bert Niehoff hit a low liner to center, which Possum Whitted caught off his shoe tips, apparently at first intending for it to go as a hit. He was all out of position to throw after the catch, allowing Niehoff to go to third. Whitted made a perfect throw to the bag but it reached Smith at the same time as the runner, who blocked his view. The ball got past him and Niehoff got up and scored.

The Braves went out in order in the second and third innings, but in the fourth Johnny Evers led off with a base on balls and went to second on a wild pitch. He scored on Joe Connolly's single to center. After Whitted sacrificed to put Connolly on second, Smith singled to score him, giving the Braves a 2 to 1 lead.

There was no more scoring by either team until the ninth-inning. In the top of the ninth Buck Herzog got around to second on a wild throw by Smith to first on his ground ball. He went on to third on Red Killifer's sacrifice and then Niehoff laid a bunt down the third-base line and beat James' throw to first. Herzog scored the tying run as Niehoff was out in an attempt to take second.

In the Braves ninth with one out, Smith, who was responsible for the Reds' tying run, put over the winning run for the Braves. He was aided by a boy in the centerfield bleachers. Red gave the ball mighty wallop and sent it on a fly almost to the stands. It looked as if it would hit the top of the fence, but a youngster who wanted to souvenir, reached up over the railing and tried to catch the ball. He dropped it back into the playing field so that centerfielder Bert Daniels was able to pick it up and threw it in. Umpire Ernie Quigley saw what happened and then motioned for Smith, who was standing on third, to come home. Cincinnati put up an argument but the run was counted, and the Braves won the game 3 to 2.

There was nothing to the second game but great pitching for eight innings. Bert Daniels, the first man up in the game, beat out an infield hit and Buck Herzog, the first man up in the seventh inning, singled to center, but was doubled up by Rabbit Maranville. These two hits, along with two passes to Bert Niehoff and George Twombly, were the only times the visitors were able to get to first base off George Davis for the first eight innings.

The Braves could only do only a little better than that. In the fourth inning, Herbie Moran led off with a single and went to second on a sacrifice where he was left. In the fifth inning, Butch Schmidt opened with a double and went to third on Smith's grounder back to the pitcher. He never moved further than that. In the sixth inning, Moran was the first man up and singled and again moved to second on a sacrifice by Johnny Evers. He made it to third on Connolly's ground out down to Graham at first base unassisted. Herbie then tried to steal home but failed, as Whitted, who was at the plate did not even try to get his bat on the ball, so that catcher Mike Gonzalez easily was able to put on the tag at the plate.

That in the seventh inning Whitted led off with a double to the incline in left. Schmidt was hit by a pitch and Smith sacrificed, to advance the runners to second and third. It looked as if the Braves might be able to produce a run right there but there was nothing doing. The Rabbit hit a ground ball down to Niehoff at third, who proceeded to throw out Whitted at the plate. After the Rabbit stole second, Lear was ordered to pass Hank Gowdy to fill the bases. At this point Stallings started to warm up another pitcher and it looked like there may be a pinch-hitter for Davis. But Stallings allowed his pitcher to hit and he ended the threat with a fly ball out to Herzog.

In the ninth-inning the Reds clinched the game. Lear led off after being struck out the time before on three consecutive pitches, but this time played the waiting game and finally drew a pass. Daniels, who tried to sacrifice, popped the ball up to Schmidt for the first out. Herzog came up next and singled to center. Killifer bounced one down the third-base to Smith, who grabbed the ball and touched the bag, forcing Lear, but Killifer beat the throw to first. Doc Miller was then sent in to bat for Twombly and doubled over first to score Herzog and put Killifer on third. Bill Holden was brought into pinch run for Miller and he and Killifer scored on Niehoff's double to right-center. Lear got the Braves in order in the ninth-inning and won the game 3 to 0.

Since the Giants dropped two games, the Braves can't complain much about breaking even, as they increased their lead by one full game. The Cardinals stopped Jeff Tesreau's winning streak in the first game, as he lost a pitcher's battle to Pol Perritt, 2 to 1. Tesreau held the Cardinals to three hits but his wildness beat him. St. Louis won the game in the eighth, when Tesreau hit a batter who stole second and scored on a wild pitch. Rube Marquard pitched the second game for New York and suffered his 12th straight defeat. He was again hammered hard as Slim Sallee who kept the Giants' hits scattered, was effective in the clutch. The Cubs won the second game 9 to 2.

 

FENWAY PARK

 

P

C

GAME #1

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

 

R

H

E

 
     

CINCINNATI REDS

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

   

2

8

2

 
     

BOSTON BRAVES

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

1

   

3

8

3

 

 

W-Bill James (24-7)
L-Red Ames (15-21)
Attendance - 11,000

2B-Groh (Cinc), Niehoff (Cinc), Moran (Bost),
Smith (Bost), James (Bost)
HR-Smith (Bost)

 

P

C

GAME #2

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

 

R

H

E

 
     

CINCINNATI REDS

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

3

   

3

5

0

 
     

BOSTON BRAVES

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

   

0

4

0

 

 

W-King Lear (1-0)
L-George Davis (2-2)

2B-Niehoff (Cinc)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GAME #1

 

AB

R

H

AVG

 

 

Herbie Moran rf 4 0 3 .234  

 

Johnny Evers 2b 1 1 0 .284  

 

Joe Connolly lf 3 1 1 .306  

 

Possum Whitted cf 3 0 0 .223  

 

Butch Schmidt 1b 4 0 0 .276  

 

Red Smith 3b 4 1 3 .263  

 

Rabbit Maranville ss 3 0 0 .243  

 

Hank Gowdy c 3 0 0 .242  

 

Bill James p 3 0 1 .256  
               
    IP H ER BB SO  
  Bill James 9 8 0 0 9  

 

 

         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GAME #2

 

AB

R

H

AVG

 

 

Herbie Moran rf 4 0 2 .236  

 

Johnny Evers 2b 2 0 0 .283  

 

Joe Connolly lf 4 0 0 .303  

 

Possum Whitted cf 4 0 1 .223  

 

Butch Schmidt 1b 3 0 1 .276  

 

Red Smith 3b 3 0 0 .261  

 

Rabbit Maranville ss 2 0 0 .242  

 

Hank Gowdy c 2 0 0 .240  

 

George Davis p 3 0 0 .231  
               
    IP H ER BB SO  
  George Davis 9 5 3 3 5  

 

 

         

 

 

 

1914 NATIONAL LEAGUE STANDINGS

 

 

BOSTON BRAVES

81 56 -

 

 

New York Giants 76 63 6

 

 

St. Louis Cardinals 75 66 8

 

 

Chicago Cubs 74 67 9

 

 

Philadelphia Phillies 68 73 15

 

 

Brooklyn Robins 67 74 16

 

 

Pittsburgh Pirates 62 77 20

 

 

Cincinnati Reds 57 84 26

 

 

Number to clinch - 10