THE BEST SEASON IN BOSTON'S BASEBALL HISTORY

VERN BICKFORD

BOSTON BRAVES ...
SPAHN & SAIN and PRAY FOR RAIN ...

Vern Bickford shines and beats the Bucs

May 19, 1948 ... Vern Bickford got the start in today's game and pitched a brilliant five hit, 4 to 1 victory for the Braves at Braves Field over the Pittsburgh Pirates. The rookie from Milwaukee got the start as Red Barrett was out with a bad cold. The 28-year-old, considered little more than a relief hurler, defied the freezing temperatures to give the Braves their first victory in three games over Pittsburgh.

A shaky start and tiring finish almost saw the fast falling right-hander lifted from the game, but he settled down nicely in each instance. After the first inning, when he loaded the bases with only one out, Bickford then didn't allow a hit until Max West smashed his fourth home run of the year in the seventh inning.

Tommy Holmes provided the momentum with his bat, helping Bickford into the victory column, as the leading batter in both leagues, drove in a pair of runs, one on his fourth homer of the year in the fifth inning. He also made the fielding play of the night when he went into remote right-center field to haul down Dixie Walker's line drive in the fourth inning. His combined fielding and hitting brilliance was the main reason for Bickford's success.

The defeat was marked against Rip Sewell, the eephus-ball right-hander, who had won all three of his starts this year. Only rarely did Sewell throw his publicity pitch, most of them coming against former teammate Jim Russell.

After the first two scoreless innings, Connie Ryan reached base when Stan Rojek threw wildly over West's head at first. Bickford sacrificed him along and then Holmes smashed a triple between Johnny Hopp and Walker, sliding into third base. Alvin Dark scored him with a pop double over first base, inches inside the foul line, and the speedy shortstop then scored easily on Bob Elliott's single to left, to give the Braves a 3 to 0 lead.

In his next at bat, Holmes got a pitch up and in from Sewell and then belted the next pitch into the pavilion. That put the Braves up 4 to 0.

Bickford was coasting along nicely after his first inning wildness, until West spoiled a shutout with a drive equal to the one of Holmes after one out in the eighth, putting Pittsburgh on the scoreboard. Bickford then retired the Pirates hitters in the last two innings for his first victory.

 

 
  B R A V E S   F I E L D 

 

 

   
 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

 

R H E  
 

PITTSBURGH PIRATES

 

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

 

 

1

5

1

 
 

BOSTON BRAVES

 

0

0

3

0

1

0

0

0

x

 

 

4

5

0

 

 

 

W

VERN BICKFORD (1-0)

 

2B

 

DARK (BOST)

 

L

RIP SEWELL (3-1)

 

 

S

   

3B

  HOLMES (BOST)
 

 

 

 

   

ATTENDANCE: 15,978

 

HR

 

WEST (PITT), HOLMES (BOST)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AB

R

H

AVG

 

 

Tommy Holmes rf 4 2 2 .444  

 

Alvin Dark ss 4 1 1 .276  

 

Jim Russell cf 4 0 0 .200  

 

Bob Elliott 3b 3 0 2 .305  

 

Jeff Heath lf 2 0 0 .302  

 

Earl Torgeson 1b 3 0 0 .291  

 

Phil Masi c 3 0 0 .082  

 

Connie Ryan 2b 3 1 0 .148  

 

Vern Bickford p 2 0 0 .000  
               
    IP H ER BB SO  
  Vern Bickford 9 5 1 4 4  

 

 

         

 

 

 

1948 NATIONAL LEAGUE STANDINGS

 

 

St. Louis Cardinals 15 7 -

 

 

New York Giants 14 9 1 1/2

 

 

BOSTON BRAVES

13 11 3

 

 

Philadelphia Phillies 14 12 3

 

 

Pittsburgh Pirates 13 12 3 1/2

 

 

Brooklyn Dodgers 11 14 5 1/2

 

 

Chicago Cubs 9 14 6 1/2

 

 

Cincinnati Reds 9 19 9