THE SUMMER OF .406 AND "THE STREAK" ...
homer brings the Sox back
21, 1941 ... Stan Spence was the big noise in
the opening game of a short series with the St. Louis Browns at
Fenway Park. Going to bat for Les Fleming in the seventh inning, when
the Red Sox were trailing 5 to 3, Spence came through with a home run
into the visiting team bullpen in right center field. Johnny Peacock
was on first at the time, so the home run was good for two runs which
tied the ballgame. Before the inning was completed a walk to Lou
Finney and singles by Ted Williams and Jimmie Foxx put the Sox out in
front, 6 to 5.
The Browns had scored four home runs against
starting pitcher Mike Ryba, before he was taken out in the fifth inning. Johnny
Lucadello was the first batter to face Ryba and the second ball pitched to him,
he took into the right field grandstand. In the second inning with Cullenbine on
first, Harland Clift took one over the centerfield wall, making it 3 to 1 in
favor of St. Louis. He nearly repeated the performance in the fourth but this
time the ball struck the speakers on the top of the left-field wall and dropped
back into the field of play. The Browns claimed it was a home run but the ground
rules say that the runner could only have three bases. In the fifth inning, Rick
Ferrell took the first pitch he saw for another home run and then Johnny Allen,
the pitcher, knocked out the fourth round tripper off Ryba. That made the score
5 to 3 in the Browns favor.
Considering the way he was hit, Ryba was lucky. The seven hits against him in
5 1/3 innings included, not only the four home runs, but a triple and two
singles. All in all the Browns could only score 5 runs. Bill Fleming came into
pitch for the Red Sox and stopped the home run barrage, but the Sox had a rocky
road to travel to come back. The hitting of Ted Williams, who had three singles
and a double in five times up was a prime factor in the outcome. Doubles and a
single by Skeeter Newsome, and one of Lou Finney's base hits, along with a
single by Jimmy Foxx, also made big contributions. But it was the home run by
Stan Spence in the eighth-inning that was the payoff.
The Red Sox scored a run in the first inning when Dom DiMaggio walked and was
forced at second. He later scored on the double by Williams. Another run came in
the second on a double by Newsome and Ryba's base hit. Still another run came in
the fourth on a double from the bat of Odell Hale, Skeeter's sacrifice and a
long fly ball by Peacock.
After that pitcher Johnny Allen tightened up for the Browns and it was
nothing doing for the Red Sox until the rally in the seventh inning. A single by
Peacock, the home run by Spence, a base on balls to Finney and a single by Foxx
netted the Sox three runs and it 6 to 5 lead. Allen then was taken out of the
game and Bob Harris came into pitch and put down the rally.
In the eighth-inning the Browns tied up the game 6 to 6 on a single by Roy
Cullinbine, a walk and a single by Rick Ferrell through shortstop. But in the
bottom of the eighth a single off the bat of Skeeter Newsome, a sacrifice by
Peacock and another by pinch-hitter Dick Newsome, put runners on second and
third. Then a long fly ball off the bat of DiMaggio to center, scored Skeeter
after the catch. Finney followed with a base hit to left and the Sox had an 8 to
6 lead that stood up for the rest of the game.